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Bradfords Sustainability

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Illustration of the outside of a house

Sourcing materials with the environment in mind

A material might be incredibly good at reducing carbon emissions or energy consumption through the life of a building, but at Bradfords we know we need to make sure that its sourcing is every bit as sustainable. We know the integrity and transparency of our supply chain matters, so we do due diligence on all the products we supply, and will provide you with all the information we can.

Illustration of a quarry

How we’re making Bradfords greener

Whilst we’re helping you to reduce the environmental impact of your home, at Bradfords we’re busy making sure that we do our bit too. Using the global GRI framework to develop our top level ESG strategy, at the coal face we’ve already started our decarbonisation, reduction in energy consumption and waste, and are challenging our suppliers to provide us with the most environmentally sustainable materials and products for your projects. To date we have:

  • Replaced nearly half our lights with low energy LEDS
  • Started our electric forklift programme, with the first to arrive in our branches in 2022
  • Switched to an electricity supply which is sourced only from renewables
  • Replaced all our printers with more energy efficient and sustainably manufactured machines which use less paper and ink
  • Nominated sustainability champions in our business alongside developing a comprehensive education programme for both our teams and customers on the topic of environmental sustainability
  • Won the inaugural Builders’ Merchants Federation sustainability award for our efforts

We’re committed to doing the right thing, and to helping our communities do so too.

Illustration of a lorry

Making greener buildings

Making your home ready for the future means using less energy, and making sure what you do use is from renewable low carbon sources. Getting this right however doesn’t just mean you’re doing your bit to save the planet and reducing your energy and utility bills, you’ll also be living in a healthier and more comfortable home.

It is important to note as you enter the Bradfords house to look at what you can do, that your house is a system. All the measures highlighted here are individually beneficial, but the real benefit comes from using them as part of the whole system and ensuring that your approach is one of ‘whole house’.

Illustration of a house and rooms Illustration of an office Illustration of house roof Illustration of a kitchen Illustration of a bathroom Illustration of a living room Illustration of the outside of a house

Timber

Bradfords recognises that the independent certification of forests and the process chain is the most useful tool in providing assurances that the timber comes from legal and well-managed forests and operates a fully certified and accredited Timber Chain of Custody system which is audited annually. Bradfords will only accept or use labels or certificates which include environmental or sustainability claims if these are supported by publicly available standards, drawn up in a fully participatory transparent and objective manner and backed by independent inspection.

Supply Chain Integrity

At Bradfords we want to make sure that products we supply are not only the best for the job but are ethically sourced and create the minimum impact on the environment from extraction of raw material, through manufacture and on to logistics. We’re working with the Builders’ Merchants Federation to improve the transparency and simplicity of information about the sourcing, manufacture and transport of building supplies and will add this information to our products.

Transport

Over 70% of our carbon footprint comes from our delivery fleet. It’s where we can make the most impact and at the same time the most challenging area to address. To reduce the absolute emissions associated with our lorries and vans we are:

- When appropriate, replacing our lorries with the latest Euro 6 compliant models, whilst keeping a close eye on developments in hydrogen technology which we see as the longer term solution.

- Looking at how we get cleverer with our delivery efficiency, whether that’s dropping heavy loads first, or simply making routeing more efficient. And making sure that we get it right – taking the right materials to the right location so that we don’t have to make unnecessary returns to sites.

- Continuing to ensure our drivers have the training so they consider fuel economy when operating their vehicles.

- Investigating offsetting to provide a way to reduce our impact until technology allows us to have zero emission delivery vehicles.

Energy

All our electricity is sourced from renewables. We’ve been like that for 2 years now. We follow ESOS 2 best practice for reducing energy consumption. We have 44 branches to get to net carbon zero and are investigating how to do this, whilst ensuring that any new branches we build meet this standard from the outset. We are 50% through a programme to replace all lights in our estate with LEDs.

Waste

By the end of 2021, over 95% of our waste will be diverted from landfill. We reuse cardboard packaging in our distribution centres which means we no longer use any plastic packing materials. All our branches have recycling facilities, including the ability to bale plastic. We are in active conversation with suppliers around how they minimise packaging of their products, and how we can return as much of the recyclable and reusable packaging to them.

Trustmark

Need to find a reputable tradesperson to make the improvements you want to your home? Trustmark is the government endorsed quality scheme covering work a consumer chooses to have done in their home, including energy efficiency retrofit measures. At their website: a directory of Trustmark certified trades, as well as sound advice, information and guidance on retrofit, grants available and more.

www.trustmark.org.uk

Simple Energy

Impartial and independent advice on how to improve the energy efficiency of your home based on the standards developed by government:

- Reduce your energy bills
- Make your home warmer
- Plan home improvements
- Make your home greener

www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk

Carbon Footprint Calculator

WWF Footprint Calculator

Insulation

The key to keeping heat in and (when required) out of the house. Depending upon where you’re insulating will define what insulation you need, but there are many different options to meet those requirements. Talk to our teams about what you want to achieve, and we’ll help you specify the right product.

