Smart kit for eco-friendly operations

Dave Jenkins
Monday, November 25, 2013

Talk of becoming more environmentally friendly and energy efficient can conjure up somewhat daunting images for printers. Becoming the proud owner of swathes of solar panels or a rolling wind farm all sounds great in theory, but won’t be within everyone’s budgets.

Luckily, there is a myriad of energy and resource efficiency measures that can be much more easily and cheaply rolled out. And a lot of these, many will be surprised to discover, promise some potentially large reductions with relatively short payback periods. From route optimisation to LED bulb technology via sub-metering solutions, small changes can make a huge difference.

In fact, the first step to going green can in most cases be made without spending a single penny. “If you look at the research we’ve done over the years we would expect a company to save between 5% and 10% of their consumption through making operational and behavioural changes at low or no investment cost,” states Bruno Gardner, director of energy efficiency ventures at the Carbon Trust. “These are straightforward things, such as making sure the lights are turned off at the end of the day, making sure your boiler is set correctly and understanding the importance of switching off your monitors. All of these things together can help you make savings.”

You’ve probably already established that message with your workforce, though, and probably have a keen eye on the latest eco-kit being launched by printing equipment vendors. What you may not have had time to research is the wealth of other, smaller green gadgets available. A great resource is the Carbon Trust’s Green Business Directory, which lists approved suppliers and providers to ensure you’re talking to businesses with a proven track record and pedigree. But here’s our round-up of some of the best to start you off… 


Voltage optimisation surveys and analyses your load profile against your mains supply then reduces it accordingly. The UK’s average mains supply is 240W while most operational technology runs more efficiently at 220W. Prices are difficult to attain as there are few off-the-peg options and every business has different needs. The saving statistics are consistent from provider to provider though: 15% energy reduction and payback within five years. 


EMSc’s Powerstar range heavily emphasises the ability to filter out harmonics and protect against power spikes. Like all good voltage optimising solutions, the operating temperature of on-site equipment is also reduced, meaning periphery savings on maintenance costs. 

Likely saving 15% on electricity

Cost Contact vendor 



Marshall Tufflex’s voltage optimisation range does in fact feature an off-the-peg option as well as tailored solutions. An interesting function on Voltis models is an automatic bypass function; if the mains supply drops lower than usual then it’ll switch to using this. 

Likely saving 15% on electricity 

Cost From £327.50 for basic model



PowerPerfector already has several users in the print sector: in 2008 Park Lane Press installed a PowerPerfector Plus solution which saved the Wiltshire firm 12% power consumption. This equated to over £3,500 annually.

Likely saving 15% on electricity 

Cost PowerPerfector services range between £8,000-£250,000. Average cost is £25,000 but is often cheaper for SMEs



Sub-metering accurately measures and analyses your energy use. This data is priceless: Energy Saving Trust statistics found monitoring leads to between 5% and 15% savings. Sub-metering can highlight when machinery is overworked and requires maintenance, or when distribution wiring needs re-routing. It can also highlight unauthorised power use and whether you’re being billed correctly. Below are two options that indicate the price range and scope, but it’s also worth contacting your energy supplier. Park Communications, for example, completed an energy efficiency audit with EDF Energy in 2012, which helped kick-start a 15% reduction plan, with a payback period of less than four years.

Sinergy e-Tracker 

Sinergy’s e-Tracker boasts several impressive success stories. Using e-Tracker a heater manufacturer realised they’d been billed incorrectly and were refunded £65,000. Another great story involves a sports complex that suffered an early morning power spike. The e-Tracker system pinpointed the exact time of its occurrence enabling the company to identify the source: the cleaners were turning on the floodlights during a cigarette break! 

Likely saving 15% on electricity

Cost From £1,776


Enistic EcoMonitor & Energy Management Software

Enistic’s EcoMonitor records your usage wirelessly. A probe attaches to your electricity meter’s output pulse LED and a current clamp connects around the live wire of your mains. This collects data to analyse your energy usage and can be rolled out using current clamps throughout the building. Data is collected and analysed using Enistic’s Energy Management online software. 

Likely saving 15% on electricity

Cost From £169



“It’s best to set the computers using existing energy-saving features to get the most effective results,” explains environmental consultant Clare Taylor. “Then plan your replacement programme using the most energy efficient computers and screens that are fit for the purpose for which they are required.” But if your systems aren’t ready to be replaced yet, you may want to consider:

Antec Earthwatts 

An alternative power supply unit for individual computers or servers, Antec’s EarthWatts PSU range promises upwards of 90% efficiency, to reduce power consumption on that unit by about 25%. Being multi-rail and constructed using a thermal manager and circuit shield, they are able to withstand some pretty strong loads, too. 

