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Glencairn Crystal gets closer to 100% renewable energy sourcing

Following a £2 million investment over the past 12 months, Scotland’s Glencairn Crystal is getting closer to being 100% dependent on its own solar energy.

As the COP26 conference kicks off this weekend in Glasgow, Scottish family-owned and run business Glencairn Crystal has announced that it has undertaken an extensive expansion and remodelling of its factory and offices at its headquarters in East Kilbride, just outside Glasgow.

As part of the company’s strategy to increase its level of sustainability, Glencairn has invested £2 million over the past 12 months into its building infrastructure, factory processes and environmental programme, to ensure that as many aspects of the business as possible are sustainable and environmentally sound.

The investment marks a key moment for the crystal company, that is looking to become 100% dependent on its own solar energy within the next five years.

Glencairn’s investment includes the following:

  • Installation of an extensive Solar PV and energy storage system: the energy generated by the system will be over and above the required amount for the company to run off and be entirely independent on. Any excess electricity generated from the system will be sent back to the grid and can be repurposed for other local usage. This system has also enabled Glencairn to immediately reduce its gas usage by 30%, with the plan for this to rise to 60% over the next 5 years – eventually leading to removal of gas energy altogether over the next ten years.
  • Air conditioning: the installation of the Solar PV system has allowed the team to install an air conditioning system for the factory floor level for employees, thus removing the previous gas heating system, immediately reducing gas usage across the business by 30%, with this figure continually increasing over the next 12 months.
  • The addition of electric car charging points in the company car park has meant that all company cars are now either fully electric or hybrid.
  • Day-to-day office functions such as recycling and packaging have been carefully considered, with the ambition to re-use and reduce, rather than just recycle, removing the use of plastic packaging entirely over the next five years. The company works with Viridor – a scheme to collect all cardboard and paper from the site that is taken to be recycled. However, this is also under further review with the team looking to install an industrial shredding machine, enabling all cardboard waste to be shredded and re-used for packaging purposes, thus making the business self-sufficient within this area, rather than relying on resource-heavy recycling methods.

Paul Davidson, managing director at Glencairn, said: “As a socially and environmentally responsible family business we are strongly influenced by the families’ children’s views on the environment, as they are the future of both our business and our planet.

By shaping our policies and practices around what they believe, we are confident of building a far more sustainable future and, although we don’t have all the answers yet, we’re doing our best to find them.”

James Crilly, purchasing drector at Glencairn Crystal commented: “Here at Glencairn, we have always embraced change and evolution as a business. Our investment in a sustainable Solar PV energy system, alongside a number of key initiatives to encourage the entire company to become more instinctive in their everyday choices, is driving a step-change in the business.”

He continued: “Our ambition is to be 100% reliable on electrical energy over the next five years, whilst looking to increasingly re-use and reduce the energy we’re using in recycling. As a business that makes premium glassware designed to last a lifetime, we believe this is fully achievable and must be at the heart of what we do.”

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