Innovative tool manufacturer receives a grant to improve its energy efficiency – Coventry City Council

An innovative tool manufacturer in a Warwickshire village is looking forward to a greener future in its third decade after receiving a grant to improve its energy efficiency.

Alphateq was set-up by Brian Garforth in a small unit with just three employees in 2002 and has consistently grown since then. Its 31 staff are now located at The Wharf in Stretton-under-Fosse.

The business, which designs and manufactures tooling for prototype and production processes, has expanded over the years into the aerospace, automotive and motorsport sectors.

With more importance being placed on the green credentials of businesses throughout the supply chain, Alphateq acted after being contacted by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub about a number of energy saving grants that are available in the area.

The business was visited by Jonathan Howl from Coventry City Council, which runs the Coventry and Warwickshire Green Business Programme and is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, to carry out an energy audit.

He helped Brian and operations director Chris Garforth apply for a grant from the Green Business Programme towards the total cost of the project which was £16,758 with Alphateq being successful with its application for £5,758.

That has led to nearly 100 lights being replaced with LED lighting throughout its five units over 25,000 sq ft including its offices, CNC shop, pattern shop, studio and engineering shop, and tool room.   

It is estimated the business will save 4.55 tonnes of CO2 emissions by doing this, and the cost of the new energy measures will be paid back in just over three years.

Brian Garforth, managing director of Alphateq, said it was important to make the business run as carbon-friendly as possible.

“We are a specialist engineering company which takes its energy efficiency seriously which is even more important with the current volatility in the cost of electricity and gas,” he said.

“We spend over £100,000 a year on electricity so it is common-sense to review every element of our business to see where savings can be made as well as benefiting the environment.

“The information from the Green Business Programme could not have been timelier and the energy audit from the council gave us food for thought.

“We have replaced every fluorescent tube, modular recessed quad fitting and high-intensity fitting with LED alternatives throughout the business which will not only greatly reduce our electricity bill, but we will also benefit from a significantly lower spend on lighting maintenance.

“When we are bidding for new work, our green credentials are assessed more than when the business was first established so we are hoping this will be a double-win in the future.”

Adam Plumb, account manager at the CWLEP Growth Hub, said he wanted to encourage other SMEs to contact the Growth Hub to find out if they were eligible to apply for various grant schemes which are being delivered by Coventry City Council.

He said: “The good news is that the Coventry and Warwickshire Green Business Programme has been extended to June 2023 with additional funding now available for small to medium-sized businesses with 250 employees or less to introduce energy efficiency measures.

“As Alphateq discovered, it is a relatively quick and easy process to apply for a grant with the free energy audits identifying where energy, water and waste savings can be made to not only help a business save money and improve the environment but run more smoothly.”

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council, said: “By supporting businesses like Alphateq and encouraging them to thrive, we’re helping to not only secure jobs that already exist, but also encouraging businesses to grow and create new jobs for local people too, strengthening the local economy.

“I want to encourage any businesses that might be eligible to get in touch to find out what support is available.”

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