Stockport-based Castrads has tapped into expert advice and academic support to take sustainable business to the next level, moving from energy management to product and packaging innovation.
Castrads serves the bespoke interiors market, manufacturing and selling high-end cast iron radiators and other premium heating products.
Describing the company ethos as “relentless” pursuit for improvement, directors Adam and Nick Baylis prioritise environmental performance as a key metric.
‘Just good business sense’
“There’s three reasons why we prioritise the environment. Firstly, we all have a moral obligation to do so. Second, we want to ensure our products and services represent the same values our customers care about. And finally, it’s just good business sense. We need to ensure that our business is lean and efficient”, Adam Baylis said.
To help turn these ideals into reality, Castrads has worked closely with specialist advisors at GC Business Growth Hub to implement sustainability principles across the business.
Progress started in 2015 when factory lighting was replaced with low energy LEDs and Castrads has since added a rooftop solar panel system to generate clean energy on-site.
The next step was to explore environmental improvements to its product offering.
‘Helping our customers’
Unsustainable packaging was dealt with first, with difficult-to-recycle plastic foam material replaced with a recycled paper alternative.
The Hub then introduced Castrads to teams at the University of Manchester and heating control app developer Genius Hub to help develop a new ‘smart’ radiator valve.
“We care about helping our customers to save energy in their own homes too. The new valve brings the latest energy saving technology into homes without compromising on looks”, Adam explained.
“However, much more ambitious and exciting are our second and third projects that we have commissioned with the University of Salford, which take a ‘big picture view’ of our products, thinking about their whole lifecycle and issues such as the circular economy.”
The first project is investigating the embodied carbon footprint of Castrads’ radiators and benchmarking it against similar products in the market.
The second, a collaboration with the university’s Energy House, aims to bring together evidence-based advice on home heating efficiency with Castrads’ expertise in interior design.
Both projects are currently underway, with future improvements – including options for water recycling at the factory - also in the pipeline.
Luke Bywaters, environmental business advisor at the Business Growth Hub, said: “Castrads understand that sustainable business helps them as a brand, as an employer and as a business. It has reduced their operations costs and it is the right thing to do.”
Adam added: “We are relentless in looking at ways we can improve, even the small details. The advisors at the Hub have been able to provide expert advice on the key issues we’ve needed help with, meaning we can act rapidly to make real differences to our business.”
To find out more about the Hub’s support for Greater Manchester SMEs, or to read other success stories, click here.