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Furniture retailer Barker and Stonehouse slash CO2 with low energy lighting rigs

HOW do you save enough carbon dioxide to fill 189 three bedroomed houses and power 93 of them for a year?

As part of its continuing drive to help the environment and reduce its carbon footprint, north east based Barker & Stonehouse is installing low energy lighting rigs in its showrooms across the country, as well as running a successful furniture recycling scheme.

Across all the company’s showrooms standard 75 watt bulbs are being removed, and replaced with fewer 35 watt lamps, which last two years, much longer than the lifespan of a standard bulb.

The result is a slightly softer lighting effect in showrooms, but a major saving on both the planet and Barker and Stonehouse’s fuel bills.

The scheme has been installed in the company’s showrooms in Knaresborough, Hull, Darlington and Leeds, making dramatic reductions to not only CO2 emissions but also energy and the company’s fuel bills too.

So far figures indicate that the low energy lighting will save 441,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy and 189 tonnes of CO2 per annum.

That’s enough electricity to power over 93 average UK homes for a year, and enough carbon dioxide to fill 189 three bedroomed homes!

Now Barker and Stonehouse is turning its attention to the Newcastle showroom with installation of the low energy lighting rigs starting in the next few weeks. Estimates indicate that this could be the biggest saving yet.

The drive to reduce the company’s carbon footprint is part of a five year strategy, implemented in 2006, in which Barker and Stonehouse aims to cut its energy usage by 40% by July 2011. Readings taken after the installation of the lighting rigs indicate a total reduction of just under this target figure, with a year still to go, and the Newcastle store phase yet to be started.

Vince Lithgo, operations manager at Barker and Stonehouse said: "We’re always looking at ways of reducing our carbon footprint, and we got to the point where we couldn’t reduce it any more without doing something major.

"That was when we decided on changing the showroom lighting, and it’s the biggest reduction we can possibly make."

In addition, thanks to a partnership with Hartlepool-based charity OFCA (Owton Fens Community Association) Barker and Stonehouse has helped customers recycle up to 70 tonnes of unwanted mattresses, sofas and large cabinets.

Vince continued: "It’s been a huge success. We take away customers’ unwanted furniture when we deliver their new items, and so far, with help from OFCA, we’ve been able to recycle a significant amount."

The schemes have been made possible thanks to Carbon Trust loans.The Carbon Trust offers interest-free loans to companies wanting to upgrade to fuel efficient equipment.

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