Business Network July August 22

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2. Biz Network July/Aug 39-56.qxp_Chamberlink 28/06/2022 12:05 Page 41

SUSTAINABLE EAST MIDLANDS

How Hillside is making sustainability a priority How does your business model embrace the sustainability agenda? We help clients understand their impact on the planet and find solutions to improve it while meeting their objectives. Our team comprises environmental consultants, project managers, financial executives and engineers who develop bespoke pathways to net zero. At the moment, a lot of our work is focused on environmental audits to understand where clients are environmentally-friendly and where improvements can be made. This is often followed by financial planning, funding applications and energy retrofits to move them to an eco-friendly model. We often help businesses to engage team members and build sustainability into their culture, too. Colleague buy-in is critical to the success of larger projects. What prompted the decision to embrace the sustainability agenda? It’s the reason we exist – to help other businesses combat climate change. Many of our team have backgrounds in property, facilities management, engineering and design. Combining this with personal values, we discovered that aligning nature, technology and finance created the tools to meet client objectives like competitive advantage and improved profits, while also being sustainable. How important is embracing the sustainability agenda for businesses? The planet’s resources are limited and the climate emergency is prevalent, but the change we need is happening on the ground. Many

HILLSIDE ENVIRONMENTAL Description: Supports SMEs and education providers to kickstart carbon reduction plans Location: Newark, Nottinghamshire Headcount: Six people plus two consultants on a project basis Spokesperson: Charlie Davies, project manager

businesses are making sustainability a priority, especially as consumers are expecting green solutions and are willing to switch to ecofriendly alternatives. Businesses need to stay ahead of the curve to compete but also to remain resilient. Natural resources are limited, so now is the time to find renewable alternatives. Of course, barriers still exist, such as funding, but new opportunities like government grants and private finance are available there, too. What are your future plans for making your business more sustainable? We are a carbon-neutral business following the introduction of renewable energy systems like ground-source heat pumps and solar power, as well as investing in biodiversity around our premises by planting 3.2 hectares of woodland. We are also changing our current transport fleet to electric vehicles to remove further greenhouse gas emissions from our operation.

Martha Morgan’s garment, appearing here on a model, can be worn as a dress (left) or a jumper

Student fashions a planet-saving outfit A dress that transforms into a pullover has been created by a Nottingham Trent University fashion design student to save materials and help the environment. Martha Morgan, 21, says making clothes multifunctional and “fun” could reduce materials going to landfill and ensure garments last longer. “Sustainability shouldn’t be about box ticking and making things out of bamboo,” said Martha, whose designs went on display for the university’s art and design student showcase in May. “If clothes are fun and engaging in this way, they become more emotionally durable as people will love them more. This makes people want to keep them for longer and help reduce the number of items going to landfill.” Her prototype can be worn as a maxi dress, midi dress or as a jumper. Made from knit ribbing and sports neoprene, it is designed to be physically durable to withstand increased usage, while it features pockets to further add functionality for dayto-day use. The garment works by having three openings for the wearer to place their head, each with corresponding openings for the arms.

The Hillside Environmental team, including project manager Charlie Davies, second from left

University awarded £2m funding for battery project University of Nottingham research into nextgeneration batteries that have potential use in aerospace is one of 16 “seed” projects awarded £2m funding. As the battery sector seeks to electrify various forms of transport, ranging from boats to planes, the university is developing batteries with improved energy density than the current lithium-ion technology. The Faraday Institution provided funding for this project and 15 others in June to help strengthen the UK’s position in electrochemical energy storage. The University of Nottingham research is led by associate professor Lee Johnson, from the School of Chemistry, in

collaboration with teams at Oxford. His team aims to address a significant barrier to realising lithium-air batteries, which offer a route to very high energy density and are of particular interest to aerospace applications, by investigating different carbons and gas diffusion polymers. The results will inform industry partners, including Lubrizol and Rolls Royce, and define future research challenges. Dr Johnson said: “Using this funding, we will develop gas delivery systems that will allow the battery to breathe oxygen from the atmosphere. “This is a key challenge towards enabling this new technology and thus sustainable electrification of the transport sector.”

Associate professor Lee Johnson at work July/August 2022 business network

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