Britain’s Octopus Energy said on Friday its renewables investing arm had launched a dedicated fund with Japan’s Tokyo Gas (9531.T) to invest 3 billion pounds ($3.7 billion) in offshore wind projects by 2030.

The Octopus Energy Offshore Wind fund, set up with a 190 million pound cornerstone investment from Tokyo Gas, will invest in offshore wind farms as well as companies creating new offshore wind capacity, with a focus on Europe, Octopus said.

The fund will look at both traditional offshore wind turbines and floating turbines.

“The potential to make a positive impact, boost energy security and reduce fossil fuels dependence is massive with offshore wind,” said Octopus Energy Generation Chief Executive Zoisa North-Bond.

Octopus Energy Generation has said it plans to invest $20 billion in offshore wind by 2030, with an aim to boost energy security and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

New technology helps create sustainable spaces

New technological developments within the architecture and construction industry are allowing Gloucester-based Roberts Limbrick to create more sustainable buildings than ever.

Roberts Limbrick is a practice that focuses on sustainability. It believes good environmental design can improve user experience and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and whole lifecycle cost. These elements are considered a holistic part of the design process and Roberts Limbrick collaborates with specialists to ensure its buildings are well designed and comfortable.

Joe Roberts

Joe Roberts, director, said: “Set in the context of a climate emergency, sustainability is a fundamental factor of design and business in the 21st century. As a practice, we believe it is time for architects to step up and take greater responsibility for the spaces we live, work and socialise in. We continue to embed sustainability at the heart of our business activities and seek to create buildings that are both sustainable and improve people’s lives.”

Working in this way means as many sustainable elements as possible are put into designs, employing technology and techniques aimed at enhancing energy efficiency and resource conservation. Technology such as rainwater collection, air source heat pumps and HVAC systems have been popular client requests, giving the practice a wealth of experience incorporating these systems into its designs.

Careful use of space is just as important, and Roberts Limbrick implements this through strategies such as green roofs in projects like Cirencester College’s Gloucestershire Applied Digital Skills Centre and the Hartcliffe apartment buildings in Bristol.

BREEAM is one of the leading sustainable standards within architecture, with ratings from Outstanding to Acceptable. To date, Roberts Limbrick has been involved with many buildings which have strong environmental credentials. These include buildings that have BREEAM Outstanding, Excellent and Very Good ratings. The firm’s own offices were designed to achieve BREEAM Excellent.

Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc

Roberts Limbrick was appointed to replace the current extension at Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc’s Group HQ with a contemporary, four-storey headquarters office that remained sympathetic to the adjoining Grade II listed building and was fully in line with the group’s One Planet: Engineering with Purpose sustainability objectives.

The firm strived to make the design as sustainable as possible, and the building has been accredited with BREEAM Outstanding at design stage. This rating recognises the top 0.5% of sustainable new builds and is the highest rating BREEAM offers. An energy-efficient building will be achieved with features such as solar glass, heat pump technology, photo voltaic array and materials reused from the demolished structure.

The redevelopment of the building offers an opportunity to enhance the outdoor space and create a haven for nature to thrive, in line with the group’s focus on biodiversity. New trees, planting beds and a wildflower garden will also help to improve the biodiversity of the site. Further ecological enhancements will include a wildlife pond, bat and bird boxes, hibernacula and an insect hotel.

Carnival Leisure Centre

Sustainability in the sport and leisure industry is of great importance. Creating a sustainable building provides users of the facilities with a more positive and uplifting environment.

The client for Carnival Leisure Centre was Wokingham Borough Council, which prepared a climate emergency action plan in 2019, prompting Roberts Limbrick’s involvement in the project.

Roberts Limbrick was appointed for its specialist sport and leisure experience and to make sure the project stayed on track. The firm redesigned and delivered an accessible and inclusive leisure centre, which met and exceeded Sport England design guidance, while retaining the sport, leisure, library and community facilities, working with Pellikaan Construction.

