ISG's sustainability innovators present at the United Nations’ Global Compact Leaders Summit
In September, four ISG representatives showcased their findings from the UN Global Compact Innovator Accelerator programme to global delegates at the Leaders Summit in New York. The team featured social value graduate, Kajal Parekh, bid writer and ESG specialist, Rosie Maxwell, as well as Sustainability advisors, Ollie Kent and Poppy Cunningham.
The Innovator Accelerator programme guides participants to identify challenges that their businesses can tackle in support of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Our team of innovators honed in on the UK's energy demand and its associated carbon footprint, exploring how the construction industry could provide solutions to tackle this pressing issue. Notably, data centres stood out as a sector with substantial energy consumption, but also immense potential for promoting sustainable change and innovation.
Ollie explains: “Currently, most datacentres produce a vast amount of excess heat in their daily operations, which is extracted and pumped out into the atmosphere. We wanted to explore how this waste heat could instead be harnessed and converted into reusable energy.”
The solution looks at redirecting excess heat back into datacentre facilities via heat exchangers, reducing operating costs and overall energy demand. Where not used directly on site, this excess heat could also be donated to local communities, heating council-run facilities such as leisure centres or supporting fuel poverty initiatives, creating a significant social value impact.
As the only UK-based team at the Summit, the young innovators’ achievement highlights that innovation can emerge from every corner of an organization. Their research and work serve as a catalyst for discussions about a bright and sustainable future for a crucial national infrastructure.
Peter Kelly, Group Director of Sustainable Operation, expressed his admiration for the team, emphasizing the importance of their innovative approach and their passion, enthusiasm, and positivity, which are vital in the next generation of change-makers addressing the climate crisis.
“I can’t wait to see the outcome as no doubt it will have implications for how we approach our environmental, social and governance (ESG) ambitions going forward.”
So far, as a direct result of the innovators’ initiative, two north-west London datacentres are implementing plans to divert waste heat to two local hospitals and a university building through a local heat reuse network.
Find out more about the UN Global Compact Innovator Accelerator programme below