NSG Group was honoured to welcome the Rt Hon MP and Labour Leader Ed Miliband to its new coater at Cowley Hill recently.
As well as visiting the off-line coater, which so far has produced more than three million m2 of its highly energy efficient glass, Pilkington K Glass™ S, Mr Miliband used the opportunity to discuss Labour’s plans to freeze spiralling energy costs - which he estimates would save the country’s businesses a staggering £1.4bn. Matt Buckley, Managing Director, Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, also highlighted his disappointment to Mr Miliband regarding the uptake of the Government’s flagship energy campaign, the Green Deal.
Mr Buckley said: “We explained to Mr Miliband that the Green Deal is not living up to its promise of enabling UK homeowners to be more energy efficient.
“We are manufacturing products which are specifically designed to save energy lost from homes or offices. It is essential that we stimulate the UK market for energy-saving products, such as energy-efficient windows, which can help homeowners reduce their energy bills and make the savings they need.
“Our energy-efficient Pilkington glass is perfect for homeowners wanting to take advantage of the Green Deal and enables householders to reduce energy usage and save money on heating bills. We would like to see more effort from the Government in making the Green Deal process easier to navigate so homeowners can take full advantage of the scheme.
“He was interested in our thoughts in this area.”
Mr Miliband said: “I really enjoyed the tour. It was great to look around a great British manufacturer. We’ve also been talking a lot about the issue of energy costs because Labour’s planned price freeze will not just be good for families but good for businesses too.
“It’s a pro-business measure which will help businesses which are really struggling. Energy costs are one of the biggest issues many businesses face - both small and large.”
Mr Miliband admitted that firms like Pilkington - now owned by NSG Group - faced “difficult times” during the recession, but said Government should help them “grow and prosper” by cutting energy costs and business rates. Mr Buckley added: “Glass making is energy intensive so any initiative which reduces the potential impact of energy price rises is something which Pilkington has to be interested in.”
Although the manufacture of glass is an energy consuming process, Pilkington glass reduces energy consumption in homes and buildings. The manufacture of one square metre of low-e double glazing leads to the emission of 25 kg CO₂. However, the CO₂ saved by replacing one square metre of single glazing with low-e double glazing in a typical European building is 91kg per year, offsetting the CO₂ emitted during manufacture after only 3.5 months in use.
As the UK’s first jumbo off-line coating plant, Cowley Hill allows the NSG Group to manufacture a wider range of high performance energy-saving and solar control glazing products in St Helens. This includes Pilkington K Glass™ S, Pilkington Optitherm™ S1 Plus for thermal efficiency and Pilkington Suncool™ for top class solar control.