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ThermaFY is a leader in real-time thermal analysis solutions. Their key values are sustainability and social good, upheld by commitments to NatWest’s Climate Entrepreneur Accelerator and Microsoft’s AI for Earth program in partnership with the Social Tech Trust.

Tell us about yourself and your business.

My name is Scott Fairburn. I’m CEO of the ThermaFY Group, which is based in Kelso in the Scottish Borders. At ThermaFY our speciality is in thermal imaging and analysis.

There are three main businesses. We have looked at the thermal imaging of people, which has been very important during COVID-19. We also look at thermal images with animals in the agricultural sector. And our last company is our central heating company, where we look at thermal images of central heating radiators etc for efficiency within individual central heating systems.

Why is sustainability important to you?

As a business, we are looking more and more at sustainability, particularly for our eco arm, because we are quite passionate about the fact that the central heating systems in the UK tend to be fairly inefficient and there are limited ways of actually seeing how inefficient they really are.

The question that we ask everyone is “Do you know how efficient your home central heating is?” and the answer 99 times out of 100 is “No”!

How do these heating surveys work – and how can they help a business to become more sustainable?

Our capability allows an individual to see how efficient their central heating is by taking thermal images of radiators as you walk around their property and then gives them a report that says this is the efficiency you have in percentage terms and here are the things that you can do to make that better.

Once I’ve gone round your premises, office or home and you get our efficiency rating for the property with a report that details the problems that you may have and the remedial actions that need to be taken. We also include the grants and support which are available as part of the report. You’ve then got the opportunity to make the decision about next steps such as upgrades, insulation or retrofit.

How easy and affordable is this to implement as a solution, particularly for smaller businesses?

We’ll be with two hundred employees of a large corporate soon, going around each of their homes in April and May. But the principle is the same for small businesses. It’s a model that can be used no matter the size of your company. Everyone has sustainability and a green agenda – hopefully they do if they’re in business.

Has the pandemic had an impact with the rise of remote and home working?

Yes, absolutely. Employers need to look at the new dynamics of their employees working from home, which they now need to include as part of their carbon footprint.

The world has changed. Many people have been working from home and their home central heating is less efficient. 20% of all our carbon emissions come from domestic heating. We expect a hybrid model of working in the future – this isn’t going away.

No one gets up on a Saturday morning, and says, “Yes, I’m going to fix my central heating efficiency”! – so this gives them a little prompt to understand the savings that they can make and how their carbon footprint can be improved by using a simple piece of kit.

What are the benefits to businesses of analysing and acting to improve their energy efficiency?

People who are coming into the workplace and people who are moving between organisations are certainly looking for successful organisations, but also for organisations that have a successful sustainability agenda. Employees are really driving that and are interested in the green agenda much more than perhaps previously.

If you look at the businesses themselves, then they should be able to reduce their costs depending on each individual business. Employees have been seeing their energy bills go up as they’ve been working from home, so this can help bring them down too.

Finally, what advice would you offer to small businesses looking to improve their energy efficiency?

I think this all ties back to their own sustainability agenda. They should have a plan in place for what they are trying to do or that they will need to refresh. Because over the last 12 months the world has changed and they will need to change the sustainability agenda.

They must include in their plan their new operating model and the new locations where their people work. Where their people work today is different, changing their energy efficiency and carbon footprint, and this needs to be improved.

Five easy steps towards net zero

Responding to the climate and nature emergencies requires action from all businesses and organisations. Here we look at the first steps to make sure your business supports the transformation to a greener and more prosperous Scotland. Find out more.

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