Prime Minister Boris Johnson is committed to making Britain greener. That means people and businesses need to reduce their energy consumption and wean themselves off oil and gas.
The public sector, including schools, hospitals and prisons, needs to play its part too, but the process can be costly and cash is in short supply, now more than ever.
A large secondary school, for example, would have to pay about £200,000 to switch from fluorescent lights to energy-saving LEDs (light emitting diodes). The upfront cost is high, but the long-term savings are huge, as modern systems are far more efficient – and therefore more environmentally friendly – than the alternatives.
Bright future: The lights at Marlborough College’s Victorian cricket pavilion have been replaced with a network of power-saving LEDs by eEnergy
London-based eEnergy helps schools to switch and save money by offering lighting as a service.
The company removes the old kit, installs modern lighting and takes responsibility for maintenance over a given period, normally five to seven years. In return, the school pays a monthly fee, the cost of which is more than 30 per cent lower than its original electricity bill.
The scheme has several benefits. Head teachers can plough the savings into better facilities in the classroom. LEDs are easier on the eyes for teachers and pupils, and – unlike fluorescent lights – they don’t contain mercury, making them easier to recycle.
The switch helps schools to contribute to the Government’s Green Revolution – a movement that many climate-conscious pupils and their parents are keen to join.
Chief executive Harvey Sinclair co-founded eEnergy in 2014 and lighting as a service has since been adopted by more than 450 schools across the country, including leading boarding school Marlborough College and Belfast Royal Academy, the oldest school in the capital of Northern Ireland.
However, there are more than 32,000 schools in the UK and four fifths of them still rely on old lighting, so eEnergy has plenty of potential for growth and demand has been rising. The firm has been expanding fast in other areas too.
Care homes have been subscribing to its service and a pilot project is underway at a large hospital with more NHS Trusts in the pipeline.
Sinclair has also had several successes in industry, particularly in the food sector. Customers include potato farmers packing their produce in cavernous warehouses, bakers making loaves in the early hours and food manufacturers producing ready meals day and night.
Many of these businesses are keen to move to LED lighting not just because it is more efficient and environmentally friendly, but also because it boosts staff performance.
Workers can see what they are doing more clearly and tend to call in sick less often because the lighting is easier to cope with during long shifts.
Overall, the group has completed more than 1,000 projects and the pace of growth is increasing fast.
This month, Sinclair said turnover for the six months to December 2020 had risen 235 per cent when compared with the same period a year before, and brokers expect sales to soar from £4.5million in the year to June 2020 to £13.8million in the year to June 2021.
The firm is also likely to move into profit for the first time, making about £100,000 compared with a £2million loss last year. Further strong growth is expected in 2022 and beyond.
Currently, eEnergy is valued on the stock market at £35million, but Sinclair is keen to triple the size of the business – and he has an encouraging track record. Aged 49, he has founded several successful firms, including online recruiter The Hot Group, which he set up in 2000 and sold for £50million six years later.
There are no plans to sell eEnergy right now, but plenty of plans to grow it. The group does not just offer lighting.
It also helps companies find the cheapest green energy on the market, and this year Sinclair expects to expand from offering lighting to offering heating as a service too – switching customers from traditional boilers to state-of-the-art heat pumps.
These cost thousands of pounds to instal but they are environmentally friendly and can cut energy bills by more than 50 per cent.
Midas verdict: Companies, schools, hospitals and Government departments are increasingly keen to reduce their carbon emissions. eEnergy offers a simple way to get the job done and save money at the same time. At 14p, the shares are a buy.
Traded on: AIM Ticker: EAAS Contact: eenergyplc.com or 020 7078 9564
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