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Ex marine fights rising energy costs

A former Royal Marine reservist has become an entrepreneurial eco warrior aiming to bring renewable power and big energy bill savings to homes and businesses across the North East.

Electrician Craig Smith set up Solec to provide green and sustainable energy solutions from solar panels through to energy efficient lighting and electric vehicle charging points.

The Morpeth-based firm, which started in 2011, initially won work based on Craig’s reputation as a conventional electrician but has increasingly specialised in sustainable, efficient alternatives to household and business energy needs.

Craig’s own home is a shrine to renewables where he tests all the technologies he fits before offering them to customers. His cottage features solar panels, LED lighting, wood burning heating and a system that pushes warm recycled fresh air around the house. The combined changes have saved the family hundreds of pounds in energy bills.

Craig, a father of three under-fives, said: “Investing in green technology is not just about saving the planet for future generations, it’s about saving money too.

“Even small changes can have big effects – if a business swaps its lighting for energy efficient alternatives, for example, it can radically reduce its electricity bills for very little investment or effort.”

Solec is currently based in a business unit in Coopies Lane however, Craig’s future green business strategy is to create a custom built, carbon neutral, self-sustaining office base using the latest in green technology and recycling whenever possible.

He said: “I’m aiming to create a sustainable business unit constructed from shipping containers, heated with a biomass boiler, powered via solar panels and incorporating rainwater harvesters.

“Eventually, I want both my home and business base to be like something out of The Good Life, with free range chickens and organic vegetables growing in the garden. It’s all part of building a better life for my children’s future.”

Solec supplies the full range of green energy equipment to homes and businesses from Northumberland to North Yorkshire, and is approved to fit free of charge electrical vehicle charging points via the Government’s grant scheme.

In addition, Craig also provides conventional electrical services and as part of his sustainability ethos, he is in the process of registering 17-year-old Liam Lashley from Newcastle as an apprentice.

“Working in a diverse business like Solec will give Liam a thorough grounding in the trade from both a traditional and green perspective while he is studying for his qualifications,” said Craig.

“We are delighted to be able to transfer our skills across to Liam as youngsters like him represent the future of the industry. Although we do conventional electrical work, we can also identify and advise customers how to save money by using renewable energy and technologies to make simple changes or by using one of our tailor made energy saving packages.

“My customers call me the green techie geek, and I take that as a compliment. I don’t just fit the equipment; I advise people how to get the best out of it to save money. The bigger the company, the bigger the savings can be just from changing the type of light bulbs and fitting timers to switch the power on and off.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Highlights PR .

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