Case study

How an essential small business survived difficult times

As with many businesses during the pandemic, Westies Dry Cleaners had to adapt normal business operations, but when a vital piece of equipment needed upgrading, this adaptation was challenged. With support from Low Carbon Workspaces, it all turned out for the best – for their finances and for the environment.

Classed as an essential business, Westies suddenly faced a problem when its steam-generating boiler needed replacing. This piece of machinery is at the core of the business’s services of in-house washing and ironing.

When an essential business loses its own essential equipment, time is of the essence, but finding the funds for a new boiler was a challenge, A helping hand from the Low Carbon Workspaces grant team changed everything. A £5,000 grant gave the business the financial wiggle room to purchase a new, more energy-efficient steam boiler than they otherwise could have, enabling Westies to keep its vital service running while also saving on bills and carbon emissions.

It’s a huge relief to have replaced the boiler, become more energy efficient and saved on bills. It’s a good feeling to have achieved something positive for the business in difficult times. Ready for better times! – Sanjay Patel, Owner, Westies Dry Cleaners.

Pre-pandemic, the family-run business was open six days a week serving residents local to its two sites in Maidenhead and Burnham, mostly dealing with suits, coats and evening wear. That changed in a year when most people were stuck at home wearing machine-washable lounge wear, so while Westies was able to stay open, they had to adapt the way they ran their business.

“We were desperate to replace our 30-year-old steam boiler with a new energy-efficient one”, said Sanjay Patel, owner of Westies. “The boiler provides the steam for the on-site cleaning machinery, so is a vital piece of equipment. We knew its replacement was a top priority.” The new boiler required a substantial investment, which the business could not afford without assistance. “However, with a Low Carbon Workspaces grant of £5,000, we were able to proceed.”

Not only will the new boiler save Westies money each year, with confirmation of more than £400 saved in the first year alone, but the environmental benefits are also clear, with 2.2 tonnes of CO2e and 12,100 kWh saved in one year too.

“We are delighted with the grant and the advice and guidance we received from the Low Carbon Workspaces team,” continued Sanjay. “They helped us every step of the way – suggesting suppliers, helping with the grant application and of course, securing the grant.”


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