Glencroft makes warehouse more energy efficient

As part of our continuing efforts to be as sustainable as we can, last year we looked closely at our energy usage which resulted in us switching nearly all of our lighting to LEDs controlled by sensors. How much if any effect would it have on our energy usage we wondered, well the result was rather surprising.

Our carbon footprint

Some areas of our business are already fairly sustainable, we’ve worked with local mills and factories since we were established in the late 80s and used locally sourced natural materials including 100% British Wool, British sheepskin, Harris Tweed and Yorkshire tweeds. Our carbon footprint for many of our products is fairly low and the items we make have the fantastic properties of wool – durable, recylable, biodegrable, easy care.

Other areas are less so, we still use quite a few plastic bags in our product packaging, and polyester labels are hard to replace – both areas we are working hard to improve upon.

Our cow barn warehouse

Glencroft warehouse front door
The front of the Glencroft warehouse with the original sliding barn door

Our warehouse was built as a barn for cows and hay we think around the early 1800s which makes it well over 200 years old. It was designed exceptionally well for purpose, the thick limestone walls and slate roof keep the weather out in the winter and keep the building extremely cool inside in the summer. Perfect for livestock, and hay. Less so for people as it can get very cold in winter.

When we converted the building from a barn to a warehouse back in the mid 1990s we put in 6 foot flourescent strip lights, a couple of electric storage heaters and a few plugs in the office for the computer, adding machine (yes really!) and kettle.

The pandemic really brought energy efficiency further to the forefront of our minds, as electricity was a monthly bill we couldn’t avoid or put off during those dark few months of lockdown when all our incoming revenue dried to a trickle.

We reached out to the Leeds Enterprise Partnership REBiz team who came and analysed our energy usage. They calculated we could save about 40% on our lighting costs over the course of a year, a potential saving of about £300, not to be sniffed at although unfortunately well below their minimum energy saving requirement for a grant to help with the conversion.

Light sensors to protect stock

One issue we’ve had from time to time is light damage – if we have stock that lingers for a long period of time (over a year usually), and is situated near a daily source of light such as a flourescent light it can suffer light damage. An example being some cream coloured knitted scarves neatly piled on a top shelf, which we found had developed a bright white bleached line on the parts exposed to the light – the folded edges when stacked.

We had already considered using light sensors that only came on when we went into specific areas of the warehouse for this purpose, but realised of course it would also reduce our energy usage as the lights wouldn’t be on as often.

We chatted to our local electrician and made a plan, with all our main lighting replaced with LEDs and sensors where relevant in January 2022.

LED light in warehouse
LED striplights replace the original flourescents

The results

Our biggest energy usage is our storage heaters, we can see this because our electricity bill drops significantly when we turn them off in Spring. We haven’t yet found a suitable replacement for those, although we are looking at it.

If we compare the months when the heaters were turned off – May and June – we’ve saved a whopping 75% each month! We can be pretty sure this is down to the lighting because our other electricity usage hasn’t changed – we still have a kettle and a few PCs, in fact we probably have a few more electrical items than previous years.

You can read more about our sustainability challenges in some of our other posts:



Glencroft makes warehouse more energy efficient