Innovators: Practical Answers To Energy Issues

Features Posted 09/03/21
Like many businesses, Ecopare has had to remain flexible and alert to potential opportunities during the pandemic.

MD Craig Astfalck (pictured with Amelda Astfalck) admits the past year has been challenging, but productive. His company specialises in analysing the energy use of businesses in three main sectors – industry, education and commerce – and lockdown has opened some interesting doors.

“Many offices, warehouses and commercial premises are now being occupied by only a tiny percentage of staff, yet they are still having to be lit and heated. We can help, by installing technology which is tailor-made to use.

“When people hear what we do, they come to us and say ‘how can we reduce our heating and lighting costs according to occupancy?’ We try to find the answers.”

Craig, who was born in South Africa, but has lived in the UK for 20 years, has a background in IT for manufacturing systems, but diversified into providing consultancy for the sector. He founded Ecopare, which is based on Surrey Research Park, in 2011 and describes it as a “practical energy management company”. The website outlines the range of services as including “thermographic auditing, power quality analysis and smart metering solutions”.

A key part of those solutions lies in LED lighting, which provides long-lasting, environmentally friendly and cost-effective systems for all sizes of business premises. The results are startling, with up to 80 per cent of savings in some cases.

What does Craig’s team offer?

When people hear what we do, they come to us and say ‘how can we reduce our heating and lighting costs according to occupancy?’ We try to find the answers.
“When we get a request for help, the first thing we do is ask to see energy bills, so we can analyse costs. Then we make an on-site survey, spending up to two days understanding how the building works. We can then offer the company our analysis of the system and how we can help. If they agree, we will send our in-house electricians and technicians to install the power-saving technology.”

Premises left mainly empty during lockdown have benefited from the installation of motion sensors, so that only the sections of the building being occupied are lit or heated. This can be individually monitored from floor to floor of a business, said Craig.

At the moment, Ecopare is operating at part-strength with just four people including Craig’s wife Amelda, who keeps a close eye on the admin side of the business. The rest of the small team is furloughed, but Craig is confident business will pick up when the pandemic is controlled and people can return to work.

In the meantime, he and Amelda share home schooling for their 12-year-old daughter and observe a house rule of no business talk after 8pm. Craig is looking forward to returning to his hobby of fly-fishing and his wife to her tennis, but in the meantime they keep fit and enjoy family time walking in the woods near their home outside Guildford.

For more information on available properties: 01483 579 693 www.surrey-research-park.com

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