DE-Carbonise your business
What is the DE-Carbonise project?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: The DE-Carbonise team is continuing to work with businesses in line with COVID-19 restrictions. We are accepting new enquiries for free carbon reduction support and can give technical advice and process grant applications. Please submit an expression of interest to discuss how we can work with your business.
The DE-Carbonise project aims to help small and medium sized-businesses (SMEs) based in Derby and Derbyshire to:
- Reduce carbon emissions
- Save costs
- Become more sustainable.
The project also provides advice, support and funding to enable businesses to:
- Develop and implement lower carbon business processes
- Use renewable energy generating technologies
- Develop lower carbon products
DE-Carbonise is a partnership between the University of Derby, Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. Support from the project is available until October 2022.
Watch the video below to find out more about the project and how it has already helped many Derby businesses to reduce their carbon emissions.
What does the project offer?
The DE-Carbonise project is open to small and medium enterprises from across Derby and Derbyshire. We have helped over 500 businesses by providing:
Free on-site carbon reduction surveys
A member of the DE-Carbonise team can conduct a business review to identify opportunities to reduce carbon emissions at your premises. This could include more efficient lighting, insulation, heating/cooling systems, compressors, motors, process equipment, renewable energy, resource efficiency, waste reduction, low carbon transport, staff behaviour change and operational improvements.
Grants for carbon reduction measures (for Derby only)
Grants for between £1,000 and £20,000 are available to support carbon reduction measures in Derby. The grant covers up to 40% of the total cost of works (excluding VAT), depending on the carbon saving.
Technical and research support for product and process carbon reduction
Businesses can receive further technical support, consultancy and process improvements based on recommendations from the carbon reduction report.
There is also an opportunity for cohort-based learning and development for smart manufacturing and sustainable supply chain innovation.
How to enrol your business on the project
To register for the DE-Carbonise project please submit an expression of interest.
Please note some business areas such as education and welfare may not be eligible. Please view the eligibility criteria for more information.
What happens after an expression of interest is submitted?
- A member of the DE-Carbonise Team will check the infomation provided and inform you if you are eligible for the project.
- If you are eligible you will be assigned a DE-Carbonise team member to support and guide you through the process
- A member of the team will conduct a free carbon reduction survey to identify opportunities to reduce carbon emissions at your premises.
- You will receive a Carbon Reduction Opportunity Report detailing recommendations for carbon savings.
- The DE-Carbonise team will discuss the range of technical, research and business support available to you and advise you if you can apply for a grant.
Grants for carbon reduction measures
Grants for between £1,000 and £20,000 are available to support carbon reduction measures in Derby. The grant covers up to 40% of the total cost of works (excluding VAT), depending on the carbon saving. The minimum project size is £2,500 not including VAT (subject to the energy savings).
Some business areas such as education and welfare may not be eligible. Please view the eligibility criteria for more information before submitting an expression of interest.
Please note you are required to pay for all improvement works in advance of receiving a grant. Grants will only be paid after the improvement works are complete and inspected by the DE-Carbonise Team.
How to apply
Eligibility for a grant is determined by submitting an expression of interest.
If you are eligible for a grant you will need to:
- Decide what carbon reduction improvements you want to apply for
- Obtain quotes for the improvements
- Complete a grant application form
Submitting a quote
The number of quotes you need to submit depends on the level of funding you are applying for:
- Work costing less than £25,000 - one quote is required
- Work costing more than £25,000 - three quotes are required
Completing a grant application form
A DE-Carbonise team member will complete a grant application form on your behalf using the supplied quotes.
The application form will then be sent to you to check. You will need to fill in a few details, sign the application and return it to the DE-Carbonise Team.
The application will be sent to the DE-Carbonise Grants Board for a decision.
The DE-Carbonise Team will then inform you of the outcome.
Carrying out carbon reduction improvements
If your grant is approved, you will receive a Funding Agreement which commits the Council to pay the grant for work completed as agreed. You will need to sign the agreement and return it to the DE-Carbonise Team.
