A project to help construction company Esh Group improve its water infrastructure, which also delivered five-figure cost savings, has led to the creation of a new sustainability programme for the company’s apprentices.

Total Water Solutions, a new division of Northumbrian Water Group, was commissioned by the Esh Group to undertake a Water Audit, utilising Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) equipment, which led to achieving a saving of more than £10,000, the equivalent of 63 percent of its water bill.

Esh Group had applied for a grant from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to develop an online training programme regarding Carbon Management in the Built Environment. The success of the Total Water Solutions project and the training expertise within the Northumbrian Water Group, led to a new partnership to further develop the programme.

The training will be available to Esh Group’s cohort of current and future apprentices and will also be made available to Northumbrian Water trainees.

Covering key areas of sustainability and environmental management, the programme provides apprentices with an overview of issues surrounding climate change, energy, low carbon design and energy management.

It also covers government programmes such as the Industrial Strategy and certifications schemes like BREEAM, which record levels of building sustainability.

Total Water Solutions was formed to help commercial organisations take control of their water usage. It has found that companies typically save around 30% of their annual water bill if they undertake a Water Audit and implement changes or through the use of AMR equipment.

Water Audits use specialist knowledge that Northumbrian Water Group has developed over decades in the industry, this allows Total Water Solutions to take a strategic view of a company’s water usage and infrastructure, which on average can save companies a third of their expenditure on water.

AMR pinpoints areas of waste for all utilities which allows businesses to become more efficient. Total Water Solutions is now installing AMR to Esh Group to cover electricity and gas and is expected to drive further savings.

Simon Park, Energy and Environmental Advisor at Esh Group, said: “It is very important to provide our apprentices with a broad range of skills and knowledge, and understanding of sustainability and the environment is an essential part of their skills-set. Working closely with Northumbrian Water and its Total Water Solutions division has enabled us to create a training programme that provides an excellent insight into these key issues that complement the practical skills our apprentices gain with the company.”

Tracey Greener, Training Contracts Manager at Northumbrian Water, said: “Ensuring our workforce, including our apprentices, have a good understanding of the importance of conservation and environmental issues is a key part of Northumbrian Water’s values and we were delighted to help Esh Group establish this programme. It will benefit apprentices at both companies and arm them with additional competencies that they will apply throughout their future careers.”