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International Women’s Day Special: The Story of Flame UK

Sunday 8th March is International Women’s Day, and we thought what a great time it would be to tell our story of how Flame UK began. In February 2015 our Managing Director, Pam Knight set up the company. But before we jump right to it, let’s rewind and start with a bit about Pam:

The story of Pam Knight

Pam was born into a hard-working background, growing up on her parents family farm in Long Bennington, Pam saw her parents work very hard from a young age. She recalls “My brothers, sister and I all helped. I was driving a tractor from the age of 8, doing all the ironing and cooking the family breakfast at 10 and potato picking at 12. I was brought up to appreciate hard work and the rewards from a young age.”

At the age of 13, Pam got her first job in Curry’s. “I was selling on the shop floor and signing up credit agreements – things were different back in the day! I left school at 16 and took an apprenticeship with a High Street Bank. I worked my way up to Bank Manager, and when I started my family, I took a career break. I then returned as the first job share Manager within Yorkshire Bank.”

“During my career break, I set up a property development business from the bank so that I could work around my children while they were young. Property has always been a passion of mine.”

So how did Pam get into the world of waste and energy?  “When my boys were little on a cold winters morning I was watching my eldest son play football. I got talking to one of the football Dads who was looking for some admin help in his waste business…the rest is history!”

“I set up the energy department for the business and started my career in Energy and Waste.  This started as a part-time position, however within a month it became full time as we were so busy, and there were only 3 people in the company at the time! I worked my way up to a directorship position and helped grow the company to 55 staff by the time the business was sold.

Very much like farming you sow your seeds and have to nurture them and wait a long time for them to grown, I feel a business is very similar, and when I set up Flame UK I knew it wouldn’t be for instant rewards

So, in February 2015 I set up Flame UK, and it was probably one of the biggest decisions of my life.  I live on my own with 3 boys to support, so everything always relied on me whether it was work or providing for the family.  I’m pretty sure my friends and family thought I was crazy when I sold the small property portfolio I had, which I used to live off, but they supported my vision. I didn’t pay myself a wage for the first couple of years as I started on my new business venture.”

The early days of Flame UK

“I started off in a small two-man office in the Bridgford Business Centre, I didn’t trade for my first six months of business as I needed to ensure I had the supplier infrastructure in place before trying to obtain business.

I moved from a two-man office into a six-man office and then moved again into an eight-man office in the first couple of years, before moving into our own premises on Churchill Business Park.

As a Director of a previous Waste and Energy business, I was involved at all levels of business, however, when you are on your own it really is a very different story.  You have to know and do everything yourself and keep yourself motivated even on really tough days, so the amazing title of Managing Director is Sales, Marketing, HR, Finance, Account Manager, Cleaner all rolled into one!

The last 5 years have been the biggest journey of my life so far, and I have learnt from the numerous mistakes I made in the early days.  My first website was shocking when I look back at it now, but at the time I thought I was doing the right thing by going with a cheap company and doing a lot of work myself.  I am now on my third website, which I am immensely proud of, but it has taken me 5 years to get there. Now it’s constantly being updated with the support of our in-house marketing department.”

The highs and lows

“I invested a lot of money into the staff to help me grow the business with me, but as supportive as some of them were they will never have the same drive and passion that you do.  Staffing will always be a challenge for any business, and sometimes there are very difficult decisions that have to be made. Sadly this is the reality of running a business and maybe as a woman, you become more compassionate with induvial circumstances, but at the end of the day business is business and you have to make those difficult decisions.

Just as I started to turn the corner with the business I was faced with probably the most difficult situation I have ever had to deal with. Embezzlement of money from the company by someone I had trusted to help me grow the business and appointed as a director. It took me through some very dark times whilst still putting on that brave face to my family who relied totally on me.

I decided at that time to involve someone that I had previously worked with, along with his business partner and dilute my shares to grow the business.  It was probably one of the hardest yet best decisions I have made to date in the business.  Having fellow like-minded positive people around me who shared my vision, the business started to go from strength to strength.

Setting up a business is not easy, and I probably work the longest hours I have ever worked in my life. Being in the office at 6am and working through until the job is done, I see staff leave at 5pm and know I have at least another couple of hours work to do.  However, I can honestly say it has been the most rewarding years of my life at the same time and my vision of 5 years ago has become a reality.

