A programme to help businesses across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire to become more energy efficient which has already resulted in annual energy savings of more than £2 million has been extended for three more years.
The Business Energy Efficiency Programme (BEEP), which is supported by the Marches Growth Hub, has helped more than 300 businesses to review their energy use and control how much they spend on gas and electricity over the last two and half years.
Recommendations from these reviews have provided average energy bill savings of over 30% and more than £2 million in annual savings, adding up to £10 million over five years.
One hundred and fifty businesses have been provided with grants of between £1,000 and £20,000 to make energy efficiency improvements, ranging from upgrading to LED lighting and modernising office heating, to improving insulation and installing fast shutting warehouse doors.
Businesses have been further supported by the programme through forums and conferences to raise awareness of the importance of sustainability and the benefits of being more energy efficient.
Hitherbest Ltd, a Telford-based manufacturer of sheet metal fabrication products, received a grant of £17,000 to modify their powder coating ovens. This resulted in an annual saving of £7,350 in energy bills, together with a cut of £7,400 in raw material costs.
Hitherbest managing director Peter Grant said:
“The modifications have also reduced our impact from greenhouse gases by some 41.8 tonnes per year, but the difference hasn’t just been made financially or environmentally – we can see a noticeable improvement in product quality too.”
Following the recent successes of the BEEP programme, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has approved the programme to run until 2022.
This will provide 340 businesses across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire and Worcestershire with free energy efficiency assessments and £1,360,000 in grant funding to implement necessary energy saving measures, which are estimated to save 3,300 tonnes of greenhouse gases.
BEEP programme manager Christopher Atkinson said: “We are very happy that the Business Energy Efficiency Programme will be continuing for another three years. We will be able to provide further advice to businesses across the region and provide grants to make the necessary changes to improve energy efficiency and sustainability.
“We’re pleased that the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce will continue to provide energy efficiency advice and organise quarterly BEEP forums, encouraging more businesses across our region to reduce the environmental impacts of their operations through energy and resource efficiency improvements, as well as wider sustainability good practice.”