Sustainability. It is a word we hear a lot about, and for good reason. With the need to collectively reduce our carbon emissions growing more urgent every day, this topic is one not to be overlooked.
Of course, the issue is complex and multi-faceted, with no one single answer; an amalgamation of different solutions required to tackle the climate crisis. But we believe each of us have a responsibility to do what we can, and as an organisation we are keen to do our part.
Sustainability is one of the key principles driving what we do and the decisions we make at CMS, both in our work and in the office. Conducting our work with sustainability in mind is an ongoing journey and one we are pleased to be on.
Sustainability in our work
We place high importance on carrying out all stages of our work in a sustainable way. We are committed to complying with legislative and regulatory requirements, providing training for staff, and setting targets to continually improve our environmental performance.
As part of our Environmental Strategy, we consider all aspects of a project to minimise its impact on the environment. Labour and materials are sourced locally, thus supporting and aiding our local economy whilst also reducing our carbon footprint. Existing resources are recycled where possible.
We assess the existing energy performance certificate (EPC) rating for the properties we work on, and review what energy efficiency improvements can be made considering life cycle costing, whole life costing and relevant pay back periods.
As BREEAM-accredited professionals, our architects design into projects improved levels of carbon reduction through active systems, passive design, local sourcing, responsible specifications and materials and adoption of modern methods of construction (MMC) with reduced embodied carbon energy.
We are also working with an innovative client who is exploring district-wide heating, biomass boilers with locally grown and cropped miscanthus grass, solar parks and barn roofs, and creation of diversified businesses using locally sourced materials and locally grown foods.
Elsewhere, during our work on Corsham Primary School (above), the construction utilised clay block with breathable lime plaster internally and lime render on sheep’s wool insulation. This development took place well in advance of the recently implemented Department for Education (DfE) requirement for new buildings to achieve net zero carbon in operation, and the updated Building Regulations Part L which sets out new energy efficiency requirements.
Sustainability in the office
Our focus on sustainability also extends to the office environment, from simple actions such as turning off the lights and adjusting the thermostat to balance comfort with saving energy, to larger investments. With our office being 100% electric, we subscribe to a supplier offering zero carbon electricity and manage our storage heaters using off-peak electricity.
Our recent investment in two electric vehicles has been a great step forward in cutting carbon emissions, meaning we are no longer reliant on fossil fuels for site visits. We also offer a Cycle to Work Scheme as an employee benefit, offering our team the opportunity to save money whilst benefiting the environment and adding some exercise into their day – a triple win!
Electronic communication and storage have proven a great way to reduce paper consumption, and recycling offers a solution for any paper that is used, as well as other materials including plastic. Did you know that electronic devices can also be recycled? Upon reaching the end of their lifecycle, they can be recycled through e-recycling companies or returned to the manufacturer.
The options are endless when it comes to future-focused, sustainable work. A little imagination and creative thought can go a long way, and we are excited to continue innovating in this area.