At Virtual Heritage we are committed to reducing our environmental impact as far as possible and striving to continuously improve our environmental performance. This is easy to say, so what do we actually do?
Our carbon footprint
- Our office is fitted with solar panels that generate 4K of electricity in full summer sunlight, providing our office with more than 75% of its electricity needs over a full year.
- We predominantly work in virtual environments, where we can meet, collaborate with clients and partners from anywhere in the world, and work on virtual simulations with no need to travel. We use video conferencing regularly to avoid travel to offsite locations.
- When we do travel, we use public transport if possible. However, we often go to isolated places in heritage locations, and/or carry bulky equipment. In those cases, we drive a self-charging, hybrid petrol/electric car that averages 14 miles per litre (63 miles to the gallon).
- We own approximately 1.5 acres of ancient woodland with a high diversity of tree species, plants and wildlife, which we manage to encourage wildlife and offset our carbon emissions.
- We use only biodegradable plastics for all waste bags and bin liners. We keep waste generation to a minimum, composting all our coffee waste and only using Eden Project totally compostable coffee pods and whole bean coffee which is packaged 100% plastic-free. We also compost all vegetable food waste.
- We recycle all plastic waste that is accepted by our local authority and all cardboard, glass and metal cans. We generate very little paper waste as our communications and activities are predominantly online – what paper waste we do generate we recycle.
- We do not buy bottled water. We filter tap water and if we want sparkling water, we use a soda stream machine with re-usable bottles.
- The liquid soap bottle in the washroom and the washing up liquid bottle at the kitchen sink are both refilled rather than thrown away. Our local farm shop sells Ecover refills for washing up liquid and a range of laundry products, so we’re really fortunate.
But we’re not perfect …
…of course not! For example, being out in the country we don’t have a mains gas supply and we currently burn heating oil for central heating fuel. We do try to keep oil use to a minimum by good insulation and putting on a jumper if it’s cold! Also, if it’s a sunny day and our solar panels are working well, we heat with electricity if we need to, rather than burning oil. We had the boiler replaced with a new, more efficient one 4 years ago, and we use oil additive from time to time that keeps the boiler burning efficiently. We’re currently weighing up the cost of installing a ground heating system which would remove the need for oil burning completely, but it may be some time before we can afford that.
We are always conscious of keeping environmental issues at the forefront of our operations and we will keep striving to tread as lightly as possible. Our next step is to consider applying for an environmental accreditation such as Green Mark.