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Bruntwood Works: Why is sustainability important for everyone?

Adam Tillis Bruntwood CToday more than ever, our cities, communities and businesses, and ourselves as individuals, need to address the impact we have on the environment.

The climate emergency and global warming is the biggest challenge we currently face and the effects are already being felt across the world. We’re experiencing more extreme weather and more intense meteorological events than ever before and, without intervention, the rise in the earth’s temperature will cause irreversible damage.

Creating sustainable environments is of utmost importance to us as we know that we can only fulfill our purpose of creating thriving cities if we can deliver sustainable and environmentally-conscious spaces that support the wellbeing of our customers, colleagues and communities.

Bruntwood’s approach to sustainability

Bruntwood has always taken a sustainable approach to business, choosing to recycle buildings rather than rebuild, and bringing new value and life to buildings by realising their full potential.

But we know that we can do more. As we build communities across our regions, it’s crucial that we embed sustainability into everything we do. Last year, we became the UK’s first commercial property partner to commit to the UK Green Building Council’s Advancing Net Zero programme with the target of operating at net zero carbon by 2030.

As part of our commitment to net zero carbon, we’ve worked with the Carbon Trust to define a set of science based targets which will allow us to monitor and improve our output more efficiently. These will help us to reduce our carbon emissions, positively impacting the environment, as well as the health and wellbeing of our people.

To help us to reach these targets, we’ve introduced a number of measures to our buildings to help in the fight against global warming. We’ve stepped up our game when it comes to solar panelling, installing batteries to our spaces which will allow us to store the energy generated by our existing solar panels for later use. We’ve introduced algorithmic learning in our buildings, with sensors gathering data about heating, lighting and movement so that we can use energy more efficiently. And we’ve transformed the way we use electricity in our buildings, using specialist risers and voltage optimisation to regulate, clean and condition the incoming power supply so that our buildings use less energy. We’re also taking a new approach to construction and office waste through more circular economy principles, recycling and reduced waste to landfill, and reducing our water usage.

Sustainability is key to our Pioneer project, creating smart workspaces across all of our regions. As part of a major refurbishment project Bruntwood Works’ 111 Piccadilly building, we’ve developed a ground-breaking lighting concept that incorporates LEDs throughout and is powered by sustainable energy via photovoltaics. These photovoltaics will also support the power generation for the ground floor of the building. Plus, we’re inputting advanced technology throughout the building, including sensors to monitor air quality, space utilisation and energy usage.

Over in our retail portfolio, Hatch has announced its green pledge to become a truly environmentally friendly and sustainable destination in Manchester city centre. We’ve committed to sending zero waste to landfill; having no plastic bottles or straws used or for sale on site; glass, paper and cardboard staying in the UK for recycling; and turning waste oil into biofuel.

And we know that the environment around us is also increasingly important to our customers. We’re working with them to attend the needs of those that are consciously looking to reduce their impact on the environment, but also supporting other businesses to become more environmentally conscious and informing them about how they can have less of an impact through the choices they make in their working environment.

The future of sustainability

But, of course, we’re not stopping there. We will be working to constantly revise and improve our approach to sustainability. We know that green technologies are going to constantly improve, and new innovations will be developed, so we will build on our work, committing to new targets and introducing new programmes of work that will limit our impact on climate change.

As populations grow and emissions increase, cities are having a huge effect on climate change. But it’s also these same cities that have a vital role in creating sustainable solutions for our planet, with everyone from government and businesses to each of us as individuals needing to play our part.

Adam Tillis is building consultancy director at Bruntwood Works

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