There are different decisions reflecting over the last 5 years that would have been made, however, you only know what you know at the time, and at the time they all felt like the right decisions.

I am looking forward to where I can take the business in the next 5 years with the dedicated and loyal team that now all support the same Flame vision.

Everyone has their own challenges in business and it is great to see so many women “just doing it” so well-done to everyone, and keep up the amazing work.”

Now we’re an ever-growing team of 12 and business is flourishing in both waste and energy, and it’s all down to Pam.

 

   

Gas ring

How the Coronavirus is making an impact on the gas market

The gas market is the lowest it’s been in over ten years! Why? The Coronavirus.

What does the Coronavirus have to do with the gas market?

Well, according to this CNG blog, “This is off the back of an oversupplied market due to high levels of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). LNG is natural gas extracted from fields that has been super-cooled down to liquid form for ease and safety of non-pressurised storage or transport via tanker ships. Prices of LNG hit record lows last week”. Chinese buyers have turned away shipments due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. This has forced traders to search for alternative destinations for tankers, Europe being the likely destination.

As Europe’s storage stock is also at unseasonably high levels, this could mean the gas market can potentially remain low through into early summer of 2020. Of course, this is providing the LNG supply stays high and the market remains free from any sharp spikes in demand.

What does this mean?

This is extremely positive for customers. It’s a great time for renewals and new business. Do you have a contract coming up for renewal soon? Get in touch with a highly experienced and friendly member of our team today, to discuss what we can offer. We have a 100% success rate for beating renewal costs, find out here using our free no-obligation price comparison. 

 

   

Flame UKs highlights of 2019

It’s hard to believe that 2019 is almost over already! As we come up to the last few weeks of the year, we want to share with you some highlights of 2019 for Flame UK.

Meet our people

Flame UK has had a brilliant 2019; it’s been a year of growth both internally and externally. We had a lot of new starters to help manage the workload from our growing number of customers. To help you get to know us, we’ve all put together some fun individual blogs, check them out here.

We’d also like to mention that the image we have used at the top of this blog was actually hand-drawn by Henry, our Operations Officer. He really does have an amazing talent, so be sure to check out his blog!

Our fundraising activities

Dove Cottage – At the beginning of August, we got in touch with Dove Cottage Day Hospice who offer palliative daycare to people living with life-limiting illnesses. We got involved with their plastic bottle top campaign to help raise money for them, as well as taking part in the Santa Fun Run. Check out our blog to see how we did.

Wear It Pink – Here at Flame UK we like to do our bit in raising money for charity, so we decided to have a pink theme day to raise money for Breast Cancer Now on their Wear It Pink event.

Flame UKs 2020 chosen charity announced

Our chosen charity who we will be supporting throughout next year is Headway Nottingham, who is a local charity providing support, guidance and longer-term rehabilitation for people adapting to life after brain injury. Make sure you keep an eye on our social media and sign up to our mailing list to find out how we will be supporting Rhiana Lakin and the team at Headway Nottingham.

Our Team Building Exercises

We’re big fans of team building too, from meals out together to some friendly Go-Karting! We have had lots of fun outside of the work environment throughout 2019, and we already have our first team-building exercise planned for 2020. Make sure you’re following us on social media to see how we do.

How Flame UK has grown this year

SmartTrash – As you probably know by now we pride ourselves in delivering cutting edge solutions to energy and environmental challenges to each and every one of our clients, SmartTrash is an innovative solution that Flame UK have helped pioneer for the UK market. Tried and tested around the world now available here through Flame UK, reducing waste collections, saving money and cutting carbon SmartTrash is going to make a huge difference to UK businesses. We are currently looking for some test sites which will benefit from SmartTrash free of charge.

Pallet Collections – Recycling unwanted pallets has been one of our focuses over the past quarter, where we launched a localised pallet collection round. Centred in Nottingham our man and van have been collecting used and unwanted pallets, collecting and recycling pallets that others either can’t or won’t. Everything from small quantities, odd shapes and even damaged pallets we can collect without cost and put the pallets whole or in part back into the packaging chain in the most sustainable and environmentally efficient way possible.

On-Demand Waste Collections – As of November of 2019, we’re able to offer waste collections from as quick as 2 hours from call out. We can take the headache out of junk clearances. Providing the labour, recycling and disposal we literally take care of everything, all you need to do is call, and we take care of the rest, leaving your site clean and tidy and waste-free!