When you receive confirmation of the Funding Agreement being received by the DE-Carbonise Team, you can carry out the improvement works. Please note that prior to the grant being paid, the business is required to pay for all improvement works in advance.
Once the work has been completed and paid for the DE-Carbonise Team will carry out a check at your premises.
An invoice can then be submitted to the Council for the grant amount. Payment will be made as quickly as possible.
DE-Carbonise grants are from the European Regional Development Fund, which is primarily aimed at small and medium sized industrial and commercial companies. All grants are externally audited, and it is the auditor’s decision as to whether a business is eligible. For this reason we have to be cautious, because any grants that the auditor judges to be ineligible will need to be repaid to the funder.
The following questions will help you work out whether your business is eligible:
- Is the business a Small or Medium Sized Enterprise (SME)? This is defined as a company with less than 250 employees and either a turnover of less than €50m or a balance sheet total of less than €43m. The business must be no more than 25% owned by a company that isn't an SME.
- No – sorry, your business is not eligible
- Yes – continue below
- Is your business in the "social care" sector? (provision of local social welfare facilities e.g. hospitals, nursing homes, fire stations, child-minding facilities, public sports facilities, parks, public libraries)
- Yes – sorry, your business is not eligible (see note at end)
- No – continue below
- Does your business operate from business premises, paying business rates and a business electricity/gas tariff?
- No – sorry your business is not eligible
- Yes – continue below
- Does at least 50% of the business income come from trading (not including membership fees, grants)?
- No – sorry your business is not eligible
- Yes – continue below
Also, please note that for grants, the business is required to pay for all improvement works in advance and grants are paid on successful completion of the project. The minimum project size is £2,500 not including VAT (subject to the energy savings). Grants are up to 40% of the cost of the works.
If you are in doubt please contact us so we can make an assessment. Please be aware that it may take us a few weeks to process this information as we have to prioritise companies and projects that are clearly eligible.
Free audit and technical support
The following business areas are not eligible for DE-Carbonise grants but may still be eligible for a free audit and technical support:
- Education and training
- Some sports facilities
- Organisations directly involved in the primary production, processing and marketing of agricultural products (including fishery and aquaculture)
- Coal, steel, and shipbuilding industries
- Synthetic fibre industries
- Banking and insurance
Electric vehicle case studies
Clean low carbon mobility at SCITEK Consultants premises
SCITEK Consultants Ltd, an engineering research and development company based in Derby, were relocating from multiple sites in the city to a purpose-built new building on Victory Road when they contacted the DE-Carbonise team for support.
The company received a carbon reduction audit of their premises and business activities, and were provided with a report summarizing the main carbon-saving opportunities. From this, SCITEK chose to apply for a DE-Carbonise grant towards the cost of a new electric forklift truck, to replace their old, loud, fume-producing diesel one. They were awarded a grant of £2,940, 40% of the total cost of the forklift truck, which will save 2.4 tonnes of carbon emissions and £307 per year.
Zoe Christodoulou, Marketing & Business Development Officer, SCITEK Consultants Ltd said:
Our previous forklift would not have been operable within our new warehouse due to the diesel fumes. The new electric forklift will greatly increase the speed with which we carry out our projects, thus it will reduce delays and cost needed to hire equipment.
The electric forklift has been fantastic so far, we are really happy with it and it has been a lifesaver in terms of helping us organise ourselves in the new building. We are very grateful for the grant for helping us achieve this during what could have been quite a difficult time due to the pandemic coinciding with the move. Going forward, we also foresee this as helping improve the efficiency of projects and thus hopefully allow us to take on more projects and increase revenue each year.
The company now intends to invest in a solar photovoltaic system to generate their own renewable energy within the next few years.
SBK Computers Ltd had already started made energy efficiency improvements when they got in touch with the D2EE project team in 2019. This included changing their older lighting to LED, reducing the size of their water heaters and installing a more efficient hot water tap. The D2EE team undertook an energy saving review and recommended that the business would benefit from installing solar panels and reducing draughts.
The IT support company based in Homewood, Chesterfield contacted the DE-Carbonise team in 2020 to review options for low carbon transport and the potential for EV chargers at the site.
