Energy Reduction at Burley Appliances Ltd, Magiglo and Navitron Ltd
How to Become a Zero Carbon Company
Burley Appliances, Magiglo and Navitron are sister companies who share 55,000 sqft of warehousing/factory space and 10,000 sqft of office space in Oakham, Rutland, United Kingdom.
Burley manufactures domestic heating appliances under the brand names Burley, Magiglo and Strax. Navitron are involved in the supply and installation of green energy products, such as solar photovoltaic, solar thermal and heat pumps.
For many years the directors have been concerned about the impact that man is having on the planet and the resulting pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and dwindling fuel reserves. This is one of the main reasons for our entry into the renewable energy market and our policy of driving down prices where possible.
This document is a record of the steps and processes we took, and are still taking, to reduce our Company’s carbon footprint. We would like to actively encourage all other companies to also try and reduce their use of energy. If anyone would like to use this document as a guide to reducing the environmental impact of their own Company, please feel free. If you would like any advice, please call us.
Our goal is to make Burley Appliances Ltd and Navitron Ltd zero carbon companies and if possible, we will endeavour to ensure that our companies generate more green energy than we use. We can only realistically reduce and negate the energy directly associated with our company. It is not feasible to make all suppliers and providers associated with our companies zero carbon, we can’t make Honda zero carbon because they supplied cars to us, but we can ensure that all the processes that our companies carry out, and companies that supply us, are done with as little damage to the environment as possible.
Identifying methods of reducing our carbon footprint.
There are three ways in which we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that we produce:
- Reduce the amount of energy we are using
- Produce our own energy
- Swap the energy we use from high CO2 to low CO2
As a significant additional measure, we can ensure that the products we manufacture and supply are as energy efficient as possible.
Measuring and Quantifying Energy use
Before we could implement a carbon reduction plan, we needed to be aware of our company structure to quantify the amount of energy we are using and calculate the size of our carbon footprint.
Units of measurement.
The energy that our companies use takes the form of:
- Petrol / diesel
Although we buy energy in varying units of measurement, to ensure figures can be easily calculated it is reasonable and convenient to convert all units into kilowatt hours (kWh). A useful document to calculate kWh from various energy sources and the resulting CO2 can be found at: http://www.carbontrust.com/media/18223/ctl153_conversion_factors.pdf
The Company Structure and Resulting Energy Use in 2008
In 2008, before we undertook any major energy reduction plans, our companies were structured as follows:
Burley has three full-time salesmen covering Great Britain. They drove:
- One Kia Sedona (average 36 mpg)
- Two Ford Galaxy’s (average 38 mpg).
Other vehicles are:
- One Volvo estate (or equivalent) pool car 45 mpg
- Two Director’s cars averaging 40 mpg
- Two 7.5 tonne trucks averaging 16 mpg
- Three 35 cwt vans averaging 28 mpg
The production area takes up 8,000 sqft of the warehouse and is not partitioned off. The production area is heated by six 75kWh overhead gas fired heaters. Due to the high roof, these are woefully inadequate. Temperatures often drop to single figures and the heaters are supplemented by individual fan heaters. The rest of the warehouse is only heated by heat escaping from the production area and localised gas burners.
There is a separate canteen building measuring 2,500 sqft, this is heated by electric fan heaters.
There are four main separate office areas of 2,500 sqft each. They are heated by two 97 kWh gas fired boilers (manufactured in 1978) which also provides the hot water. Two of the offices are only occasionally used, mainly as showrooms.
Production of products in 2008
Burley manufactures electric fires and gas fires. Approximately 50% of the products are made in the UK, the remainder is made by Burley’s partners in China and then finished in the UK. The carbon footprint of the companies in China has not been entered into our calculations although the fuel used to transport containers to the UK has. Production undertaken at Burley is in the form of light industrial / assembly.
The majority of Navitron’s products are made in the Far East. There is no local alternative to source supplies. The figures for the carbon footprint of production and transport has not been added to our overall figures as when installed, the solar products generate more energy than this in the first month of use.
