Kingston’s net zero journey showcased at Barwell Business Breakfast

The innovation and ambition underpinning the business drive in Kingston to reach net zero has been highlighted at the latest Barwell Business Breakfast.

Delegates enjoyed a vegetarian breakfast at unit 50 and listened to guest speakers from Barwell Business Park/Aviva Investors, Steris Instrument Management Services (IMS) and Kingston Council.

Aviva Investors/Barwell Asset Manager, Ken Butcher, told the event on 4 March about the business park’s net zero ambitions and how present building work would fit in with these aspirations.

He said: “Aviva Investors is committed to being net zero by 2040. Clearly it is a substantial task, but at Barwell this includes looking at sustainability credentials when constructing new buildings, making common areas and common paths as sustainable as possible, and also ensuring that, when a building becomes vacant, the refurbishment is done with green and sustainable considerations front of mind. For example, ensuring the EPC [Energy Performance Certificate] is improved.

“Other considerations are the capacity to add solar panels to roofs, EV chargers, all-electric heating to offices and LED lighting ideally on sensors, metering, data management and remote access so we understand how much we’re using and how we can manage it.”

Work on unit 29 is progressing following a fire last year and is due for completion by 2023.

“We expect the unit to offer a high specification for a headquarter type unit of about 29,000 sq ft, which we hope will set the standard for future refurbishment of this estate,” Ken explained.

“We’re looking at triple glazed windows, superb insulation in the roof and the fact it’s down to structure gives us the opportunity to go that much further than you would if you were doing a more standard refurbishment.”

Mandeep Dulku, Commercial Finance Manager at Barwell occupier Steris IMS, which recently took up occupancy of Units 1-4 following a refit, said: “Within the facility, sustainability, not just the materials but our processes, our partners, everything was considered when we constructed that facility. Our sterilisation equipment is heavy on utilities so we actually have measures in place, not just software but also partners that allow us to utilise utilities within our equipment quite effectively. Also, we take social values as a core part, we’re part of a community.”

The company sterilises medical equipment for clients including St. Helier and Epsom University Hospitals NHS Trust, and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and is supporting the net zero drive for the NHS.

Mandeep, who sits on Steris’ sustainability and social value group in the UK, said: “The NHS has set itself an ambitious target of being at net zero by 2025. We’re actually pushing ourselves to be a year ahead of them because as their trusted partner, we have to be one step ahead. Their core priorities are patients, not necessarily sustainability, so we’re going to do everything we can to support them and help them achieve their targets.”

Kingston Council along with Kingston Chamber of Commerce has been running ‘Think Green’ webinars to support businesses. The Economic Recovery Task Force, set up by Kingston Council and drawing on expertise from partners including Kingston University, and Barwell Business Park, is supporting the green economy in the borough. Subgroups, meeting to support various business sectors, include one with a focus on the transition to a green economy.

Kingston Council’s Green Economic Recovery Lead, Ioanna Rossi, said: “What is the call to action for businesses? What is the corporate vision? There are two elements. One is what you can do as businesses to decarbonise and reduce the negative impact on the environment. And the second is what you can do to take this as an opportunity to grow, to innovate, and to be ahead of the game.”

Kingston Council’s Assistant Director of Regeneration & Economic Recovery, Duncan Brown, added: “The council is very, very committed to tackling the climate emergency. We’re setting ourselves our own target to meet 2030 net zero on all operations on our estate, which is very challenging and then for the borough by 2038, and that’s the challenge back to our community and businesses – how we’re going to do that. We really want you to join us in this massive challenge.”

He acknowledged how Chessington continues to faces issues with transport and logistics and that the council wanted to address these, saying: “We’re collectively pooling our weight with partners and lobbying South Western Railway and government to invest in the train services so we can travel around in a sustainable way.”

The council is delivering green grants to support businesses and these are publicised via the Kingston Business newsletter. Sign up here.