Enough energy to power a village

After an in-depth four-day audit, Veka Group was awarded the International Standard ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems. This achievement comes as a result of the company’s astounding energy savings – 2018 alone saw enough energy saved to power 750 average-sized houses for a full year. MD Dave Jones explains

A representative from BSI spent four days on site with Veka Group staff, auditing the business against the international energy management standard; a time which was challenging and informative for all involved.

The outcome was that Veka has been confirmed as meeting the requirements of the standard.

This is something we can all be proud of, but the certification is by no means the end point; rather, an important milestone in our continuous endeavour to reduce energy across the business, and these savings have been achieved in a number of ways.

One of Veka Group’s biggest energy-related investments in recent years was a new substation commissioned in December 2016 that enabled the introduction of 81 sub-meters across the business. These give us instant measurable feedback on our usage and any improvement actions taken.

We also made the proactive decision to replace an existing transformer with a newer, more energy-efficient version. While the original unit was still providing a sterling service and meeting all safety requirements – its more modern counterpart has achieved a saving of 30,000kWh/year.

To ensure Veka Group lines are always operating at the ideal level, our operations managers have set energy consumption parameters for the extrusion lines, which are checked every day. If performance falls outside these limits, the line is worked on to bring it back to its benchmark or stopped and serviced so it can run optimally again. As improvements are made, new benchmarks are set.

Significant parts of the extrusion equipment have also been upgraded, saving 255,000kWh per year, with more work planned for the months ahead.

A switch over to LED lighting across parts of the site has currently saved 350,000 kWh per year (or enough energy to power 75 average-sized homes a year). We plan to continue changing all lighting to LED as and when we are able.

Refurbishment of one of the office blocks allowed the latest energy-efficient air conditioning units to be introduced, saving 30% against the originals.

Compressed air plays an important part in our manufacturing process and our compressors have been optimised via a new computer programme, reducing their running by 1,500 hours per year without affecting production. In addition, the compressors have heat recovery units fitted that provide background heating to the refurbished office block.

Our energy-saving efforts also extend to our vehicles. A replacement programme took place which means the whole HGV fleet is now ‘Euro 6’ and, along with effective load and route planning to maximise fleet use, this has reduced fuel consumption by an amazing 20% over the past 12 months.

Continuing to reduce our corporate energy consumption has both environmental and business benefits. Veka and Halo customers can rest assured they’re working with a company that is focused on sustainability and environmental responsibility, and if we can continue to reduce our usage while energy costs continue to rise, we will be doing our utmost to avoid resultant price increases being passed to our customers.

To that end, we’ll be training a number of ‘energy champions’ within the Veka Group team who will have responsibility for cascading information to colleagues, from a monthly newsletter, about how we can continue to further reduce energy usage across the business.

Veka Group is incredibly proud to have made these savings and to have attained ISO 50001, but we certainly won’t stop here. I’m looking forward to seeing what more we can achieve in the coming years.