RBS: A look at Innovation Gateway so far

Royal Bank of Scotland

The bank launched the Innovation Gateway in 2014 as a way to accelerate new property innovation, through opening up the RBS/NatWest buildings as a test bed for small innovators and inventors and the benefit for RBS in doing this would help us to achieve long term sustainability goals.

The innovation gateway has become an efficient way to source a solution, outside normal procurement practice, that could potentially make a major step-change. We recently launched a gateway to specifically target the challenges we have at Gogarburn, the RBS Headquarters in Edinburgh.

“We have a range of environmental targets at Gogarburn,” says John Hayes, Head of Workplace Services. “This includes reducing energy, water and waste consumption. Through the Gogarburn Innovation Challenge, we wanted to find innovative products and solutions that would help us meet these targets. At the same time, we wanted to help small businesses, which often find they can’t properly test new products in their intended environment.

“The challenge makes use of our scale to support small businesses in a way you wouldn’t expect from a bank.”

More recently, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has unveiled the successful eco-innovations to be trialled in some of its Bristol properties as part of the bank’s on-going search for cutting edge solutions to save water, waste and energy.

The winning technology will now be tested in the bank’s Trinity Quay building or NatWest’s Fishponds branch, where the bank is aiming to create its very first carbon neutral branch.

The bank launched its RBS Bristol Innovation Gateway in June as part of its engagement with Bristol European Green Capital 2015 and specifically Bristol 2015’s Go Green scheme.

A total of 12 successful innovations will be trialled:

• Halcyan Water Conditioners are a passive, eco-friendly solution to hard water which uses alloys to change the shape and structure of the mineral content to create softer water. The company is currently based at the Entrepreneurial Spark powered by NatWest hub at Trinity Quay. The initiative gives 80 entrepreneurs six months’ access to free facilities, free business advice and supporting networks to ensure they are given the best possible chance of success.

• Bird Brick Houses provide essential nest sites for birds whilst fitting neatly into the brickwork of new and existing buildings.

• Green Rewards’ JUMP programme embeds sustainability and well-being in organisations via a platform that tracks positive behaviours and rewards participants for improvements.

• EndoTherm by EndoEnterprises is an energy saving central heating additive that helps radiators heat up quicker and stay warmer for longer, reducing boiler load and energy use.

• ShowerBoB from BoB Products helps people save water, energy and money every time they take a shower by providing a visual reminder of the impact of your shower.

• Oxypod, is a compact device that removes air from the water in heating systems resulting in warmer rooms, a reduction in energy usage and an improvement in boiler performance.

• Supergreen’s Infrastore is a Far Infrared, open vented thermal storage system that ensures heating and hot water requirements are met with optimal energy use.

• IES’ CI2 Technology Led Consulting makes smart use of operational building data together with 3D performance models and real weather data to better manage energy efficiency onsite.

• Ocuair Ltd’s IRT Carbon Dashboard can quantify a thermal image to identify the location and range of heat, energy, carbon and money that is being lost though a building’s infrastructure.

• Free Flow Valve from Envirowater is a retro-fit, water free urinal system which saves water, prevents bad odour and reduces costs.

• PhotonStar LED’s HalcyonPRO is an intelligent wireless lighting system which uses the behavioural, environmental and energy data that it gathers to deliver the right light at the right time.

• E-Car Club is the UK’s first entirely electric pay-per-use car club which provides members with 24 hour access to cars parked in designated local
spaces.

Matt Hatcher, NatWest’s director of commercial banking for Bristol, said: “Taking part in the Bristol Go Green initiative was the perfect opportunity to introduce the RBS Innovation Gateway to the city and to launch a search for new, exciting and innovative ways to improve resource efficiency across our properties in Bristol. “We had 93 applications and it was a tough task to select the final 12 to be trialled. If those innovations prove to be successful in our Bristol properties we hope to introduce them across the entire RBS estate to help us achieve our targets around sustainability.

“This test-bed also gives us an excellent opportunity to learn which innovations may be of use to our customers. It’s a win-win for the companies who now have the chance to trial their products in our buildings and for our customers who will benefit from what we learn.”

To find out more about the Innovation Gateway and to keep up to date with future RBS Innovation Gateway Challenges register at www.innovationgateway.rbs.com

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