Azutura is a leading manufacturer of wall murals and stickers based on Pearsons Industrial Estate in Houghton-le-Spring.
Part of the Aardvark Ltd trading group, the company was founded in 2009 and is now one of the UK’s leading producers of wall art, exporting its products to customers across the globe.
Led by managing director, John Wright, the company has grown year-on-year since its launch and prides itself on the longevity of its products, with its long lifespan helping slash emissions and improve the entire customer experience.
Conscious of the demand the company’s manufacturing process places on energy resources, John decided to explore how the firm could improve its business premises, as well as its overall energy efficiency.
This led to John being introduced to Sunderland City Council’s Business Investment Team and the BEST (Business Energy Saving Team) project, a regional Local Authority-led programme of which Sunderland City Council is a key partner. BEST provides free energy audits on commercial premises for businesses to identify ways to increase energy efficiency and reduce costs.
Following the introduction, the project helped Aardvark conduct a detailed assessment of the business and helped John and the team explore how they could best make financial and carbon savings for the business.
John said: “The free audit gave us a comprehensive, costed and detailed professional energy report that was an excellent reference document and decision-making tool and was key to informing our move to invest in upgrading our LED lighting solutions.
“Electricity bills for lighting were one of the key things highlighted in the report and were much higher than I expected, so we decided to take action and upgrade our lighting. Not only have I saved almost £2,000 per year on my electricity bills, but the quality of lighting has also dramatically improved the working environment across our warehousing and office space.”
Peter McIntyre, Executive Director of City Development at Sunderland City Council, added: “We are delighted Aardvark Ltd has benefitted from the BEST scheme, something Sunderland City Council has worked alongside other local authorities across the region to deliver.
“Reducing energy usage not only cuts business costs but it also slashes carbon emissions, which is the most pressing issue of our generation. We want to help as many local businesses as possible benefit from BEST in 2021 and are actively encouraging applications from SMEs from all sectors.
“I’m already aware of some excellent practice being applied within our business community around low carbon and I’m pleased to see that the BEST scheme is helping encourage Sunderland businesses to take the steps required to reduce their carbon footprints. I look forward to hearing more as companies engage with the programme and help contribute to Sunderland’s ambition to become a carbon neutral city by 2040.”
Inspired by the support received from BEST, Aardvark is now also considering upgrading its old inefficient heating system by taking advantage of the 50 per cent grant offer available in Sunderland.
Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme for 2014-2020, the £1.34 million scheme aims to help businesses reduce their carbon emissions and in turn their energy bills, with over £670,000 in grants available.
For more information on BEST, visit www.best-ne.co.uk