Likely saving 25% of energy per computer 

Cost £40-£120 


Ecobutton Halo

Putting energy saving into your staff’s hands, this USB connected switch activates the computer’s most efficient powersave mode without fear of data loss. Ideal for lunch, toilet or meeting breaks, it comes complete with software that tells your employees exactly how much energy they’ve saved during that time. 

Likely saving £50 per computer, per year

Cost £24.99 for two units. Currently only available for Microsoft computers



Compressed air is another easy area to address in terms of energy and resource efficiency. 

Meech Energy Saving Nozzle

These can be fitted to most existing open compressed air pipes. They work by forcing the air through an adjustable slot around the base of the nozzle which is then amplified by the natural jet of ambient air that forms around the outside of the cone. Compressing air at ratios of up to 25:1 and reducing noise levels, the savings are impressive.

Likely saving Up to 70% compressed air demand

Cost £67.55-£150.86 (per pack of five) 


Meech Energy Saving Air Amplifier

Best applied when larger amounts of compressed air are needed, Meech’s Air Amplifier takes a small amount of compressed air and pushes it through a circular slot to create a tube that’s amplified by lower pressure behind it. Like the energy saving nozzle, it also reduces noises levels.

Likely saving Up to 70% compressed air demand

Cost £91.88-£380.80



Heating costs can account for as much as 50% of your energy consumption. According to the Carbon Trust, costs rise by 8% for every 1°C you overheat. From precise zone control to heat exchangers, there are many ways to ensure every degree of heat is needed and used efficiently. 


A direct retrofit for existing conventional radiator TRVs with no need for a plumber, these enable accurate independent temperature control. Ideal for trimming off the excess degree or two and fully programmable with individual times, these have great potential for zone control.

Likely saving 25% energy savings

Cost £49.99 each


Marshall Tufflex Commercial Boiler Manager 

Using a digital microprocessor, this optimises your boiler’s firing cycles. Ensuring you’re not heating the water unnecessarily, it also potentially ensures boiler longevity as you’re using it more efficiently. Sensors are based on both the outgoing and returning water flow and patterns are then recorded and used to control the boiler to fit your company’s use. External weather sensors are also available, allowing it to react to colder conditions. Payback is usually within two years.

Likely saving Up to 20% on energy 

Cost £992.50 or £1,099 (with external sensor)


Timeguard Programastat TRT039

The Carbon Trust states that up to 90% of heating controls are used inefficiently, costing UK industry and commerce over £500m a year in additional costs. Timeguard’s Programastat range allow for precise control in each area of your site. The TRT039 is one of the most expansive options in the range with four independently timed channels that can be programmed for 24/7 operations. 

Likely saving Up to 30% on energy

Cost £137.99


Vent-Axia Sentinel Totus² 

An ideal solution to capture and capitalise on the heat generated through printing or server activity, the Sentinel Totus² heat exchanger takes otherwise wasted heat and uses it to warm up other areas. Aluminium exchanger cells ensure none of the dust or smells are carried, and they’re up to 94% efficient. Complete with a bypass to ensure rooms are cooled just as effectively during the summer, this heat exchange solution can apparently be tailored for all types of buildings and operations. 

Likely saving Up to 25% on heating and cooling loads

Cost Up to £5,000



One of the most interesting, and lucrative, areas of commercial energy consumption, lighting systems should be top of the agenda on any energy management programme. Your lighting upgrades can be gradual and scalable if you replace lamps as and when you need to. Sensor technology means you’re only lighting areas when necessary, plus there are additional maintenance benefits.

“Calculate costs throughout the whole lifecycle,” suggests energy consultant Thomas Bergmark. “Bulbs last much longer, which means less maintenance. It’s easy to forget this when you look at the price. If LEDs last 20 years instead of two years, for example, that’s 18 years of service and maintenance costs you’ll save.”

LED lighting

The LED market is huge. Some experts suggest replacing the entire fitting while others offer direct replacement lamps. Windles is currently in the middle of an LED upgrade programme. 

“We currently have six units,” says sales and marketing rep Michelle Mills. “They’re incredible. The old halide lights were about 420W whereas an LED output is 110-120W, and you get 20% more light production. It’s a significant saving.”

As well as reduced wattage, LEDs boast a lifetime of up to 50,000 hours (five years of constant use) compared with 10,000 hours with energy saving CFL bulbs or only 1,200 hours with regular lamps. Savings with LED solutions can be up to 80%.

