S4TP go offsite on site

October 18, 2023
The Solutions for the Planet team have been lucky enough to visit a couple of our long-standing business partners recently with trips on-site to Tarmac’s Asphalt Plant and Northern Gas Networks’ Hydrogen Homes and Customer Energy Village. Both trips were like getting an exclusive backstage pass to their world.

The visit to Tarmac’s Asphalt Plant was enlightening for our team, and it was not just about what we saw but also about the connections we made with each other, as well as colleagues at Tarmac. New Big Ideas Programme Coordinator, Qaanita, expressed her excitement, stating, “The visit to Tarmac was actually my third day at Solutions for the Planet, and the first time that I met my entirely remote team in person! I was even able to meet our fantastic business partner and mentor, Kelsey Drewett. It was an eye-opener to both the Solutions for the Planet culture and the strong relationship we share with Tarmac.”

Climbing to the highest point of the facility, the team were treated to a panoramic view with the interesting backdrop of HS2 construction sites nearby. The sheer scale of this operation was immense. Sarah, Big Ideas Programme Manager, questioned just how many of these plants exist, the vast quantities of materials required, and the intricate technology underpinning it all.

The team were also surprised at the level of automation at the plant. Sarah said, “It’s so advanced that it could conceivably be operated by a mere three individuals, with two of them stationed in the control room, monitoring levels and processes. Like us at S4TP, a tiny but mighty team.”

How unusual it was to have the opportunity to witness the inner workings of an asphalt plant up close! It was a fascinating experience, and one that left a lasting impression.

The team’s trip to Northern Gas Networks’ Hydrogen Homes and Customer Energy Village (on the aptly named streets of Hy Grove and Futures Close) was equally fascinating. The site holds ambitious plans to transform into an educational centre with a focus on renewable energy and natural habitats, right next to a protected area housing red kites.

The visit to “Futures Close” was particularly insightful. Here, the team, had the privilege of witnessing the construction of buildings mirroring different eras. These structures serve as baselines for energy consumption and efficiency assessments, comparing the impact of hydrogen across various building ages and construction materials.

The Hydrogen Homes might have appeared unremarkable from the outside, but this was precisely the point. Inside, they seemed ordinary, and that’s the message they intended to convey – that hydrogen can seamlessly integrate into our daily lives, with appliances operating just as they always have.

Being on-site provides us with an insider’s perspective on our business partners’ operations. We can see the nitty-gritty details, the challenges they face, and the complexities of what they do. One notable aspect of our Tarmac and Northern Gas Networks visits was their commitment to sustainability. Tarmac talked about recycling aggregate materials and the revival of an old railway line to facilitate the transportation of raw materials by train instead of trucks, and the whole premise of the Hydrogen Homes is to demonstrate how we can move towards a more sustainable way of energy use in our homes. Whilst recognising there’s a long way to go, they are steps in the right direction.

In a nutshell, these site visits are an important ingredient for a successful partnership. They allow us to gain unique insights, build personal connections, and understand the finer details of our clients’ operations, including where they stand on important issues like sustainability, paving the way for more collaborative, informed, and productive partnerships.

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