Finally, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from everyone here at Flame UK!

 

 

Ice melting due to climate change

How can we tackle climate change?

What is climate change?

Climate change is the large-scale, and long-term change in the planets average temperatures and weather patterns. Humans have taken part in the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases since the mid-1800s. As a result of this, global temperatures are rising and causing long-term changes to the climate. These changes include rising sea levels as the glaciers and ice sheets melt, ocean acidification as carbon dioxide is absorbed into the ocean, and extreme weather events such as floods, heatwaves etc.

Nottingham is making a change

Nottingham has committed to becoming the first carbon-neutral city in the country by 2028. They have already reduced citywide CO2 emissions by above 41% since 2005. However, they still emitted 1.17 million tonnes of CO2 in 2017, meaning more work is still required.

How your business can help

  • Transition to renewable energy such as installing solar panels to power your office, which can reduce your electricity bill, protect you against the changing utility rates and help you to become a green business.
  • Electric vehicles, whether you switch over to them for your business fleet or install EV charging points to encourage staff to make the transition, electric vehicles will have a much better effect on the environment and can have a reduction in your transportation costs.
  • Keeping control over your waste and recycling as much as possible to avoid waste going to landfill, which is harmful to the environment.

For more information about anything we have mentioned in this blog give us a call on 0115 896 5460 or fill in the contact us form below:

 

 

 

How to save money on energy for your care facility

Energy usage can’t be avoided for those in care facilities, but the costs can be reduced, and here is how:

Tariffs and contracts

Selecting the appropriate tariffs is vital to ensure that you’re paying for what is suited best to your business. They’re many tariffs to choose from such as standard, fixed energy, dual fuel and pre-payment, to name a few.

It’s also essential that you don’t end up on out of contract rates which are rates you have to pay when you haven’t signed a contract with your energy supplier. This can happen when you have told your supplier that you wish to terminate your contract but haven’t arranged another supplier for when the current deal ends. It can also happen if you’re trying to switch supplier and it takes longer than you had expected, meaning that your contract ends before you’ve been able to move over to a new supplier.

Heating your care facility

Making a switch to central gas heating from electric heaters can save you a lot. An electric heater can cost two-three times more per unit of heat than just one unit of heat from one of your radiators. Thermostatic radiator valves are devices which are fitted to the radiators and reduce the amount of water which passes through the radiator, enabling you to choose what temperature you want for each room.

Maintaining your care facility building

Keeping up on the maintenance of your care facility building such as ensuring the roof is well insulated. An uninsulated roof can lose a quarter of heat, by keeping on top of it can save you over £100 a year. Included in the maintenance of your care facility is taps. By having just one dripping cold tap fixed can save you as much as £100 on your water bill, and even more for a hot tap.

Also, ensuring the windows are closed, leaving open a window overnight can waste as much energy as a small car driving 35 miles.

Lighting around your care facility

Switch to LED lights. LED lights have a long lifespan, are energy-efficient, operate at full brightness the minute they’re turned on and have many more advantages. Changing to motion sensor lights will save money as it avoids the possibility of lights being left on when people have left a room.

Solar panels

Another option which can save you money is solar panels. Flame UK is in partnership with Amelio Solar Energy which means we can provide you with solar panels to help reduce your electricity bill. A reduction in your electricity bill isn’t the only advantage to solar panels; they are a renewable energy source and have low maintenance costs.

For any help and advice on the information in the blog, contact a helpful member of our team on 0115896 5460 or visit our website flameuk.co.uk

 

 

Care home

How Flame UK can support Care Facilities

Managing waste and energy correctly for our Care Facility Partner is a priority to us. We share the same goals and aspirations as our Care Facility partners, ensuring you have the necessary support long term.  The nature of care is that waste is created and energy is used, but why should your business suffer.
How can Flame UK support Care Facilities?

Offensive & Clinical Waste

We understand that these waste streams are sensitive to care; we will support you to find the very best solution for your business.  We offer Orange, Tiger, Yellow and sharps waste services to suit your business and volumes.

General Waste

Do you know what items should only be disposed of as general waste? It’s polystyrene, floor sweepings, plastic bags and contaminated plastic packaging. No other type of waste should be included in your general waste. We offer a wide range of container sizes, service frequencies and technology to help reduce vehicle movements. Waste to energy is our preferred method, and we would always advise food waste be separated to lower your costs.

