The company is installing 852 solar panels across 40,000sq ft. of roof space at its Walsall factory, which will generate 315,000 KW of electricity over the course of the year.
Some 80% of the solar energy produced will power the factory, which typically spends £14,000 per month on electricity when running both day and night, with the rest sold back to the National Grid, boosting total energy in the UK created from renewable sources.
This latest step follows a similar solar energy project at Stairways’ Southam factory in 2012 when more than 330 panels were installed at a cost of £110,000, capable of creating 78,000kW. Between the two sites, Stairways will now be creating in excess of 400,000kW of renewable energy per year.
Stairways Joint Managing Director Neil Stevens said:
“This is a major investment, but an extremely important and worthwhile one; not only does it help us reduce our carbon footprint, but it also cuts our energy costs – more important than ever giving the soaring prices.
“It is the latest marker of our long-term and ongoing commitment to work more efficiently and reduce our environmental impact – something that is hugely important to us, and we know really matters to our clients too.”
Stairways has been working to cut waste, reduce energy use and rethink processes in other areas too, for example investing in a bailer to enable tonnes of waste plastic, including the clear plastic wrapping which covers many products arriving at its factories, to be compacted and recycled, instead of going to landfill.
And as an early adopter of biomass boilers, for the past 15 years it has turned its natural waste products of wood and sawdust into renewable energy to heat its facilities, again cutting back on their reliance on the national grid and fossil fuels.
The company spent £360,000 on new Biomass boiler systems at both its factories in the Midlands around 2011, which together turn 800 tonnes of waste into energy to heat the factories each year – enough energy to supply 680 UK homes for a year.
They not only reduce waste going to landfill, but by boosting efficiency, cut down costs. Adds Neil:
“Keeping our energy costs down has commercial benefit for us, but we also want to be true to our values and do it the right way – for us that means investing in green technologies, doing whatever we can to find more sustainable ways of working, and minimising our environmental impact.
“It is good for the environment, good for us and good for our customers too.”
To find out more on Stairways, visit: https://stairways.co.uk/
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