Airtightness

There’s more to the insulation story than just the insulation material. You need to minimise leakage and thermal bridging, and as far as possible make any insulation measures you put in airtight. Leakage can be up to 30% of heat loss in a modern building, so getting this right is imperative.

Solar

Solar PV (photovoltaic – generating electricity as opposed to solar thermal which heats water) provides a zero carbon source of electricity for your building. With energy tariffs which encourage use of grid energy at night, solar allows you to take advantage of the sun during the day to reduce your electricity bill, reduce your carbon footprint, and provide resilience in the event of grid power failures. Combine with a battery storage facility and you have 24 hour electricity from the sun.

Windows

Windows provide a natural source of light and ventilation, both of which are essential for a comfortable home, but also up to 15% of heat loss in a property occurs through them. This can be significantly reduced by choosing the right windows and making sure that they are fitted to operate as efficiently as they can. If you are doing a new build or an extension, getting the windows right can positively affect how you achieve the desired u-value (the thermal efficiency of your property), and may in many cases impact your materials bill for other items.

Hot Water

Once your water is hot you want to make sure it stays that way, and that you can use it efficiently. Modern hot water tank insulation, thermostats and smart systems to ensure you only have it when you need it mean that you can have a better hot water service whilst also preserving both the planet and your cash.

Floor insulation

Up to 15% of heat loss occurs through the floors of our homes if they’re not well insulated. To maximise the benefit of floor insulation, consideration should be given to ensuring there are no gaps, that moisture is controlled properly, and the necessary ventilation measures are in place.

Floor Heating

If you’re doing an extension or new build you may wish to consider underfloor heating. More compatible with low carbon heat sources like air source heat pumps, underfloor heating is an efficient and comfortable way to heat spaces in your home. Underfloor heating can be a hot water or electric system – get in touch with our teams to find out what will work best for you.

Water usage

Most modern shower and tap units come with flow restrictors fitted as standard. Whilst you’re unlikely to feel any difference in the pressure of water coming from the tap, you’re actually using significantly less water: which means less drainage too.

Heat capture

The water that goes down the plug hole has significant heat still in it. We can help you fit heat recovery systems in the drains to make sure none of that energy is wasted. We can take you one step further where the same flow runs a turbine under your shower which powers the light above it.

MVHR

Ventilation in your home is critical: to maintaining both temperature and air quality. Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery systems make sure that not only is your home well and efficiently ventilated, but also makes sure that you extract any heat in air on its way out of the house to use elsewhere to keep your home warm and comfortable.

Doors

Gaps around windows and doors can contribute up to 25% of the heat loss in your home. Modern doors should act like an extension of the walls of your house, being insulated and fitted such that there are no gaps for cold drafts to enter through or for warm air to escape. Super-efficient new doors are the best solution, but if you’re not ready for that yet, talk to us about draft-proofing and options to up the performance of your current doors.

Walls

Whether you live in a 15th century farm cottage or are starting from scratch, the shell of your building is the most important aspect when it comes to heat loss and insulation. For existing properties, retrofitting options will depend upon the construction of your walls and we recommend taking advice from a Trustmark approved retrofit coordinator before coming to us for the materials you’ll need. For new builds or extensions, there are numerous construction methods available that provide both the structural strength as well as insulation, vapour control, ventilation, and perhaps thermal mass. Talk to us to understand what products can help you achieve the effect you need, and to find out the latest in terms of the most sustainable insulation materials that best do the job you need them to do.

Heating sources

Traditional radiators are inefficient when compared to modern alternatives, whether that’s larger versions to support low temperature systems fed from air source heat pumps, underfloor systems, heat batteries (modern super-efficient storage heaters which use state change to store and emit heat), or infra-red panels which can even be hidden in your plaster or presented as mirrors or pictures on your walls.

Car charger

The charging infrastructure in the UK is still developing, so to make best use of your hybrid or electric vehicle, a charging point is essential. New fitting regulations means you need to understand specific requirements (tethered, untethered, for single or three phase electricity supply) and what grants are available to you to help with the cost. With smart energy tariffs, you can get the cost of electric driving down to about a 6th of the cost per mile.

Air source heat pump

Air source heat pumps are the most efficient way of converting energy you supply into heat, working at up to 4 units of heat produced for every 1 put in. However, to make the most of them, systems thinking is essential; the downstream plumbing, tanks, radiators and pipes must all be optimised. Talk to us at Bradfords about the suitability of an air source heat pump for your project, or alternatives such as ground source heat pumps, hydrogen ready boilers or heat batteries.

Rainwater harvesting

The UK is almost unique in having only potable (drinking quality) water coming through the taps. Rainwater harvesting systems can mitigate the need to use high quality drinking water for those aspects of your home which don’t need it, as well as significantly reducing your water bills. Systems can be as simple as a water butt connected to your gutters to collect water for watering the garden, through to efficient systems which clean, treat and filter rainwater so it can be used for loo flushing, washing machines, washing up or showering.

Sustainable drainage systems

Once under the ground, you won’t see this crucial part of your home. However, you want to make sure that the water that needs to leave your property, whether as waste or run off, does so effectively and without impact on the environment. Talk to us about designing this into your project from the outset, and the great product range we have to help you do just that.