Sustainability at Bruntwood: The Story So Far
Bruntwood is committed to a sustainable future, and we believe it’s important to be clear about what we’re doing to uphold that vision and to contribute to a greener environment. As we enter the second week of COP26, we’re taking a look back at some of our key milestones in sustainability - as well as laying out our aspirations for the future.
Sustainability has been in our DNA since Bruntwood was formed in 1976. Right from day one, our primary focus has always been to repurpose and restore existing buildings in favour of demolishing and building from scratch. But with the unprecedented and ever-increasing pace of change in the world today, companies must look to find more and more proactive ways of reducing their impact on the environment. As a developer, an employer and a partner we aim to make sustainability a key component of how we work - and at civic and community level, we look to drive strategies which improve the green credentials of our cities.
What have we done so far?
If the UK is to reach its goal of achieving Net Zero by 2030, then huge changes are required right now. This means putting ambitious targets in place and sticking to them and, as market leaders, we see it as our duty to set an example and play our part - not just for our cities but for the world and for all our future generations. We also think that one of the best ways for us to set those targets is to look back on key achievements that might inspire and inform our desired outcomes going forward.
Leading the way - In 2018, we became the first UK property company to sign the UKGBC’s Net Zero Carbon commitment, pledging that all areas of our developments which are under our direct control (all communal areas, plus our own offices and vehicle fleets) would operate at Net Zero Carbon by 2030.
Raising the roof - We installed a blue/green roof at Bruntwood Works’ Pioneer building, Bloc to demonstrate and explore the benefits of sustainable urban drainage solutions (SuDS). Blue roofs are designed to capture stormwater for use as irrigation; green roofs feature growing plant life which can moderate heating and cooling, as well as filtering pollutants and providing a habitat for natural wildlife.
Powering up - Bright Building, the hub of Manchester Science Park, uses a Tesla battery pack and two Tesla electric vehicle (EV) charging points. We have also deployed EV power points more widely across our portfolio to enable and encourage sustainable travel.
Changing from within - It is our aim to inspire all Bruntwood colleagues to do their bit for the environment. So in our offices, we have a number of green initiatives including: recycling our laptops and phones; using waste coffee beans as biofuel; and introducing our ‘All Colleague Sustainability Month’ internally this year which included training, workshops and events to educate colleagues on how to be more environmentally friendly.
Zero to hero - We send zero waste to landfill and have recycled 48% of all waste collected in the last 12 months. As an alternative route for waste, materials are diverted to recycling plants or repurposed for other uses: plastic is made into new packaging; cardboard and paper are sent to paper mills; glass is re-formed to make bottles; food waste goes to AD (anaerobic digestion) plants to generate gas for the national grid.
Insolation installation - We have deployed a number of solar panels across both Bruntwood Works and Bruntwood SciTech buildings which greatly reduces the need for artificial energy production and is 100% sustainable.
What does the future hold?
These are just a few highlights from our continuing journey towards Net Zero Carbon. Our pledge to reach this target by 2030 is a commitment which aligns with our purpose of Creating Thriving Cities - places which are sustainable and will continue to flourish for generations to come. Aside from our achievements to date, we are also working on improving energy efficiency within our buildings (including the use of heat pumps, building insulation and window replacements); generating more energy on site; and reducing the emissions created by company-owned vehicles by utilising electric vehicles wherever possible. Having set up Unify Energy in 2020, we’re excited to say it’s the first fully licensed and regulated energy company in the UK to offer a specialised, comprehensive energy supply service specifically for landlords. We will be working closely with Unify Energy on procuring green electricity throughout our existing portfolio and on new developments going forward.
As we look to become ever-more ambitious in setting targets for the future, we’re proud to look back on the great progress we’ve made so far. One of our next key steps is to continue to work alongside the Carbon Trust to review our Science-Based Targets (SBTs) which will help us to monitor carbon emissions across all our activity, as well as taking into account what our customers want from sustainable buildings and how these can be a valuable addition to the communities around them.