Monthly Archives: February 2017
The introduction of CN’s Mind Matters campaign has drawn a great response from the industry. Workers in the industry have shared their experiences which are hugely beneficial for the campaign aiming to tackle high male depression and anxiety impacting their well-being as well as the economy.
Working in the construction industry can lead to many workers feeling stressed, this can also have an effect on their personal life. As the industry is very demanding, when things go wrong this can have a huge psychological effect on their wellbeing. “The construction industry is made up of 2.1 million people in the UK, that’s 6% of the UK workforce. In England & Wales, 1 in 6 workers has experienced depression, anxiety or other stress related problems. This suggests that 350,000 construction workers may be affected. This was a study carried out by the Office of National Statistics in 2009.” (Information obtained from https://www.thenbs.com/knowledge/mental-health-and-wellbeing)
So why are construction industry professionals badly affected?
The construction industry is a very demanding workplace not just for workers but also managers. The pressures caused by the working patterns and demands can have a huge impact on emotional health and wellbeing. As the construction industry is male dominated, there is additional pressure on workers to comply with male stereotypes which often expect men to deal with issues without asking for help, causing them a great deal of stress.
“The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. In 2015, 75% of all UK suicides were male.”
This doesn’t just impact them mentally and physically, it leads to an economic effect as well. “Issues caused by mental health is responsible for people taking off 70 million days off sick per year, the most for any health condition. This is costing the UK economy 70 billion and 100 billion a year.” ( Information obtained from https://www.thenbs.com/knowledge/mental-health-and-wellbeing)
Workers at all levels provided feedback that will benefit the campaign’s success:
“Generally being stressed out in construction is considered to be the norm. There is a perception that if you are not stressed you are not busy enough.”
“I am very happy in my current role; however, I continue to suffer from depression and anxiety in my personal life. If I ever feel down at work currently I do my best to hide this and tend to stay quiet.”
“Any mistake I make, no matter how small, seems so incredibly big and it’s very difficult to get past it. I go home feeling depressed, can’t sleep and think about it for days afterwards. The feeling keeps getting deeper and the problem keeps seeming bigger.”
“In our industry we work long, draining days. It takes a long time to switch off and even when you’re asleep your head is still racing. This is not healthy.”
“I have worked with several people who have suffered mental health issues as a result of stress and other factors either at home or the workplace. In one case a man committed suicide.”
There are many support groups being introduced into the construction industry to help workers deal with any issues they may have. Here are a few charities and support groups to help you or anyone you know dealing with stress at work:
Mainer Associates are responding to new projects in Oxfordshire and are proud to announce that we are opening our third office in the UK at Milton Park. We are excited to continue working on a range of different projects across Milton Park and the wider region. While we look to serve our existing clients in the area, Mainer Associates are aiming to create new contacts as we look to expand further.
The new office is part of the Innovation Centre at Milton Park. Milton Park itself is home to over 340 businesses and over 12,000 workers making it a vibrant and dynamic place to do business. Our presence at Milton Park will enable us to improve delivering integrated sustainability services quickly and directly to clients across the South of England.
Our new address at Milton Park:
Milton Park Innovation Centre
99 Park Drive
We now take enquiries on 01235 854042.
For more information about Milton Park please visit http://www.miltonpark.co.uk/.
A look at ESOS, HM Government’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme
Saving energy could be seen as our tithe for saving the environment. More than ever, in our short time on Earth, we need to apply this approach openly and transparently. One idea is ESOS, Her Majesty’s Government’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme.
ESOS is the UK’s implementation ofArticle 8, sections 4 to 6 of the European Union’s Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU) and only time will tell whether this Directive will remain post Brexit. The crux of ESOS is its assessment procedure which takes into account energy consumption across the business, and identifies where savings could be made.
Companies based in the UK, employing more than 250 employees, must comply with the scheme. The scheme not only applies to the company’s on-site activities; an ESOS assessment takes into account the carbon footprint for travel to and from the premises. For example, business travel or commercial vehicles used from one site to another.
Under ESOS, energy includes combustible fuels, heat sources (including surplus heat from industrial processes), electricity, and renewable energy. All energy use is covered. For Combined Heat and Power installations, you only need to record incoming fuel levels.
How ESOS works around your energy requirements
The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme encourages your business to better manage its energy consumption. After assessment, your company is encouraged to identify energy saving opportunities. Instead of a train journey or a long drive, videoconferencing could be considered for meetings. Smart meters could be installed with improved energy consumption reporting facilities available. And renewable energy solutions could be considered to deliver a proportion of demand.
