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Low Carbon Network produces collaborative partnership

A pioneering online network for companies in Greater Manchester’s low carbon sector is helping to build links between SMEs, including a successful partnering of two local green technology suppliers.

A pioneering online network for companies in Greater Manchester’s low carbon sector is helping to build links between SMEs, including a successful partnering of two local green technology suppliers.

The Low Carbon Network, developed by the Business Growth Hub, is a virtual platform for companies providing low carbon and environmental goods and services (LCEGS) in Greater Manchester.

The fast-moving sector is one of Greater Manchester’s priority growth areas and is already worth £5 billion. The global market for low carbon and environmental goods and services is estimated to be worth some £3 trillion. 

Finding local suppliers

Over 150 Greater Manchester SMEs have joined the Low Carbon Network to date. 

Companies seeking specific low carbon technologies or services can use the service’s searchable online database to find relevant suppliers, while members receive tailored weekly updates that includes sales and tender notifications and networking opportunities.

Two members, Stockport-based KAST Energy Solutions and Tameside-based MegaFan Technologies, are now successfully working together to combine their expertise and create sales opportunities.

Successful partnership

Set up in July 2014, KAST Energy Solutions designs, supplies, installs and commissions a wide range of solutions to help businesses reduce their energy costs and carbon emissions.

Its comprehensive service offering includes solar thermal and PV systems, de-stratification systems, voltage optimisation and power factor stabilisation, energy monitoring, energy storage, infrared heating, heat pumps, biomass, combined heat and power (CHP) systems and district heating.

MegaFan Technologies specialises in high-volume low-speed (HVLS) fans for large spaces, which can reduce heating costs by up to 45 per cent by preventing warm air from being trapped in the roof space – a process called thermal stratification.

After meeting at a networking event for Low Carbon Network members, the two companies subsequently partnered and have already won two significant projects. 

‘Valuable tool’

“As a fairly new company, we are looking to grow and identify more sales opportunities in Greater Manchester, and the Low Carbon Network is a valuable tool to help us meet like-minded businesses who we can develop a close working relationship with”, said Adrian Thomas, director of KAST Energy Solutions.

“As the approved installer for MegaFan Technologies at a chain of UK fitness centres we have recently installed two 4.5m diameter HVLS fans. This has allowed them to vastly reduce the operation of their air conditioning units, making significant energy savings.

“We are also working with an aerospace company in Bristol that has trialled six HVLS fans and reduced temperature variation from floor to ceiling from 10°C to 0.5ºC. This will significantly reduce the running operation of the warm air space heating system through the winter period, reducing gas consumption.”

“Similarly, at Prestwick Service Centre in Scotland we installed nine HVLS fans to reduce the temperature difference in their 17m high bay facility by mixing the air throughout the height of the building, therefore reducing the amount of gas consumed for heating at floor level.

‘Building partnerships’

“The potential for HVLS fans is endless as they also have summer cooling advantages – a big fan turning slowly will deliver just the right amount of air flow to make it a cooler environment for employees to work.”

Mark Oldham, technical sales manager at MegaFan Technologies, added: “We joined the Low Carbon Network to increase awareness of the problem of thermal stratification and promote HVLS technology as a solution for low carbon technology suppliers.

“Our work with KAST is a great example of how we can build partnerships with local companies to promote our solutions to end users.”

To find out more about the Business Growth Hub’s Green Growth support for SMEs, or to read other success stories, click here.