Birchington’s Neil Fright – Talking Numbers


We all like a success story, especially when it’s a local resident and alumni of King Ethelbert School. That’s why we caught up and reminisced with founder and CEO of energy intelligence company Carbon Numbers, Mr Neil Fright.


Now residing in Essex, Neil Fright started Carbon Numbers in 2012 and has developed it into a £4m business with 33 employees and has delivered energy savings for huge clients such as Adidas, Queen Mary University and the Museum of London to name a few.

In 2019, Neil won the Tendring Blue Ribbon Award for Entrepreneur of the Year and was a finalist for the Sustainability & Environment Award. September saw them win a prestigious industry award at the annual BCIA awards in the ‘Smart Buildings’ category.

Last year, Neil gave a talk at King Ethelbert School to year 10 and 11 business students about the success, vision and risks he had to take to become successful.


Neil Fright spoke to us about his early ventures into the business world, memories of our lovely village and future goals he has for Carbon Numbers…


In 2012, you started up the business Carbon Numbers with your wife Caroline, can you tell us what Carbon Numbers is and how the idea behind this business come about?  

The idea for the business came from linking energy data, building performance and fundings. Too many people pay for things that don’t give them what they want when it comes to energy management and carbon management. There aren’t many businesses or people who don’t care about the environment or climate change, so they spend money but don’t get the results.


Can you inform readers about the aims, visions and values of Carbon Numbers?

Our aims are to use loT (Internet of Things) technologies and data driven strategies to reduce carbon, costs and improve the working environment in all facilities. Our vision is to deliver superior building performance and values are Commitment, Ownership, Responsibility, Excellence (CORE).

  • Commitment – is more than motivation. It’s the driving force that enables you to actually reach these goals that motivate you.
  • Ownership – setting individual plans and targets. It’s your career, be ambitious and tell us what you want to achieve.
  • Responsibility – we believe in giving our staff the freedom to operate, who in turn put our customers at the heart of every decision they make.
  • Excellence– there is no destination or end goal. We strive to improve every day and continually look for improvements, whilst recognising the efforts and accomplishments of others.


Like many who start up a business, there are moments of sacrifice, hard work and extreme dedication. When did you know all your hard work was going to pay off and you had created something special? 

I’m not there yet! I think to be in business you have to be driven by doubt and fear, enjoy the highs, prepare for the lows. But mainly keep going and keep trying to get better, there is no specific moment when you know you have succeeded (in my view), just lots of small things done better each day and every day.


How has COVID affected the business over the past 18 months? 

As we focus on environment and technology in the main it has been okay, most businesses need to manage costs (which energy forms part of) and make workplaces COVID secure, so our analytics help this.


Last year, you went back to King Ethelbert School to speak to year 10 and 11s about starting up your own business, how was that experience and did your visit to the school bring back any nostalgic feelings? 

It was a really good experience; looking at people in the room and how the uniform has changed, there are obviously differences from my time there but we are all the same. I enjoyed school in the main, I wasn’t the most diligent but my teachers helped me and the environment was safe and secure.


What would you say are your fondest memories of your time at King Ethelbert School and of Birchington Village and what made you make the move to Essex? 

My school time gave me lifelong friends (there are 4 of us that try to meet for a beer or seven every year and one who has moved to NZ, but we all remain friends and when together you reminisce back to those days). So, friendship and a few of my teachers gave me a real start by investing in me and saw something that I didn’t understand at the time. We still have family in Westgate and Birchington so are back from time to time, it’s where we call home and there is nothing like a walk along the prom or a sunset in Minnis Bay.

We moved to Essex as the access into London and to wider areas was great and we felt we wanted a change.


What advice would you give to a student who has a business idea but might be too nervous to share it out of fear of rejection? 

Everyone will be rejected along their journey, but unless you share your idea it will never work and anyone that’s willing to give you time, will give you advice. So, share and listen.


Looking ahead, are there any future projects/goals you’re looking to achieve in the next 5-10 years? 

To make buildings better and in our own little way help create jobs and ease the pressures of climate change through doing this. We are working on early-stage AI (artificial intelligence) that will mean buildings understand weather and humans more, to help create good people, delivering good outcomes that help both business and the planet.


CommunityAd congratulates Neil on winning the Smart Buildings BCIA award! Find out more about local Neil Frights fantastic business by visiting the Carbon Numbers website.

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