Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Case studies

Many businesses have introduced measures to reduce their environmental impact. These measures can also bring other benefits, including cost savings. Our case studies provide examples of how businesses have benefited from improving their environmental performance.

Read about the businesses that were sucessful in the VIBES Awards (Vision in business for the environment of Scotland) or read some of the Environmental case studies from small and medium-sized businesses below.

Loch Duart Make Sustainable Splash with Scottish SalmonLoch Duart Clean Aquaculture Infographic NetRegs

Loch Duart are a small aquaculture company located in the far North West of Scotland. The company has won many environmental accolades and has been keen to promote sustainable aquaculture since its inception in 1999. This is very important to the company as Technical Manager Sonja Brown explains, “Environmental considerations are central to everything the company does. We aim to produce quality Scottish salmon in a way that is respectful to the animals, the environment and the people involved.”

Loch Duart not only complies with environmental regulations and accreditations such as ISO 14001, they pushed for the RSPCA to establish a scheme for salmon welfare. The RSPCA Assurance scheme, originally named “Freedom Food”, lays down strict codes of practice for the aquaculture industry. Loch Duart was the first fish farm to be approved by this scheme, which is now widely observed across the Scottish salmon sector.

The scheme lays down regulations on fish density, to conform a farm must have not have more than 15kg of fish per cubic metre of water, a figure Loch Duart often operates below. Industry regulation also sets out restrictions on leaving sites fallow (empty) in order to reduce environmental impact. 6 weeks is the minimum fallow time which Sonja explains Loch Duart “Exceeds in all circumstances”, with the shortest fallow on any one of the company’s farms being 5 months.

In line with their environmental commitment the company uses no anti-fouling chemicals on the nets in which the salmon are reared, no antibiotics for their salmon and no growth enhancers. The lack of chemical usage means that the seabed around the sites remains clean and the company aims for their farms to exist as part of the environment, rather than an intrusion. Loch Duart also takes a welfare and environment oriented approach to the diet of their salmon. Working with their feed supplier they created a bespoke diet for their fish, based around capelin, which is both a natural part of the North Atlantic salmon’s diet and a well-regulated fishery. Capelin are caught for their roe (eggs) for human consumption, and Loch Duart use what is essentially a by-product from this fishery to create a high-quality diet for their salmon. Not only does this reduce environmental impact significantly, it improves the health of animals and people as Sonja explains, “When you feed salmon in this way they are much healthier, much closer to a wild fish and that makes it healthier for consumers as well”. By doing this Loch Duart meet their own principles of respect for animals, the environment and people.

As with any fish farm, sea lice are an essential consideration. Loch Duart, with guidance from SEPA, have set up a dedicated hatchery where they rear cleaner fish which eat sea lice as a form of biological parasite control, resulting in healthier fish and a healthier environment. They also use lice filtration systems and are constantly evolving their farming practices to minimise potential impacts from sea lice.  

Often, small businesses find it harder to reduce their environmental impacts than larger ones. Loch Duart demonstrate that by keeping farming as natural as possible they can reduce their environmental impact significantly whilst simultaneously running a successful business.

 

Useful Links

Aquaculture Guidance

VIBES Awards

Glasgow Caledonian Puts NetRegs to the TestGlasgow Caledonian NetRegs Academic Infographic

Whilst NetRegs is primarily aimed at small and medium sized businesses it can be a useful tool for a variety of groups. It is becoming prominent in academic circles and the NetRegs team regularly go to universities to explain why it is a useful tool. So far the team have given around 25 student presentations to more than 500 students!

Dr Karin Helwig is a lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University and has used NetRegs as a teaching tool for her Environmental Management class for several years, “Students don’t know environmental legislation all that well and NetRegs can help them pull the together the important parts which they need to do to create an environmental management plan” she explains.

NetRegs was designed to make navigating the maze of environmental legislation a bit easier so it is very encouraging to hear that even academics in the environmental sectortRegs workshops make it much more interesting and give students an idea of what businesses are looking for.” It is likely that many of these students will go into environmental work and NetRegs helps both as a teaching tool initially and then as a reference tool for professionals.

At NetRegs we aim to cover as much as possible whilst remaining up to date, something that Dr Helwig believes is beneficial to the students, “It is hard to find an overview of environmental regulations anywhere and you can always trust that NetRegs remains up to date”

 This workshop also presented an ideal opportunity for us to get some feedback from the students about NetRegs and how they use it.

“NetRegs seems an excellent tool to use for businesses and individuals alike” and “Very useful seeing how NetRegs explains and simplifies the legal jargon” said two students from Glasgow Caledonian University.

