Icon Designs Ltd, Blackburn - SME (Manufacturing)

A Pennine Lancashire furniture maker and foam products specialist has saved £44,300 to date, after receiving free resource efficiency support from Groundwork Pennine Lancashire, with ENWORKS funding.

Icon Designs Ltd is an SME, employing about 90 people on St Ives Road in Blackburn. It manufactures a range of bedroom, office and other domestic furniture, as well as a wide range of foam products and mattresses.

A local ENWORKS adviser from Groundwork has carried out a review on site to find ways of using resources more effectively. So far, 19 separate improvement projects have been identified, eight of which have already been implemented, saving 178 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).
Energy and savings

Energy is a key resource for Icon Designs, so work was initially carried out to reduce the amount of money spent on electricity and gas bills.
A survey was made to identify leaks in the site’s compressed air system and as a result, 39 leaks were repaired. This has saved £9,300 and over 50 tonnes of CO2e a year.
Pipework and air lines have also been re-routed to connect an existing variable speed drive compressor to an energy-intensive pillow crushing machine, resulting in two old air compressors being removed from the site. This has saved more than £1,000 and seven tonnes of CO2e annually.
Another £4,100 and 30 tonnes of CO2e a year have been saved by investing in a wood burner for the warehouse.
The stove uses waste wood generated by the furniture making process to generate renewable heat that is ducted to other parts of the site. This has meant the gas supply for a whole section of the building can be disconnected.
Strip curtains have also been installed to help reduce heat loss, saving £1,300 a year on gas bills and a better rate has been negotiated for the site’s main electricity supply, saving another £11,300 a year.
Fuel and water
Attention has now turned to other types of resource savings the company can make.
For example, diesel bills have been reduced by £13,600 a year, saving 25 tonnes of CO2e, by fitting tracking devices to trucks and introducing a one-way system at the site. The new layout has not only reduced engine idle times and wear and tear, but also improved local air quality and noise levels.
The company has also recently installed save-a-flush bags in all of its toilet cisterns, saving £190 a year on water rates.
On the way
The remaining recommendations from Groundwork’s on-site review could save £25,300 and over 168 tonnes of CO2e per year.
Fresh opportunities include saving another £23,800 a year on energy, by taking advantage of voltage optimisation technology, investing in more efficient space heaters, and replacing lights with more energy-efficient alternatives, such as LEDs or fluorescent lamps with dimmer controls.

Case study published on 19 September 2012