Sustainable features, such as photovoltaic panels and air source heat pumps, were incorporated and the thermal fabric was significantly improved. This saw an 87% reduction in CO2/ m2 in operation. The building is one of the country’s most energy-efficient leisure centres and received a BREEAM Very Good rating.

Carnival Leisure Centre

Forest of Dean Campus

Educational facilities are one of the most vital places to implement sustainable architecture. Making sure sustainability is at the forefront of students’ minds while they are learning, through the architecture around them, can help shape sustainable futures.

Roberts Limbrick was brought in by Gloucestershire College to design a new, highly sustainable campus for the Forest of Dean. The college required flexible, futureproof facilities, which could be shared by students and the community.

The building is situated on a site of national ecological importance populated by bats, newts and dormice. This meant that every stage of development needed to be extremely sensitive to the surroundings and, through targeted consultation and working with ecologists, Roberts Limbrick reduced the ecological impact of the campus on the site.

The sustainable building design is orientated to provide high levels of natural light and uses the existing site contours to minimise the impact of the facility on the landscape. It incorporates brown and green roofs to provide habitats for wildlife, along with greywater rainwater harvesting and roof-mounted solar panels.


Roberts Limbrick has been placing a huge focus on sustainability within architecture for many years. The firm’s architects understand the importance of looking towards the future when designing.


Source: Punchline



BALTEN chose RENOLIT and its ALKORPLAN Hydro geomembrane for the re-waterproofing of the Taco Mountain basin (Tenerife). The project allowed to ensure irrigation without generating negative impacts on the territory: waste materials were recycled, thus significantly reducing CO2 emissions.

Sant Celoni, Barcelona, 14 September 2023 – Efficient rainwater collection is a crucial issue in the context of a more sustainable use of resources that are becoming increasingly scarce and discontinuous due to climate change, such as freshwater.

RENOLIT ALKORPLAN has joint forces with Balsas de Tenerife (BALTEN) to minimize the impact of the waterproofing works of the Taco Mountain basin. The project shows how RENOLIT ALKORPLAN Hydro geomembranes can be used to reduce water dispersion and material waste in basins even in challenging environments.

The challenge of rainwater collection in Tenerife

 The Taco Mountain basin is built in the crater of a volcano and is the largest irrigation water reservoir on the island. The water is used almost exclusively to irrigate banana plantations, a key activity in the area. Located between the municipalities of Los Silos and Buenavista del Norte, it has a capacity of 821,739 cubic meters and a water height of 13.70 meters.

The bottom of the basin is characterized by an impermeable clay layer. However, the scarcity of rainwater on the island has led to the need to reduce the amount of water that disappears through the side walls of the basins. In addition, the site’s high exposure to solar radiation required the use of a highly UV-resistant material.

The conformity of the terrain makes the task even more challenging: the Canary Islands are characterized by a steep orography with abrasive aggregates and sharp edges. This leads to a greater need to optimize the capacity of reservoirs, requiring the design of basins with almost sub-vertical slopes in some cases.




RENOLIT ALKORPLAN Hydro, a flexible and UV-resistant PVC-P geomembrane

To tackle these challenges BALTEN ̶ the public entity in charge of managing all water storage facilities on the island ̶  has chosen RENOLIT and its geomembrane ALKORPLAN Hydro 00414 R SST in 1,5 mm thickness for the project, for a total amount of 38,307 m2. The characteristics of the geomembrane allowed to carry out the job within the pre-established times, facilitating the implementation of the intervention.

RENOLIT produces geomembranes with very high performances. As installers, RENOLIT ALKORPLAN Hydro 00414 R SST offers relevant advantages to us, such as its high malleability and flexibility which make it suitable for applications in any scenario. As we implemented the project, the PVC geomembrane allowed us to weld over the old material, with the peace of mind that the welding was going to be perfect», explains Rubén Lopez, Managing Director of the installation company Imperteide.

