Gretone Engineering, Lytham St Annes - SME (Engineering)

Gretone Engineering, a precision engineering firm based in Lytham St Annes, has grown its sales by £1.5 million and reduced its annual operational costs by more than £19,000, by improving its resource efficiency.

The company specialises in manufacturing components for the aerospace industry. It has 60 employees and a turnover of £4 million.

Their financial achievements have been made on the back of free resource efficiency support from an ENWORKS funded adviser fromGroundwork Pennine Lancashire, focusing on reducing energy and waste costs and minimising carbon emissions.
 
Efficiency projects
 
Following a free, on-site review of how these resources are used on site, Groundwork Pennine Lancashire identified more than 25 different improvement projects.
 
A dust extractor that used to be running 24 hours a day was replaced with a more energy-efficient, portable unit, which is only switched on when required. This has saved £8,400 in annual electricity costs and more than 53 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).
 
A free survey was also carried out to find leaks in the factory’s compressed air system. More than 70 leaks were identified and a comprehensive repair programme was implemented.
 
Most of the repairs involved simple manual adjustments such as tightening valves, and the project saved £5,100 a year on electricity and another 43 tonnes of CO2e.
 
The adviser also helped the company to obtain an interest-free loan from the Carbon Trust, to help with replacing an inefficient old compressor with a new, variable speed drive model. Although this is a longer-term investment, it will save at least £1,100 a year on electricity, once the loan is repaid.
 
Meanwhile, dirty and broken factory skylights have been replaced, to improve insulation in the building and let in more natural light.
 
With a payback period of less than a year and a half, this will bring annual savings of £1,100 on heating and lighting bills, and save seven tonnes of CO2e a year.
 
Other energy-saving initiatives have included pipe lagging to further improve insulation, upgrading an old boiler used for heating the office areas, and fitting thermostatic radiator valves.
 
Tackling waste
 
Gretone Engineering is also tackling its waste collection and disposal costs. For example, by recycling waste wood rather than sending it to landfill, it has saved over £1,000 a year and 12 tonnes of CO2e.
 
A similar cardboard recycling scheme has saved £730 and five tonnes of CO2e per year.
 
Savings to come
 

Work is now ongoing to implement the full range of ENWORKS recommendations. Installing a high-speed roller shutter door to help reduce heat loss could save £2,500 a year, with a two-year payback.
 
Replacing the factory’s heating system with energy-efficient, radiant heaters that only operate in zones where they are needed, could cost £70,000 initially but would save another £11,100 a year, with annual CO2e savings of 48 tonnes from day one.
 
‘Evidence’
 
Altogether, Gretone Engineering has saved 130 tonnes of CO2e per year, and there is scope to save another 154 tonnes.
 
The firm’s quality manager, Mike Fennah said: “Our ability to demonstrate improved environmental performance has helped us to secure an ongoing contract with a key client, worth £1.5 million.
 
“Customers increasingly require us to address our environmental impacts and to show them evidence of our environmental credentials.”
 

Case study published on 17 October 2012