‘Providing dry-cleaning and other laundry services is a resource-intensive business, so I was delighted to see how many options were available to reduce our overheads’ Lorraine Groves, Office Manager, DLS
DLS is based on the Mayfield Industrial Estate in Midlothian. The business sells and leases commercial-grade laundry equipment, and offers its own laundry services to hotels, catering companies and aircraft operators.
A large portion of DLS’s income goes towards paying for water and heat. And when the costs of heating and lighting the building are considered, profit margins for each load of laundry can be very thin.
That’s why Lorraine Groves approached us for free support in identifying how her business could hold on to its profits, while still offering its clients competitive rates.
One of our advisers visited the site to perform an audit of the business’s resource use. One of the first things that the adviser noticed was the 20-year-old boiler in one of the business units was only operating at 60% of its original efficiency.
The radiators were of a similar age and had no thermostatic valves to control temperatures. That meant that the building was almost certainly using more heat than necessary. We later calculated that replacing the boiler and radiators with more efficient systems could generate annual energy savings of 37,800kWh and cost savings of £1,400.
The adviser also reviewed the lighting throughout the business and calculated that replacing existing lighting with higher efficiency light emitting diodes (LEDs) could reduce energy use by 12,630 kWh and save £1,550 per year.
It was also noticed that one of the buildings had a particularly high ceiling. Therefore, most of the hot air was rising to the ceiling, leaving the floor level much cooler. It is not uncommon in rooms with high ceilings for the temperature between floor and ceiling to differ by up to 10oC.
Installing destratification fans can reduce the demands on a heating system by around 20% due to the improved heat distribution. In this case, such fans could save the business around £750 per year.
We also recommended ways for the business to maximise the value of its existing equipment. This included implementing a system to regularly measure and monitor resource consumption to identify avoidable energy use and water leaks.
It has been shown that businesses actively monitoring energy use can reduce consumption by an average of 10%. For DLS, this could result in annual cost savings of around £3,750.
Finally, the adviser reviewed the potential to install a ground source heat pump (GSHP). A GSHP is a renewable energy technology that extracts heat energy from the ground, where a relatively constant temperature is maintained throughout the year. It then concentrates this energy to increase water temperatures to between 40°C and 50°C.
A GSHP could be used to pre-heat the water for the washing machines, resulting in potential annual energy savings of 48,025 kWh per year. Even without installing a GSHP, implementing these other efficiency actions alone could save the business almost £7,500 a per year. Seeing the extent of savings possible, Dry-cleaning and Laundry Services Ltd were keen to start implementing the advice.
The business applied for an unsecured, interest-free SME Loan from the Scottish Government to kick-start its efficiency projects. Loans of £1,000 to £100,000 are available to fund resource efficiency projects for SMEs throughout Scotland.
We helped DLS to apply for and receive a loan to kick-start its resource efficiency projects. The business has since installed a new high performance boiler and is benefiting from reduced energy costs.
Business Energy Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government to provide free, impartial support and access to funding to help small and medium-sized enterprises save energy, carbon and money
Whether you are just starting out on your energy-saving journey and need some pointers or are looking for expertise and funding to support your current plans, our team of experienced business advisors and energy-saving consultants are here to help. Get in touch today.
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