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Efficient boiler powers firm's bid to cut costs; Businesses who want to buck the current economic downturn should invest in greener technologies according to the Carbon Trust, which provides interest-free loans to businesses who want to be greener. Go Green BIRMINGHAM Mail THINK GLOBAL ACT LOCAL.

Byline: PATRICE JOHN reports

WHEN Wednesbury-based business Queen Anne Tableware decided to modernise, it went for the greener option.

The company, which specialises in silver-plated tableware, had increasing energy bills and its carbon dioxide emissions were going up because the boiler was inefficient.

So when the time came to replace it, bosses decided that an energy efficient one would not only be good for them, but for the environment as well.

The firm just had to decide how it would meet the pounds 35,000 bill, but since receiving help from the Carbon Trust, it has never looked back.

Company secretary Nigel Lockley said: "We looked at the boiler in the factory, we knew it was far too big and we were made aware of an alternative boiler that was more efficient.

"We found out it was pounds 35,000 and decided to approach the Carbon Trust about the prospect of getting a loan.

"Now that we have replaced the boiler we have noticed our processes in the factory are much better."

Its loan application in 2005 went so well that the firm decided to apply for an additional pounds 12,000 last year to replace a compressor in the factory.

The entire compressor project cost pounds 18,000, but bosses at the firm felt that installing the compressor, which required less electricity to power it, was also an investment worth making.

Mr Lockley, who began working for the business in 1984 when it was known as WG Allen (Birmingham) Ltd, says the issue for all businesses which want to make themselves greener is cost.

He says the company decided to take out the loan for the boiler because the energy saving equated to pounds 7,000 a year which meant the boiler would pay for itself within five years.

He says the current recession will make these kinds of cost concerns even more pressing for businesses.

"Nowadays you have to really think about the kinds of costs associated with a project," he says.

"In the recession, when companies are struggling with cash flow, it will be difficult to make these kinds of choices.

"An interest-free loan helps but the energy savings have to help the cost base. Small companies have to know that doing a project will save them money, and that is the only way it will make something worthwhile.

"In a recession you need to think about the costs, and that is crucial.

"You have got to be realistic about this and costs are what will drive the decisions that are made at the moment.

"If the economy picks up and people get funds again, then all of this might change, but for now it's the costs that make the difference."

Mr Lockley says the company is looking at other energy-saving measures that they could implement at the firm.

One of those would be to change the lighting in the factory from tubes to energy-efficient models. He says the firm is now looking at the cost of this project.

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Nigel Lockley with the energy-efficient new boiler.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Feb 10, 2009
Words:511
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