Thame Business Green Spotlight – Feet First

Feet First in Thame found ways to reduce energy consumption

Feet First are a small podiatry clinic with premises on the High Street in Thame.

We met Jenney Klose, the proprietor, at the Rhubarb Seating Solutions open day in January 2023. Rhubarb Seating held this event to showcase the changes they had made to reduce waste and energy consumption, and to inform and inspire other businesses to do the same.

Jenney was there hoping to gain some additional ideas on what to tackle next in the Feet First building, as she and her team were well underway on their energy reduction journey.

Feet First Energy Reduction

2022 was the year Feet First concentrated on energy use reduction. This was driven by the hot summer weather of 2021, where the upstairs room in the eaves was unbearably hot. Whenever clients were in, the room required expensive and energy intensive cooling systems to keep it comfortable for them and the staff.

Jenney took it upon herself to research alternative and environmentally friendly ways of cooling the room, to save on costs and energy. Through her research she discovered ‘solar gain film’ a film that transforms glass into an effective solar shield during the summer and ‘heat deflective blinds’, which have a highly reflective silver exterior to reflect the sun’s rays and reduce the amount of heat entering through the windows. Jenney got both of these added to the windows upstairs.

As 2023 has already been extremely hot, the heat deflective blinds and solar gain film in the upstairs room have come into their own. They have meant that the air-cooling systems have not been on quite as high or as long, resulting in a reduction in energy costs.

Feet First have also tackled energy costs arising from cold weather too! During the cold months of the winter, the staff room was extremely chilly and required regular use of heaters to make the room usable.  The team agreed that the cause of this chill was the large window.  To combat this an ‘energy blind’, a lining adhered to the window, was added.  The impact of this keeping the room warmer, was felt immediately by all.

Feet First Waste Reduction

Feet First has not only been diligent with its energy reduction, but also with its waste reduction. All of the light bulbs in the building are energy efficient LED fittings. Not only has this reduced energy costs, the LED lights also last much longer, reducing bulb costs too.

Other areas of wastage reduction include paper, where its usage has been reduced enormously, and water. With water, nothing is wasted. As the hot tap water heats up, its cold water is gathered and then used to water the plants outside.

The team further reduces its waste by recycling printer cartridges, batteries and light bulbs.

Having a Sustainable Outlook

Having a sustainable outlook and taking action has been instilled into the way of working at Feet First. All of the team members have been involved and consulted in the process and are behind the changes being made. An example of this that they have started purchasing items together in large containers and decanting them into smaller containers in order to reduce plastic use.

Other carbon reducing initiatives were looked at and discounted as not actionable.  For instance, the premises are leased so solar panels and heat pumps are not options; the staff all commute to the office, and the work is hands on – so remote working and active travel aren’t possible.

Jenney continues to be on the lookout for more ways to be more sustainable in her business.

She has sponsored us at 21st Century Thame, helping us with our projects that increase biodiversity locally, “we are pleased to be supporting 21st Century Thame with some funding to help with the Hedgehog Highways and the #ThameTrees projects of 2023.  These community projects will be important building blocks to helping our wildlife survive”.

We’re delighted to have your support Jenney and we love hearing about all of the steps that you and the team at Feet First have taken to be a sustainable business.

You can read more about Feet First here:

The Thame Business Initiative is a 21st Century Thame project started January 2023).

It’s aim is to engage businesses in the sustainability discussion in 3 ways :

  • to showcase what they are already doing and what they are aiming to do,
  • to encourage their employees to be involved in local sustainability initiatives and
  • to encourage the business to help fund projects being run by the community.

The project has initially been funded by SODC via a South Oxfordshire District Council Councillor Grant 2023.

Lightfoots Solicitors have kindly supported this project to enable us to continue the work further into 2023.