Gurdev Singh has been at his Linskill Store in Newcastle on Tyne for 24 years and still has one of the original chillers! And he has a couple of others which are only 12 years old! He was amazed at the savings made once he installed chiller strips. He would, however, like to upgrade and wondered whether there were any grants around.

I had a look through the search engine, but it couldn’t match refrigeration grants (well, it claimed two, both nothing whatsoever to do with refrigeration).

I rang Carbon Trust and the man explained that the interest-free unsecured loans were no longer on offer, but it had teamed up with Siemens Financial Services to offer finance for businesses that have been trading for more than 36 months and are seeking to reduce their energy use. Minimum loan is £1,000.

The theory behind it is that new, more efficient equipment should reduce energy bills and with financing payments calculated so that they can be offset by anticipated energy savings, the financing option is designed to pay for itself.

When Gurdev rang Siemens, though, the company admitted that its interest rate is slightly higher than the banks’.

Meanwhile, he is considering Smiths News’ offer of an interest-free loan of £10K for shop improvements.

Smiths assures him there has been quite a lot of uptake. He’s unsure what the best deal might be - after all, no one is offering free money. If you’ve tried Smiths’ offer or anyone else’s and made lots of energy (and money) savings, we’d like to hear about it.