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.

Lighting
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.

Heating
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!

Renewables
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.

Water
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.

Outside
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.

 

Geoff

 

We’re so excited to have our very own little woodland here at our island home. Located next to The Green House, it has about two hectares of mixed mature trees – oak, ash and hawthorn – as well as a fair amount of hazel saplings in the undergrowth, probably grown from seeds buried by the red squirrels. There is a stream feeding into the brook below us, with mosses and bog-loving plants and a natural glade, which is covered with brambles.

Brambles, along with bracken, need to be controlled without removing them completely. There are many plants that thrive in glades and the edges of woodlands that would quickly become swamped by these two. Having said that, both bramble and bracken provide habitats for many species. Bramble is the food plant for 61 types of moth and bracken provides vital ground cover for small mammals and birds.

The land all around was once part of a manor estate and a farm. The trees on the boundary of the woodland suggest the ‘ghost’ of an ancient hedgerow, which has long since died away and left rows of oaks and ashes behind. Until 1979, two cottages stood within the boundaries of our woodland – which is why we also have found apple, plum and pear trees growing there.

The key to developing an area like this without destroying what makes it special is a management plan. We have based ours on Forestry Commission standards that will mean managing the growth and spacing of existing trees to allow the hazel saplings to come through and mature – we would like to encourage the red squirrels we have to stay and thrive.

With our team of willing volunteers (our Green Team) – we look forward to a truly green future in more ways than one!

 

The red squirrel

Unfortunately, the red squirrel is endangered in the UK, with the origins of its demise starting when the grey squirrel was introduced in the late 1800s by a local silk manufacturer, Thomas Brocklehurst, who reportedly imported a pair of grey squirrels from the US as pets. When interest in them waned, they were released in Henbury Park, Cheshire in 1876 and have subsequently gradually outcompeted our native reds. As if this wasn’t enough, man has increased their plight of red squirrels by drastically reducing their habitat.

There are precious few locations now left in the UK where red squirrels are able to thrive, but – thanks to the 3 or 4 miles of sea between us and the mainland – our Isle of Wight home is one of them.

The development of ‘woodland corridors’ (such as our woodland area), plus rope bridges across busy roads, both help the free movement of squirrels and enable them to expand to their full potential as a population. We have planted more hazel saplings in our woodland to increase their food supply, and added squirrel feeders in areas where squirrels have been spotted. All being well, the Island can support a population of around 3500 squirrels. We often see them from our office windows at The Green House, looking for food or just passing through.

View our green glossary >>

 

Geoff