For many years, environmental initiatives for businesses fell under the wide umbrella of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Often considered a ‘nice to have’, CSR initiatives were often voluntary choices taken by individual companies to appear more socially aware and eco-friendly.
However, in recent years, rising consumer awareness, coupled with a growing push from government, has seen sustainability, NetZero, and carbon-neutral all become focus areas for businesses. This has seen the emergence of a new acronym, ESG – or, Environmental, Social and Governance.
ESG can cover varied and overlapping issues: environmental responsibility in how products are designed, sourced, and disposed of; where and how employees are working; how the organisation supports the efforts of those in the non-profit sector; how the company is in the game for the long haul (sustainability); and how it tracks its overall ESG progress.
As an industry, the collective, conscious effort to minimise our contribution to climate change has been present for decades. For example, BREEAM has been setting the standard for best practice for sustainable buildings since 1990. But, with the building and building construction sectors combined accounting for nearly 36% of global final energy consumption, and nearly 40% of total direct and indirect CO2 emissions, it makes sense that those involved within these sectors can play an important role in effecting change.
Wider awareness of the issue
People’s environmental conscience has been awakened in recent years by the visible impact of consumer culture on the world around us. This focus has helped encourage the global leaders of big business to start pushing sustainability higher up the corporate agenda.
There is an expectation now that sustainable thinking should be embedded into the design of the world around us. A great example of this is the planned refurbishment of the former House of Fraser site in Victoria, central London. The developer intends to create the green-focused £1 billion, 500,000 square feet commercial building using ultra-low carbon construction methods.
It will be the UK’s largest net-zero office development and will pursue net-zero embodied carbon using innovations in ultra-low carbon construction, including recycling 99 percent of the existing building, to minimise the carbon intensity of the development with the goal of all carbon emitted being offset in the future.
This announcement follows research from real estate firm Knight Frank, which indicated that many investors are increasingly looking at their environmental, social, and governance credentials, and that has in some cases boosted demand for more ‘green’ office space.
The firm looked at how rental performance is impacted by BREEAM-certification, finding that a BREEAM ‘very good’ rating, resulted in a 3.7% rental premium on average.
Building on a sustainable platform
Environmental awareness is increasingly playing a role in security specification, particularly for building refurbishment projects.
This was the case for the building owners of the Ascent 1 building within the Farnborough Aerospace Centre where energy usage was a primary consideration. Seven Fastlane Glassgate 150 turnstiles were installed in the entrance lobby to ensure that only authorised individuals are granted access to the lifts and offices beyond the reception. Fastlane products consume little energy, only 337kW hours per annum on average, so they also had a small part to play in helping the building achieve a BREEAM rating of Excellent and an EPC rating of B.
Not only is our product range notably energy-efficient, with each pedestal consuming only 50 Watts of power during throughput and just 12 Watts in standby, but we also work closely with partners to look beyond entrance control alone, uncovering additional environmental benefits for building owners through the smart use of technology.
Integration, for example, is key to realising further energy (and cost) savings. The amount and depth of the data about a building and its users captured by entrance control systems should be considered as intelligence that, if shared, can unlock real energy savings. Access rights, for example, can identify when an area is occupied and by how many people – information that other building management systems can exploit to reduce the energy demand for heating and lighting.
There is also increasing interest and demand for Fastlane turnstiles to work in coordination with Vertical Transportation Systems (VTS) and Destination Control Systems (DCS). By directing building users to the most suitable lift, it not only speeds their journey but also minimises energy costs by maximising lift efficiency.
Furthermore, if these efficiencies are considered early enough in the building design process, they have the potential to translate into more significant energy savings given that the same throughput of people can be achieved with fewer lift shafts. Read more about delivering time and space efficiencies with integrated lift destination controls here.
Joining the Circular Economy
At the same time as working to realise our customers’ ambitions in the area of sustainability, at IDL we are also focused on minimising our own environmental impact. We have achieved the ISO14001:2015 accreditation for our environmental management system, maximising recycling opportunities and minimising our burden on landfill.
As part of our continuous improvement process to ensure we are meeting our ISO14001:2015 goals, we recently committed to reducing the amount of plastic we use as part of our product packaging. We also choose to use local material suppliers wherever possible for both quality control and to limit the carbon footprint of our products.
By investing in this focus on reducing materials waste and increasing energy efficiency, we play our vital part in supporting today’s increasingly sustainable building supply chain. It’s also the case that it has a knock-on benefit in controlling costs, so while the environment will – and, indeed, should – influence decisions and investments made by businesses in the future, it remains true that doing the right thing for the planet is also right for business.
To find out more about the Fastlane range of products, or to arrange a live demonstration at our facility in West London, please contact our team by calling +44 (0)208 890 5550 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org