John Crawford Marine (JCM) owners, Matthew and Anita Hodson are active members of the boating and marine community and innately understand the impacts they have on the environment and all of its terrestrial & aquatic inhabitants. The JCM team consists of individuals with a shared love of the water – inland creeks and rivers, and the wide-open oceans. They acknowledge the existence of the day-to-day micro-environment in which they operate – presenting, selling and maintaining recreational boats.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY APPROACH
Protecting the waterways is paramount to the Company’s ethos of “respectful use”. This also transfers into the way on-land operations are carried out. As a family owned and operated business, integrating a process of respect and care for the environment is something that is achieved with a top-down management approach. Taking action to show everyone on the team, that environmental responsibility is vital for the ongoing enjoyment of what we have today.
The current owners, Matthew and Anita Hodson purchased John Crawford Marine in 2004. After watching the steady increase in operational costs continually challenging profit margins they decided to tackle the challenge head-on. Matthew and Anita decided to investigate opportunities that started with significantly reducing their electricity costs. The rest followed from there.
The first step was changing the type of power sourced, moving from mains power to self-generation. A 5-kilowatt solar power generation system was installed on the roof of the administrative building costing approximately $15,000 to purchase and install. Electricity bills decreased significantly –from $1,000 per month down to only $300 - achieving a 75% reduction in electricity costs helped to pay the system off within 3 years.
The JCM team calculated how much electricity is consumed in a general 24-hour period. They then went on to calculate the capacity of the solar generation system. The outcome of the calculation was a shortfall, so the team started to identify what uses electricity and how it can be reduced.
Improvement actions include:
1. Installing a manual timer on half of the external floodlights used to night-light the yard. These lights are on timer to turn on at 6:00pm and off at 9:30pm daily.
2. Installing daylight sensors on the alternate half of the external floodlights will turn yard lighting on at dusk and off at dawn - providing artificial lighting for security and safety requirements.
3. Investigations are continuing to source a suitable LED replacement bulbs for external floodlights. Currently 6 x 1000W bulbs could be replaced using a 100W LED substitute, though the cost to purchase the LED bulb remains cost prohibitive – at this stage. As LED continues to decrease in price, a time will come when the purchase decision is justified.
4. Workshop lighting requirements were assessed and investigations found that 1 x 60W LED light source provided sufficient light enable the replacement of 2 x 500W Halogen lights. One of the existing fixtures was moved to a better position, providing more direct light to the area where light was required, rather than supplying light into areas where light was not required.
5. Passive heating and cooling techniques are now used in the administrative office building. Air-conditioning systems are no longer turned on at the start of the day; staff arrive in the morning and open the doors and windows to allow natural breezes and provide fresh-air ventilation. Window coverings are opened or closed depending on the season and if the space needs to be heated or cooled. The office now uses only 15kW of electricity each day.
On average there are 60 boats on the yard, each with 2 x batteries, which is a total of 120 batteries at any one time. Charging these batteries is difficult and can pose a safety risk when the need arises to have them charged. Multiple boats moved around the yard, into the workshop, can be risky with customers on the lot. The workshop area becomes congested and hard to move around.
Use a mobile solar panel. Attach the solar panel to a battery in a boat. Charge it using the sun’s power without the need to move the boat. It also becomes a beacon for sustainability, seen by drive-by traffic and customers to the yard.
The JCM team has grown to acknowledge that whilst the road to sustainability starts with one step, it can be a long and windy journey. Following the changes implemented in the office and lighting system, waste and recycling was the next area of focus.
Like a lot of other businesses, JCM used to have one large commercial waste bin onsite that was emptied on a regular cycle. After completing a thorough assessment of waste streams onsite, the following recyclables where identified for recycling:
• Scrap steel
• Flares and EPIRBs
• Office paper and cardboard
Recyclers were identified and one chosen to provide a recycling service for each of the listed products. Management of the waste and recycling process has now become so easy, it virtually looks after itself.
During the drought years in Brisbane, JCM underwent a process to develop a Water Efficiency Management Plan (WEMP) for water use onsite. As a retailer of product that resides outdoors, it is important for product to be kept as clean as possible, therefore using a significant amount of water in the daily washing of the boats.
The WEMP was an opportunity for management and employees to better understand workflow processes and identify areas for improvement or change. Simple things like adding a trigger gun onto the hose automatically turned the water off when it wasn’t needed.
A rainwater tank was also installed to capture water run-off from the roofs of the workshop and office, and plumbed back into toilets and the wash bay, reducing the need for potable town water down to zero. Another unexpected benefit of switching to rain water washing is that boats washed in rainwater do not need chamois – reducing labour time by 20 to 25 minutes per boat wash.
1. Understanding that costs will continue rise. Therefore it is imperative to minimise the cost impact on the business by reducing energy consumption and minimise waste. This is achieved by establishing a culture of nurturing - energy efficiency and recycling program are adopted in daily work routines.
2. Allow staff and management to feel they are working in an environment that is proactively reducing its energy consumption and wastage; and not to feel a sense guilt if we weren’t to do something.
1. JCM is acknowledged as a conscious of user of energy.
2. Adopting sustainability practices could not take place without collaboration and partnership.
3. Financial benefits achieved - continue to grow in value.
4. JCM’s reputation is maintained for being on the forefront of marine retail dealerships.
“...it is imperative to minimise the cost impact on the business by reducing energy consumption and minimise waste”
Anita and I would like to thank the National Retailers Association (NRA) and the Australian Government - Department of Industry for their efforts in compiling this study and recognising John Crawford Marine's efforts in energy sustainability and management.