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Spotlight on: our products and solutions

The sustainability of our products and services and their positive impact on the environment is a core aspect of our Sustainable Solutions for Growth strategy. Across our three business units, we manufacture products that both mitigate and provide adaptation solutions to tackle climate change, whether that is how we more efficiently cool and heat our homes or preparing for more frequent extreme weather events. This is balanced by our commitment to helping customers reduce their own GHG emissions by supplying low-carbon solutions. Through this work, the Group continues to be recognised by the London Stock Exchange for generating more than 50% of revenues from these green products and services, through the Green Economy Mark.

Let’s take a deep dive into our business units:

Lower carbon heating and cooling

The Climate Management Solutions (CMS) Business Unit is focused on reducing the carbon impact of the way we heat and cool our homes and workplaces. With heating and cooling accounting for the greatest proportion of the built environment’s GHG emissions, our mission is to offer solutions which reduce that operational carbon impact.

For example, our Nuaire and Domus businesses are focused on providing the benefit of fresh healthy air, alongside low carbon ways of heating and cooling our homes and commercial spaces. Our Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery (MVHR) ranges take warmed air from areas such as bathrooms, capture that heat, and transfer it via heat exchangers back into the buildings’ hot water system. As our summers become hotter, even a temperate climate such as the UK’s is becoming uncomfortable on summer days. Products such as our MRXBox can be supplied with a cooling module in addition to MVHR. This means that when required, the unit can temper incoming warm air, and cool it sufficiently to make the building comfortable.

Click here for more information on how we’re addressing the need for clean healthy air and low carbon heating and cooling.

Within CMS, we are working hard to develop products, and provide innovations for these evolving climate challenges. In 2023, our Vitality Index within the CMS Business Unit was 28.1%, reflecting our high innovation rate, and the opportunities for new technology in this sector.

Enabling adaption and resilience

Within Water Management Solutions (WMS), our colleagues are focused on upgrading the stormwater and wastewater infrastructure to adapt to the results of climate change. As the climate warms, the air is capable of holding more water, and this creates more frequent bouts of extreme rainfall – amounts of rain for which much of our ageing infrastructure was not designed or in areas where historically rainfall levels have been lower.

In parallel with this, the so-called concretisation of our urban areas is accelerating runoff rates, and so our green urbanisation strategy addresses these twin needs of providing stormwater resilience along with enhanced urban living spaces. Our technical and commercial teams are experts in modern drainage design, and add value to our customers by helping them to design solutions which bring together these aspects of functionality.

Alongside our objective of improving resilience to climate change, within WMS we also mitigate our own impact upon it. The majority of our products use high proportions of recycled polymer, with some solutions, such as parts of our Permavoid range being made from 100% post-consumer waste. The carbon impact of these solutions is significantly below that of legacy material alternatives, as well as helping us to play a significant role in developing a circular economy. We are also seeing that our customers increasingly value this philosophy and recognise us as being in step with their own carbon reduction objectives.

Watch the video here to see how we are engaging with local schools on our ‘Wash and Squash’ plastic recycling initiative. 

Driving out carbon

The Sustainable Building Solutions (SBS) Business Unit provides its customers with a range of products and solutions that have efficient installation at their core. They are also part of our proposition to be the lowest carbon supplier of choice to our customers, be they a large housing developer, a commercial property owner, a large M&E contractor or a leading builders’ merchant.

Our market-leading Polypipe and Terrain plumbing and drainage products have long been recognised as having performance advantages as well as lower embedded carbon, compared to legacy materials such as copper or cast iron. However, we are increasingly differentiating our position due to our continued drive to reduce embedded carbon by increasing our use of recycled post-consumer waste. For example, the Terrain range of soil pipes now comprises up to 65% of recycled plastics, largely from recovered and re-processed PVC windows. This represents a carbon saving of c.44% compared to virgin polymer content.

Click the link here to see how Polypipe Building Services are adding value for their customers.

We are helping customers make informed decisions, which can be difficult given the widespread use of vague terminology within the sustainability space. We are committed to the use of third party accredited Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). This is increasingly important not just as customers focus on their own carbon reductions, but also as they endeavour to meet the requirements of initiatives such as the London Plan, in terms of carbon content.

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