RENOLIT ALKORPLAN Hydro 00414 R SST offers the right solution to meet all the requirements of the basin: made of flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC-P), it is ideal for re-waterproofing applications as PVC can be welded even after many years. Flexible and resistant at the same time, RENOLIT ALKORPLAN Hydro 00414 R SST geomembrane is applicable on very steep slopes and with a protective layer against UV rays. In fact, the new geomembrane has Solar Shield technology, a special protective layer that reflects the sun’s rays and protects against microorganisms. This means that the membrane does not age as quickly. Emilio José Grande de Azpeitia, specifier of the project and head of Trazas Ingenieria, remarks that there is no other solution on the market that offers all these advantages at the same time, making it the perfect product for such extreme conditions like the Canary Islands’ ones.

Innovation meets sustainability

BALTEN trusted RENOLIT not only because of all the benefits RENOLIT ALKORPLAN Hydro 00414 R SST geomembranes offers and its extensive know-how in these applications, but also because of its commitment to sustainability.

Going into this project we had two main goals. First, the intervention was aimed at ensuring water supply to the island, limiting the inactivity of the basin to the shortest period. Secondly, we wanted to set an example as a public entity to also take on the consequences of the works. For this reason, we agreed with RENOLIT to collect the cutoffs in a waste-free manner and treat the PVC material with the same care as we treat water: without wasting a single ounce», says Fernando Bonnet, Head of Exploitation sector of BALTEN.

An additional challenge that RENOLIT has tackled without much difficulty. «We sent big bags to the site to collect the cutoffs and bring them to our factory. They will be recycled and converted in new raw materials to manufacture new membranes. In this way, we were able to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted by about 40% compared to landfilling», says Jennifer Witty Che, Sustainable Manager, RENOLIT.


The Prime Minister’s controversial move to cut back many of the nation’s net-zero ambitions has received criticism from business leaders, environmentalists, and Conservative party backbenchers. Meanwhile, a new survey from energy company Vattenfall reveals a very different perspective from UK businesses, demonstrating their eagerness to decarbonise – without delay.

Rishi Sunak recently announced a major recalibration of the nation’s net-zero targets. Key changes include pushing back the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars to 2023, and the 2025 ban on gas boilers to 2035.

While the government’s reasoning for this environmental U-turn is to save consumers money, Sunak’s justification has been met with serious scepticism. Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged that “we cannot afford to falter now or in any way to lose our ambition for this country”, and that “businesses must have certainty about our net zero commitments”.

Jim Watson, Director of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, argued that the weakening of our sustainable policies is likely to add further costs onto businesses in the future, rather than cutting them. He commented “Rishi Sunak’s Net Zero speech is full of contradictions and will make it harder to meet our medium – and long-term climate change targets. It also risks increasing the costs by delaying the shift away from fossil fuels and reducing the economic benefits to the UK.”


UK businesses are driving decarbonisation regardless

According to a recent study conducted by Vattenfall Network Solutions, UK businesses are committed to their net-zero regardless of the changes: 95.5% of companies surveyed, with a workforce exceeding 50, stated that they are steadfast in their commitment to reducing carbon footprints or achieving Net Zero. A majority, 77.4%, aim for significant cutbacks by 2030, with 58.1% envisioning substantial reductions within the next 5 years, highlighting business’ understanding of the urgency and commitment to the net zero imperative. Vattenfall’s survey, engaging a thousand mid-sized industrial firms, demonstrates that UK business is committed to cutting emissions as soon as possible, despite the Prime Minister’s wavering.

Electrification is one of the most vital strategies for the UK to reduce its CO2 emissions in time for the2050 net-zero deadline, which also makes economic sense since electrical processes are often more efficient. But surprisingly, according to Vattenfall’s investigative report, only 51% of companies surveyed anticipate a rise in their electricity usage in the forthcoming decades. This statistic raises a serious question – where will business’s energy be coming from, if not from electricity? Evidently, a deeper understanding of the net-zero roadmap and its key steps is imperative to navigate the transition.