This demonstrates the wide-ranging benefits that NetRegs can bring and how the guidance it provides can be accessed and used by anyone. We are glad to see that the students are finding it a valuable asset and we aim to continue to improve NetRegs and launch some new features very shortly.

If you want to find out more about NetRegs for academics or arrange a visit from the team then please email netregs@sepa.org.uk

Article Posted: 01/03/17

 

Useful Links:

NetRegs on LinkedIn

NetRegs on Twitter

 

Small team demonstrates big commitment to the environment

The six-strong English Construction team delivers a variety of commercial and domestic building services within an industry that is estimated to create a third of all the UK’s waste. But in 2006 this progressive firm topped the “Waste Mnimisation” category at the Master Builder of the Year Awards, for demonstrating best practice in this area.

Director David English, who set-up the business in 2002, says: “Reduction of building waste is a growing concern, so we decided to act sooner rather than later. A commitment to waste minimisation is helping us lower our environmental impact and make the business more cost effective. For example, we have seen the cost of skip hire double over the last four years. The more we can reduce and re-use materials the better.”

The business extends this environmental approach to its wider network and will only works with suppliers who agree to take back surplus supplies. “Some builders will order in 20,000 bricks and not use all of them. Any left over bricks often get thrown into a skip or just buried on site. Even if we’ve only got 20 paving slabs left over, we make sure the supplier takes them back to be re-used,” says David.

When the team recently converted an old poster and sign shop in Shrewsbury town centre into four luxury town houses, they found it was cheaper to reclaim the original bricks and clean them, rather than buy in new ones. "This meant we could retain the look of the property and cut raw material use at the same time.”

A concrete crusher is used on-site to crush down any unused concrete, which is then re-used as hardcore. Similarly, timber left over from building projects is taken away for re-use and any scrap is chopped up and used on David's log burner, helping him reduce his energy bill by £1,000.

Another new approach the business has trialled is holding toolbox training sessions on-site, involving both employees and suppliers. This allows practical advice and information regarding topics such as waste segregation or handling hazardous waste to be communicated on the ground, during a tea break or lunch hour.

Plus, an internal resource efficiency ‘champion’ ensures waste minimisation is central to all business operations, including taking responsibility for the segregation, re-use and reduction of waste.

English Construction is currently settling in to a new yard in Shrewsbury where they have even greater capacity to store and re-use building materials.

Further information:

Construction and Building Trade Guidance

E-Learning Waste Tools

How to Manage Waste on a Construction Site

Waste Guidance

 

Potato company cuts costs by reducing its environmental impact

A potato packing and distribution company based in Scotland has demonstrated that good environmental management makes good business sense.

Taypack Potatoes (part of Taylors Food Group) is a family-owned company of around 180 staff that supplies potatoes from its facility in Perthshire to food outlets and wholesalers across the UK and Europe.

The company supplies ASDA – its biggest customer - with 40% of the supermarket chain’s fresh potatoes and has an annual turnover of £31 million.

Taypack has introduced a number of resource efficiency measures to reduce its impact on the environment and now recycles 95% of its waste. They recycle waste potatoes as animal feed and have introduced polythene and cardboard recycling schemes to reduce the cost of mixed waste removal and landfill charges.

They have also invested £250,000 in a water treatment plant which has reduced the volumes of wastewater transported off site. This enables the company to remove solid residue from dirty water after washing potatoes, which is then sold as good quality topsoil.

“The recycling facility at Taypack is now bigger than our waste facility,” said Matt Dunmore, engineering development manager at Taypack. “We have more recycling skips leaving our site than waste skips.”

In addition, the company has installed a variable speed air compressor for its packaging machinery which has reduced power consumption by 30%. It has also built a biodiesel production facility on site and is growing industrial rapeseed to produce cleaner fuel for a new combined heat and power generator.

The generator will provide power for the company’s fleet of electric fork lift trucks and keep potatoes warm at night to reduce the risk of bruising during packaging. The company plans to produce fuel from waste potatoes using new technology which has been developed with research funding from Scottish Enterprise Tayside.

Taypack has also introduced satellite tracking technology to manage its fleet of potato collection lorries more efficiently. This has cut the company’s transport fuel bill by £100,000 a year.

These environmental measures have earned the company several green accolades. In 2006 Taypack won the medium business sized category of the VIBES environmental awards. VIBES (Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland) is Scotland's leading business and environment competition which recognises commercial success achieved by improved environmental performance.

“Reducing waste is good management practice and can result in real financial benefits for businesses like ours,” added Mr Dunmore. “It’s also an essential part of making sure that we comply with environmental legislation.

