Landlord and housing developer Thirteen has opened a state-of-the-art environmental centre that gives it complete control over its waste management.
The pioneering scheme puts the company, which provides homes for rent or for sale, at the forefront of innovative environmental initiatives and is unique in the housing sector.
By taking ownership of its waste management, Thirteen is looking to reduce the amount of waste it sends to landfill by 95 percent.
The centre at Billingham, in Tees Valley, has its own solar photovoltaic panels that will generate enough power to make it self-sufficient and it boasts an educational ecology centre to teach tomorrow’s generation about energy efficiency.
An environmental specialist from Thirteen runs the ecology centre as a community resource, complete with classrooms for local children, beehives, chickens, bat boxes, trees, and other planting to evidence the site’s biodiversity.
The site is home to an innovation lab, which tests new technology aimed at making the company’s 35,000 homes smarter, safer, and greener.
More waste will be saved from landfill through the site’s upcycling department where furniture can be repaired, refurbished, and given a new lease of life for people who are vulnerable or in need.
Thirteen will reduce its carbon footprint further by creating a new base for its grounds maintenance team and a facility for washing vans to save time and money on trips to a car wash.
Thirteen’s ability to control its own waste while engaging with people and educating youngsters about their environmental impact is seen as a ground-breaking project that will contribute towards cleaner, greener neighbourhoods.
It will mean costs can be reduced allowing further investment in people and green initiatives to bring impressive improvements to the local environment.
The 35,000 kWh of power a year expected to be generated by the solar panels is expected to reduce carbon emissions by about 50 tonnes of CO2 annually.
*Thanks to NEECCo (www.neecco.org.uk) for case study information.
This is a unique project both in the region and the housing sector.
Thirteen hopes the innovative scheme will inspire others to look at their own waste and how they could better deal with it in terms of recycling and reusing.
The site is fully sustainable, generating enough clean electricity from its solar panels to power its activities. As well as giving the company total control over recycling its waste, the project includes the added bonus of the Ecology Centre which will help to educate visitors in a fun and interactive way promoting recycling to future generations.
Thirteen hopes anyone considering running a similar project or interested in how the initiative works will get in touch as it is keen to share its learning.