Energy efficiency is the most obvious way to reduce consumption and was the most popular method of achieving carbon reductions with 23.4% of companies targeting savings this way, whilst almost 70% (68.6%) of companies with carbon reduction or net zero targets included electrification, solar PV or changes in energy use as part of their plans.

The biggest take-away from Vattenfall’s survey was that a resounding 80% of respondents acknowledged the necessity of guidance to meet their targets, underscoring an industry-wide thirst for expertise, rather than a weakening of targets.

This massive demand for financial, technical and implementation support highlights UK businesses commitment to net zero and the urgent need for clear guidance and programmes to help UK companies deliver on net zero.

But, where the Government is failing to deliver, industry is pushing forward to deliver on the urgent net zero imperative. Vattenfall’s Power-as-a-Service model is specifically designed to support UK businesses by providing funding, technical support and implementation for electrification projects. Whether a company is looking for solar panels, EV charging, or energy efficiency upgrades, Vattenfall will provide the investment capital, design, installation and ongoing maintenance to help companies transition to net zero whilst remaining focused on their core business goals.

As a nation, we have an urgent need to cut carbon emissions and there are extremely strong economic arguments to do so, which completely undermine Sunak’s views that strong net zero targets will increase bills. For example, Vattenfall’s fully financed offer for solar photovoltaics delivers electricity to UK businesses at under 7p per kWh on average over 25 years – a massive saving in comparison to contracts for grid-based electricity which are currently around 30p per kWh.

If a company has the roof or land space to install solar panels the decision to reduce bills is obvious, with many CFO’s describing it as a “no brainer” from a commercial perspective. The fact that the cheaper electricity is carbon free, and that solar and other carbon reduction projects, create UK jobs, grow the UK’s net zero expertise, and contribute to the essential reduction in global emissions might be something that Sunak should pause to consider.




As we contend with the global need to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change, the UK government is introducing bold initiatives to transition away from fossil fuels. One such initiative is the ban on new gas boilers, set to take effect in 2035 in the UK. While this move is commendable for its environmental ambitions, it brings a critical issue into question: the high capital costs and potential risk of debt for households in their transition to heat pumps. In light of this, Alex Hill, Managing Director of Whitecode Consulting discusses the feasibility of the complete replacement of gas boilers with heat pumps.

The UK government’s plan to phase out new gas boilers by 2035 is a crucial step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Heat pumps, which are considered a greener alternative to gas boilers, are being positioned as the go-to solution. However, this transition is being questioned by critics due to the financial burden it places on homeowners.

A recent report by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero anticipates that many households will need to take out loans to fund the installation of heat pumps. This raises a significant concern of the risk of debt accumulation for homeowners, especially those who are already financially challenged.

Financing arrangements, subsidies and the question of affordability

To mitigate the debt risks, the government is exploring financing arrangements and subsidies. The hope is that these financial incentives will encourage more homeowners to embrace heat pump technology. The report from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero acknowledges the importance of making heat pumps an affordable and practical option for consumers. However, it’s important to note that the implementation of such measures is still a work in progress.

A key aspect of the debate centres on affordability. Critics argue that the cost of purchasing and installing heat pumps, which can reach up to £15,000, may be unrealistic for many households. Concerns have also been raised about the transition potentially pushing vulnerable households further into debt, which would prove far from ideal.

Additionally, the transition to heat pumps also carries implications for businesses. While it’s true that the move toward greener technologies can provide economic benefits for some businesses, costs remain a key consideration.

Government response and industry challenges

The government has responded to these concerns by increasing grants for homeowners who choose to replace their gas boilers with heat pumps. While this financial support is a step in the right direction, there are still concerns about the availability of skilled professionals and the readiness of the construction industry to meet the demand for heat pump installations. The huge disparity between the number of installers and the installations required raises doubts about the viability of heat pump adoption across the UK.

The transition away from gas boilers toward more sustainable alternatives, such as heat pumps, holds significant promise for the environment. However, with concerns about capital costs, the risk of debt for homeowners and the skills gap in the construction industry, we’re left to ask: is the complete replacement of gas and boilers feasible?