“But more importantly, we are a family business and as one of the largest employers in the areas we have a responsibility to reduce our environmental impact on the local community – this is our real driving force. We want to ensure that future generations enjoy the same quality of life that we enjoy today.”

Further information:

Energy Efficiency Guidance

Green Transport Guidance

How to Manage Transport Impacts

VIBES Awards

Combined technology brings benefits

Aberdeen Heat and Power (AHP) operate a district heating scheme in Aberdeen, using combined heat and power technology. High temperature heat is used to drive gas engines, which produce electricity. The waste heat from the engine is use to produce hot water that is piped to properties on the network, providing heating and hot water to customers.

This company won the VIBES Environmental Product or Service Award 2015, which recognises businesses that have developed, or are developing, a product or service that brings environmental and business benefits. The judges recognised that the business model used by AHP is an exemplar model in district heating due to it’s not for profit nature and the associated social benefits, such as reduction of fuel poverty and the associated health benefits from reheating damp, inefficient properties.

Ian Booth, general manager at Aberdeen Heat & Power Ltd, said: "Aberdeen Heat & Power Ltd. is delighted to be able to win this prestigious VIBES Award. The company was formed in 2002 to deliver affordable heat to alleviate fuel poverty, through a district heating model particularly for hi-rise social housing blocks, and this mantra is still very valid today."

Aberdeen Heat & Power was set up with the specific aims of alleviating fuel poverty and reducing the carbon footprint in hard to treat properties through installation of efficient heating systems. The aim was to replace the original costly and inefficient electrically heated systems, with affordable and controllable systems. In the multi-storey blocks this has been achieved through installation of a range of piping to all flats.

The company have used an innovative approach, taking an existing technology and optimising and adapting it to use in a new way for Scotland. Whilst they are using gas to power the system, they are running the gas engines for optimum efficiency and reduced NOx emissions.

The technology saves between 3 and 6 tonnes of carbon per property per annum, With over 2000 properties now connected to the network this is reducing the carbon footprint significantly. Alternative fuel technologies are also under investigation to offset the use of fossil fuel in the medium and long term, including potential link to the proposed energy from waste plant for the city.

AHP negotiate their gas contracts and set their customers prices well in advance. The fixed rate is set so that no-one is living in fuel poverty, ensuring that it is at the lowest level possible for people on benefits or a state pension. The power generated from the CHP system is sold to the grid, with the contract price for power also negotiated in advance.

 

Further Information

Combined Heat and Power Guidance

VIBES Awards

Drivers club together for success

City Car Club in Edinburgh provides a short-term, self-service car and van rental to members for periods from half an hour to several days, 24/7 days a week, without the need to go to a central rental location to pick up a vehicle. Vehicles are located across the city, close to member’s homes and places of work to provide maximum convenience. Employers and private individuals join City Car Club as a cost effective alternative to car ownership, to remove the hassle of owning a car and an effective way of reducing their carbon footprint.

The company won the 2015 VIBES Transport Award which recognises businesses that have reduced transport-related fuel consumption and consequent CO2 emissions. The award for the City Car Club is in recognition of the potential for this service to influence car usage, driving techniques and the collection of localised data to influence behavioural change in transport use. Dan Gursel, managing director of City Car Club, said: “We’re already seeing electric vehicles in Edinburgh and around the country, as well as business car clubs that are helping local authorities and companies to reduce their emissions and travel costs. Winning this award is vital recognition that we can make a real difference to communities and the environment."

There has been a shift over recent years by the company to replace traditional fuel cars with low/no emission Electric Vehicles. In line with City Car Clubs policy of innovating with the latest developments in vehicle technology, it introduced its first zero emitting fully electric vehicle in April 2014.

The introduction of Electric Vehicles to the fleet has seen significant economic savings for customers requiring vehicles particularly for shorter journeys. The cost per mile of both fuel (19p/mile) and electric vehicles (4p/mile) is cheaper than most corporate companies pay staff for the use of their own vehicle and so membership of the City Car Club is also expected to result in savings for corporate companies and larger organisations.

All staff has received training on eco-driving from the Energy Saving Trust (EST) and impart their knowledge freely, a credit card sized key facts card on eco-driving is located in each vehicle.

City Car Club works closely with public sector organisation and key partner organisations including Energy Saving Trust, Bike Station and Transport Scotland to enhance the service. They also have a strong partnership with City of Edinburgh Council. City Car Club have come to arrangements with a number of organisations to host their electric vehicles at their under-utilised charging infra-structure and are now operating 13 fully electric vehicles and 1 plug-in hybrid.

The City Car Club offers a model that could easily be replicated throughout Scotland too convert the way the nation thinks about travel, challenging the traditional model and offering a cost effective, environmentally friendly alternative pay as you go motoring.

