A specialist welding company is spending £0.5m in a bid to become self-sufficient in its energy needs within the next 10 years as part of its forward-thinking plan to combat rising energy prices, reduce its carbon footprint and become a truly green supply partner to customers.

Fabweld Steel Products (FSP) which designs and manufactures standard and bespoke access covers for the construction and built environment industries, has committed to investing more than £500,000 in phase one of its sustainability and self-reliance plan. £250,000 of this investment has already been spent on the installation of a 180,000kWp solar PV to generate power via solar panels on the roof of its production facility, which generates on average 65 per cent of the factory’s total power requirements every year, as well as energy saving measures such as changing all fluorescent lighting to LED bulbs and installing more efficient heating, air conditioning and compressed air systems.

By the end of Q1 2023, a further £260,000 will be invested in sustainability and self reliance. This includes a £140,000 extension to FSP’s Telford factory to include an additional 35kWp of solar panels. This extra green electricity will be used to run a new nitrogen generation system and compressor. Nitrogen is used in the precision laser cutting of steel, and FSP currently buys this commodity and has it delivered to site 2-3 times a week.

Over the past two years, FSP has grown its turnover by 20 per cent – yet over the same period, it now uses 50 per cent less energy. It’s these impressive green credentials that are getting FSP noticed in the industry says managing director Wayne Carter.

Wayne says: “Our customers are under pressure to ‘green’ their supply chains, reducing the carbon footprint of their projects both up and downstream.

Our commitment to sustainability and self reliance is not just ‘greenwashing’. We are taking action to reduce our energy use and our carbon emissions, and we can prove this through our ISO 40001 accreditation, and our Carbon Footprint Account Reporting (CFAR).

“CFAR is currently only compulsory for bigger corporations to measure their Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions (the company’s own direct carbon emissions as well as those generated by the energy sources we buy power from). While the regulations don’t apply to a business of our size, we are leading from the front to demonstrate that our pledge to be a green supplier is substantiated.”

As well as its commitment to onsite renewable energy generation, FSP is planning to introduce energy storage batteries and high-speed electric vehicle chargers installed, and the company is investing in electric fleet cars and forklift trucks as alternatives to petrol and diesel models. The first electric FLT arrived in October and will be recharged solely using power from the PV system.

Wayne adds: “Our philosophy is that whether you start the journey now or later, we all need to get to net zero by 2050, so why put it off? We are well ahead of our competitors when it comes to green credentials, but we know it’s worth the investment as we are future-proofing our business, helping our customers achieve their environmental targets and making our operations more profitable.”