Last month our head office, Explorer House, went green for the day as we celebrated eco-Friday.
Events and activities to encourage everyone to think about the environment and how we can reduce our carbon footprint took place throughout the day. There was something for everyone, from bike maintenance demos to woodland tours and discovering alternative ways to travel to work – it was great to see colleagues outside in the sunshine trying out electric bikes. Our restaurant team also joined in promoting local food suppliers and producers with delicious samples on offer.
The day was also a fun way for everyone to find out more about the environmental features of Explorer House…and the timing couldn’t have been better, as the week before we were delighted to have won a Sustainable Achievement Award from The Office Agents Society (OAS) Development Awards.
Through tours of the building on the day people discovered that:
- Rainwater is collected from the roofs and stored in an underground tank, which is buried under the lawn at the back of the building. In 2011-12 the harvester provided us with 812 000 litres of water, roughly the equivalent of two months of our mains water supply.
- Food waste is put into our onsite composter. Our A700 Rocket converts food waste from across the building into good quality compost in just 14 days.
- Explorer House is heated and cooled by one of the largest ground source heat pumps (GSHP) in the country. Our data centre is the only one in the country to be cooled by GSHP.
- We are also keen to encourage wildlife in the area surrounding the building, leaving areas of grass uncut to create a wildlife habit. Some people on the woodland tours were lucky enough to see a fox and a deer within a few metres of the building.
- The woodland is also home to a kestrel who does a great job keeping the local pigeons from roosting on our roof.
The move to Explorer House has cut our carbon emissions by 60%. However, our next challenge will be to make sure we keep up the good work – after all, there’s no point having an energy-efficient building if we’re using it in an inefficient way. People could sign up on the day to eco-pledges – from printing only what is needed, turning off monitors every night and travelling to work in different ways.