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Shutdown your factory? Here’s how to maximise savings during lockdown

Environmental business advisor Alasdair Dalzel-Job gives his top tips for maximising resource efficiency when fully or partially closing down operations due to the Coronavirus.

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We’re now several weeks into the national lockdown, and although there are no formal restrictions on manufacturing continuing under the current rules, many factories are facing reduced orders and have understandably decided to shut up shop or cut back to a skeleton staff.

If you’re one of those companies, there are a number of resource efficiency measures you should be checking off to maximise your savings and ensure you don’t run into any problems when starting up again. Many of the tips below may sound simple, but they are easily missed.

If you’re concerned about COVID-19’s impact on your business, we’re here for you.

Heating and equipment

  • The best way to approach your shutdown is to think of it as a prolonged Christmas closure. All heating timers and controls should be switched off or turned down to frost protection level. Costs go up by around 8 per cent for every 1ºC of heating, so set levels to the absolute minimum required.
  • All lighting should be switched off with the exception of security lights, and all equipment apart from safety systems turned off at the isolation switch.
  • Do not leave battery-powered equipment such as forklift trucks on charge – this will only waste electricity.
  • If you have refrigeration equipment that needs to be left on, consider consolidating your produce into a fewer number of fridges or freezers.


  • All water-using equipment should be isolated at source to prevent water leakage. If possible, isolate the main incoming supply via the stopcock.

Electricity supply and generation

  • If it is safe to do so, your power should be isolated at the main incoming supply point to prevent any energy leakage into your site.
  • If this isn’t feasible, isolate parts of the site where possible and ensure any timed equipment such as water coolers or vending machines are fully switched off.
  • If you have solar PV onsite contact your technology installer for correct shutdown procedures if relevant, and check with your energy provider to make sure you are reimbursed for all exported power in your absence.

Waste and raw materials

  • Ensure good waste management is in order before leaving your site, including storing waste and recycling properly to avoid contamination. Depending on your circumstances, you should speak to your waste contractor to reduce or cancel scheduled collections.
  • If you have raw materials or stock that is likely to go unused, consider whether it may be of use to other manufacturers who are still operating during the crisis or producing critical supplies for the NHS.


  • Providing you can work within government guidelines and have the staff available, the shutdown is a perfect opportunity to complete any outstanding maintenance tasks. Remember: dirty equipment is much more likely to break down or seize up the first time it’s started up again.
  • It’s a particularly good time to look at preventative maintenance. Motors, gears or drives that are nearing the end of their lives should be changed or swapped out if you have the parts available. This is good practice for improving efficiency and minimising breakdowns.
  • If you had any routine maintenance visits scheduled with an external provider that have been cancelled or were due in the coming weeks, make sure you reschedule as soon as possible.


  • Remember that equipment upgrade you’ve always wanted to do? Now is a great time to re-visit it. Even if suppliers are unable to get to your site to undertake surveys or are struggling to source parts, they may still be able to arrange quotations and get the ball rolling.
  • Preliminary quotations are all you need to get started with an application for our Energy Efficiency Grant, which could provide between £1,000 and £12,500 to invest in energy saving upgrades like LED lighting or a more efficient boiler.

For more advice on maximising efficiency during lockdown, contact the Hub's Resource Efficiency team and keep an eye out for our next guide to re-starting production over the coming weeks.

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Alasdair Dalzel-Job

Alasdair Dalzel-Job, Environmental Business Advisor

Alasdair provides resource efficiency and environmental risk support to businesses, helping them to identify and implement low carbon solutions. As well as a Master’s degree in clean technology, Alasdair has 17 years' experience in the environmental field. He is an ESOS Lead Assessor, a member of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, an Associate Member of IEMA and an IEMA Associate Environmental Auditor.