We are taking responsibility for our environmental impact and taking strides towards becoming carbon neutral
As a Build to Rent specialist property company, Ascend are committed to managing and growing the value of our clients’ portfolios, and ensuring sustainable considerations are implemented across the business.
A huge part of our sustainability initiatives involves working towards a carbon neutral footprint. With a regional branch network, we have numerous vehicles on the road for our teams to attend viewings, inspections, move-ins, and conduct maintenance works. The current climate has forced the industry to really delve into the depths of what technology can do for property companies and how it can improve our business through not only efficiency and service levels for our customers, but also lowering the environmental impacts.
We will continue to promote virtual viewings in the first instance before our branch teams book in any physical viewings or appointments, to reduce the number of vehicles we have on the road. Virtual viewings are a valuable tool that has been widely implemented as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic however, the success of this new way of working has proved to us that it’s a method that will remain and be utilised by our company as part of our regular working procedures. This new way of working has proved to be both successful and efficient and since roll out, we are on course to hit 200,000 views on our video tours alone.
Ascend is a technology-focused company and we believe new software is the key to creating a more sustainable approach to traditional working methods. From our research in the Build to Rent market, residents find regular inspections intrusive and involve unnecessary travel. In response to this, we are utilising technology to further reduce the number of physical visits to properties by our team. We have now implemented virtual property inspections on some of our client’s portfolios, which allows inspections to take place without the need of physical attendance – this is resulting in a more efficient workflow, reduced carbon emission, and a better level of trust and loyalty gained from our residents.
Hybrid & Electric Vehicles
In addition to consciously reducing the number of our vehicles on the road, we are also making investments into hybrid cars and vans, so the vehicles that our teams will be using are much more sustainable and will further help to reduce our carbon emissions. We are currently in the process of making the transition to hybrid company vehicles, with a view to fully transition by 2025.
Home & Hybrid Working
Although this was initially a result of lockdown restrictions, this is another aspect that will stay with the company long-term. We will be continuing our work from home policy as part of our new standard working procedures, due to the sheer benefit this has on the environment through reduced amounts of commuting to our offices.
As well as massively reducing the energy usage from our offices, recent reports state that individual emission savings could be as large as 5% of each staff member’s footprint, which is a substantial saving towards a more sustainable world.
Not only has this had a positive impact on the environment, but we have noticed an increase in productivity during this period, so home and hybrid working will be something that remains in our working process.
We plan to transition to a new initiative by the end of 2021, that will see all branches using Ecosia as their search engine. This is a search engine that plants a tree for every search completed. As we are currently expanding across the country, this is a great way to ensure we are offsetting our environmental impact as we expand. On top of this, we are looking into working with a company that will plant trees on our behalf, with a view to planting a tree for every property we let to further help work towards a more sustainable future.
The property industry has a heavy reliance on emails as a form of communication, however we are striving to break that trend. Just by stopping sending “thank you” emails in the UK alone; we could save over 16,000 tons of carbon emissions. So, by reducing the amount emails we send internally by 80% (end of Q4 2021) and moving to chat functions, we can significantly reduce our emissions, without impacting our standard of service.
Green Utility Providers
We are currently looking at making the move to a green energy provider, which should be a massive boost towards becoming carbon neutral.
By implementing these new initiatives and forward-planning other innovative methods of working, we hope the whole industry follows suit and helps to shape the future of the property industry.