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How we’re continuing to improve our green credentials

16th September 2021


David Howell

David Howell, director of operations at the BIC

Here at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and continuing to review our business practices, by investing in our operations and championing sustainability.

From making small incremental changes over time and shifting to more renewable forms of energy that reduce our carbon footprint, we are not only supporting the environment around us, but at the same time improving our overall operational and fiscal efficiency.

David Howell, director of operations at the BIC said: “As a not-for profit organisation, any surplus that we do generate goes back into the infrastructure of the BIC and we are totally committed to making those initial investments that make sense from both an economic and environmental point of view. We’re looking at the long-term benefits for all our community.

One of the major benefits of the investments we have made is that they have contributed to the fact we haven’t increased, for some years, the service charge for our users on site. So, it’s a virtuous circle, as everything we do is based around reducing our environmental impact and at the same time being more efficient.”

Our green strategies

Photovolatic (PV) solar panels
We installed PV panels on a lot of the roof space across our buildings a number of years ago, helping to generate a more renewable form of energy. We also installed a PV tracker in the main carpark in the centre of the site, which adjusts and tilts towards the direction of the sun to absorb energy that can be converted into clean power.

LED lighting
All the outdoor lighting has been changed to LEDs, which is one of the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly lighting technologies available. With a longer lifespan and less energy wastage, it helps reduce our carbon footprint.

Also, we have replaced many internal lighting systems to date, and we will continue the upgrade throughout all our buildings to LED’s.

Electric vehicle charging points
We recently installed electric vehicle charging points across our site, enabling tenants who have made the change to electric to charge their vehicle while on site.

As a Business and Innovation Centre, we were a forerunner in using electric vehicles some 20 years ago, back when they were very basic. Over the years we have upgraded them as technology has improved and today, we have a modern vehicle that supports our on-site maintenance team.

Recycling at the BIC
We help our tenants recycle their waste, including electrical products, with dedicated recycling points across the eight buildings we have on site. We also make sure to discuss recycling during inductions with our tenants, so everyone is aware of the best way to dispose of their waste here at the BIC.

Working with our waste management partner, Veolia, we ensure zero waste goes to landfill and we recycle as much as we possibly can. Over the last three years, we have recycled a total of 43 thousand kilograms, which is a recycling percentage of 30% and equivalent to planting seven trees.

Secure cycle shelters
As part of the BIC’s commitment to lower its carbon footprint, we have installed secure cycle lockers and shelters on site for our tenants and visitors to use. We also have showers on site, so residents can choose to have an active commute to work and freshen up before starting their day.

Outdoor areas and Pollinator Park
We have been working to improve outdoor areas for tenants to enjoy, with the addition of new bench seating and tables that are made of recycled plastics. The pandemic has meant these outdoor facilities are very important to our users.

We have also been involved in something called the Pollinator Parks® programme, which is an initiative from local social enterprise Climate Action North, which is based at the BIC, and supports healthy ecosystems and improves our environment for pollinating insects. We are looking to create further meadow areas that will welcome insects and wildlife to the site.

Sharon Lashley, managing director at Climate Action North said: “Working with the BIC and their landscape team has been a pleasure and we were delighted to work with them to install our very first Pollinator Parks® garden area on the business park. It’s great to see so much support in place for projects like ours which require businesses to embrace biodiversity and include it in their everyday work areas. The BIC is going from strength to strength and we’re looking forward to continuing work with them on more Pollinator Parks gardens around the site.”

David added: “The challenges to our planet are there to be seen as we read about it on a daily basis, so it’s important and necessary to have appropriate and pragmatic green strategies in place. The BIC is committed to playing a role by continuing to reduce the environmental impact of its operations and at the same time ensuring the site is a welcoming and pleasant place to work.”

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