Lockdown saw the hottest temperatures on record and this resulted in people revamping their outside spaces more than ever before.

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    With the uncertainty around holidays and the potential need for Covid passports still at the forefront of people’s minds, they are spending more time (and money) in their gardens and outdoor living spacesThe RMI (repair, maintenance and improvement) market soared with unprecedented demand for landscaping products. 

    Developers must rethink a home’s outside space to meet customer expectations. Despite our often-questionable weather, homeowners are now embracing al fresco living and viewing their gardens as a true extension of their house, another room to eat, drink, play and relax in.  

    Due to the construction sector having to close due to Covid-19, there has been a major impact on the whole business. The global pandemic saw a shut down in production for over a month in 2020.  Projects had been pushed back or stopped completely with limited contacts allowed on site. However, the construction sector, especially the housing sector recovered much faster than expected and we able to reopen again very quickly. Our employees pulled together to help the company and our customers through a very difficult period. 

    2021 and beyond looks very positive with large projects across many sectors opening up and continuing at a pace. Innovation is at the heart of what we do, we have been first to market with many innovative products throughout our history and will continue to be going forwardCurrently we have a huge focus on new innovative manufacturing methods and product development and have recently invested heavily in new finishing equipment for surface textures and treatments. 

    COP26 comes at an important time for our industry, when projects and the supply chain involved, can have a major impact on the surrounding environment. Sustainability has been a core value of AG for many years and 2021 will see an increased focus on many ongoing initiatives to reduce the impact of our operations on the environment. We have committed to utilise 100% renewable energy across all our production facilities and offices which is expected to be fully in place by July 2021. Similarly, AG have developed several innovative new products which are designed to have lower embodied carbon than ever before. We have switched to Bio LPG for powering all our curing chambers. The company has also committed to continue with our tree planting initiatives to offset a proportion of our carbon footprint.  

    As a business AG are striving towards net zero by introducing electric vehicles, utilising renewable energy and maximising the use of local aggregates in all products. Hybrid and electric car options have been introduced to our company car fleet with a view to having a fully electric fleet by 2025 and we have implemented waste reduction schemes and monitoring systems at all our production facilities. 

    AG have also worked in conjunction with Queens University Belfast to implement a new carbon tracker for our key products.  

    Collaboration and sharing best practice will be key to our combined success in reducing the impact our activities have on the wider environment and we are very much looking forward to COP26 and contributing to a sustainable roadmap for the future. 

    By Philip Dilworth, Head of Specification, AG.

    AG were sponsoring the Excellence in Masterplanning and Urban Design Awards 2020. Entries for 2021 Awards are now open – find out more here. 

    Watch an overview from the last years Excellence in Masterplanning and Urban Design Awards winner on what made their entry successful and much more.

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