Not content with manufacturing an eco-friendly range of industrial cleaning wipes, the team at Maidenhead-based Big Wipes were also determined to generate their own renewable energy, sensing multiple benefits of doing so. Their mix of principles and pragmatism would lead them to secure grant funding from Low Carbon Workspaces that ultimately created a win-win scenario for the business and the environment.
Big Wipes has developed and distributed products worldwide for professional tradespeople since 2002, and as Managing Director Nigel Dibbo explains, it is “perhaps no surprise that sales of our antiviral wipes have shot up due to the government pandemic messaging.” Another allure for customers could well be the ethos that drives the company and lies at the heart of its formula. “Our Big Wipes formulation is water-based, biodegradable, non-toxic and paraben-free,” confirms Nigel.
Typically, a business with environmentalism in its heart did not stop there. The team wanted to go further and were conscious of the benefits they would receive too. “Generating our own renewable energy was our next goal,” explains Nigel. “We wanted to be self-sufficient and save money, and be less reliant on the National Grid and price hikes.”
The decision? Install solar panels. But how to pay for the work? As Nigel explains, Big Wipes’ solution revealed itself at the opportune moment.“We had been talking about installing solar panels for some time, but finance for any major project is always a challenge. We are members of Buckinghamshire Business First and when we saw them promoting the Low Carbon Workspaces grant, we jumped on it!
“The grant made all the difference. It was relatively quick and simple to apply for and the Low Carbon Workspaces team were incredibly helpful, providing a list of suppliers and pushing the application through. We are absolutely delighted.”
As Nigel points out: “There are so many things that small businesses can do to help the environment and reduce CO2 emissions, and in so doing reduce their own bills and enjoy better heating and lighting. Why wouldn’t you do it when there are grants to help you do so?”
The environmental and financial benefits make this kind of work a win-win. The business will achieve annual electricity savings of £1,740 due to the production of 10,640 kWh of clean energy, causing an emission reduction of 2.48 tonnes CO2e. A big win for Big Wipes and the environment. The work cost £12,750, with the grant providing £4,250 of the total, resulting in a payback period of a little under five years.