Many people might assume that a Grade II listed building like Leigh Court isn’t energy efficient and that we’d need to drastically upgrade to improve performance.
However, these assumptions are far from the truth. We’re using modern technology to vastly improve the energy efficiency of the building, which in the last 10 years has seen our building efficiency rating EPC improve by 13 points. This is no easy feat given the challenges that our building can present.
Here’s where we’ve been making improvements to the sustainability of Leigh Court.
Heating and insulation
One of the difficulties we face at Leigh Court is heating a building of this size, so we have installed cleaning systems into our central heating, which ensure our boiler runs as efficiently as possible; and by installing zoning and 7 day timer controls, it allows us to only use the heating where and when it’s needed.
Once we’ve heated the building up, we need to make sure the heat isn’t escaping. Thermal imaging equipment used on our buildings pinpointed areas of heat lost so we could maximise the efficiency of any improvement works that take place, such as window and door insulation.
We can’t rest on our laurels though as there’s always room for improvement. That’s why we’ve had an energy assessment survey carried out by the Carbon Trust to highlight areas for improvement and potential investment.
When it comes to energy consumption, businesses can use a lot of electricity to power an office, so it’s essential that it isn’t wasted. Leigh Court have installed a voltage optimisation system that reduces the mains voltage to site, and reduces power consumed by around 10%, and also extends the life of electrical equipment.
All lights have been replaced to LED bulbs where possible, and timers have been installed on all large electrical devices to ensure they are switched off outside of office hours.
Did you know… a single computer and monitor left on 24 hours a day can cost around £45 a year. Multiply that by the number of computers you have in your office and this might be costing you a great deal of money. We remind our staff and tenants to switch monitors off out of hours, which cuts down on running costs and can actually prolong the lifespan of equipment.
Enormous amounts of energy are used to purify water, transport it and deal with waste water in offices, but there are many easy and free ways to reduce costs. In Leigh Court, we’ve installed water saving equipment to our urinals meaning that they flush only once every 2 hours rather than once every 15 minutes. This means we are using nearly 80% less water!
Recycling and food
An easy change for any office looking to be more sustainable is replacing plastic milk bottles to glass ones. This saves around 84 plastic bottles per week being created and recycled (around 3.5 kg per week or 182kg per year). Like us, you could also switch to fair-trade and rain forest alliance certified coffee in your kitchens, as well as having separate bins for mixed recyclables, tins and glass and general waste. We even make our own compost from plant waste and coffee grounds, and have installed food waste bins in all our communal kitchens for staff and tenants to use.
And speaking of waste, we’ve collected single use plastic like crisps packets and chocolate bar wrappers to create eco bricks which will be turned into garden furniture.
Travel to Leigh Court
We’re on the National Cycle Network route 41 and we have plenty of facilities to encourage staff and visitors to travel by bike. We have cycle parking for up to 20 bikes (unfortunately, we are unable to provide covered shelters due to the historic nature of our grounds). We also have showers available, a cycle repair toolkit and spares, cycle covers, and maps of local cycle routes. We even have our own electric bike, that we lend to staff to try out on their commute.
Finally, if you’re thinking of visiting Leigh Court in your electric car, we’ll welcome you with open arms as we have two electric car charging points on offer for visitors to use.
Other ways we’re being sustainable
We’re very lucky at Leigh Court to have an incredible amount of green space and wooded area surrounding our grounds. We are in the heart of nature, so it’s only right that we give back where we can. We are taking part in a national project to study bee populations and health, and have installed six hives from a local bee keeper at the bottom of our lawn. The bees are monitored with high tech systems and the data is submitted to a national database to stop declining bee numbers. We think they must love our lavender bushes, that’s why they make Leigh Court their home!
Our staff in Leigh Court are also dedicated to making sustainable choices in their professional and personal lives. We have a dedicated ‘Green Things’ group on our internal communication system so we can share good news and ideas about the sustainable things we’re doing, but also highlight what might be going on in our communities. For example, our Estates Manager, Sam, recently shared his journey and thoughts on purchasing an electric car, and another employee Andy shared how we can use pumpkins after Halloween.
It’s important to be recognised for all our sustainable efforts, so we have recently implemented and maintained an Environmental Management System which is certified to ISO 14001.