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University helps local company go green

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have used their expertise to help a local engineering company prepare to significantly reduce their energy consumption and become more environmentally friendly.

DavyMarkham Ltd worked with engineers at SABRE – a joint venture between the University of Sheffield and the Building Research Establishment – to cut the costs of their energy bills. The company, which has a large workshop situated in the industrial heartland of Sheffield, was concerned that the working areas were not efficient in terms of energy.

Researchers from the University's School of Architecture and the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering carried out a number of assessments and tests on DavyMarkham's office blocks and workshops, including an infra-red survey, in order to understand the company's current energy usage.

They discovered that significant reductions in energy could be made through simple refurbishment and education of staff, for example on the benefits of utilising natural daylight. They estimated that a 60% improvement is possible with simple modifications to the company's office blocks. While in the main production sheds, they concluded that the majority of the energy losses were associated with unwanted ventilation rates due to leaks in the fabric which if addressed could save a further 30%.

DavyMarkham are now working on a detailed action plan based on the University's recommendations. The first step has been to establish an energy conservation committee involving staff from the shop floor to management.

Ian Ward, from the University's School of Architecture (Building Energy Analysis Unit) and one of the researchers involved in the project, said: “Many companies are keen to become more environmentally friendly and save money on energy bills but are not always aware of how they can do this effectively. Our expertise and research in this area means that we are able to provide real solutions that are of benefit to both the company and the environment.”

Kevin Parkin, Managing Director at DavyMarkham, said: “The University's work has kick started us into thinking about our energy usage and the impact this has. Working with the researchers has made a big difference to the company, not only to our energy bills, but also to our attitudes on sustainability.

“The reports produced by the University were easy to understand and gave achievable recommendations. Before joining the University's Managing Directors Club I had no idea that we had access to a wide range of people and services right on our doorstep. All businesses in the local community should be aware of the wealth of expertise the University has to offer.”

SABRE provides a range of services to industry, including collaborative research, consultancy, expert witness, testing and analysis, product development. In addition to these services SABRE provides a gateway to the Building Research Establishment (BRE).

The Environment and Structures Research Group is concerned with the environmental and structural performance of buildings and the impact of this performance on people. Research strengths within the group are in the areas of sustainability,energy,acoustics,lighting,ventilation, fire and
structures.

For more information about how the University can help local businesses, please contact Ian Proctor, Commercial Manager of SABRE, on 0114 2225715 or email I.Proctor@sheffield.ac.uk

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