The discourse surrounding heat pumps and the transition away from gas boilers is gaining momentum, and while it’s significant to acknowledge the progress made so far, the financial burden on homeowners and the readiness of the construction industry to implement heat pumps pose significant challenges.

As we navigate this transition to a more sustainable sector, open and honest dialogue within the construction industry and the wider community is vital. Through collaboration and shared ideas, we can find solutions that benefit both industry professionals and the planet. Ultimately, the transition to heat pumps must be as equitable and sustainable as possible to ensure a greener future for all.


For Graham Grant, CEO of Bentley-owned software company Seequent, geothermal energy, beyond its application for heating, provides the perfect setting upon which industry, from vegetable farming to steel making, can thrive.

Grant, a presenter and panellist at the Bentley Year in Infrastructure and Going Digital Awards hosted in Singapore, spoke both on the critical minerals crisis, as well as the massive untapped role geothermal energy can play in industry, likening the Earth and its heat to “the world’s largest power station.”

Directing audience members to look down at their shoes, Grant illustrated how what was actually being looked at was this theoretical and literal power station: “The centre of the Earth is the same heat as the sun. It’s 6,500km (down), which means that the Earth is a huge, big battery. It’s a massive power station to be exploited.”

This innate heat, energy generated from underground, is geothermal energy, which Grant explained is “interesting in that it’s a base load source of power and any reliable grid in the world needs baseload power.

“Not only is it baseload, it’s also surge power – you can take a geothermal power station, turn it up, turn it down and use it to baseload capacity manage a power network.”

Low heat exhaust pipes

Geothermal energy is high temperature and generates electricity, but Grant added that another facet of geothermal comes from the potential of resulting low temperature heat from geothermal power plants.

Likening it to the example of a car’s exhaust pipe, Grant said: “If you think about the exhaust pipe on your car what comes out the back of the plant is low temperature heat  which can be used for heating, as opposed to electricity production.”

To demonstrate, he cited the use case of Paris, France, which has seen approximately 2 million people heat their households from water sourced from below the ground.

“For the last 30 years, they’ve been tapping aquifers 2,000 meters down and pulling 60°C water to the surface and heating the city.

“Just on the other side of Singapore Island, at Sembawang, they’ve been drilling 1,000 meters down and NTU (Nanyang Technological University) has been running a research project to pull hot water from underneath Singapore and use it for cooling.”

However, added grant, the value case for geothermal goes beyond the surface value of household heating – it provides the foundation upon which industry can built.

“Geothermal is more than electricity and it’s more than heat, because around that heat you can build an industrial ecosystem.

“If we take New Zealand as an example – where the base load power is used for Microsoft’s new data centre, which is 100% renewable energy, it’s used for steel-making – that exhaust heat is used for a whole bunch of things.

“It’s used for milk drying, which is New Zealand’s largest export industry. It’s used for vegetable production, for heating hot houses. We’re a pretty cold country in the Winter, but we can produce these amazing, high-quality vegetables all year round.

“In fact, Contact Energy, who is a Founders Award winner this year at the Bentley Going Digital show, supports timber drying, the development of biofuels, but they are also developing the first industrial park that’s been commissioned by First Nations people in New Zealand to encourage the development of businesses that will use low-cost secondary heat that comes off the back of the geothermal power plant.

“So that creates a whole industrial and community ecosystem around that heat.”

Understanding the underground

According to Grant, to best optimise the use of geothermal energy for industry, understanding its nature will be of key importance.

“To do all of this, you need extremely powerful technology to understand the underground and you need to unlock this concept of digital insight that helps drive this level of sophistication.”

Grant related this to the work of Seequent, which creates and integrates earth modelling and geo-data management software.

“Understanding the underground was a concept related not only to geothermal but across energy sources.”

Supply side interlock

Specifically, Grant referenced the idea of a “supply and demand” interlock that both industry and politics have been battling.

