Tight cost control holds key to making energy-efficiency a viable option

Financial efficiency has to precede energy efficiency, AC Goatham & Sons partner Clive Goatham told the fruit storage day.

"To achieve meaningful energy-efficiency gains requires substantial front-end loading of capital investment," he said. "You first have to create financial efficiency, which means taking out all the unnecessary costs from your route to market."

The company, named Grower of the Year in February, centralised its packing operations in a single site last year, which brought "significant savings across the business including on energy", said Goatham. Even in February, roof-mounted solar panels supply 22 per cent of the site's electricity needs. But he admitted: "Solar doesn't stack up without the feed-in tariffs."

He added: "Cold storage is our main energy expense. The Hycool system has brought very significant savings of up to 33 per cent, but the cost of this system has risen very substantially."


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