Multi-national Ayrshire engineering services company Booth Welsh can look forward to lower energy bills and lower carbon emissions thanks to its involvement with the Powering Futures Challenge – an innovative workplace skills development programme focused on sustainability and future business prosperity.
Powering Futures (previously Fuel Change) empowers the young and future workforce with the skills, critical thinking, and enthusiasm to help their organisation transition to net zero. Partnering with businesses to help them solve real-time climate change challenges, Powering Futures tasks teams of 16–25-year-olds with solving a sustainability problem set by industry or their employer and supports them in coming up with creative solutions through teamwork and climate skills.
Throughout 2022, a six-strong team of graduates and apprentices from Booth Welsh used the Powering Futures programme to work on their own business challenge: ‘Our energy costs are too high’ – resulting in a massive reduction in gas usage of 80% and saving the business £40,000 in energy costs annually.
Recognising that energy costs have a significant impact on businesses financially and in terms of environmental compliance, the team worked from the basis that reducing energy use makes good business sense across the board in terms of cost savings, fighting climate change, increased compliance, and enhanced reputation.
The team’s initial work focused on how they could save energy from devices and appliances but soon moved their analysis to focus on bigger causes such as the company’s current industrial sized boiler.
Amie Cumming is a Technology Development Graduate at Booth Welsh and participated in the Powering Futures Challenges. She said:
All businesses, regardless of sector, have experienced soaring energy costs over the last year and at Booth Welsh it is no different. We wanted to explore ways we could reduce costs and cut the amount of carbon we were producing.
To first tackle the problem, we started with some root cause analysis before consulting with colleagues. The more we investigated it the more we found the current boiler was not fit for purpose. It was heating a lot of rooms that weren’t being used and we discovered multiple rooms in the building that had overlapping heating systems.
The team looked at using the existing air conditioning system to replace the boiler but found that did not deliver any cost or carbon reductions.
Amie continued: “Eventually the solution we decided on was to replace the existing boiler with a modern and highly efficient solution. The replacement solution offers 98% efficiency and will reduce our usage by almost 80%. By replacing the gas boiler, we could save as much as £40,000 per year and 43 tonnes of CO2 per year.”
Founded in 1989 and based in Irvine, Booth Welsh employs 320 people worldwide delivering purpose-led cutting-edge engineering solutions on a global scale.
Martin Welsh, Booth Welsh Managing Director said:
It’s important that we invest in programmes like the Powering Futures Challenge. Initiatives like this give our team an opportunity to grow, to become more innovative and help us work towards our people and planet positive goals. We’ve been really impressed with how the team has risen to the challenge and how it has influenced the wider workforce to recognise the value we need to place in embedding sustainability at the heart of our business.
In early 2022, we had a lot of new graduates joining just as we were looking at getting involved with Powering Futures, so it came as a great opportunity to get these new people working together and develop their team building skills. It has also been a good opportunity for us as a business to look at our impact on the environment.
I would recommend any company who has apprentices or graduates seriously consider speaking with the team at Powering Futures. The challenge programme will fast track their development within the business, expanding their imagination and curiosity to give them a different perspective when thinking about their day job.
I’m looking forward to seeing where our relationship with Powering Futures goes next.”
Jennifer Tempany, Co-Founder of Powering Futures, said:
As a major employer within Ayrshire, Booth Welsh already has a strong focus on bringing cutting-edge engineering solutions to the marketplace. Powering Futures is delighted to have played a role in empowering Booth Welsh’s talented young workforce to come up with such a fantastic result that will not only support the bottom line of the business but deliver a massive carbon saving too.
Through the Powering Futures Challenge Programme, we are bringing together today’s employers with tomorrow’s employees to solve real-time sustainability challenges and work towards future economic prosperity. The example set by the Booth Welsh Challenge team proves that this model works – for businesses, the future workforce, and the climate.