Low Carbon Economy

Networking Lunch and Learn with BIPVco

In January 2019 we held our monthly networking lunch in partnership with Cynnal Cymru member BIPVco. Guests enjoyed a short presentation before being given an exclusive tour of the factory in Newport, where they got to see first hand the different manufacturing stages of their innovative thin film technology.

The visit provided a great opportunity to see the different range of innovative products designed and produced in-house by BIPVco and MIPV, with the opportunity to ask questions about the technical capabilities and potential applications from buildings to mobile applications.

About BIPVco and MIPV

BIPVco is a Newport based manufacturer of innovative and leading edge building integrated photovoltaic systems.  BIPVco is committed to factory incorporation of PV functionality to the building fabric to drive quality, value, holistic / aesthetic  integration and superior performance. Collaborating with major building envelope substrate and component manufacturers, BIPVco is able to offer sympathetically integrated solar powered roof and wall solutions for residential, institutional and industrial buildings. The products are ideally suited for the UK climate with excellent low light performance. The adopted thin film technology also has the advantage of being light weight, flexible and able to take the building form. It also has inbuilt design features to avoid disproportionate loss of power under partial shading. Turning buildings into power stations without making them look like one.

MIPV is a Newport based manufacturer of thin film flexible solar panels specifically sized to suit a range of mobile applications ranging from leisure vehicles such caravans, motorhomes and boats, service vehicles such as ambulances, police cars and vans to transport fleets including trucks, vans and refrigerated containers. The light weight flexible modules can be easily integrated onto the body of the vehicle without spoiling the aerodynamic characteristics of the vehicle nor adding significant weight. The highly efficient modules can provide trickle charge, eliminate idling times (and associated pollution), provide cooling function to refrigerated vehicles and enhance mpg by reducing alternator load or extend battery range of EV vehicles. The uniqueness of the MIPV technology is that unlike conventional crystalline cells, the flexible thin film solar cells do not crack and fail prematurely in dynamic mobile applications.

Find out more about BIPVco on their website.


 About our Networking Lunches

Cynnal Cymru works in partnership with our members to provide a range of networking lunch experiences throughout the year. Each lunch is unique and takes place in a different venue, to give our members the chance to showcase their work to a new audience. Last year we were delighted to partner up with Ballet Cymru, WWF Cymru, WCVA and Constructing Excellence in Wales.

If you would like to find out more about our membership or would like to co-host one of our future events, please get in touch.

Cardiff Council Transport and Clean Air Green Paper

From January to July 2018 we worked intensively with Cardiff Council on their Transport and Clean Air Green Paper. We were tasked with conducting research to inform the drafting of the paper, and helping with consultation once it was published.

Desk-top research looked at reports compiled within the last five years, emerging trends in transport, and the activity in other cities around the world. Seminars and conferences included Cynnal Cymru’s 2016 “Future Car:diff” event, “Car Futures Wales”, and the Innovate UK “Transport Challenges” workshop. Interviews took place with Innovate UK’s Transport Systems Catapult, Arup, Jacobs, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Living Streets, and Cardiff Civic Society.

As drafts progressed, a team of Council officers and Cynnal Cymru staff was formed under the leadership of Cabinet Member for Transport, Councillor Wild. This team began to blend existing Cardiff Council transport research and strategies with new information gleaned from the research. The team included representatives from the Transport department, Economic Development, City Services, Shared Regulatory Services, Research and Customer Services, Policy, and Operations, and was chaired by the Director of City Operations. The end result ensured innovative practices from other cities was combined with existing strategic and policy commitments and an awareness of emerging trends to meet the specific needs of Cardiff.

Following publication, we worked with the Transport Team, Customer Services, The Cardiff Research Centre and FOR Cardiff to undertake a variety of consultations events and communications. These included an event for businesses and targeted engagement of specific locations.

Will ultra-low emission vehicles be part of your business?

[:en]Simple answer – yes – if they aren’t already. Welsh businesses should be aware that there is significant pressure on local and national government to do something about air quality. Add to this the slow but inevitable rise in costs of oil and the rapidly reducing costs of electric and you have a business dilemma – when to jump from the sinking fossil fuel ship onto…. what? Hydrogen powered? All electric? Some sort of hybrid?

It’s tricky which is why we are gathering people for a conversation on Car Futures Wales on the 15th February at 17.00 in the Arup Offices Cardiff Bay. BBC Broadcaster Mark Goodier was one of the first people in the UK to drive an electric car and is a keen advocate of the technology. He will be in conversation with Tim Armitage, Arup’s project director of Autodrive, the UK’s first on-road trial of connected and autonomous vehicles.

