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Rising energy costs and the challenges we faced within our Craft Business

October 06, 2022 3 min read

two people in a workshop

A lot of time, and a little energy

As owners of a small craft business that depends on natural gas and electricity to produce our hand blown glass work; energy, sustainability and environmental responsibility cannot just be an aspiration. We try to be energy conscious and reduce our use every day, even if only sometimes in small amounts. It has always been a commitment and a priority for us.

Although we’ve been aiming to improve the efficiency of our studio equipment for years, it is only now that we have been able to do so. We have struggled to come to terms with the thought that something so essential as reducing our energy use has required so much time to accomplish.Years of saving, and gaining information means the outlay costs include not only money, but time and resources.

Many hours of research were spent on a lengthy investigation into electric glass furnaces. Initially we thought the wisest environmental choice to make would be to acquire an electric furnace. We learned though that only about 20 percent of the UK’S electricity is generated by wind. There are few commercially available options for small scale electric glass furnaces, and we wondered if we could try instead to make our existing gas furnace more efficient.

Hours added up conversing with energy agents and consultants that rang every week to they could help…for a fee! Everyone was an energy agent in the great gold rush of energy services. But no one could really tell us how much we would save. We are very niche, and few consultants were familiar with glass blowing.



We concluded that we would custom manufacture our own machinery as nothing “off the shelf” was out there. Searches for the right design and fabrication specialists led us to our glass community in the US, where ultimately the new components to our studio were fabricated.


The arrival of our equipment via sea freight was just the beginning. Three intense, seemingly non-stop weeks of work, from rebuilding the glass furnace refitted with a heat recuperator, to deciding the new placement of the equipment ended after the gas fitter hooked everything up and we were able to test fire the furnace. Another week of commissioning and fine tuning the equipment has led to our “new” studio humming away nicely now for a few weeks.

It has has been a long, invested process but we feel very fortunate that with our clients support we have been able to implement these changes. We still can’t be 100% sure what our efficiency gains are, but after just a little over a month running our retrofitted furnace and annealing ovens, our gas and electricity consumption has decreased.

Our aim with this machinery investment is to continue to build on our ethos of the last 20 years 

 

Our Ethos

  • Our commitment has always been to make and work in the best way we can with respect for the planet and the people we work with.
  • Our coloured glass material is 98% recycled optical glass. Our transparent glass material is 100% recycled glass.
  • We make all our pieces to order, handcrafted by us in our London workshop. You may have to wait a little longer for your item, but by doing so, you help to respect our craft, materials and resources.



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