Following a further review and grant application, SBK Computers was awarded a DE-Carbonise grant towards the cost of electric vehicle chargers, so that the business could use electric vehicles rather than diesel and petrol vehicles. They were awarded a grant of £3,859, 40% of the total cost of the two twin 22kW fast chargers. The use of electric vehicles corresponds to estimated savings of 5 tonnes of carbon emissions and around £986 per year in fuel costs.
Chloe Turner and the rest of the team were really pleased with the outcome:
It will reduce our fuel costs and emissions moving forward.
They are also considering installing solar panels on the roof of the premises, which would mean that the business vehicles charged at the site would be powered using their own solar energy, reducing their carbon emissions even more.
Heating and compressor case studies
Improved heating and insulation make Snug Recording Co premises snug
Snug Recording Co is a recording studio providing services including music production, recording and mixing, based on Agard Street in Derby.
The DE-Carbonise project provided a carbon reduction audit and grant to improve heating and insulation at their premises. Robin Newman, Company Director, commented on the cost savings their improvements made, as well as simplicity of the DE-Carbonise grant process:
We have compared our energy usage and costs from the 3 years before Gemma created our Carbon Reduction Report and helped us to secure a grant contribution to the implementation costs. We found that our bills had reduced by 36% and the heat pump and secondary glazing had improved the comfort of clients and staff working in our facility.
These kinds of savings are huge for micro businesses like us and the process was surprisingly easy. I'd recommend that any business in the city with concerns about energy efficiency should get in touch and find out more.
Snug continues to gradually upgrade lighting to LED as existing fittings fail. They are also considering adding insulation to the ceiling of their main recording studio to reduce the amount of heating needed to keep the space warm, and to better regulate the temperature for the musical instruments in the room.
DSF Refactories and Minerals Ltd makes over 100 tonnes of carbon savings from compressor and heat recovery
DSF Refactories and Minerals Ltd is an independent refectory manufacturer and processor of refractory minerals based in the Derbyshire Peak District. The business has high energy demand and had already been working on reducing energy use when they contacted the DE-Carbonise team.
Fluorescent and discharge lighting was gradually being replaced with more efficient LED and the business had installed a more efficient burner system on the kilns as well as reusing kiln waste heat to warm dryers.
The business contacted the DE-Carbonise project to see if they could get some support to replace their old compressor. A visit from the team established that they had a 90kW fixed speed compressor from the 1960s which also used an ancient air handling system with significant energy demand. A compressed air study was commissioned to recommend a new variable speed compressor and a 75kW variable speed Boge air compressor was selected to replace the old system.
As part of the DE-Carbonise grant application, a Duotherm 150 heat exchanger was installed to the new compressor to recover heat to reduce the need for inefficient electric heating in the factory office.
DSF Refactories and Minerals Ltd received a DE-Carbonise grant of £20,000 towards the total project cost of £51,867.
The compressor and heat recovery system have resulted in estimated carbon savings of over 112 tonnes per year. The company is now looking at further improvements in kiln efficiency and wind and solar renewable energy at the site.
View the Glossop Gasworks case study to see how upgrading the heating and installing smart controls has reduced their emissions.
LED lighting and waste case studies
Controllable lighting reduces bills and improves quality
Zeal Electronics wanted to reduce their lighting bill and saw an opportunity to improve the quality of light levels at the same time. They invested in LED fittings with daylight and occupancy sensors because the workshop area has very good levels of natural light. With variable British weather the brightness can vary significantly and daylight sensors allow the lights to adapt, giving consistent light levels for staff.
Daniel Hagin, Managing Director claims that:
The lighting is now brighter and better for people’s eyes – there is less straining, and the colour is more uplifting. It felt pointless before, having the lights on full when it was sunny outside, but now we don’t have that problem.
The company received a grant of £5,960 towards the work and should save over 5 tonnes of carbon per year. They continue to look for ways to lower the environmental impact of their operations.