Total energy use in 2008
The type and amount of energy that our Companies used in 2008 are:
- Petrol / diesel 50,957 litres = 560,527kWh = 135,036kg of CO2
- Gas 727,784kWh = 147,740kg of CO2
- Electricity 162,000kWh = 85,374kg of CO2
Total 1,450,311kWh = 368,150kg of CO2
Assessment of energy use
To determine where energy is being used, and how much is being used, a full assessment needed to be carried out. A good aid to help you can be found at:
A simple inexpensive meter was bought to measure how much electricity various appliances are using. Most DIY stores sell these: http://www.navitron.org.uk/product_detail.php?proID=339&catID=67
Take regular readings of your mains electricity and gas meters for an entire week, before work starts in the morning and at the end of the working day, including weekends. The night time and weekend readings will give you a good indication of how much energy is being wasted by computers, servers, heaters, chargers etc. being left on.
Create a spreadsheet so you can easily plot and monitor how much energy you are using and what effect your changes are making.
If you wish please use our template at:
Energy reduction action
Below are listed the measures taken to reduce our use of energy.
Cars – improve efficiency
In 2010 the salesmen’s 3 people carriers were exchanged for Mini Clubmans which averaged around 60mpg.
In 2013 the Mini’s were exchanged for Honda Civics which actually average closer to 70mpg. These have halved our vehicle running costs saving £19,000 per year. As these vehicles are < 95 gr/km CO2 the cost can be written down in a single year. There is also reduced benefit in kind for the employees.
In 2012 one of the Directors cars was swapped for an electric vehicle. This is generally charged by the solar PV arrays which have been installed on the factory (see below) and the PV installed on the Director’s house. There is no benefit in kind payable on an electric car, the purchase can be written down in the first year and fuel is free.
As Burley carried out many individual deliveries to shops and houses nationwide, the use of our own vehicles was very uneconomical. One of our 7.5-tonne trucks would average only 15 deliveries per day over a very large area, compared to a national carrier who can complete 90 – 100 deliveries per day over a small area. Therefore in early 2012 Burley disposed of their two trucks and one van and started to use an outside carrier. Not only has this reduced the fuel used to deliver our products by an estimated 90%, it also means our customers can enjoy next day delivery compared to the previous 10-day delivery service. It has also cut our overheads by £40,000 per year together with all the aggravation of broken down vehicles, drivers running out of hours and loading trucks during the night.
Navitron has kept their vans as these are needed by installation teams.
Total Diesel used:
- 2008 50,957 litres 560,527 kWh 135,036 kg CO2
- 2010 40,982 litres 450,802 kWh 100,501 kg CO2
- 2013 12,032 litres 128,742 kWh 31,557 kg CO2
Saving in fuel each year: £49,000
Reduction on 2008 level: 76%
All the company’s fork trucks are now battery powered rather than bottled gas and are usually charged by our solar panels during times of low production.
To keep the heat in the production area where it will benefit the employees it was decided to remove the overhead heating and to build an 8,000 sqft mezzanine to enclose the space. It was called a ‘heat retaining canopy’ and not a ‘mezzanine’ as a mezzanine floor attracts extra rates.
Burley manufacture gas fires which we constantly have on test. One of our product groups are flueless gas fires, these are 100% efficient and having 12 of these on test, using just 30 kWh of gas (compared to 450 kWh previously), is enough to heat the entire production area.
The cost of building the canopy was £24,000 and for this, an interest-free loan was arranged with The Carbon Trust, payable over three years. The canopy alone saved an estimated £9,000 per year in heating, so effectively it cost the company nothing. www.carbontrust.com
For the rest of the factory, all the gas burners have been removed and in locations where there are usually people working, we have installed infrared heaters with movement sensors fitted.