What’s more, some of the energy saving solutions may require little outlay. Existing computer systems could be used for teleconferencing, your next meeting could be a Skype or Facetime call away. Smart meters can be added to your premises free of change. All you need to do is contact your electricity supplier.
ESOS is about continuous development rather than a short term fix. It highlights opportunities for businesses and those that get on board with that process rather than seeing it as red tape, will get the most out.
High demand sees increased shelf space for solar energy products
Almost a year ago, after three years, IKEA stopped selling solar energy products. Last April, they had a change of heart and reinstated them. Their two month hiatus coincided with a change of supplier. Before November 2015, their supplier of solar panels was Hanenergy. Their present-day supplier is Solarcentury.
By January 2017, sales picked up. Demand for its range of sustainable energy products have risen by 13.3%. This has included LED lighting, water meters and rechargeable batteries, as well as residential solar energy systems. As to how much of the 13.3% rise in sales were solar panels remains to be seen.
Solar energy has consolidated itself as a renewable form of energy for commercial and residential properties. Recent incentives have made PV renewable energy popular with households. IKEA’s success is in spite of HM Government cuts to the feed-in tariff. Their PV renewable energy systems were first sold in three IKEA stores: Lakeside, Birmingham, and Glasgow and soon, all of its UK stores will have the full range.
The solar panels sold in IKEA stores today are more efficient than those supplied by Hanenergy. Theirs were made of thin film, which lacked the energy efficiency and reliability of the polycrystalline and monocrystalline panels offered by Solarcentury.
Solarcentury were formed in 1998 and are one of the oldest companies in the field of renewable energy. Their solar systems have been erected on more than a thousand sites around the world. The company is headed by Frans van der Heuvel with its founding director is Jeremy Leggett, noted for his columns in The Guardian and the Financial Times.
IKEA and Solarcentury are a good fit in terms of their approach to renewable energy. Solarcentury have worked with communities to expand the uptake of solar energy. IKEA have greened their stores with solar panels on some of their branches. And, for the first time in the company’s history, Ikea has a zero waste to landfill figure, paving the way for other retailers.
Are renewable energy options on the back burner?
With only two months to go till the proposed triggering of Article 50, would it fair to say that climate change and environmentally friendly energy solutions are being overlooked? The last week hasn’t been a good one for the state of our pale blue dot. Firstly, America has a president whose contempt for the environment appears visible from outer space. With the United States having the second highest emissions levels after China, the potential sacking of climate change scientists and budget cuts at the Environmental Protection Agency would potentially have a far reaching impact on global emissions.
Our Prime Minister met Trump at the White House, trying (we think) to engineer a trade deal, while over on the Fylde Coast, we have seen the first vehicles getting ready to start test drills on Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site. With Prime Minister, Theresa May hoping to get Article 50 triggered by the end of March, where could we be going in 2017 and beyond?
Brexit and environmental standards
Many improvements in environmental standards have been driven the EU. In the large part, it is anticipated that EU benchmarks for environmental standards will remain part of the UK’s Stature Books. The Great Repeal Bill will incorporate elements of the EU’s directives, and will convert these requirements in to British Law. This will see the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972. In spite of the reassurances proposed in the forthcoming bill, any subsequent amendments post Brexit are subject to change and Parliament will have the power to retain some directives and scrap others.
With the uncertainty of Brexit, banks have considered moving to other EU Member States with France and the Republic of Ireland favoured bases. Nissan is in limbo over continued UK investment. IKEA, whom we have covered in a previous post, isn’t sure about its continued expansion into renewable energy. Standing between the furniture giant’s £524 million green energy fund is the Government’s approach to environmentally friendly energy sources. On The Huffington Post website, Joanna Yarrow, IKEA UK’s Head of Sustainability said: “the UK’s ‘political context’ does not encourage investment in renewables.” She also added that:
“I would say that over the last five or six years it has become increasingly difficult to invest in renewable energy production in the UK, and that for a large organisation like IKEA which has the resources to invest, it would be great for the UK to benefit from it.”
Brexit or no Brexit, if you have looked at energy related stories over the last six months, there seems to have been more column inches devoted to Hinkley Point’s forthcoming multi-billion pound nuclear reactor. Or hydraulic fracturing in Kirby Misperton and Preston New Road.
With Britain yet to decide on which of the EU Directives it will maintain, canwe trust the government to retain, all the environmental benefits we have gained from EU membership? Will our beaches still be clean? Will there still be incentives driving the renewable energy sector? While the UK is by no means the highest generator of renewable energy across Europe, we have seen a three fold increase in renewable energy generation from 2004-2014.
Will Brexit be seen as an opportunity to cement our future energy security through the mix of renewable energy solutions or will we revert to more controversial options.