Reducing copper waste saves time and money for Trans-Tronic Ltd
Trans-Tronic Ltd is interested in operating as efficiently as possible and to keep costs and carbon emissions low. The company makes transformers and wound components and is based in Chesterfield.
The business received an audit as part of the D2 Energy Efficiency project which suggested replacing fluorescent lighting with LED and using sensors, reducing compressor leaks and considering solar panels. A further review as part of the DE-Carbonise project established that savings could be made by replacing the old controllers on copper winding machines to reduce waste copper.
The business received a DE-Carbonise grant of £9,724.22 to cover 40% of the cost of replacing lighting with LED and replacing old analogue copper winding controllers with digital ones.
Daniel Cooper, Trans-Tronic Production Engineer highlighted how this has helped the business:
LED lighting will reduce the carbon footprint of the factory, whilst maintaining adequate levels of lighting as required to carry out the detailed assembly and manufacturing work which Trans-Tronic performs. This will reduce energy bills and should reduce the need for maintenance to the lighting and also removing the need for storage of harmful fluorescent lamps from the premises.
The control units fitted will reduce the number of defects within the manufacture of toroidal parts, often occurring due to the aged optical timers that are fitted to the toroidal winding machinery. Reducing the amount of parts rejected, then aids increased efficiency on the shop floor, heavily reducing the amount of waste copper created within that department. This will in turn reduce electricity usage as going forward the need to re-work the products should be alleviated, saving additional machining time per batch of products.
As well as saving costs and providing improved lighting for operatives in the workshop, the LED lighting also produces less heat than fluorescent lighting so helped to reduce overheating during the summer.
Trans-Tronic is saving around 1,270kg copper per year due to the new controllers, but is also saving time as less of the transformers fail the quality tests and have to be dismantled and rewound.
Total annual savings for the lighting and controllers are estimated as around £9,540 and almost 8.5 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
The company has ambitions to further reduce carbon emissions and is working with the University of Derby Business School to review other opportunities including decarbonising their supply chain.
Renewable energy case study
Large solar PV array helps Xbite Ltd move towards net zero emissions
Xbite Ltd is a fast-growing wholesale and retail company based in Barlborough, Chesterfield. The business got in contact with the DE-Carbonise project team as they were interested in reducing their carbon footprint by installing solar panels.
The DE-Carbonise team visited the premises and were impressed with some of the low carbon measures which had already been implemented such as LED lighting and sensors, waterless urinals, baling and recycling of all cardboard as well as acquisition of an electric car as a company car.
The review recommended the installation of solar panels as well as considering environmental accreditation to provide a framework for ongoing environmental and carbon reduction measures at the site.
A grant for £20,000 for a 100kWp solar panel system was approved by the project grants board. The system is now fully installed and is expected to generate around 82,500kWh energy per year, saving around 23 tonnes of CO2 per year and an annual energy bill cost saving of £11,278.
As a growing business, they are also keen to continue to further reduce their carbon emissions.
For further details see the Xbite website.
Refrigeration case study
Energy saving fridges at Croots Farm Shop cut carbon emissions
Croots Farm Shop was recently a finalist in the Environmental Heroes category of the DerbyshireLive Heroes Awards 2020 thanks to initiatives to reduce plastic waste, use of LED lighting and improvements to their plant-based food ranges. The business has continued its journey to becoming more environmentally friendly by installing energy-efficient fridges, with the support of the DE-Carbonise project.
The farm shop has replaced six "open display" fridges with four new fridges, most of which have doors. These use the latest technology and were chosen from the Energy Technology List, a government list of energy efficient equipment. The business received a £12,000 DE-Carbonise grant covering 40% of the cost of the project cost.
As the fridges use less energy to operate, they are estimated to save 6.8 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. They also reduce the heat emitted into the shop, which cuts the amount of air conditioning required during the summer months.
Kay Croot, who runs the farm shop with husband Steve, said:
These new fridges use less energy and will help us to reduce our carbon emissions. They are also quieter, creating a more pleasant environment in the shop. We’re grateful to the DE-Carbonise project for supporting us as we look at all areas of the business to see how best we can become more sustainable.
For further information see the Croots Farm Shop website.