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Small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) are instrumental in the fight for a zero carbon future. In 2018, SMEs spent £25 billion on gas and electricity, just shy of the £30 Billion spent by domestic customers, so it’s clear that they'll be central to any efforts to decarbonise our energy system.
From the buzzers and bells of Brighton Palace Pier to the life support systems that sustain futuristic vertical farms, we're proud to be powering 30,000 fantastic businesses. With that in mind, we thought we’d introduce some of the wonderful SMEs driving for a low-carbon future, and putting our clean, green electrons to good use in the process.
Brighton Palace Pier
Image courtesy of Visit Brighton
Open since 1899, the world famous Brighton Palace Pier is the fourth most visited attraction in the UK, attracting a whopping 4.9m visitors every year. The 1,722 feet long, five acre Pier is a jewel of Victorian architecture, but the energy they use to power their attractions has come a long way over the last century. From roller coasters to bumper cars, Brighton Pier now uses our clean, green electrons to power their 18 fantastic funfair rides, giving hoards of visitors a top afternoon out without having to worry about their carbon footprint.
As well as the rides themselves, our electricity is used to keep the lights on and the bells ringing in two arcades, and to run two bars, a restaurant, and a whole host of smaller catering outlets and attractions. So get yourself down for a fun filled, environmentally friendly day out!
A pebble’s throw from Brighton Palace Pier, Brighton Gin uses Octopus’ electricity to power Brighton's first (legal) distillery. Brighton Gin started with a lightbulb moment (founder Kathy was jogging on the seafront one morning and realised that by sticking to gin she’d somehow dodged a hangover) - and it’s a pleasure to have kept that lightbulb shining since.
“We're delighted to use renewable power from Octopus Energy to power the Brighton Gin Cave (our distillery, office and storage space all in one little unit) in the cleanest way possible.”Kathy, Founder, Brighton Gin
Keen to embody the spirit of their hometown (pun intended), they pride themselves on upholding the same green standards that are so much a part of Brighton - a famously forward-thinking city. Brighton Gin use our energy for everything from powering the still on which the gin is made to warming the wax they use to seal the bottles. They’ve even been using our green electrons for local deliveries, thanks to their magnificent rechargeable e-cargo bike, which has clocked an impressive 1000 miles of renewably-powered trips in the last 6 months.
The folks at LettUs Grow are dedicated to reducing carbon footprints and food waste, by allowing anyone, anywhere, to grow delicious food. That’s right. With their ‘vertical farming’ technology and software, they are designing and building the farms of the future. At their aeroponic container farm, DROP & GROW, they grow food without soil or pesticides, using LEDS and mist instead of natural light and water. Given that agriculture currently accounts for nearly 50% of habitable land use, and 23% of Global Carbon emissions, vertical farms have the potential to radically transform our food supply networks, supplying hyper-local, fresh produce to communities.
LettUs Grow’s two research & development farms, based in Bristol, are both powered by Octopus Energy’s 100% renewable energy. What’s perhaps most exciting is that they’ve also teamed up with us to integrate their farm management software, Ostara, with our half-hourly, variably priced AgileOctopus smart tariff. This gives them access to cheap, green, off-peak energy, which is handy given that energy usually accounts for 40-50% of vertical farms’ production costs.
The integration with AgileOctopus allows them to give the crops ‘down time’ between 3-7pm when electricity is in high demand (and most expensive), which cuts costs, and also takes strain off the electrical grid at times when the UK usually has to call on dirty fossil fuel generators to meet demand.
Oxford Clay Handmade Ceramics
Oxford Clay Handmade Ceramics specialises in ceramics that are designed to cause minimal impact on humans, animals and the environment. Their products are all made from clay sourced within the UK, glazed with recycled wood ash and fired in an energy-efficient kiln powered by our 100% renewable energy. All Oxford Clay's ceramics have even been certified as vegan by The Vegan Society! For years, founder Catherine Tomlinson has been concerned about the lack of information about the ingredients ceramics are often made with - many of which are obtained in ways that are harmful to animals, people and the environment, so she’s been working hard to set things right.
Treflach Farm is a crossroads for several different groups and communities, centred on animal welfare, and sustainability and care for the environment. They sell everything from homemade apple pies to cheese and onion pasties, with all the ingredients grown on the farm, using sustainable practices. Their business model, based around a circular economy, has seen them cultivate biodiversity, work towards ‘zero waste to landfill’ and start to generate their own energy on site. Running on self-generated energy is a noble goal and we’re cheering Treflach on, but in the meantime, we provide our 100% green electricity to support their energy needs.
Greg, founder of Myst-Tree Cider, is a great example of an entrepreneuring customer who has recently decided to put our 100% renewable electrons to good use. He’s chosen to focus on honey, mead, and cider, and while we focus on supplying green energy, we’re very much on the same wavelength.
“I’m proud to be building a business based on similar principles to Octopus Energy - being as environmentally friendly as possible, while offering customers a top-quality product”Greg, Founder, Myst-Tree Cider
To produce mead commercially, Greg realised that he would need a hefty supply of good unfiltered honey, which is expensive. He was also keen to use local honey, and so decided to start beekeeping himself. Besides the benefits his hives bring to the local ecosystem, the production consumes a lot of energy - grinding fruit, extracting honey, along with all of the pumps, mixers and temperature controls needed for fermentation - so we’re over the Moon that he’s opted to use our super-green electrons. For Greg, however, it was a no brainer:
I chose to go with Octopus Energy as my sole energy supplier because of its 100% green renewable energy and their reasonable prices. Renewable energy is extremely important to me, not just from an ethos perspective but also from a business standpoint too. The raw materials for my products are all affected by global warming.
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