Food Waste

Collected as a separate waste stream, we will support you to put this in place and take advantage of lower processing costs. The food waste collected is treated and turned into energy and fertiliser.

Packaging

We can help you to become more efficient with packaging waste materials created from deliveries and food processing such as cans and plastic bottles.  We can offer you a solution that suits your business, whether that be large wheeled bins, or if your volumes are high, we can supply baling equipment.

Clearances

We can provide skips / large container or on-demand collection service for your large seasonal volumes of waste around Christmas, or clearances.  We can also offer electronic waste collections, mattress clearances and furniture clearances.

Wash Rooms

We can provide air fresheners, hand dryers, sanitary bins and services, soap dispensers or water management to help reduce your water usage. Flame UK can support you and complete a comprehensive service package.

Energy

Did you know that if you do your laundry at night, you will save money because of cheaper night tariffs? By choosing Flame UK to manage your energy, we will make sure that you know about all of the tips and tricks to saving money. Such as how you can switch to LED lights and get renewable and green energy at no additional cost, making your care home more energy-efficient.

Flame UK will ensure that you get the right contract for your care facility which is up to date with the latest energy compliance and that the supplier terms fit with your needs. You can even find out how much money you can save by using our price comparison. 

PAT Testing

PAT Testing may not be on everyone’s mind when it comes to compliance but it is crucial, not only to ensure that everyone remains safe and worry-free but to also conform with the below regulations:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974
  • The Electricity at Work Regulations of 1989
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations of 1998
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations of 1999

Electricity usage is unavoidable for care facilities, from powering lights, nurse call systems, CCTV systems, and so on. If poorly managed, it can have devastating effects.

PAT Testing involves the testing, both visual and full electrical tests, of all electrical appliances that are powered through the sockets and could cause any potential dangers. With our highly trained, professional team, Flame UK offer a reliable and cost-effective service that will ensure your business is compliant to the before-mentioned legislations.

Allow us to help you be sustainably strong in a competitive and developing market.

 

 

What you need to know about MOP contracts.

What is a MOP contract?

A MOP (Meter Operator) agreement is a contract that’s separate from other electricity agreements where you will be invoiced directly from your Meter Operator. They provide a much more accurate measurement of your electricity consumption. This is then passed over to your chosen energy supplier or a DC/DA provider of your choice. MOP contracts are a legal requirement for those affected by P272 legislation. Or those with a half-hourly (HH) meter (when your meter transmits a read to your supplier every 30 minutes either via a sim card or hard phone line connection). A HH meter is a requirement for sites that have a maximum electricity demand of over 100KW.

Why choose a MOP contract?

If you don’t choose a MOP yourself, your supplier will provide one for you at their default cost – which can be double the price. So, instead of supplier estimates, you’ll receive more accurate prices for just the energy you use because your Meter Operator will be passing accurate data to your electricity supplier. Your Meter Operator will take care of all installation and maintenance requirements for your HH meter, including the communication line between you and your supplier or DC/DA (Data Collection and Data Aggregation, a mandatory service linked to your HH meter) so that data is being continuously passed on.

Contract length can range from 1 to 10 years, and costs can vary significantly based on the contract term.

If you have a Half-hourly meter (you can tell by having a look at your MPAN on your bill – there will be a ‘00’ within the top left box of the MPAN) and are not aware of these charges and are being charged a default rate by your supplier, please get in touch with our experts on 0115 896 5460. We’ll gladly help.

 

 

The Future of Electricity Usage

As we move towards a low carbon economy, there will be fundamental shifts in the way that we all use electricity.  This presents opportunities for businesses that move quickly to reduce costs and gain competitive advantage…but it’s about thinking laterally.

In the first of a series of articles Richard Jones, Managing Director of EV Camel and of Amelio Solar Energy, explores some of the challenges and opportunities that will face business and also in our wider lives outside work.  He will also bust some common myths and misunderstandings as our pattern of energy usage changes.

For example, there is commonly thought to be a very limited supply of electricity in the UK, often alongside particular concerns around the move to electric cars.  However whilst we may have an electricity grid that is creaking at the seams in part, the National Grid seems quite comfortable that overall we produce enough electricity – the issue is really sorting out the peaks and troughs of contracted demand and actual demand.  Smoothing demand curves will enable us all to make better and more efficient use of electricity.

Electric car charging

Electric car charging

So what does the future hold for businesses?