“New forms of energy are heavily metal-consumptive and our challenge is where we are going to find the resources we need for the energy transition.”

Citing the mineral consumption by clean tech such as lithium-ion batteries, which are forecast to increase five times over in the next nine years, and offshore wind turbines, Grant stated that, as we continue to use this tech, demand for its metal has been continuing to exponentially increase.

Citing data from the International Energy Agency, he compared the mineral demand stemming from offshore renewable energy and gas-fired power generation.

Although renewables are clearly the way to go, he states, when generating the same amount of power, the latter uses nearly 13 times less the amount of minerals.

“We’re generating this supply and demand interlock and a timing problem where, for example, the factory that makes those batteries can now be constructed in under a year but the mine to supply them will now take between 15 and 20 years to build.

“Governments are waking up to supply side problem, to the demand side shift that we’re creating, and now the issue of critical minerals supply is on the national agenda of almost every government in the world.”

Source: Power Engineering International


M-AR Offsite has partnered with Biffa, the UK’s leading sustainable waste management company, to ensure all waste generated through its manufacturing and construction operations is reused or recycled.

Through the partnership M-AR is refreshing its current waste management programme with the aim of diverting 100 per cent of its waste from landfill. The new Biffa skips in place around M-AR’s factory have clear signage as well as being colour coded to help visually identify what waste goes in which skip. It also creates a clear central focal point for waste management in the factory, which along with M-AR’s newly appointed ‘Waste Champions’, is designed to maximise take-up among staff.

Tom Malcom and Jamie Leckenby, who are both part of M-AR’s internal logistics team, nominated themselves to be M-AR’s first ‘Waste Champions’. The role involves educating the team and communicating policy changes to the whole production team. They will both receive specialist training and support from Biffa to appreciate the benefits of segregating waste effectively.

M-AR has also invested in upgrading its internal bins, moving away from the plastic 1100ltr bins which can easily become damaged, to a more robust steel tipper skip. As well as being more durable and therefore safer, these will also vastly reduce the number of trips previously required to load onto fork lift trucks and dispose waste into larger skips.

Working in partnership like this will see Biffa and M-AR collaborate on future waste reduction initiatives to implement within the business. M-AR will also be able to accurately report on waste volumes and disposals to track ongoing progress and understand where changes may need to be made to the process through its own online Biffa portal. The signage boards placed around the factory, as well as acting as prominent reminders about segregation of waste materials, will be used to provide feedback to the factory from the data collated from the Biffa portal.

Dan Lowther, head of procurement and supply chain at M-AR said:

“While this first phase covers waste management specifically relating to our manufacturing facility in Hull, our ultimate aim is to roll the programme out to all our live construction sites across the UK. This step marks a significant improvement in the reduction of waste generated on construction sites which are typically harder to regulate than a controlled factory setting and will mean that we’re able to divert all waste material from landfill whether that’s generated in the factory or on site. Reducing our waste materials to zero is a key part of our ongoing commitment to achieving net zero status as a company and reducing the embedded carbon of the modules we manufacture and install.”


Shaun Williams from Biffa’s commercial team in Humberside, added:

“We know recycling and sustainable waste management is extremely important to companies of all sizes, so we’re delighted to be working with the team at M-AR to bring our knowledge and skills to drive sustainability at their factory.

“Small steps can make a big difference, and recycling more waste means there’s less consumption of raw materials and fewer carbon emissions, which all contributes to the UK’s effort to achieve net zero.”

For more information call 01482 635 081

CLICK HERE to email M-AR

OR HERE to visit the M-AR website



Between 1990 and 2020 the contribution of energy supply to the UK and Wales’ GHG emissions fell by 70% and 55% respectively, with renewable energy produced on farmland playing a central role in these reductions, Iwan Pugh-Jones the president of FUW (Farmers Union of Wales) Montgomershire says Farmers can be incentivised to do more.

Feed-in Tariffs introduced in 2010 were instrumental in more than doubling the proportion of renewable electricity consumed in Wales to 50% during the period to 2018.

