Ringley spend over £7 million each year on maintenance and refurbishment, preferring to restore than replace, buy locally and switch to energy saving lightbulbs. They insulate lofts as much as possible and ensure recycling facilities are as close as possible to blocks they manage.
The Ringley Group’s customer service initiatives include an offer to reimburse a client’s block management fee if they opt to communicate with the firm via a teleconference instead of using their car.
They have made a commitment to recycle all paper, which they estimate helped save 244 trees between 2006 and July 2010 and to switch off its air conditioning/heater for at least 100 days each year to help reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
The company has done a lot of work in the last year to be innovative, environmentally friendly and value those who live in properties they work on. When proposed works are expensive, they make a point of asking resident to vote on alternatives. This has resulted in re-using brick bins as bike sheds. They want to include energy-saving lightbulbs in properties but this is impossible to be rolled out at once, so during the process they rotate old bulbs around so that gradual energy saving is used throughout the process. They have installed bike racks, which can be vertically mounted so take up little space, asking their cleaners if they are using environmentally friendly products, using ‘green’ transport and buying as locally as possible.
One judge says: “The thing I like is that not only is the firm looking after buildings, but it is also looking after residents.”
Another judge was impressed with the firm’s commitment to sourcing staff and services locally, but particularly its bravery in phasing out its company cars and reducing its pooled cars from six to four.
Managing Director, Mary-Anne Bowring says “winning this award is immensely encouraging. We are humbly at the start of our green agenda and spent much of 2010 capturing key data on all the developments of flats and houses we manage for our Clients so we truly know who has un-insulated pitched roofs and where grants are available. We have pin-pointed the nearest car club to each development, recorded what recycling facilities are on site.
Life cycle costing is also being used to promote PVC-U windows where the break-even point on redecorations is normally 3 or less decorations cycles and three major sites now either in funds or having just completed installing double glazing. For traditional Victorian buildings we deal with prior to paint timber repairs to windows by using resin repair systems ie, restoration as opposed to timber replacements or throwing away good quality Victorian window components which so greatly outlast modern softwood equivalents. In 2011 have plans to roll out to composting to larger sites, divert rainwater goods to water buts to re-use for garden watering, washing cars and installing simple low cost irrigation to flower beds.
It’s a tough agenda and there has to be proven benefits as it is hard to gain leaseholder’s support if initiatives mean that service charges will rise even if just short term. We do recognise the importance of the role the Ringley Group plays in influencing a lot of people and packaging just what is possible so that gradually the green agenda can filter down to the annual service charge budget and action plan we hold for each development we manage.”