Carbon Trust Wales is launching a new campaign aiming to help Welsh SMEs save £30 million in just one year and make the most of the free services available to them.
It is estimated that the 200,000 businesses in Wales have a combined energy bill of £1 billion a year, and SMEs account for £300 million of this total. According to Defra, around 70 per cent of UK SME sector energy costs relate to building services, like heating, lighting and air-conditioning. A further 20 per cent is for plug-in appliances like computers and printers and the remaining costs relate to manufacturing processes.
In Wales, SMEs are offered free support from the Carbon Trust through a helpline[0800 085 2005], website, SME forum, events and one-to-one carbon site surveys. Businesses that receive a carbon survey get an impartial expert to conduct a thorough review of all aspects of their energy use and identify areas where savings could be made. An action plan is then produced with specific saving opportunities. Carbon Trust Wales will then continue to provide support and advice to ensure that maximum savings are achieved.
And the campaign already has the backing from one of Wales’ best loved brands, spring water company Prince’s Gate. Selling a range of flavoured and non-flavoured spring water products and cooler machines, Prince’s Gate in Pembrokeshire has been a key SME in Wales for the last 22 years. The business employs 50 local people and is growing year-on-year. It has already saved £145,000 this year thanks to the measures recommended by Carbon Trust Wales and the savings look set to increase every year.
Prince’s Gate has worked with Carbon Trust Wales, in partnership with the Welsh Government, since 2010, identifying opportunities for energy efficiency actions and on-site renewable energy generation. It also received a £100,000 interest-free loan to contribute towards investment projects, which has created five new jobs.
In the last two years the company has invested in a grid connection to provide three-phase electricity, replacing diesel generator power and increasing production. The business also installed LED lighting, an energy efficient air compressor and a solar PV array to generate electricity. It also invested £1.5 million into a new blow-moulding operation to allow them to manufacture bottles on site. This allowed for increased production, greater flexibility and shorter production times. It also reduced the raw material truck loads arriving on site from 1,000 to just 50 a year.
Mike Batt, general manager of Carbon Trust Wales, explained:
“Prince’s Gate is the perfect example of what Welsh SMEs can achieve if they make energy saving a priority. It saved £8,000 a year by installing LED lighting and a massive £100,000 a year by replacing its diesel generators. The business takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously but it is also saving money which it can plough into further strengthening its position in the market. We hope other SMEs can be inspired by what Prince’s Gate has achieved and join the campaign.”
David Jones, managing director, Prince’s Gate, said:
“Working with Carbon Trust Wales has given us the support we needed to make these big savings. The team helped us to identify where savings could be made and gave us some excellent advice in moving things forward. The £30m campaign is an excellent idea and I hope businesses embrace it and start to make a real difference. It’s a lot easier than you think it will be. We’re really proud of our green credentials; we’re in no way environmental activists, but we recognise the need for sustainable manufacturing to ensure future economic viability and to look after the climate that delivers our water and the landscape that filters and enriches it.”
“Reducing energy is not a fad, it’s not a marketing stunt, it makes genuine business sense because it saves money. There are many opportunities open to Welsh SMEs to help them save money and energy and implement the required changes, but they are often overlooked.
“There are some fantastic businesses in Wales and we know that if Welsh SMEs take this opportunity seriously, we could help them save £30m in 2013 which they could re-invest into their business.”
 Department of Energy and Climate Change, Digest of UK Statistics  DEFRA Efficiency in the SME and Public Sectors  Carbon Trust analysis