Low Carbon SMEs

Low Carbon SMEs

Aston University is delivering a project which seeks to assist small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to reduce their energy use. The initiative is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).     

We offer free expert advice and grant support to develop holistic energy efficiency solutions that lead to higher productivity and overall business success. The Low Carbon SMEs project uses university academics to provide short and long term support to SMEs in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP area. Projects leading to a reduction in energy consumption, carbon emissions and process inefficiencies within high energy using organisations are eligible for support.

Enquire today and receive valuable support, including:

  • A free diagnostic evaluating your sites’ energy use and process efficiencies
  • A grant of up to £12,250, the value of which SMEs will be required to match
  • One to one advice and innovation support from Aston University academics and industry specialists
  • Sector specific workshops

If you require further details please email: smelowcarbon@aston.ac.uk

We are holding our first Low Carbon SMEs workshop on Thursday 26th April 2018. Further information can be found here or below in our Workshop tab.

To be eligible for any of the available support, companies need to meet the following criteria:

  • Employ less than 250 employees.
  • Have an annual turnover of not exceeding €50 million and/or an annual balance sheet not exceeding €43million.
  • Be based in Birmingham, Solihull, Wyre Forest; Bromsgrove; Redditch, East Staffordshire; Lichfield; Tamworth and/or Cannock Chase.
  • Have received no more than €200,000 of de minimis State Aid in the past 3 years.
  • Meet the eligibility guidelines for Low Carbon SMEs support.

The project aims to support all manufacturing sectors but particularly seeks to work with high energy users such as:

  • chemical engineering
  • foundries
  • metal cutting
  • construction
  • logistics
  • manufacture of paint
  • cement
  • petrochemicals
  • varnishes and similar coating
  • printing ink and mastics. 
  • restaurants

Companies need to be located in or have an operating base in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership). It will be the operating base in the LEP which will be eligible to support.  The Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP covers:

  • East Staffordshire
  • Lichfield
  • Tamworth
  • Cannock Chase
  • Birmingham
  • Solihull
  • Wyre Forest
  • Bromsgrove
  • Redditch


Examples of eligible activities:

  • Replacement of specific machine and equipment for achieving energy efficiency  
  • Replacement of boiler and furnace
  • Altering conversion technology (e.g. equipment, machineries, tools etc.)
  • Project cost for installing solar and/ or biomass power energy sources
  • Machine layout alteration for efficient material flow
  • Installing telematics for monitoring and controlling fuel consumption
  • Installing telematics for monitoring and controlling refurbished engine health during operations so as to enhance life of the engine and prevent breakdown  
  • Software and hardware for energy efficiency and carbon footprint calculations
  • Introducing new catalyst in the chemical process to enhance energy efficiency  
  • Analysing feasibility of adopting renewable sources of energy 
  • Software and hardware installation for logistics optimisation 
  • Software and hardware for inventory management 
  • Software and hardware for forecasting           
  • ERP implementation for process reengineering  
  • Other IT solutions for process optimisation 
  • Technical analysis for adopting energy efficiency
  • Product and process redesign with energy efficiency.


A range of workshops will be provided. These workshops will be sector specific and will consider issues that are common to groups of companies facing similar challenges. They will be delivered as half day events, facilitated by Aston University academics and industry experts. Examples include:

  • Sustainability and energy performance measurement  
  • Developing energy efficient operations 
  • Making a carbon footprint calculation


Thursday 26th April 2018 @ InnovationBirmingham, Holt Street, Birmingham - Introducing our first Low Carbon SMEs workshop! Aston University cordially invites you to the ISO14001:2015 Workshop, which is aimed at fast tracking your transition to the new standard.

Open to SMEs in the Greater Birmingham & Solihull area, from 09:00-13:00 (lunch provided) the workshop targets businesses responsible for implementing or maintaining their organisation's ISO ISO14001:2015 environmental certification.

The workshop provides an overview of the key requirements of ISO 14001:2015 and gives your firm an understanding of the potential challenges presented by implementing the new requirements.

Benefits of attending:

  • Understand the differences between ISO14001:2004 and ISO14001:2015

  • Gain an overview of the High Level Structure (HLS) of ISO 14001:2015

  • FastTrack your implementation of IOS14001:2015

  • Receive practical advice from EMS consultants

  • Share experiences and network with SMEs who are currently implementing the Standard

  • Understand potential key challenges facing your organisation

 To register please click here.