With over 17,000 homes in our portfolio and almost 3,000 employees on our payroll, sustainability is at the forefront of our business plan.
In recent months we have focused on identifying ways Pobl Group can become more sustainable, in every sense. Like all large businesses we need to respond to the climate emergency, recognising that we need to be a business that is resilient to climate change and investing in the resilience of our communities, homes and services.
This September we hosted a sustainability summit, bringing together hundreds of people from across Pobl to identify ways we can become more sustainable and deliver more sustainable homes and services. Hundreds of great ideas were generated at the summit and we’ll be exploring these further, seeking to introduce those that we believe will make a difference.
We’ve started using recycled printer paper. This is less carbon intensive, costs less and makes a statement to anybody who reads a letter from Pobl that we’re making simple but important changes. Feedback to date has been positive, we are proud of our new Pobl pulp and all it says about what matters to us. In addition we’re asking everybody to think:
- Do I need to print at all?
- Could this communication be sent digitally?
Haunted by the thought of a Pobl branded pen washing up on a shoreline, gone are our days of pointless branded plastic!
As a Group, we have made the decision to stop buying promotional items. These items are not only costly but they rarely have good environmental credentials. We’re also concerned about the ethical credentials of many of these items in respect of where and how they are produced.
Instead, we will use a creative or digital alternative to engage with potential customers, staff or partners at events. We are confident there are much more effective ways to tell our story and engage, promote and market at events, than dishing out a branded piece of plastic.
By introducing new digital services we can offer greater choice and reduce the carbon impact of our actions. We’re implementing:
- Agile working for our staff team reducing home-to-office travel
- Online services for rent, repairs and ASB reporting act to reduce paper usage and customer travel
- Scheduling apps for maintenance and care providing teams reducing mileage and wasted journeys
- Skype meetings within Pobl and with customers reducing mileage
In addition, the use of new digital technologies can reduce the carbon footprint of customer’s homes. We’re currently exploring the use of:
- Internet of things devices reporting boiler and electrical faults
- Smart thermostats managing home energy use by room or zone
- Smart speakers for customer queries and home energy advice
Building a Sustainable Future
With over 17,000 homes in our portfolio and almost 3,000 employees on our payroll, sustainability is at the forefront of our business plan. We want the best for our residents as well as the Pobl Family. We recognise the impact of our work on the environment and we are committed to ensuring that we don’t just meet current regulations – we exceed expectations.
In September this year, we held a Sustainability Summit to discuss our goals for the future. Representatives from across the Pobl met up and spoke with experts in architecture, the environment, sustainable energy and much more to create a vision for the future.
That all sounds great, but what’s happening now?
The answer is – a lot. Take our Active Homes Neath development, for instance. It was one of the first projects to be awarded an Innovation Housing Programme Grant, which was used to design and build around a “Homes as Power Stations” concept.
The homes are super insulated and air-tight, reducing the need for heating. There are photovoltaic roof coverings, batteries, air-sourced heat pumps and electric vehicle charging points. These innovative features are designed to reduce heating and power costs, whilst also opening up the possibility of trading electricity back to the Grid.
Meanwhile, our upcoming development, Gwynfaen, takes the principles and learning from Active Homes Neath, and applies them in a much larger scheme of 150 new homes.
These homes will incorporate materials that involve low embodied carbon for their manufacture and transportation. Materials will be mainly sourced within Wales and natural materials with little or no chemical content like wood fibre and wool insulation will be utilised, thus improving air quality within the home. Gwynfaen will also include a significant level of green infrastructure, natural landscape and green drainage features, all of which will benefit the environment and our residents.