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Meet Richard Alexander - Sustainable Fuels Lead for Calor Ireland

Quote from Richard Alexander
Meet Richard Alexander - Sustainable Fuels Lead for Calor Ireland


Every year for the past ten years, Calor has been delighted to attend the SEAI Energy Show. It is the flagship event for the sector and is a leading business to business sustainable energy event taking place in the RDS on 29th and 30th March 2023.


Richard Alexander, Calor’s Head of Sustainable Fuels will be on hand to meet customers and discuss their energy needs, but he is also excited to attend the event to see what advancements and technologies are on display from other suppliers. With over 30 years’ experience in Calor, Richard has met an innumerable amount of people throughout the years in his various roles.


Ahead of our attendance at the Energy Show, Richard gives us an insight into his role, the journey into his current role as Head of Sustainable Fuels, and the challenges facing the sector now.


Richard, can you tell us about your career journey to date?


I have been working in Calor for almost 30 years, and currently work as Head of Sustainable Fuels. Beginning my career on work placement in Calor, I was offered a temporary role working on the face-to-face with customers to discuss their energy needs to understand how commercial businesses were using hot water and energy. Many were using inefficient electrical system, and we were able to provide solutions to suit the business needs. It was a successful role, and after 6-months I was offered a permanent position.


Throughout the years, I’ve been given the opportunity to work in various roles, which has given me great insight into the requirements of customers, but also the strengths that people from different backgrounds and academic experience bring to a team. In college I studied Engineering which gave me a broad base of knowledge and the ability to apply process-thinking to different roles.


This base has served me well throughout the years, even in surprising ways. When working in a sales role, which entailed managing a team of salespeople, I found the engineering background really stood to me. And you might think an engineer manging a sales team is inconvenient, but I found that you can bring different perspectives to the role, and as an engineer you are conscious to ensure that the sales team don’t commit to something you can’t deliver and don’t overpromise. Over the years Calor has built trust from customers, and this is the key to success.


Over the past 30 years, what do you think are the big takeaways?


Firstly, it is important to always have customer needs at the heart of the business to maintain customer satisfaction. When I was working in a customer engineering role with responsibility for all the emergency teams across Ireland, it was an “always on” type of role. Customers need support and someone to provide breakdown assistance, so Calor has people on the ground all year round.


My second observation is the drive to sustainability. Before taking up the role as Head of Sustainable Fuels, I was working as Industrial and Commercial Manager and worked directly with large companies across all sectors, such as Pharmaceuticals and Agri-food. Large companies are making a big drive towards sustainable energy.


My current role was a newly developed role, but it was a very natural development for us as a company. Calor know it is important to transform alongside our clients and match them on their journey.


Can you tell us what sustainability means to you?


The sustainability challenge is at a very pivotal stage. The UN defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” As a parent and a citizen of the planet, I am very aware that significant change is needed, and everyone has to play a part in making more mindful decisions.

As a family, we have moved to a hybrid vehicle and changed our purchasing habits to buy less clothing or unnecessary items. The heating of our home is powered by BioLPG, which is Calor’s renewable gas, and we buy 100% renewable electricity.


As a company, what is Calor doing to reducing carbon emissions through its practices?


Sustainability is very high on the agenda at Calor and our approach is twofold.


Firstly, we need to assess our own practices and initiatives within the business. We are planning to make changes to our fleet of vehicles to make sure they run on lower carbon emission fuels. Given that transportation is the largest source of energy-related CO2 emissions in Ireland, it is something we are very keen to do. Our procurement team is reassessing all of our suppliers to ensure that we work with other businesses that prioritise sustainability too. So, we are looking at all the ways in which we as a business can ensure our practices are conscious of the challenges ahead. 

Secondly, the product that we supply to customers is the principle way we can impact our sustainability journey. Calor has set itself the targets to only supply renewable energy products to our customers by 2037 – our centenary year. It is a big task, and only 15 years away, but we know it is the right thing to do.