Mark works with Drive Electric who are the leading provider of electric lease vehicles. Some experts argue that car ownership, as well as they technology that powers them, is set to change in a big way. The pricing mechanisms that may arise in response to congested roads and poor air quality might mean that owning a depreciating lump of metal just doesn’t make sense any more. The car, like the home video, will be claimed by the “service not product” business model.

Tim Armitage will argue that an additional factor in bringing about change will be the advent of driverless technology. Here the service even includes the act of driving. You want to get from A to B in a fast comfortable (and relatively safe) way right? Well do you need to drive then if AI on wheels can do it for you?

Of course there will be some people who just love that physical connection between, senses-mind-hands-road and for them there will always be models available with steering wheels and accelerator pedals. They may even give you a fake Maserati roar.

But for a serious business person looking at margins, predicting trends and future markets, then the reality of ultra-low emission and autonomous vehicles has to be faced.

Join Cynnal Cymru and the experts in conversation on the 15th Feb at Car Futures Wales.[:]

Public Health Wales and Orangebox save 134 tonnes of C02

Public Health Wales has embraced the three pillars of sustainability – environmental, economic and social sustainability and so this was incorporated in to the brief produced for furnishing the building. In order to achieve the retrofit PHW took a new and innovative approach to procuring office equipment, furnishings and flooring using as much reused and remanufactured equipment and products as possible.

As an organisation dedicated to improving public health and well-being, PHW felt that this should be central to activities, including procurement of goods and services, and the refit was identified as an opportunity to demonstrate this approach.

They already had a large number of quality furniture and fittings in their existing offices across Wales and it was felt that these items, with some cleaning, refurbishment and re-design, could be repurposed for use at the new office space in Cardiff Bay instead of being sent to landfill, and could be combined with other new or re-used items in a cohesive and functional style appropriate for the new office space.

It was also important that plans took in to account the sustainability challenges for the public sector in Wales including the Wellbeing of Future Generation Act 2015.

So PHW wanted to ensure the use of existing stock, including those which may need re-designed along with sourcing additional refurbished and pre-owned items. Sourcing of new items would only occur where absolutely necessary preferably using recycled content and eco design principles.

PHW took an innovative approach to finding the right supplier. A supplier day was arranged to brief potential suppliers who were given the opportunity to meet representatives from PHW and gain an understanding of the requirements. This new approach meant moving away from traditional procurement scoring where cost is usually given the greatest weighting to one where sustainability had the greater weighting taking up 70% of the scoring requirements.

The tender was awarded to a consortia made up of three companies, Rype, Greenstream and one of our premium members – Orangebox as their bid demonstrated the most sustainable approach.

The Outcome

The bulk of the furniture for the new office was either reused/re-manufactured from existing furniture or sourced from elsewhere. Many of these items had they not been reused would have been destined for landfill. In the refit 1,143 individual items were reused, these items were recovered and cleaned, in addition a further 1,270 pieces were re-manufactured (where parts are repaired, reconditioned, or replaced). Desk tops were repaired and chairs and soft furnishings being recovered with new fabrics. Around 2,563 items were used for the office refit overall with 45% of the items being re-used, 49% being re-made and only 6% of the items were brand new but encompassed sustainability credentials.

Our premium member Orangebox provided approximately 550 remanufactured office chairs for the project as part of their Remade programme. Orangebox Remade involves chairs that are near or past their warranty being returned to Orangebox and then collected by a local social enterprise, who remanufactures the chairs to as good as new condition. Each remanufactured chair saves 32kg of CO2, a 60% reduction in total compared to the new chair. 98% of parts are recyclable; components removed are either kept for reuse or returned to Orangebox’s locally based suppliers for reprocessing into new parts.

A mix of new and reused carpet tiles were used to carpet the offices floor areas. The flooring was designed to be accessible to all users with a number of the walkways designed with bespoke colour contrasts meaning that a greater percentage of carpet tiles needed to be sourced from new stock to meet the design needs. Although the ratio of recycled to new was lower than first anticipated the use of reused tiles, supplied and fitted by Greenstream, made a significant contribution to the project as it aligned closely  with PHW’s overarching aims and objectives of extended community benefits.

In total the project saved around 134 tonnes of C02 – the equivalent to traveling around 400,000 miles by car, or taking 41 cars of the road for an entire year.

Orangebox – is one of the UK’s largest office furniture manufacturers. Their in-house design team are committed to ensuring their growth comes from products and services that are as environmentally smart as they are commercially successful. This has included the design of the first office chair in Europe to be ‘Cradle to Cradle’ accredited, the set-up of an in-house recycling (take back) service and more recently, an Innovate UK supported project looking at adapting the business toward Circular Economy thinking. Looking forward their aim is to encourage their organisation, customers, distributors & suppliers to adopt a more holistic approach to product life-cycles and reduced environmental impacts.

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