One of the first things we did was to remove the entire system which provided hot water for washing and replace it with point of use electric heaters. As a consequence, the boiler is now only used for heating and can be turned off entirely for half the year. www.ariston.com/uk/Electric_Water_Heaters
The radiators in the two offices/showrooms which are rarely used have been isolated. One office has been totally disconnected as we have gas fires running when it is in use. The other office is just turned on during the rare occasions it is required.
A new system of thermostatic heating controls was installed to monitor indoor and outdoor temperatures more closely and adjust heat output accordingly.
These three measures mean that only one of the 97 kWh boilers is ever used rather than two. The boiler is very old and in 2015 a replacement high efficiency 80 kWh condensing boiler will be installed.
One of the by-products of our manufacturing operation is a large quantity of broken wooden pallets. We have installed one of Burley’s wood burning stoves in our office although at the moment it is rarely used.
Underutilised rooms in the factory have been refurbished to provide a new canteen and washrooms. The old canteen building is now completely unused and will be demolished to release land for building.
Total gas used:
- 2008 727,784kWh 147,740kg of CO2
- 2012 202,481kWh 37,265kg of CO2
- 2015 (forecast) 160,000kWh 29,400kg CO2
Saving in fuel each year: £15,000
Reduction between 2008 and 2012: 75%
Manufacturing – Electricity
Between 2008 and 2014 Burley’s product and manufacturing base has changed dramatically. From a starting point of the light assembly of electric and gas fires, the Company has become a major manufacturer of wood burning stoves. These are made in-house using a large (and ever increasing) number of power-hungry machines, such as welders, shot-blasters, press brakes, paint ovens and laser cutters. Our use of electricity has greatly increased but we have implemented changes to try and reduce our usage.
One of the large users of electricity is our compressor. Originally an 18.5kW compressor was used to power the many hand drills and screwdrivers that we use. Using compressed air to power motors is notoriously inefficient, 90% of the energy put into the compressor is lost during the process, therefore when they needed changing we replaced all our air drivers with electric options. http://www.carbontrust.com/resources/guides/energy-efficiency/compressed-air
In 2013 we replaced our compressor with a new ‘smart’ compressor which monitors demand and increases or decreases pressure accordingly. http://www.atlascopco.com/us/news/productnews/161009_atlas_copco_s_smallest_oil-injected_screw_compressor_range_delivers_more_—_20091012_13_51.aspx
We took the opportunity to re-site the compressor near to where the heaviest using machines are located, this allowed us to close off a lot of pipework and check for and reduce leaks.
A lot of energy has been saved by only using equipment when we need to. Previously, an hour before production started, the compressor and the oven would be turned on. Both are now turned on when production actually starts saving 10% immediately.
Where possible, rather than putting four hours of work through a machine every day, machines are run for the whole day on alternate days.
Small but significant savings can be made by timing when power is used, for example, the immersion heater for the hot water tank in the toilet block comes on between 10:45 and 11:00, 13:00 and 13:30, and 16:20 and 17:00. These are times when the factory is on break so we have a surplus of solar energy. The same can be done for the electric heating in the canteen, battery charges for the hand tools and the charging of the fork trucks.
From Burley importing 50% of products in 2008, we now manufacture over 90%. Although not included in these figures, we have of course reduced the consumption of energy elsewhere by doing this.
Despite having installed a lot of new equipment which needs a lot of compressed air, because of the measures we took, we replaced an 18.5kW compressor which ran constantly, with a 15kW model which only runs at an average of 50% capacity. This has reduced the electricity used by 25,000kWh per year (60%) or £3,000. Payback period < 3 years.
In 2014 we installed two additional robot welding cells making a total of five. We noticed that two of the original welders had ‘pull’ rather than ‘push’ extractors, these needed a 5kWh fan each whilst the push extractor only needed a 0.12kWh fan. We, therefore, ordered new fans and ducting for all the welders, reducing the total usage from 10.12kW per hour for three welders, to 0.6kW per hour for five welders. The two replacement fans and ducts cost £2,000, so have a payback of less than one year. The neighbours are also happier as the fans are far quieter.