During our meetings with politicians from all parties at the summer shows this month and last month, we highlighted that both the UK and Welsh Governments must step up efforts that restore growth in the industry by incentivising on-farm production of renewable energy – thereby reducing the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels and imported energy – without compromising agricultural production.

In response to a recent consultation, we welcomed the Welsh Government’s ambition to set a target for at least 1.5GW of renewable energy capacity to be locally owned by 2035 and its acknowledgement that the uptake of small-scale renewable energy technologies could be a key contributor to meeting this target.

We have highlighted the fact that pathways to reaching such targets must include urgent action at all levels of government. This must include the introduction of new incentives for farmers to invest into small-scale renewable energy projects on their land and buildings as well as the removal of barriers to such developments if the required fivefold increase in the generation of electricity in Wales between now and 2050 is to be achieved.

We were therefore happy to welcome the amendment at Stage Three of the Agriculture (Wales) Bill by Jane Dodds MS which is now part of the Bill. This amendment encourages agricultural businesses to manage energy effectively, including by adopting energy efficiency and energy saving practices, and generating renewable energy on their land.

Our reliance on and exposure to global fossil fuel markets has been laid bare over recent years. Vast amounts of renewable energy are produced on Welsh farmland, but we have only tapped into a fraction of what is possible. We need to ensure that barriers are removed and incentives restored in order to boost agriculture’s contribution to future energy targets.

We now hope that this will be reflected in the final Sustainable Farming Scheme consultation later this year, and does so in such a way that the scheme can provide meaningful support to farmers with investing into renewable energy in future.


Source: Country Times

If our water usage patterns don’t change, the UK will have an ongoing water deficit of 4,000 Megalitres per day by 2050.  Reductions in leakage and domestic consumption are the two primary strands of water conservation targeted by Defra and the water companies.

Some areas of England are already restricting future development unless ‘water neutrality’ can be demonstrated. This requires both existing and new properties to reduce per capita consumption (PCC) to the extent that overall water usage levels do not increase.   Reduce leaks, design out joints on pipes and prepare for smarter meters  Recent research by Thames Water showed that 8% of households show continuous flow on a smart meter, indicating an undetected leak.  This means that up to 25% of water supplied to domestic properties is wasted through leakage.  This leakage can be due to old and corroded lead supply pipes, but the majority of leaks originate from joints in the supply pipe.  The House Building Federation (HBF) and Water UK have since 2014 issued best practice guidelines.  Of the 5 prinicples, 4 relate to minimising use and leakage.
Meter Location Best Practice Guidelines[1]

1. Preferably water companies should use the Water UK/HBF Amended Contaminated Land Assessment Guidance Document for new sites and connections. 
2. The use of a continuous and uninterrupted length of service pipe from the water main to the dwelling. The service pipe should be designed and constructed in such a way as to minimize the risk of leakage.
3. The Stop tap should be located above ground. 
4. Water meters should be located above ground. 
5. Water Companies should consider the use of technology such as ‘smart’ metering to enhance the accessibility of water consumption data for both homeowners and themselves.   Surface mounted meter housings are a perfect solution for modern methods of construction.  Meeting all the HBFs Best Practice Guidelines, the meter housing can be pre-installed along with all the internal plumbing systems, and then connected to the mains supply via and continuous, uninterrupted length of pipe.   

An early adopter of the surface mounted meter housing is Portsmouth Water.  Bob Taylor, CEO Portsmouth Water explained their philosophy,

‘Portsmouth Water’s policy of having a single joint free service pipe from mains connection right the way through to the wall mounted boundary box has certainly improved confidence around the longer-term quality of these new assets from a leakage perspective.  This policy is also helpful in the context of reducing customer side leakage and emerging knowledge in this area is showing that this is a bigger challenge than our previous understanding indicated.’

Steve Leigh, Managing Director Groundbreaker, and developer of the wall mounted boundary box has over 40 years’ experience in the Water Industry.

