Time waits for no one: taking the time to create better solutions that deliver value and sustainability

Jerry Moloney, Director
17 April 2019
Image of an Amey employee carrying out an inspection.
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Time waits for no one: one thing that is outside our control is the passage of time. It often leaves us thinking: where did that extra hour in bed go and where has another year gone?

It’s a common theme for much of the UK's existing buildings and infrastructure as well, with much of it built in a time when environmental standards were much lower and little or no consideration was given to sustainability, future technologies and social behaviours. As the years have passed, increasingly many of our man-made structures have looked out of date.

Time is also a contributing factor for many of our clients. Many of them are looking to make their assets more sustainable through smarter solutions that fit into the existing fabric of their buildings and infrastructure, while facing a need to reduce Co2 emissions, lower operational costs and become more sustainable without incurring huge investment costs. Almost always, this is a priority issue and the sooner this happens, the better.

A stark warning was issued on the 14th of October by the Committee on Climate Change urging governments to act fast to cut emissions effectively by 100 per cent by 2050, to stop warming beyond 1.5C, avoiding catastrophic effects such as coral reef extinction and Arctic ice loss. This is a step that will require massive and rapid changes to power generation, industry, transport, buildings and lifestyles.

Big challenge, but big opportunity
A challenge has already been set by one of one our biggest customers, the UK Government, who have stated their ambition for emissions across all their buildings to be ‘close to zero’ by 2050. As a leading outsourcing provider, we must play an active part helping them achieve this. And indeed this is work we have already begun across the government’s property portfolio.

While the use of LED isn’t necessarily new technology, their evolution and adoption from a simple light on circuit boards is fast becoming more and more visible as both central government departments and local authorities look to make their energy usage cleaner, greener, stable and more cost-effective within tightening budgets.

We need to think smarter when it comes to installing greener and more sustainable technology to help keep capital investment cost down, while at the same time minimising disruption and controlling wastage.

Across our Facilities Management, Defence and Justice business, we have been helping our clients meet this sustainability challenge across their ageing infrastructure within secure environments such as military bases and prisons with minimal investment and disruptions to services.

Take time to listen
By listening to our client’s needs and ambitions, and involving our supply chain, we have been able to provide bespoke solutions that are innovative and help our clients achieve financial savings while reducing their carbon footprint and energy costs.

On our MOD, National Housing Prime contract, we worked with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) to understand their exact requirement when it came to installing new street lighting at a Royal Marines Base in North Devon.

The ageing streetlighting was beginning to leave some roads and pavements poorly lit and unsafe around the Service Family Accommodation areas. We were tasked with providing an innovate cost-effective and sustainable solution that delivered true long-term value.

Upon accessing the project, we quickly realised the cost of replacing the worn-out underground cabling, lights and pillars threatened to eat up much of the allocated budget, as well as posing a significant health and safety challenge.

By involving our supply chain partners, we were able to offer a better and more cost-effective solution through the introduction of an innovative solar lighting solution. A solution that not only halved installation costs but also the time taken to carry out the much-needed street repairs quickly and efficiently.

Thanks to their unique design the solar lighting units can be quickly fitted onto existing lighting pillars enabling the light to be restored almost instantly, with no need to undertake costly excavations to access and replace the mains cabling installed to service the old lighting infrastructure. As a result, we minimised disruption to Service personnel and their families.

At HMP Risley we replaced 5,500 existing metal halide, fluorescent and sodium SON fixtures with a new retrofit energy efficient LED lighting system that will reduce CO2 emissions while utilising the existing fittings.

Working in partnership with the MoJ and our supply chain partners we developed a sustainable cost-effective model that can be replicated across their custodial estate with minimal disruption to prison operations, whilst still complying with technical standards (to ensure anti-ligature and anti-vandal fittings are installed in all prisoner facing areas).

In both cases, by taking the time to listen, involve and understand the challenge, we have been able to save time and money by providing long-term sustainable innovative solutions that are not only helping to modernise the existing fabric of ageing buildings and infrastructure, but also help our clients to realise their CO2 emission target, reduce future running costs and cut capital investment.

Time is money, as they say. But by using it wisely to address our clients’ needs, we can make major savings for the buildings we manage - while ensuring they are properly equipped for the challenges of the years to come.

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