A glass and mirror business is clearly seeing the benefits of taking up Ealing Council’s Smart Business Grant, which helps local companies reduce their energy footprints – and cut costs.
“My colleague said it was like someone had taken the roof off, and it really was. We’re just so grateful and pleased about it,” said Amanda Preedy, the company’s health, safety and standards manager.
An estimation from the local electrician who made the changes said the company would save more than £1,300 per year, with a carbon emission saving of four tonnes a year, which could be visualised as four large balloons – each the mass and size of an average house.
‘Made a massive difference’
“We’re a fifth-generation family business,” said Amanda. “And our doors have been open for more than a hundred years. Our priority has always been refurbishing our machinery and keeping the business running smoothly on a day-to-day basis. Even though we’ve spoken about changing our lighting, it was never top of the list until we heard about the Smart Business Grant.”
For the company, there was also a very pleasing side effect to making the energy-efficient upgrades.
“It was dark in the factory in the winter months,” explained Amanda. “This sometimes gave us issues with quality control, because our staff have to look for very fine scratches in the glass. The new lighting has changed all that. These brilliant white lights have made a massive difference.”
Like previous businesses who received the grant, Preedy Glass was visited by an energy officer from the council who conducted a survey and prepared a report outlining what could be done to make the most of the grant and exlain where it could benefit the company most.
For Preedy Glass, there were several suggestions in the report, but replacing the lights and installing an air curtain were easy, quick and noticeable solutions.
Amanda said: “The air curtain has made our entrance and office much more comfortable. The energy survey report we received from the council was very detailed and provided us with clear and concise solutions, which is what I liked about it. It can have a negative impact on a business if solutions aren’t given.
“The whole experience has been stress-free and professional from start to finish.”
Interested? This is how the scheme works
It all starts with a business identifying energy-saving measures within their own operations, such as space heating, lighting, equipment and hot water. If businesses need help with identifying these measures, the council can provide a free survey.
Once a series of potential measures has been identified, a support package of up to 50% of costs may be made available, with the remainder match-funded by the business. The minimum grant awarded is £1,000 and the maximum £5,000.
All types of small and medium-sized businesses can apply and benefit from the smart business grant.
So far, businesses as diverse as glass manufacturers, co-working hubs and audio-visual rental companies have successfully applied.
Businesses can also apply for the Carbon Trust Green Business Fund in conjunction with the Smart Business Grant, which could take the total grant funding secured to up to 65% of the total capital project costs.