A Scottish arts venue says it will have some extra money to reinvest over the next few years after discovering that it’s possible to switch water suppliers AND save money on its bill.
Summerhall in Edinburgh says that by switching to Thames Water Commercial Services (TWCS), it will save more than 10% a year.
Marcus Pickering who manages Summerhall’s letting and maintenance and is Power of Attorney for the 2.5-acre site, which is home to 120 separate organisations, including the Summerhall Distillery, says he discovered he could save the cost of around half an annual salary just by switching provider when he met Kevin Durnian, TWCS’s business development manager, at a dinner event.
Pickering, who is also the co-founder of Pickering’s Gin, which is distilled on site at Summerhall, said: “I met Kevin at a dinner and when we got chatting he told me he could save us a lot of money on our water bill.
“I didn’t actually think it would be as much as 13%. We’re not a huge consumer of water, but this will represent a fairly significant saving – it’s basically half of someone’s salary.
“Cutting costs like this is extra important in a sector such as the arts, so I’m delighted that I met Kevin when I did and the whole switching process has been extremely quick and efficient.”
Summerhall comprises 535 rooms and is home to a number of creative firms and initiatives as well as a bar, galleries, a museum and even a micro-brewery – Barney’s Beer.
There are between 300-400 staff in the various businesses and the main use of water comes from toilets and kitchens on the premises, but it isn’t a huge consumer of water as it is run with sustainability and the environment at the forefront of what it does.
The Distillery even uses well water from beneath the site to cool the gin, which is then put back into the well and recycled.
But TWCS has identified another potential saving as a large amount of its water is taken off-site in bottles or as ice-cubes meaning it could qualify for a further discount.
Pickering said “About 50% of our water is taken off-site either as ice or in the drinks themselves and Thames think this means we could save money due to the water not being returned back into the public sewer network, which is fantastic to hear and I suppose it shows the benefit of working with the experts.”
Durnian added: “Businesses are not just charged for every cubic metre of water that comes in, but also for every cubic metre that goes out through the drains and sewers as this water then needs to be treated.
“Therefore if we can demonstrate that a certain percentage of water is leaving the site in other ways such as in blocks of ice or in bottles, we should be able to save Summerhall even more money.
“The venue is a fantastic place and it’s been a pleasure to work with Marcus and his team. I’m looking forward to continuing our partnership with Marcus to identify further reductions in water consumption and cost savings”
Since 2008, when the retail market was opened to competition in Scotland, around 130,000 non-household customers have been able to choose who can supply their water and wastewater services, making it the first water market of its kind in the world. England will see a similar competitive water retail market opening in 2017.