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Tuffa Footwear Ltd

Mid Norfolk Footwear firm cuts energy bills by more than £10,000pa and cuts heating CO2 use by 89% through renewable energy

A mid-Norfolk footwear firm has massively reduced its carbon footprint – and its energy bills – by investing in two renewable energy schemes at its Ovington premises.

Tuffa Footwear Ltd, which specialises in the design, production and distribution of horse riding footwear and accessories, realised that soaring energy costs, coupled with growing customer demand for them to operate in a more sustainable way, were becoming a significant challenge.

With offices and warehousing based in a 4,800 sq ft warehouse operating during peak rate electricity hours, the family-owned business decided to invest £64,000 in a photovoltaic solar array on the factory roof to generate electricity, and a pellet biomass boiler to heat the office space and warehouse.

Tuffa commissioned Watton-based Abel Energy to design the system, with the brief to reduce energy costs, maintain the temperature required within the workspace, and reduce the firm’s carbon footprint.

Abel Energy designed a solution incorporating a 4kW roof-mounted solar array and a 100kW Froling pellet boiler with a 7.5 tonne fuel store and a 3000l Akverterm buffer tank.

As the solar PV system will generate electricity during the factory’s daylight operating hours, the technology perfectly suits the energy demands of Tuffa Footwear. Together with the electrical savings, the installation is also eligible for the Government’s Feed in Tariff (FIT), paid for each kWh of electricity generated.

Meanwhile, the 100kW pellet boiler heats both the office space and warehouse to a temperature of 15°C using two air emitters. The boiler is fed pellets from a 7.5 tonne fuel store. The system is eligible for the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which is a Government financial incentive to increase the uptake in generation of renewable heat.

The two systems are returning a total annual benefit of more than £10,000 a year – a return on investment of 15.6 per cent. At the same time, the biomass boiler is saving a massive 89 per cent CO2 usage compared with the previous oil-fired system, and the solar PV system is saving 1.4 tonnes of CO2 each year.

“As a business we were keen to lower our electricity consumption and move away from oil fired heating to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Michelle Girling, managing director of Tuffa Footwear.

“The system designed by Abel Energy has achieved both of these aims, as well as enabling us to position ourselves with customers as a more environmentally-friendly business.”

“The Renewable Heat Initiative and the Feed In Tariff enable companies like Tuffa to achieve really good returns on this type of investment, as well as become more sustainable,” said Chris Abel, managing director of Abel Energy.

“It is not just big companies which can benefit from this; family firms such as Tuffa are increasingly recognising the social responsibility and sustainability advantages of investing in renewable energy – as well as benefitting from significant savings in their energy bills.”

Tuffa Footwear was established in 1997. It specialises in equestrian footwear, as well as accessories such as chaps, gloves, gaiters and socks. The company sells throughout the UK, as well as in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australasia.

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