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How sustainability is at the heart of Lakeside North Harbour

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Sustainability is becoming a leading business concern, with 84% of global consumers considering sustainability “when choosing a brand” and 69% of employees “more likely to accept a job offer” with an “environmentally sustainable organisation”.

The majority (58%) of UK small business owners have made improving sustainability a priority. So, where could businesses look to increase sustainability to achieve substantial impact and reduce some of the challenges presented by the current climate?

Office space

The World Green Building Council’s report, Doing Right By Planet and People, sets out the business case for buildings that are resource efficient and provide healthy, productive spaces. The results suggest that ‘green’ buildings can benefit businesses both financially and in terms of employee satisfaction, leading to “strong financial returns for the companies owning or occupying these buildings” to improvements in “wellbeing” and “productivity”.

Many businesses are experiencing increased financial pressure as a result of rising energy prices, with SMEs facing an average increase in gas bills in excess of 250%. Coupled with an urgent need to tackle the climate emergency, sustainable buildings are quickly becoming a necessity.

Simon Bateman, asset manager at Lakeside North Harbour, said: “With sustainability a key focus at Lakeside North Harbour, we are continuously examining where we can do more to protect our planet and improve the wellbeing of our occupiers, employees and visitors.”

Lakeside North Harbour recently revealed a ground-breaking solar generation and battery storage system project. With work due to start this Autumn, the large-scale sustainability initiative will see 1,900 roof-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) panels installed across its five buildings, whilst the installation of solar canopies - comprising 8,000 solar PV panels fitted above existing car parking spaces - will create one of the largest solar parking canopy arrays in the UK.

The electricity generated by the solar PV system will total around 4.1 gigawatt-hours (GWh) every year - the equivalent of over 1,000 homes' typical annual electricity consumption - and provide up to 38% of the site’s electricity requirement. Additionally, the 2MW battery will have the capacity to store excess electricity to the amount needed to power approximately 2,000 homes instantaneously and will be used for 'grid services', enabling power to be stored or discharged as required by the National Grid. This will help to balance other renewable sources of generation and periods of peak electricity demand.

Bateman added: “This initiative will save 992 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted each year, supporting our environmental aims and benefitting our community, as well protecting our commercial tenants from the rising costs of energy.”

But don’t just take our word for it, Lakeside’s occupiers are equally positive about our strong track record on sustainability.

Gemma Lacey, director of sustainability and communications at Southern Co-op - one of our occupiers - commented on our current sustainability benefit of a 100% green electric energy supply, sourced from Portsmouth City Council, and our commitment to waste reduction - recycling 95% of general waste into energy-producing electricity. “A focus on sustainability and making a positive impact on communities is at the heart of everything we do. Lakeside’s 100% green electric supply and efforts to reduce waste support our values and environmental aims.”

Supporting more sustainable commutes

Connectivity is at the heart of our campus. Located within close proximity to Junction 12 of the M27 and excellent transport links, Lakeside’s prime location offers smooth and flexible travel options, including sustainable options to benefit our environment and support our occupiers in navigating current challenges.

According to ONS data, the average price of diesel in April 2022 reached the highest on record at 176.1 pence per litre - leaving many businesses and employees facing difficulties due to the rising cost of fuel. In May, 25 per cent (one in four) motorists “admitted to struggling to afford the cost of driving in the past month”.

Several solutions on our campus, including our free occupier shuttle bus service, bike storage and electric vehicle charging infrastructure, support our occupiers and their employees to choose a more sustainable commute, reducing emissions and costs. As part of our sustainability initiatives and events for Blue Week, which focused on helping employees identify more sustainable and economical ways to travel, we launched a trial to rent Voi rental e-scooters at Lakeside as part of an e-scooter initiative across Portsmouth.

Focus on biodiversity and wellbeing

Lakeside’s campus is best known for its unique surroundings and grounds, offering 130 acres of green and blue space with a plethora of wildlife habitats.

The Government’s review into green space highlights an association between greener environments and improved mental health including “reduced levels of depression, anxiety, and fatigue”. At Lakeside, we also recognise these benefits and have committed to a biodiversity action plan, including extensive tree planting, as well as working in close partnership with Hampshire Wildlife Trust to protect our wildlife residents.Additionally, we introduced onsite bee hives last year, run events with our resident bee keeper to encourage interest in nature and are re-wilding areas of our campus with pollinator friendly flowers to support our bees.

Simon Bateman commented: “We firmly believe that nature can play a large part in employee wellbeing. Through regular events that focus on wellbeing, such as our recent wellness and wildlife week, we encourage all based at Lakeside to get out into nature and take advantage of what our unique environment has to offer.”

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