A north east audio visual entrepreneur has overhauled his business to light the way to a better future for our planet. He now hopes that other local businesses will follow his green policy by making changes that will benefit the environment as well as saving them money and resources.
Reed Ingram Weir, originally from Buxton in Derbyshire but now settled in the Tyne Valley in Northumberland with his family, runs two successful audio-visual companies - Ingram AV and Festoon Lighting.
His enterprises supply sound and lighting equipment to local venues, events, businesses and bands, while his clients include local venues such as the Live Theatre, Northern Stage, Gala Theatre, Sage Gateshead as well as couples wanting bespoke lighting for their wedding and companies with conference AV requirements.
Reed originally started out as a 'one man band' but now has a comprehensive hire inventory and full technical event production service based on Gateshead's Team Valley Trading Estate. He recently became increasingly concerned by his energy consumption and also realised that using a large, diesel vans for small local deliveries, as well as some of his other usual business practices, created a significant carbon footprint. With the aim of creating a greener future for both his business and the environment, Reed resolved to make immediate positive changes.
To date, Reed's environmental mission has included reducing his diesel vehicle fleet by 50% and choosing an 100% electrically-powered van and an 100% electric car.
He's also fitted a smart meter at his business premises that turns off the heating when no one is in and he's currently looking at his overall consumption of plastics. Amazed by the tangible impact of his improvements, Reed extended his green policy to cover his home. As well as using 100% electric car for travel.
He's currently looking at installing solar panels and a battery wall that charges using energy from the sun by day and discharges the power at night. He's also changed his electricity supplier and now uses one that guarantees that their power comes from renewable sources.
Reed said: "Ingram AV and Festoon Lighting both supply AV equipment to local businesses and venues. Traditionally in my business, our equipment uses a lot of power. When I started to investigate what could be done, I was impressed by how much difference small changes can make when it is all added up.
"As well as overhauling the vehicle fleet, I've upgraded many of the lights to LED and now stock over 60 rechargeable LED fixtures. We have also upgraded our audio system and now use digital amplifiers, which use far less power. It's not just about the positive impact these changes have on our environment either. I've found that looking at my business holistically from an energy consumption point of view has helped me stop wasting energy and save money. In fact, the benefits have inspired me to encourage other local businesses to go greener.
"I'm keen to be a spokesperson and advisor for businesses who want to make positive environmental changes and introduce a green policy. There's a misconception that making green changes is costly - actually it can save money in the long term. If we work together, the changes we make in our homes and at our businesses will have a huge impact on our environment."
The benefits of upgrading to electrically-powered vehicles are surprising. Many people don't know much about electric cars and vans, but recent innovations have led to huge improvements in performance and efficiency.
EVs are now cheaper to run than their conventional petrol or diesel counterparts, they are also cheaper to maintain as they have a lot less moving parts and regenerative braking systems that capture the kinetic energy and charge the battery back up and prevent where and tear. EVs are also proving to have both safety and health benefits for those that choose them.
With Reed's businesses enabling people from all over our region to attend top-class entertainment events secure in the knowledge the planet isn't paying a huge cost for their enjoyment, the future is looking bright.