Why manufacturers need to jumpstart a new approach to energy

2 mins read

The current geo-political climate is highlighting the need for manufacturers to clean up their act when it comes to energy consumption. Expanding sales of energy-saving solutions including heat pumps, water heaters and inverter units is reflective of the ever-pressing need for the world to cut CO2 emissions – and a growing appetite among consumers for businesses to do their bit.

Ilias Katsoulis, managing director, Hubbard
Ilias Katsoulis, managing director, Hubbard

The road to carbon neutrality is one that all manufacturers are on, and it’s time to accelerate progress.

Carbon neutral operations

As specialists in refrigeration, we know that reducing the primary carbon footprint of our products is incredibly important. It is for this reason that our team is investing in a programme of research and development for clean technology – developing refrigeration products that deliver tangible value by using limited or zero non-renewable resources, and which create significantly less waste than conventional offerings. 

Manufacturers have likewise grappled with the issue of how to increase outputs and productivity, without carbon emissions goals taking a hit. Our new research and development (R&D) facility, adjacent to our new factory in Ipswich, will soon enable us to explore and test new energy saving strategies on the doorstep of our existing operations and help to answer this question.

On a global scale, the Daikin group – the multinational air conditioning, ventilation, refrigeration and heat pump manufacturing brand of which Hubbard is a part – is currently focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions throughout the product lifecycle. We believe it is this focus that will enable our business to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Investing in energy efficiency

Investing in facilities, of course, is as much as part reducing the impact of the production process as it is as about addressing the impact of the end product. This is why the design principles behind our new R&D facility focus on the elimination of all types of waste throughout the production process.

As well the clear benefits to the environment, we’re also targeting an overall efficiency improvement of around 30% and a significant reduction in lead times, all which guarantee a the smooth and reliable service. A reminder once again that a win for the environment is a win for business.

A whole-life approach to products

As manufacturers, we have a responsibility to invest in reducing our impact on the environment. And while adapting manufacturing practices and identifying ways to make factories greener is a great place to start, the answer lies in circular, longer-term thinking. 

By investing in an always-on R&D facility that is exploring ways to make improvements to our products old and new, we can increase product efficiency and produce truly green products. Critically, those products remain our responsibility once they’ve left the factory and throughout their lifetimes.

We must invest in ways to support and educate our customers on the most cost and eco-effective ways to use and improve the Hubbard solutions they deploy; from offering basic customer support and reliable repair services, to diagnostics and servicing. And by making those investments in people and processes locally, region by region, we can contribute to the growth of employees, local communities and the wider ecosystem of our operations by extension.

Best practice along the value chain

This mission is also why we are partnering with suppliers, high street retailers, and universities around the world to undertake research into leading-edge technologies that explore CO2 decomposition, recovery, and reuse. Collaboration is key on the road to carbon neutrality.

Since 2000, Hubbard has invested significantly in reducing the environmental impact of its products and is now one of the major suppliers of Carbon Trust, Energy Technology Product (ETP)-listed Cellar Cooling Equipment.

We’ve already shown that by improving efficiencies, together with our customers, we can contribute to reducing waste: less wasted food and perishable goods, fewer pieces of obsolete equipment, and less wasted energy.

The practice of green-orientated manufacturing continues when the product is in the hands of the customer, and centres around making continual improvements and optimisation.

As makers, we must all adopt this approach if society is to keep pace with the challenges of a warming world. The sooner we can all consider the full lifecycle of our products, the better.