Interled High Bay HB380 & High Low Bay HB380

Interled offer direct fitting replacements for metal halide lights for use in printing or warehouse areas. Lifespan is at least 60,000 hours and installation costs as little as £40.

Likely saving 70% 

Cost £380-£460 


Ledex Highbay E40 LED Bulb

An alternative option if you don’t want to replace the entire fitting, Ledex’s Highbay E40 can be retrofitted to a regular metal halide fitting. 

Likely saving 60%

Cost £120-£180


Ledex Super Brightness T8 Range

For use in standard tube fittings, Ledex’s Super Brightness range boasts a consumption of 12W as opposed to the more standard 40W of regular fluorescent tubes.

Likely saving 60%

Cost £30 per tube


Lighting Controls & Motion Sensors 

It’s difficult to calculate an exact savings statistic with motion sensor-based lighting controls, but the more control over the lighting you have, the more energy efficient you’ll be. According to energy firm Npower, daylight or occupancy sensors fitted to a group of six 80W fluorescent fittings can save approximately £50 per year. 

Autolux Universal Lighting Controller

Allowing full control over six different zones, with lux sensors and ambient light and occupancy control, Chalmor’s fully programmable controller can help reduce lighting energy by as much as 50%.

Likely saving Up to 50%

Cost £595


BlueWave Movement Sensor

Detecting occupancy and light levels in two separate zones, BlueWave ensures you’re only lighting areas when strictly necessary. Suitable for both internal and external lighting systems, its flexible programming system has been approved by the Carbon Trust.

Likely saving Hard to measure but an approximate figure would be 10%

Cost £115


Timeguard SLW360 360° PIR Presence Detector

Ceiling mounted with full 360º coverage, this is ideal for all office, corridor, toilet and reception areas. Suitable for all lighting systems (including external lights) this comes complete with an adjustable light level control.

Likely saving Hard to measure but an approximate figure would be 10%

Cost £26.99 per unit


Timeguard PDFM1500 360° PIR Presence Detector

Similar to the SLW360 but suitable for higher level application in warehouses or production areas, the PDFM can be used with lights up to 1,500W and also senses light levels. 

Likely saving Hard to measure but an approximate figure would be 10%

Cost £39.99 per unit



TomTom EcoPlus 

TomTom’s EcoPlus for business is one of many fuel-saving route optimisation products available. By planning fuel efficient routes for your distribution team savings of upwards of 10% can be enjoyed. Thomas Bergmark suggests using such gadgets to encourage staff to drive more conscientiously. 

“I’ve seen great examples of businesses triggering drivers to drive more efficiently,” he states. “In some cases companies set a goal and the savings are shared between the company and the drivers so there’s a real incentive.”

Both Windles and Mastercolour are two print businesses who’ve reduced carbon emissions with effective route planning. “We ensure the sales team doesn’t do any unnecessary trips and they make three or four calls in one area,” states Windles’ Michelle Mills. “We’re always calculating fuel consumption. Even our boss drives a converted chip oil-running Landrover!”

Likely saving 10% fuel reduction or more

Cost From £150 per unit



Even very energy-savvy firms might overlook bathroom areas. But toilets and hand dryers are of course very resource intensive, so just a bit of cash here can go a long way. 

Airflush Urinal System

With no need for cartridges or oils, cost for these waterless men’s loos is estimated at around £10 a year. Oxford-based printer Seacourt can testify to their efficiency. “It is fitting that a waterless printing company should also have a waterless urinal system in its washrooms!” states Seacourt chairman Jim Dinnage.

Likely saving Waterless urinals can save over 6,000 litres of water, per bowl, per year

Cost £423.61 for one bowl and airflush kit. £226.03 for each subsequent bowl


Flow Regulators 

Easy to apply to your wash basin’s supply pipes, flow regulators reduce the mains pressure from a gushing 20 litres per minute to an easily manageable flow of six litres per minute without losing hygiene efficiency. 

Likely saving Over 50% water used in the washroom basins

Cost £13.54


Turboforce ECO Hand Dryer 

Dyson Airblade hand dryers remain the most popular and visible products on the market, but payback can take a long time. The Turboforce ECO Hand Dryer is more suitable for SMEs. Based on 20 people using the facilities 4.5 times a day for 260 working days a year, savings of up to 460kW of power against older hand dryers can save as much as £56. Each premises has different needs, and has a useful savings calculator if you’re interested in knowing more.

Likely saving £50 per year

Cost £235



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