Further Information

Transport guidance

VIBES Awards

 

Collaboration brings success

This is a partnership between Taylor Wimpey West Scotland, C & D Associates, Central Scotland Green Network Trust, the Scottish Government and Abertay University to create source control Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) technology to help control rainwater and promote green infrastructure at plot level.

The groups won the 2015 VIBES Co-Operation Award which recognises businesses that are working in partnership with companies or organisations in the public, private or voluntary sector for environmental and financial gain. The practical demonstration of this commitment to partnership working makes them worthy winners of this category.

Neil Campbell and Brian D'Arcy, partners of C&D Associates LLP, said: “We are thrilled to have received a VIBES Award. At C&D Associates, our focus is on

exploring new ideas to bring about practical solutions to hitherto intractable problems that in turn bring significant environmental and business opportunities to Scotland.”

The innovative technique for storm water / flood risk management was designed in collaboration with Taylor Wimpey, C&D Associates and Abertay University. The product has been designed to be used in urban areas and can be sunk into the ground as well as retrofitted to buildings. Drainage in built up areas often involves large structures, this product offers a sustainable urban drainage system which operates on a small scale - within individual house plots. The vision is to move the impact of storm events closer to the point of contact with the ground with easily maintained SUDS units which can also, when constructed as a rain garden, provide an amenity to the house owner.

The transfer and sharing of knowledge between the partners, is leading to improved flood risk management understanding pollution prevention and control technology and biodiversity/amenity enhancement in housing areas. The rain gardens will improve biodiversity and enhance the appearance of gardens.  Back garden habitat features exemplify habitat and wildlife opportunities for householders to do within their own properties.

Research by C & D Associates, Taylor Wimpey and others has indicated that source control techniques can save a house building business money, by reducing the land-take for traditional flood risk management / SUDS features.

Taylor Wimpey has included the product in show homes to demonstrate the attractiveness and effectiveness of the technology.  The attractive appearance of the features enhances the local area and provides wildlife interest. The technology and partnership outputs constitute an educational resource for the house building industry, as well as for householders and visitors.

Further Information

VIBES Awards

Suburban Drainage System Guidance

Potato company cuts costs by reducing its environmental impact

A potato packing and distribution company based in Scotland has demonstrated that good environmental management makes good business sense.

Taypack Potatoes (part of Taylors Food Group) is a family-owned company of around 180 staff that supplies potatoes from its facility in Perthshire to food outlets and wholesalers across the UK and Europe.

The company supplies ASDA – its biggest customer - with 40% of the supermarket chain’s fresh potatoes and has an annual turnover of £31 million.

Taypack has introduced a number of resource efficiency measures to reduce its impact on the environment and now recycles 95% of its waste. They recycle waste potatoes as animal feed and have introduced polythene and cardboard recycling schemes to reduce the cost of mixed waste removal and landfill charges.

They have also invested £250,000 in a water treatment plant which has reduced the volumes of wastewater transported off site. This enables the company to remove solid residue from dirty water after washing potatoes, which is then sold as good quality topsoil.

“The recycling facility at Taypack is now bigger than our waste facility,” said Matt Dunmore, engineering development manager at Taypack. “We have more recycling skips leaving our site than waste skips.”

In addition, the company has installed a variable speed air compressor for its packaging machinery which has reduced power consumption by 30%. It has also built a biodiesel production facility on site and is growing industrial rapeseed to produce cleaner fuel for a new combined heat and power generator.

The generator will provide power for the company’s fleet of electric fork lift trucks and keep potatoes warm at night to reduce the risk of bruising during packaging. The company plans to produce fuel from waste potatoes using new technology which has been developed with research funding from Scottish Enterprise Tayside.

Taypack has also introduced satellite tracking technology to manage its fleet of potato collection lorries more efficiently. This has cut the company’s transport fuel bill by £100,000 a year.

These environmental measures have earned the company several green accolades. In 2006 Taypack won the medium business sized category of the VIBES environmental awards. VIBES (Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland) is Scotland's leading business and environment competition which recognises commercial success achieved by improved environmental performance.

“Reducing waste is good management practice and can result in real financial benefits for businesses like ours,” added Mr Dunmore. “It’s also an essential part of making sure that we comply with environmental legislation.

“But more importantly, we are a family business and as one of the largest employers in the areas we have a responsibility to reduce our environmental impact on the local community – this is our real driving force. We want to ensure that future generations enjoy the same quality of life that we enjoy today.”

Further information:

Energy Efficiency Guidance

Green Transport Guidance

How to Manage Transport Impacts

VIBES Awards

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