Ask MaCaW to help your Lancashire SME reduce its carbon footprint (and energy bills) for free and the first step will be a chat with Andrew Gullick, MaCaW’s Carbon & Energy Auditor. His carbon report won’t just help you cut carbon; it can open the door to matched grant funding of up to £15,000 for carbon emission-reducing equipment. But how do you get from initial call to successful grant application? Andrew takes us through the steps.
ndrew Gullick has a long history with carbon saving. “I started in building services in the early 2000s and moved on to compliance for buildings which is all about CO2. Even before that I was a voluntary park ranger, planting trees across East Lancashire. Trying to cut CO2 is one of the main drivers for me to do the job I’m doing. I like to think our work is having an impact. My perception is every business wants to make a difference; they just need some help to do it.”
That help starts with a phone call.
The pre-audit call
“Any Lancashire SME interested in cutting carbon will call me for an introductory chat,” says Andrew. “I’ll let them know what information we’ll need to establish their carbon footprint (typically 12 months of billing data – that’s electricity, natural gas (or LPG), transport, waste and water). Then we’ll agree a date for the on-site audit, often within a couple of weeks of that first call.”
The on-site survey
When Andrew visits a local SME, he’ll take photos of the fabric of the building and the equipment used within it. “I also look at process or behavioural elements to identify potential carbon savings. I might, for example, visit an SME in winter and see that there’s a heater on in the warehouse but the door is wide open. I’ll usually round things off with a quick meeting with the client if they’re available and let them know of any quick wins that can help make an immediate difference.”
Research, analysis and problem solving
Back at his desk, Andrew will start putting the carbon report together but to do that he first needs to research the carbon footprint of the equipment he photographed and analyse the 12 months of energy usage data provided by the SME. Although much of the equipment will be familiar to Andrew, some specialised machinery may not be.
“I do research to identify how much carbon is emitted by equipment I may be unfamiliar with,” he says. “Often, I will also do a lighting analysis, making some photovoltaic (PV) calculations to see how much solar could save the business.”
Andrew will also use this stage of the process to address any technical queries raised by the SME. “Only recently I was working with a client who had a big solar PV array on the roof. Without getting too technical, there was a problem with the array that meant the power generated was dropping dramatically and they didn’t know why. Neither did I, but the beauty of being part of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is that we have a team of academics behind us. I was able to refer the issue to an academic who was able to identify some potential explanations for the problem.”
With analysis complete, Andrew completes the report. He is keen to stress the importance of its contents. “We put recommendations in place (in terms of the building, equipment, processes and behaviours) that can help businesses dramatically reduce their carbon emissions and save money. Each recommendation will calculate the cost, savings (both carbon and £) and return on investment period for the SME.
“Even for businesses that already do lots of energy monitoring it can still be a real eye opener,” Andrew explains. “A transport company, for example, will usually have monitoring software that tells them about the financial impact of what they’re doing, but it won’t tell them about the carbon impact. It’s the same with electricity, water, waste and natural gas. Most businesses probably know what they are spending – they look at the bills. But they may not know what that means in terms of carbon. And they may not know what potential there is to reduce their footprint and bills. And, of course, every pound saved is a pound added to profit.”
Not every improvement identified in the report will involve a cost, but some will. For those requiring the greatest capital outlay, a matched grant is available, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and supported by Boost, Lancashire’s business growth hub. Access to the grant is effectively unlocked by the carbon report and MaCaW helps with the grant application paperwork. Andrew remains involved to check the CO2 savings and ensure the grant will deliver value for money.
“Not every technology is eligible for a grant,” he says. “We want to see a certain amount of carbon reduction for a certain amount of investment plus, we want to encourage low and zero carbon technologies where at all possible. So we’ll ask eligible business to get three quotes. If the SME doesn’t know of three suppliers we can supply a list, although we can’t recommend anyone.
The SME can tell us their preferred supplier and I will scrutinise the quotes to ensure they offer sufficient CO2 reduction for the investment.
“Typically, grants could be used for solar PV arrays and LED lighting installations but any equipment could be eligible for the grant if it delivers sufficient carbon savings. An example of that might be where a company has been using ageing plant machinery that could be replaced by a far more efficient model.
“The grant is a match of up to £15,000. So if the equipment costs £10,000, the business and grant will each cover £5,000. If the equipment costs £50,000 the grant will cap out at £15,000.
“It’s at this point that my involvement with our SMEs will end, “ Andrew adds, “but for a year after the audit my colleagues will check in with the SME to see how the business is getting on and see if they’ve gone ahead with any of the measures we recommended.”
Andrew remains extremely proud of the difference MaCaW makes. “Most Lancashire SMEs are very busy. We realise carbon reduction may not typically be part of their day to day operations. Our work makes it easier for Lancashire businesses to put carbon reduction on their agenda especially as business emerge and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Talk to Andrew about putting carbon reduction on your agenda. Contact us now.
MaCaW is a UCLan project, an industry and academic collaboration funded by the ERDF and supported by Boost, Lancashire’s business growth hub.
Ask for your free audit now. It will help you understand the current state of your carbon footprint and give you a platform from which you can build a more energy efficient business. To get started contact us.
MaCaW (Making Carbon Work) is a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) project, an industry and academic collaboration funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and supported by Boost, Lancashire’s business growth hub.