A local brewery is taking huge steps towards being an environmentally responsible business with plans to install more energy efficient machinery and switch from plastic shrink-wrapped packaging to cardboard. In order to fund these upgrades, the brewery was applying for a huge £150k capital grant and required quantitative data to include in their application and highlight potential positive environmental impacts.
This is where Keele University’s 12-hours of fully-funded sustainability consultancy came into play. The programme, delivered by expert consultants at Stopford Energy & Environment, is part of the £15m Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND) which aims to transform the university campus into a living laboratory, researching, developing and testing the latest energy efficient technologies. Alongside this, more than 200 Staffordshire businesses from a range of industries can access 12 hours of sustainability support, 3-month MSc projects and 3-year PhD research projects.
In the brewery case, a Stopford consultant was able to conduct research into the material properties and intrinsic carbon values of plastic vs cardboard and deliver an environmental comparison between the two. The carbon savings gained by increased machine efficiency were also calculated, with easy-to-understand equivalents provided such as km driven in a car or UK homes powered. The information was provided in a detailed report for the client, along with a summarised version to input into the grant application.
Some key figures included: a 35% decrease in energy demand from the upgraded machinery; a saving of 6.7 tonnes of CO2e per annum, equivalent to powering 5 homes, driving 43,000 km in a car or planting 173 trees; and a reduction of an estimated 6 tonnes of plastic entering the natural environment per annum. Not only will the brewery upgrades lead to a more environmentally sustainable operation but they will also substantially reduce energy costs and enhance the company’s ability to market themselves as environmentally responsible.
If you are a Stoke-on-Trent or Staffordshire SME and are interested in finding out more about the opportunities available through the SEND programme, please contact Stopford Energy & Environment on 0151 357 7740, email [email protected] or visit www.keele.ac.uk/send.