The offices and factory/warehouse have 500 overhead fluorescent lights, these were pretty much left on all day every day using 24,000kWh of electricity each year.
Whilst fitting the solar panels, we replaced many of the skylights thereby providing sufficient natural light in the warehouse for six months each year.
Light switches in the factory have been identified with coloured markings so staff know which banks to turn on depending on which area of the factory is being used.
All strip lights in the production area have had pull cords installed so only the benches occupied have direct light, although in practise staff rarely turn them off.
The areas in the warehouse where lighting is not required, such as directly above the high racking, have had their fluorescent tubes removed entirely.
Other areas of the warehouse only have their tubes replaced when they fail if they actually cause a lighting problem.
In the offices, there are many banks of four tubes in the suspended ceilings. If these are not directly above a desk two of the tubes are removed.
All staff have been instructed to turn lights off when they are not needed and signs have been put up.
The overall result is that across the year a saving of 70% has been achieved, or a 16,000kWh saved each year.
Total electricity use
Despite all the hard work and the savings made, because of the heavy industrial machines installed and making more products on-site, over the past four years, our consumption of electricity has actually increased:
Note: I do not feel this is a negative position to be in. If we were not making more products in the UK they would be made elsewhere. The only sector in Britain where energy use has decreased over the past 20 years is in manufacturing, we have simply exported our problems and our obligation for carbon reduction.
Producing our own energy
Producing our own energy was always going to be a large part of achieving our goals. Our overall use of energy has reduced dramatically since 2008, but due to the increase and change in business, we need to generate more electricity than was originally anticipated.
Photovoltaic panels (PV) to make electricity from daylight.
The size of an array of solar panels is measured rated as kWp. This stands for kilowatts peak or the maximum amount of electricity they can possibly produce at any time in perfect conditions. In reality, it is rare that you get more than 80% of that output even on a sunny day. On average an array of panels rated at 6kWp will produce around 5,000kWh of electricity in an entire year.
In 2011 we installed 68kWp of PV panels on our factories in Oakham.
They generate approximately 58,000kWh per year which earns £20,000 per year in Feed In Tariff payments, tax-free (free of income tax and all National Insurance) and index-linked for 25 years. In addition to these payments, the company uses 40,000kWh (£4,400) of the free electricity generated.
In mid-2012 a further 50kW of PV was installed on the factory roof. This provides 40,000kWh of electricity, of which our factory uses 30,000kWh (an additional £3,400 of free electricity) and FIT payments of £5,200 tax-free and index-linked for 20years
In 2013 Navitron and Burley paid to install 160kWp of PV on other structures, such as houses, schools, factories and farm buildings. These cost £180,000 and generate an income of 12% interest (compared to 0.5% we receive if we leave the money in the bank). This is index-linked and tax-free for 20 years. They will generate 140,000kWh of electricity every year.
2014, Burley and Navitron have funded additional 200kWp of installations generating 170,000 kWh of electricity every year and £18,000 in FIT payments.
2015, a final 150kWp is being installed on our own factory, providing 130,000kWh, feed in tariff payments of £13,000 each year and 90,000kWh (£10,000) of free electricity each year.
The total cost of installing all the PV is approximately £620,000. If we had left the money in the bank it would be making £3,750 per year in interest, on the roof however it makes £75,000, guaranteed, tax-free, index-linked for 20 to 25 years. The company is also receiving £20,000 per year in free electricity. If you too would like to make money out of your roof or make your pension earn some real interest please contact us:
Making our products more energy efficient
As Burley manufacture heating products we are in a very good position to try to help our customers use less energy.
We have adopted a policy of:
Making our current products more efficient
Discontinuing lower efficiency products
Inventing/introducing more efficient products
This has been very successful. Burley now manufacture:
Results – The Figures This is the accumulation of the statistics for each year, how much energy we are using, how much we are generating, and what the nett difference is. The 2015 figure is estimated on the measures we have planned and are in progress.