There are opportunities to reduce bills through the use of Solar PV – as an example, a food producer paying £10,000 a month for electricity was found to be able to reduce electricity demand by up to 30% by investing in Solar PV – a significant reduction on business overheads.

Other opportunities lie in more flexible tariffs – businesses that can shift electricity usage to off-peak times could pay substantially less and in industries where margins are tight, innovative ways of doing this could prove pivotal to profitability.  Careful advice on such tariffs from experts such as FlameUK will be important in this respect.

Costs of electricity will rise, particularly at peak times and so the incentives to be more flexible as to times of electricity use will become increasingly important.

The Internet of Things (IoT) will assist with managing loads and intelligently shifting and managing demand peaks.  We are moving towards everything being ‘smart’…not just our phones but charging for our cars, our kettles and fridges.

Battery storage will also become more viable and important at both a grid and behind the meter level.

On the day that the Department for Transport produced its strategy towards the decarbonisation of the transport, it’s clear that vehicle manufacturers are rapidly moving into the delivery phase of the transition to electric vehicles.  In the UK, the company car tax regime will change from 1st April 2020 and many commentators see this as a pivotal moment in the transition process.  There will be challenges and opportunities as a result of this – the locations where we rest ourselves and refuel our vehicles will surely change and the British entrepreneurial spirit will create new possibilities with this.

Overall, the shape of electricity usage is set for a major step-change in the coming years and as ever the opportunities for businesses that are fleet of foot will be there for the taking.

For more information on the topics covered in this and subsequent articles please contact your usual contact at FlameUK.

Watch out for a more in-depth analysis of one of these issues from Richard Jones next time…

© R D H Jones; Amelio Solar Energy; EV Camel; 16.10.19

 

 

Watt you can do to reduce your energy costs.

Did you read our blog – How can you save energy and water?

Now, we’re going to focus on energy and give you a few tips to how you can reduce your energy costs.

One of the easiest ways is to switch energy provider. It sounds like it will be a lot of hassle, but by using Flame UK, we will make sure that the process is easy and as hassle-free as possible. You can even get your energy comparison quote in under 90 seconds by clicking here.

Energy comparison quote

Energy comparison quote

Understand your business, and it’s requirements, Flame UK will look at a cost reduction plan in line with your future business aspirations. And you will be provided with an account manager so that you will have full support through your ongoing requirements.

Person at computer

Account manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allow and encourage staff to layer up in winter. In a three bedroom semi-detached house, turning down the heating just by one degree can save £85 – £90 a year, imagine what it would be in a place of work!

Thermostat

Thermostat

Do you clean your air conditioning filters? Replacing a dirty filter with a clean one can lower the energy used by your air conditioning, by between 5% – 15%.

Air conditioning unit

Air conditioning unit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A final tip is to spend some time educating your employees on how to save energy. Encourage them to turn off appliances when they aren’t in use and explain the benefits of energy-saving.

Off button

Off button on laptop

 

How can you save energy and water?

 

Want to know how you can save your energy and water? Well, keep reading. We’re going to share some easy every day changes you can make to help you save energy and water.

 

 

 

 

First off is a super easy one. Turn off your lights when the room isn’t in use, or when there is enough daylight to be able to see everything. It is that simple! Did you know that if you turn off just 4 lights every night for a year, you can save as much CO2 as produced by 20 car trips from London to Paris?

Image of Big Ben in London to the Eiffel Tower in Paris

London to Paris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another great way to save energy is by opting for motion sensor lights. That way, you don’t need to remember to turn off the lights as you leave the room.

 

You could also switch over to energy-efficient bulbs. While they are more expensive than traditional bulbs, they do save you money because they last so much longer and use much less energy.

Typically, about 25%-80% less energy in fact!

 

 

 

 

One great way to save water at least twice a day per person is to make sure that you turn off your tap while brushing your teeth. This can save up to 3 or 4 gallons of water per person, per day. Did you know, 1 in 3 people leave the water running while brushing their teeth?

 

 

 

 

Another great way to save water is by not washing your dirty clothes until you have a full machine load by doing this you use less water and energy than you would in 2 half loads.

A final great way to save water in your workplace is to replace single-flush toilets with dual-flush toilets which allow you to choose whether you use a partial or full flush.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out how much we could help you save on your business energy by getting a comparison quote in under 90 seconds today!