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Innovative Eyemouth food business puts a freeze on rising energy costs

Eyemouth Freezers saved over £30,000 through upgrades and installation of energy-saving equipment.

The company received support from our service and the Scottish Government's unsecured and interest-free SME Loan. 

Their changes included:

• £15,000 investment in LED lighting saving £7,500 a year

• Energy efficient boiler installed to save around £2,800 annually

• Fitting an industrial dehumidifier system, cutting carbon emissions by almost 80 tonnes

Eyemouth Freezers Ltd, an independent food-processing company based in Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders, was established in 2000 by a consortium of local farmers. It specialises in freezing and packing vegetables and other food products that are sold through the UK’s major supermarkets. 

The company is committed to reducing food waste through its ‘farm to fork’ philosophy, which embraces the benefits that can be achieved by adopting circular economy business models. 

Energy efficiency is also a key driver for management as a way of keeping costs down and maintaining the business’s competitiveness. As such, in 2018, Hubert Brady, Eyemouth Freezers’ Managing Director, contacted us for support improving the company's energy efficiency.

Our consultant visited the site and identified three energy efficiency projects, which, with the support of the Scottish Government interest-free SME Loan, the business has now been able to capitalise on.

The first project, and a common energy saving opportunity for most Scottish businesses, was to upgrade lighting. The investment of £15,000 will reduce the business’s energy costs by an estimated £7,500 each year.

The second project saw the business’s existing oil-fired boiler, which was providing heating and hot water to the offices, being upgraded to a modern, energy-efficient boiler. It was estimated that this change would save the business a further £2,800 a year for an investment of £20,000. 

The third project specifically related to the business’s cold store – and the use of dehumidifiers to improve operating conditions and save energy.

Over the course of a typical day, the doors separating the site’s cold store and packaging areas are opened several times. As the cold store’s temperature is around -20oC and the packaging area’s temperature is much higher (for workers’ comfort), this causes warmer air and moisture to be drawn into the cold store. 

This air exchange means the cooling units, which regulate the temperature in the cold store, need to work to combat the influx of heat. That effort uses energy, which adds cost to the business’s operations. There is also the additional wear and tear on the cooling units that results from this effort, adding to maintenance costs and reducing the working life of the equipment.

This is a common issue in the industry and the effects are traditionally reduced by installing an air curtain at the door to restrict warm air transfer. However, the traditional air curtain still leaves the issue of moisture being drawn into the cold store – moisture that condenses on the cold store floor (as ice, frost and snow), creating a slippery surface, which is a serious hazard to the business’s 140 staff and pallet truck operators. 

In addition, frost build-up on cooling units reduces their performance, and increases energy consumption. 

Following successful trials, Eyemouth Freezers’ solution was to install an industrial dehumidifier. This technology not only minimises heat transfer, but also creates a dry curtain that reduces moisture transfer from the air over the door space. 

At a cost of around £20,000, the industrial dehumidifier technology is estimated to save the business £20,000 a year on energy bills, meaning the investment would pay back in just 12 months.

The implemented changes would also reduce the company’s overall C02 emissions by 125 tonnes a year.

Managing Director Hubert Brady said: “The excellent advice and financial support we have had from the service has been critical in allowing us to quickly move forward with our energy efficiency improvement programme – helping us reduce our costs by over £30,000 a year, reduce our environmental impact and protect our position in what is a very competitive marketplace.”

Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support Service is funded by the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund through the £73 million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme. To find out how our free advice, support and access to funding can help your business save energy and money, call 0808 808 2268 or email: energyefficiency@zerowastescotland.org.uk

 

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