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BECCI project

Green challenge opens the door for four Midlands firms

Four businesses have successfully completed a challenge to unearth green firms in the Midlands meaning they will now develop relationships with two affordable housing providers.

Creative Ceilings, from Wolverhampton, Greengineering from Kidderminster, Heat Genius, from Brierley Hill and iRed based in Birmingham and Oldbury are hoping to trial products or services in Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) and South Staffordshire Housing Association (SSHA) properties after impressing the organisations in the Built Environment Climate Change Innovations (BECCI) project’s ‘Hard to Heat’ challenge.

BECCI, an ERDF funded project delivered by the University of Wolverhampton in partnership with Coventry University,  seeks to develop the supply chain for the introduction of carbon reducing products to existing affordable housing stock.

The four companies were picked by a panel, including SARH and SSHA, which own and manage a combined 11,000 homes in Staffordshire, from a shortlist of 11Midlands firms in the challenge to showcase their innovations at the Business Solutions Centre at the University of Wolverhampton Science Park.

“We are keen to progress our conversations with the companies involved in the challenge as we look at new ideas to improve our customers’ homes. The challenge has certainly highlighted some of the new and innovative ways Midlands firms are developing technology to make properties more eco-friendly and reduce fuel bills,” said Karen Armitage, Chief Executive of SARH.

“The challenge has been a positive process which has introduced some new innovative products and services to improve the energy efficiency of our homes and in turn the lifestyles of our customers for us to consider,” said Ursula Bennion, Director of Business Development at Housing Plus, which SSHA is a part of.

Creative Ceilings, one of the finalists in the process, produces energy efficient radiant heating ceilings made from 100 per cent recycled and non-toxic materials.  The system can be installed quickly in almost all areas of residential and commercial property.

“BECCI has been the catalyst that has enabled us to access a potential market we haven’t had the opportunity or resources to explore before,” said Mick Grantham, director of Creative Ceilings.

Kidderminster-based family business Greengineering, run by husband and wife team Kenny Gallagher and Peni Brudenell-Pryke and their son Scott Gallagher, were chosen by the judging panel for the innovative system to capture and re-use waste heat energy produced by household appliances including air conditioning units, solar panels and refrigerators.

The firm, founded in 2012, was recently invited to submit a project for the Energy Globe Award, one of the most prestigious global environmental awards.

iRed caught the eye of the judging panel for their radiant heater developed specifically to address fuel poverty by heating the mass of a building rather than the air, which can significantly reduce customers’ energy bills.

The company, which is three years old, currently employs six people across its two sites and is in the process of moving to one larger site to accommodate a new production line.

Heat Genius is a brand new product launched in October allowing homeowners to control the heating of each room in their home separately via a smart phone.

The system also has sensors which learn when rooms are in use and automatically adjust the temperature accordingly.

“Our main aim throughout the challenge has been to highlight the depth of products or services available in the Midlands that if implemented by social housing providers would result in less energy consumption by the tenants of these properties,” said Glenn Barrowman, BECCI project manager at the University of Wolverhampton.

He added: “I think we have achieved this with great success and I hope that the businesses involved can develop strong and lasting relationships with the housing associations involved which will make a real difference to tackling fuel poverty and achieving affordable warmth in their homes.”

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