Adam Workman, partner at CT Investment Partners, spoke to Alex Blackburne about the North West Fund for Energy and Environmental – an innovative vehicle that targets and invests in early stage, sustainable companies and technologies.
On April 1, Blue & Green Tomorrow broke the news that fossil fuel companies were “coming clean” in favour of renewable energy. Whilst this was quite obviously our contribution to April Fools’ Day, the story highlights the growing need for an increased support of clean energy, especially given the finite and polluting nature of fossil fuels.
As we continue to state, one way to curb further destruction from such sectors is through investing in funds whose sole objective is supporting sustainable industries and technologies.
“If you look at the long-term drivers of this market – shorter supplies of raw materials and ever-increasing energy costs – the broad economic drivers are very encouraging”, says Adam Workman, partner at CT Investment Partners (CTIP).
“If you look at it as an asset class over a five to ten year period, it’s poised for some significant growth, as people are forced to switch from resource-constrained markets and look at new technologies and services to get away from that.”
CTIP is an investment management group based in London and Warrington that formed in 2006 as a spin-off from the Carbon Trust.
Amongst the funds that it manages is the North West Fund for Energy and Environmental – a £20m investment vehicle that picks out companies from the energy and environmental sectors as potential investment opportunities.
“We see sustainability on two sides”, explains Workman.
“One is sustainability in terms of the environmental side, but the other is sustainability in terms of being able to find long-term investment outside the normal course of typical funds by being evergreen.”
London South East defines an evergreen fund as, “A fund in which returns generated on investments are automatically returned to the general pool, with the aim of keeping a continuous supply of capital on hand for investments.”
CTIP’s fund focuses on six investment areas: cleaner fuel production; electricity or heat generation, the transportation of heat and electricity; the end use of energy in transport, industry and the built environment; water and waste water treatment; and recycling and waste management.
The style of investing used by CTIP allows growth-stage companies and technologies to prosper relatively quickly.
Workman runs through a couple of examples of companies that the North West Fund for Energy and Environmental invests in.
“One is ACAL Energy, which was originally spun out from Liverpool University but is now based in Runcorn”, he says.
“That’s looking at a very novel type of fuel cell architecture to reduce the amount of rare materials required to power fuel cells and to increase their performance but also critically to reduce the cost of the fuel cells, stationary power and the automotive sector.
“We’re taking it onto the next stage of commercial deployment, so it’s very much a case of taking UK technology and applying it to global markets.
“The second one is a company called Imperative Energy, which is an installer of biomass heat and biomass CHP systems for industrial scale, and medium-sized systems.”
CTIP’s investment process makes it stand out from conventional fund management groups. Its specific interest in early stage energy and environmental businesses brings a fresh approach to sustainable investment.
“If you look at the majority of investors who made a number of investments in this area, in the current market, most investors are looking at late stage growth capital, or infrastructure finance”, Workman explains.
“If you’re looking at investors at the early stage, there are very few because it is such a complicated sector with technologies and policies to look at and identify opportunities.
“We’ve got the skill set to be able to assess the opportunities, but on top of that, it’s not just about investing in companies and helping companies; we also try and work with a range of co-investors, venture capital funds and corporates, to bring them into companies as well.”
Through funds like the North West Fund for Energy and Environmental, sustainability measures are being put in place at a level that will make a massive difference.
As always, we’re here to help you, too. Ask your IFA about sustainable investment or fill in our online form and we’ll connect you to a specialist adviser.
Previous fund profiles:
- IM WHEB Sustainability Fund
- Kames Capital Ethical Equity Fund
- Quadris Environmental Forestry Fund
- Ludgate Environmental Fund
- 7IM Sustainable Balance Fund
- Allianz RCM Global EcoTrends Fund
- Cheviot Climate Assets Fund
- Skandia Ethical Fund
- Premier Ethical Fund
- SVM All Europe SRI Fund
- SWIP Islamic Global Equity Fund
- Legal & General Global Environmental Enterprises Fund
- Aberdeen Ethical World Fund
How Going Green Can Save A Company Money
What is going green?
Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.
The first step in going green
There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.
Making needed changes within the company
After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.
Reducing the common paper waste
Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.
Make money by spreading the word
Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.
5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable
Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.
1. Weather stripping
If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.
Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.
Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.
2. Programmable thermostats
Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.
Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!
3. Low-flow water hardware
With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.
Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.
Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.
4. Energy efficient light bulbs
An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.
New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.
5. Installing solar panels
Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.
Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.
From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!
These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.
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