Automation specialist Innomech targets ‘carbon neutral’ status

EAST Anglia-based GB Innomech, which specialises in advanced automation to improve manufacturing efficiency and costs, plans a major investment in solar power that will make the company carbon neutral by the end of the year.

Innomech’s new solar photovoltaic (PV) system will generate sufficient energy to meet in full its annual energy consumption of around 45,000 kWh, a figure already significantly lower than might be expected for a building comparable size as Innomech relies exclusively on energy-efficient geothermal heating, ventilation and lighting systems.

The new solar power system is being supplied and installed by Solarbase Energy from Grantham, Lincolnshire. The first phase, comprising 141 hidden roof-mounted panels and each measuring 1metre x 1.5metres, has already been completed to deliver around half of Innomech’s annual power consumption.

A series of ground-mounted units, around the edge of the company’s site near Ely, alongside hedges planted as part of the wildlife management scheme, will be installed by the end of the month. The complete system is expected to pay for itself within six years.

“Innomech has always been committed to minimising the environmental impact of its business and uses clean technologies wherever possible, provided they have commercially-acceptable payback times,” said commercial director Tim Mead.

“Our own eco-friendly building already incorporates multiple technologies for more efficient energy use and waste management so investing in a full solar power system is a very natural next step for us.”

The company’s headquarters secured three industry awards for its environmentally-friendly design when it opened in 2004. The building was designed in-house at a time when architects and construction companies charged huge premiums to incorporate even the simplest sustainable or energy-saving technologies.

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All installed technologies and systems were specifically chosen by Innomech to minimise the environmental foot print and reduce the running costs to a minimum without compromising the commercial operation.