The Green House, our HQ
As a company, we’re committed to growing responsibly, taking steps to minimise our environmental impact. While our building may have doubled in size, it certainly hasn’t doubled its energy usage.
All our offices are now lit with LEDs. These clever little devices are bundled together into a lighting panel that looks and behaves exactly like any other office lighting, but the energy it uses is a fraction of even compact fluorescent tubes. As they switch on and off instantly, we can make full use of motion sensors to ensure we don’t light any empty areas that aren’t being used.
Our entire building is heated completely from ground source heat – this is heat extracted from a few inches below the soil surface. Instead of air conditioning, which pumps energy-intensive cold air into our server rooms, heat generated by our computer servers is extracted and fed back into the heating system. This keeps our servers cool and our energy use down. The result of our heating system and building design is zero fossil fuel usage for our primary heating source, and an energy footprint significantly lower than a small family house – which is pretty impressive for a building that houses over 300 people!
We’ve installed solar panels on our roof to generate electricity. As we have a large open roof area, we can (and often do) generate a sizeable amount of power. Even on a dull day we still produce enough electricity to power a house running all its standard appliances.
Collecting and conserving water is becoming increasingly important as our individual water footprint increases. We harvest rainwater to use for flushing our toilets – a very conservative estimate is that we have saved over 4 million litres of water from toilet flushing alone so far.
We always knew our building was efficient – but we didn’t know how efficient. To find out, we recently undertook a carbon assessment in accordance with the World Resources Institute Greenhouse Gas Protocol – this is a widely used accounting standard which enabled us to quantify the carbon created by our business operations. The results were very encouraging:
- Our head office uses less than a third of the electricity per square metre than typical established practice.
- Annual kilogrammes of waste generated per full time employee is only 75% of typical equivalent business practice.
- Recycling rates are 30% greater than equivalent good practice.
- Our office paper usage across the business was halved between 2011 and 2015 – despite an increase in staff numbers.
All food waste generated on the premises is composted in-house in our ‘Rocket’ in-vessel composter – this creates wonderfully rich and nutritious compost from our kitchen and garden waste, which feeds our garden. Crops grown in our garden are used in our staff Bistro, and all garden cuttings and food waste returns to our composter ready for the next growing season. All the waste we produce becomes food for something else and none of our food waste ever leaves the premises.
The decking on our patio was chosen for minimal environmental impact as it is made from waste wood flour (a byproduct from the wood working industry) and recycled HDPE (also found in our Sheer Skin Tint™ SPF 15 tubes – and commonly used in milk containers). Any unused offcuts are bought back by the company that makes the decking and recycled into new products. It is also FSC certified, so the wood content is sustainably sourced.
We’re constantly looking at ways to minimise our environmental impact and will update you with any future progress. If you would like to help us on our greener journey or have any feedback, please do get in touch.