Jam Inns had already carried out some carbon saving improvements since opening in 2008. They upgraded to EURO 6 diesel delivery vehicles, as well as achieving a 20% reduction in plastic packaging.
During the Carbon Survey , the main difficulty highlighted was that the warehouse regularly overheated, leading to the constant use of an extract fan to cool it down and draw in fresh air. On occasion, this had also resulted in James running the ice machines overnight when it was cooler, including sleeping in the warehouse while the roller shutter was up to let the heat out!
The overheating was originally believed to be caused by inefficient ice machines which emitted heat into the warehouse. But with the sun hitting the south-facing metal roller shutter most of the day and with no insulation installed, this was acting like a giant radiator, lifting the internal temperature to over 30 degrees on sunny days. The warm internal temperatures were likely to be challenging the walk-in freezers too, reducing their efficiency and increasing energy use.
Jam Inns were awarded a Green Business Grant of nearly £15,000 from the Combined Authority to install an insulated roller shutter, replace fluorescent lighting with LEDs and install a 23kWp Solar PV array on the roof.
The estimated impact of carrying out this work was:
A new, more efficient ice machine was also installed at the same time, with heat expelled outside rather than into the warehouse.
As well as the financial and carbon savings, the impact on the business has been life changing. The warehouse no longer overheats and remains comfortable all year round due to the insulated shutter and replacement ice machine. Now instead of working overnight, James makes use of free solar energy, has shifted production to the daytime and spends his evenings at home!
With the rising cost of living, for James, these changes couldn’t have come soon enough. “At the time the cost savings weren’t the ultimate goal of the project… it was future proofing our business to be more sustainable. However, there is no question the timing was perfect in terms of completing the project when the price rise hit… now it makes more sense than ever to implement these changes.”
Looking to the future, Jam Inns plan to continue their journey and save more carbon. “Our next goal is a battery when we can get something for our needs at a fair price.” The battery would charge with solar electricity during the day and power the storage freezers overnight.
James is also positive that some of the outstanding challenges of the industry will be addressed soon, including electric refrigerated vans for local deliveries and innovations to reduce plastic packaging. In the meantime, efforts have been made to organise delivery schedules and provide information to customers on where packaging can be recycled.
However, James acknowledges the economic difficulty businesses experience when starting carbon saving projects. “The difficulty is for small businesses now paying three times the energy cost they were paying before… Without the financial support [the Combined Authority] provided, this wouldn’t have been possible for my business.”
CO2e savings calculated using BEIS Conversion Factors 2017. Energy costs calculated from BEIS Energy and Emissions Projections 2018, using 2020 retail prices. West of England Green Business Grants 2019-2023 is funded by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund and the West of England Combined Authority’s Recovery Fund.