We want to Make Waste History by transforming the way we manage resources. Our Make Waste History campaign focuses on the waste we create on our sites as well as reducing the energy and water we use on sites and in our offices.
The global demand for natural resources continues to grow, and while helping to advance society this demand can also have detrimental effects on the natural environment and human health alike. The UK Government has published a 25-year Environment Plan, setting out its ambition to help the planet to regain and retain its good health.
The business community has a significant role to play and we understand the impacts our resource consumption can have on the environment. Our Make Waste History campaign, launched in 2014, is our long-term strategic programme to improve resource efficiency and reduce our waste. Using natural resources, like the materials we use to build our homes, energy, water, and office supplies, efficiently is a win-win. At the same time as reducing our environmental impact, it also reduces our operating costs.
Our office electricity, gas and water consumption has fallen since 2013, despite a significant increase in headcount.
In 2014, we established a three-year target to reduce the carbon emissions associated with our energy and water consumption by 10% per person. At the end of that three-year period, we had substantially exceeded this target with carbon emission reductions per person in energy and water of 45% and 44% respectively. We are proud to say that we have continued to reduce our office energy consumption per person this year, with a reduction of 10% compared with last year. For further information on our office energy data, please see Our Data.
We have implemented numerous initiatives across our offices to reduce consumption of energy and water. This included installing LED lights and motion sensors throughout our Head Office, which helped to reduce the electricity consumed in the office by around a third. Simple water saving measures and greater control of our heating system also helped to drive our water and gas consumption down.
We continue to purchase 100% renewable electricity at our Bristol and Chertsey offices. Renewable electricity accounted for 64% of our total office electricity consumption in 2018. In 2018, we also started to purchase biogas at these offices.
During 2019, we are conducting energy efficiency audits across a selection of our sites as part of our compliance with the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). We will review the recommendations put forward by the independent assessors to help identify viable and effective ways to reduce energy and diesel consumption on our sites.
The Government has identified construction as a key sector for increasing resource efficiency and minimising waste. In 2018, it published its Resource and Waste strategy and committed to eliminating avoidable waste by 2050.
We have a target in place to divert at least 95% of our construction waste from landfill, which we have achieved or exceeded for the past six years. In 2018, we diverted 97% from landfill by working closely with both our site teams and waste contractors to effectively segregate waste. See Our Data for more information.
One of the ambitions of the Government’s Resources and Waste strategy is to combat waste crime and illegal waste sites. We work closely with our waste broker to ensure that waste contractors servicing our sites have the appropriate licences, permits and health and safety standards to ensure we can maintain our duty of care.
We also work with a social enterprise, Community Wood Recycling, to collect timber waste from a number of our sites. This organisation provides jobs for local people, especially those who may find it difficult to get into or back to employment, and up-skill them to find future employment opportunities. 100% of the timber collected by Community Wood Recycling is diverted from landfill and the good quality timber is used to build furniture that is sold to the public. Read the story below to find out more about how timber from our sites helped an inner-city Birmingham Community Wood team build a play structure at a local school.
We have also successfully trialled a pallet return scheme, which is being rolled out across the business in 2019. Please read our InBrief below for more information about this exciting new initiative to further reduce timber waste.
However, only working to divert waste from landfill, and ensuring waste is disposed of properly, does not address the significant opportunity to reduce the amount of waste produced in the first place.
In 2014, we set a target to reduce the volume of waste by 10% for every sqft we build, using 2013 as our baseline year.
In 2018, we produced 47.57yd3/1000sqft3 of construction waste. This was a 14% increase against our baseline in 2013. In part, this is due to a significant number of sites finishing during the year, which tend to produce high volumes of waste. But, we recognise that we need to do more, especially as we increase the number of homes we build.
In designing our new range of house and apartment designs, we have carefully considered how we can reduce waste and off-cut materials in the design. This has included designing the bathrooms to ensure minimal tile off-cuts as well as ceiling heights to match standard plasterboard heights.
We also conducted a detailed waste assessment during the construction of our first three prototypes of the new house design at Arborfield Green in 2018. We wanted to understand what benefits the house design and off-site build method used may have over our more traditional build methods.
The cold-rolled steel frames used in the construction of the prototypes were developed in a factory and replaced the use of traditional blockwork. Windows and insulation were also installed and built in the factory, which meant that far fewer materials had to be stored on site, reducing the risk of damage, off-cuts and forklift truck movements. Overall, the prototypes produced only 6.6 tonnes/1000sqft compared to the Group-wide average of 9.7 tonnes/1000sqft.
In 2019, we are building 300 more homes using off-site manufacturing techniques and will be monitoring how much waste is produced.
Jericho Wood Recycling, part of the Community Wood Recycling network, has been collecting wood waste from our Park Central development in Birmingham since April 2018. During this time more than 52 tonnes of wood has been removed from site and turned into new products or recycled as woodchip.
The mud kitchen at Landywood Primary School in Great Wyrley in Staffordshire is an example of the products that Jericho Wood Recycling make from the collected timber. The mud kitchen has provided the school children with a fantastic outdoor learning area and is a great addition to the school’s facilities. The fact that the mud kitchen is made from reclaimed materials also helps to reinforce the school’s ethos of encouraging recycling, sustainability and the preservation of valuable resources.
Based in inner-city Birmingham, Jericho Wood Recycling provides opportunities for apprenticeships, volunteering and training in the local community. In the course of collecting this timber and making the mud kitchen, Jericho was able to provide work and training for several young apprentices and other vulnerable people.
During 2018, over 6,000 pallets were collected from our sites through a pallet return scheme, of which almost half were returned for use in the supply chain. Those unable to be returned were recycled into woodchip or used for energy.
In addition to putting re-useable pallets back in the supply chain, the scheme also cuts down on skip movements to and from our sites. 32 collections were required to collect the 6,000+ pallets, compared with at least 200 skips that would be required to collect the same quantity of pallets. The collections also make use of ‘reverse logistics’, which involves otherwise empty trucks collecting the pallets whilst they make return journeys from other sites or companies.