Focus on Efficiency Helps to Reduce Energy and Fuel Dependency

With the soaring energy and fuel prices making the headlines only set to get worse, there are not only environmental incentives for everyone to look at ways of increasing their efficiency, reducing overall dependency on these commodities.

Environmental concerns have always been important to us, underscored by our ISO in environmental management (14001:2015), which inspires us to go further than many organisations may consider. As a result, we have already been working on ways we can reduce our carbon footprint through a wide range of energy and fuel efficiency initiatives before the wider global crisis even began.

In fact, we have been doing this for the past 10 years.

Fuel Efficiency

To help cut down on the fuel used in the deliveries of our products, we have developed a custom-built beavertail vehicle to allow us to deploy 3 x VMS-A units, 2 x VMS-C units, or 2 x Solar IP units in one delivery. Our national coverage also means that we can pick the closest depot to deliver a unit from, saving staff who are further away the journey.

For especially large projects that involve the delivery of even more units than this, we can also call on the use of a local commercial vehicle delivery service, meaning the job can be done in one delivery instead of several trips in the beavertail vehicle.

This approach to our delivery model means that we only ever use the method required, not wasting the use of a commercial vehicle delivery service when it’s not required, whilst maximising the capabilities of our beavertail vehicle for smaller deployments.

In a different fashion, other environmental changes we have made have indirectly resulted in a net decrease in our use of fuel in recent times.

In preparation for Highways UK 2021, we developed a new way to inform our customers about our products and solutions that breaks away from the conventional presentation folder and spec sheets, which cumulatively will have a marked impact on the environment.

Using QR codes, visitors to our stand at any trade show are able to easily request an email to be sent to them automatically after scanning the code and visiting our website. A popup box appears requesting an email address, which, when filled in, triggers the email to be sent to the customer within minutes with the required spec sheets attached.

The paper, ink and the potential waste that is involved in the production and distribution of our information packs, has, over the years, undeniably left its mark on the environment.

However, as with many things, technology has assisted us in helping to address this issue. As a result, even the fuel needed to transport the weight of our packs won’t be used, instead being swapped for a cutting-edge digital system that is both easy and convenient to use.

In order to offer our customers solutions that operate at the height of efficiency, we undergo continual improvement when it comes to our manufacturing. Over the last 10 years, we have improved our unit’s batteries and solar panels in line with the latest innovations in these technologies.

Better charging systems, as well as tilting and more efficient solar panels has resulted in improved run times and fewer battery changes, which means fewer journeys need to be made.

This has a huge impact across our entire fleet.

Where possible, we also prefer to use local suppliers in the servicing of our works vehicles. In sourcing local services, we help to massively cut down on our fuel consumption whilst bringing business to our local area. The cumulative saving of these reoccurring needs being seen to in the area will have saved a huge number of travel miles compared to alternative services that may have been offering better rates in different areas of the country.

Energy Efficiency

One of the biggest aspects involved with a business’s energy usage is the office in which they operate. Questions of heat insulation and efficient lighting are what usually come to mind when considering this.

However, MVIS go one step further.

Over the years, we have seen significant upgrades to our Matlock HQ. Technological solutions such as movement sensors and timers in our lights and hand dryers, as well as eco-friendly heating solutions have been installed, allowing us to see energy savings that don’t compromise on our employee’s comfort.

Timers in the lights and hand dryers ensure that these things are not on for longer than they need to be, such as if they were left on by accident overnight.

Our eco-friendly heating solutions are particularly innovative, however, employing smart heating technology using sensors and oil. Oil filled space heaters are known to be more efficient than water, gas or infrared heaters due to oil’s unique thermal properties. The use of sensors in the heaters ensure accurate heat regulation in the room, so that they stop heating when the room is at the designated temperature, preventing the space getting too hot or too cold. They also come integrated with programmable time schedules too, meaning they can be set to automatically turn on and off when required.

The efficiency improvements we have made to our products don’t just help with fuel reduction. Improvements in our charging systems, batteries and solar panels mean that we are using less energy to replenish drained batteries ready to go back into one of our units. Again, over the number of batteries we are required to service for our fleet, these efficiency improvements make a huge difference to our levels of energy consumption.

We have also taken steps to make small changes that over time will make a big difference. For example, where possible, we always encourage the use of natural light over artificial. It is well known that natural light positively impacts a wide number of health aspects such as mood, vitamin-D levels and eye health, as well as bringing heightened levels of productivity too.

Another example is our approach to printing. In the digital age, we have seen a reduced need for printing documents anyway, but as company policy, we only encourage the use of our printer and photocopying unit when absolutely necessary, instead sharing documents digitally via email or Microsoft Teams. Not only does this help to reduce energy requirements, but it also helps to cut down on paper waste and ink too.

Anne Ashman, UK Group Commercial and Operations Director comments, “We have always been ahead of the curve when it comes to efficiency, so it’s reassuring that when a global energy and fuel crisis hits, we are already doing everything that we can to minimise our dependency on them. However, like most of us, reducing this dependency to zero is virtually impossible in today’s economy. Whilst it may take some time for society to catch up, it’s efficiency changes such as the ones we have been making for the past decade that moves everyone closer to the goal of sustainability.”