‘We’ve been putting pipes in holes in the ground to protect them from frost for decades’, he explained.  ‘Although it works, today’s new materials allow for a much better solution.  Keeping pipes on the surface reduces the risk of leaks developing and allows for easy repair and maintenance.  It’s just a much better method of working.’   Steve continued, ‘The advent of new smart metering options has also highlighted the problems of burying meters in a hole in the ground.  Groundbreaker allows for a stronger communications signal strength relative to underground meter installation.  Such systems have been proven to be able to be read from over 2 miles away from a single pick-up point and worldwide if linked to the internet.’


Reduce usage, a fit and forget solution  ‘Over supply’ of water, i.e. water flow rates that are higher than required to provide an adequate supply, results in waste of water.  Running taps when brushing teeth, showering, or rinsing cups uses more water than necessary.   Approximately 40% of domestic water usage is from bathroom and kitchen taps and showers. ‘Eco’ or water saving shower heads are designed to restrict the water flow to a single outlet are highly effective but fitting these come at a price, especially larger properties with multiple bathrooms.

The alternative is whole site flow reduction.  Fitting a device such as Groundbreaker’s NRv2 LoFlo®, at the meter regulates the level of flow entering customer premises – regardless of network pressure.  As the flow of water into the premises is limited, then the amount used in ‘time controlled’ activities is also limited – but without providing a degradation of service.  More importantly not requiring any intervention or behavioural change on the part of the customer, so leading to ‘natural’ reduction in consumption.




For further information on the full range of Groundbreaker products


CLICK HERE to visit the website

A recycling trial by PVC drainage manufacturer Polypipe Building Services with the UK’s largest specialist trade distributor has proved so successful that it’s now being rolled out across 11 of their branches within the UK.

The trial with Wolseley UK, the country’s largest plumbing, heating, and cooling trade merchant, began in three of their branches in Brimsdown, Trafford and West Bromwich, and has proved so successful that since January 2022 Polypipe Building Services has collected more than 2,700 kilos of recycled waste.


The scheme means Polypipe Building Services drivers will drop off dedicated empty collapsible pallets to merchants they supply which can be filled with PVC piping offcuts, obsolete products, plastic packaging, and bulk bags, and will pick the full ones up on their next delivery to the branch.


Alex Ashton, Environmental & Sustainability Manager at Polypipe Building Services, said the service was just one of a number of ways the Kent based manufacturer is working to improve the sustainability of the business and minimise the impact to the environment.

He said:

“We had been looking at ways we could help customers with their waste reduction as part of our own measures on site at Aylesford to stop anything going to landfill, and when we approached Wolseley with the idea they jumped at the chance.

“This scheme ties into our strategy of using more recycled materials in our processes following the release of our Terrain PVC sustainable pipe last year which is manufactured from up to 65% recycled PVC-u and is helping us to hit our targets as part of the Genuit group, which is committed to using more than 60% of recycled materials in our products.

“Plastic often gets a bad name when it comes to the environment, but when it’s used responsibly it can be recycled again and again helping us to limit the resources we take out of the earth.”



Cardboard, wooden pallets and plastic bottles are already recycled at Polypipe Building Services headquarters in Aylesford, and recycling bags are also supplied by Polypipe to building sites they supply so any offcuts can be collected and recycled instead of going to landfill. 

He added: “We’ve already had interest in the trial from several of our other distributors as it really is a win-win for them, their customers and our environment, and we have employed two dedicated recycling staff to sort all the different recycling streams.”

The trial led Wolseley to present Polypipe Building Services their Initiative of the Year award for going the extra mile for their customers.

Luchiana Laza, Category Manager at Wolseley, said: “When Polypipe Building Services told us about their trial scheme we were delighted, as internally we had been looking at different recycling schemes to support our customers.

“Polypipe Building Services are one of our preferred suppliers so it’s great to see them taking the initiative like this. 

“We have weekly deliveries from Polypipe so the volume of waste which we can now recycle means this scheme also makes good financial sense due to the cost saving on skips.”