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Case studies

Energy efficient buildings

Refurbishing existing sites

Many of our operational sites date from the 1960s, 70s and 80s and are in need of improvement. As we develop and refurbish our sites we seek to:

  • Reduce the environmental footprint of the building (energy use, water use, biodiversity impact) throughout the entire building lifecycle (from design to procurement to construction to operation);
  • Reduce the financial overheads and operating costs of the facility;
  • Improve the welfare of our employees located at the site.

New buildings

Our goal is for all new buildings to achieve a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating of ‘Very Good’. We have exceeded this by gaining an ‘Excellent’ rating on all three new depots we have developed. This is based on high performance in reducing carbon emissions, improvements to employee welfare, best practice in construction methods and ecological mitigation and enhancement. 

Community Chest Scheme – improving energy efficiency

We encourage our customers and staff to improve the energy efficiency of buildings within their community. We approached the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) in Bristol with a proposal in 2010 involving our innovative Community Chest Scheme.

CSE helped us to design the scheme to bridge a funding gap that they had identified. The scheme is aimed at community groups and charities who own their building. It is designed to help them to reduce their energy costs and consumption by carrying out simple energy efficiency measures such as cavity wall insulation, secondary glazing, sensored lighting and loft insulation. CSE design and manage the scheme and provide an energy audit, and the scheme has been extensively publicised by the local media and via CSE’s website. You can read more about the project by clicking here.

The scheme is currently closed for the moment.

Better recycling – reducing our waste

We have reduced the amount of waste being sent to landfill by encouraging the recycling of items like paper, PPE plastics, aluminium, wood, metals and toner cartridges.  We are also working with local businesses and our main waste contractors to recycle or reuse some of our waste in an innovative way, for example:

Used wood poles

Over the last 18 months we have worked with our waste contractor to identify an alternative disposal route for our old wood poles.  Previously due to lasting contamination from various preserving agents the only viable disposal route for the wood was to landfill; however since 2014 we have routinely been collecting and sending our poles to a bespoke waste to energy facility in South Yorkshire which incinerates the wood producing energy which is then fed back into the National Grid.

Supporting biodiversity

We recognise that the construction and maintenance of WPD’s network involves an element of damage to the environment, particularly if trees need to be cut down, or vegetation or wildlife is disturbed or visual amenity impaired. We work with voluntary organisations (Wildlife Trusts and RSPB) as well as having our own campaigns.

  • Protected species information sheets – to aid in the identification and protection of endangered native species and as part of our Protected Species and Habitats Policy, we have produced a pocket guide to raise awareness and to assist our operational staff and our contractors in recognising and managing species and habitats. Please click on the link below to view the guide;
  • Guide to ecological and archaeological management - in collaboration with other DNOs we have contributed to a practical guide to Ecological and Archaeological Management to supplement internal policies and procedures. The guide has been published on the Electrical Networks Association website and you can read it by clicking here.

Promoting environmental sustainability to employees

It is important for all WPD employees and contractors to understand the environmental impact of their actions and how they can minimise this impact both in the workplace and at home.

Pocket guide

For employees and contractors outlines best practice, in sustainable resource management, waste management, wildlife protection, and avoiding environmental pollution. The guide has been mailed to every member of staff and is supported by informal briefing sessions and poster campaigns.