The benefits of working more efficiently and reducing the impact on the environment are many. Looking at the big picture, all industries should be investigating how they can cut waste, reduce energy use and rethink processes to minimise our effect on nature.
Stairways Midlands has been an early adopter in this respect. Following our substantial investment in biomass boilers, seven years ago we installed solar panels at our Southam plant.
This represented a £110,000 investment in renewable energy, with a total of 336, 235-Watt panels, creating 78kW of energy. This allowed the organisation to create energy to offset electricity costs. Any surplus could be sold back to the National Grid to help increase the portion of total energy in the UK created from renewable sources.
Neil Stevens, Joint Managing Director at Stairways Midlands, said: “Fuel costs for powering offices and industrial units are perhaps the second biggest overhead for an organisation, so there are clear commercial benefits to looking at how to reduce these. However, doing it in the right way is important, which is why we went down the route of solar panels.
“Once they were up and running, this helped cut our fuel bill by about £2,000 a month at this one site alone.”
“It has helped us reduce our reliance on the grid, which is good for the environment. It also helps reduce our overhead costs, which is good for us and for the customers. It helps to keep our prices competitive.”
Having seen the solar panels at Southam have an immediate impact – and with projections suggesting they will have paid for themselves completely in another four years – Stairways Midlands is now considering another investment in green energy, this time at its Walsall base.
Neil added: “We continue to review all available renewal energy options, for installation across the company’s sites. Nothing has been decided yet, but our investment in green energy will continue. The reality with solar panels is that they only work when it’s sunny – and there is precious little of that in the UK at the moment!”