With the cost of heating and running our homes rising each year, energy efficiency has become something of a hot topic.
Energy companies, spurred on by government regulation and subsidies, are keen to help, promoting the benefits of a range of measures from cavity wall insulation to efficient boilers and micro-generation systems that can supply a certain amount of the energy used by your home or business.
This is where Mark Group comes in. Founded in 1974, the Leicester-based company’s 2,500 staff help to make more than 7,000 homes, businesses and schools more energy efficient each week.
They install loft and cavity wall insulation, but also provide more technically demanding products and services such as external wall insulation for older buildings, air source heat pumps, wind turbines, solar hot water systems and photovoltaic panels that generate electricity from the sun.
The company says that it has helped over 2m customers save money on their energy bills since it was founded.
Led by Lee Cottingham, 38, (pictured) the son of the group’s original founder, Mark Group began its international expansion in 2009, when it set up a subsidiary in Sydney, Australia. It is now active in five Australian territories.
In 2010 it entered the American market and two years later launched Mark Group USA in Philadelphia.
Business secured in Australia and America has provided much of the growth in the company’s total sales over the last two years, with international sales rising an impressive 513% per year, from £0.7m in 2010 to £27.2m in 2012.
In 2011, Mark Group bought New Zealand-based Right House, an energy saving business previously owned by electricity provider Meridian Energy.
This added another market where increasing government subsidies are driving the take-up of insulation services, and the company now has operations in seven locations in New Zealand.
Mark Group expects significant growth in the US over the next few years as it expands its coverage of Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey – states where temperatures can reach the high 30s in the summer, yet experience deep snow and freezing temperatures in winter.
In addition to its increasing international sales, the company has also seen significant growth in the UK, where revenues were up 50% last year.
Demand for energy-efficiency measures has been driven directly by subsidies from energy companies and local governments, as the grants substantially reduce the cost of insulating homes.
The company is now an approved provider, assessor and installer for the government’s latest environmental initiative the Green Deal. It is looking to create 400 jobs by the end of the year through the expansion of its Home Performance Team, which assesses the energy efficiency of houses nationwide.
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