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Schuh Enters Big Savings With Water Supplier Switch

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Italian Shoes by Magnanni via Flikr

A Scottish retail giant is set to slash annual overheads by around £62,000 – courtesy of a change in water supplier and the identification of the contribution of a small burn.

Schuh, the high street footwear group, has switched its water retail account for its 15 Scottish branches and Livingston headquarters to Thames Water Commercial Services Limited (TWCS) and as a result is set for £20-22,000 a year savings.

In addition, its 245,000 square foot Bathgate distribution hub has slashed its projected wastewater bills by around £40,000 per year, after the TWCS team identified that run off drainage was flowing into a local burn, rather than into the sewer network where it would incur business charges. This followed a competitive tendering and evaluation process managed on behalf of schuh by independent consultants Inprova Energy.

Colin Temple, Managing Director at schuh, said: “When we set out to switch supplier we were looking primarily to reduce our like-for-like bills. However, the team at TWCS has been very proactive in offering further services that save us time and money and quite simply go beyond what is expected.

“The extra attention to detail was evident at our Bathgate warehouse, where the knowledge and expertise of the TWCS team in spotting the significance of the burn quite literally unearthed new savings that would otherwise have gone completely unnoticed.

Previously, the facilities team at schuh had been faced with individual bills at every individual property in Scotland; however they will now receive a single consolidated bill as part of the TWCS service, saving valuable time, helping reduce transactional costs and removing hassle. This benefit was one of the key aspects behind the recommendation by Inprova Energy to appoint TWCS.

Alan Munro, who heads the Scottish team of TWCS, said: “This is quite an incredible story, in that we have been able to help schuh reduce their property drainage charges significantly simply through identifying that rainwater being discharged from the roofs  of the property was actually being discharged into a nearby burn and not into Scottish Water sewer network. Although this situation is not too common, it is something all businesses should be aware of as property drainage charges can potentially make up a significant part of any business customers water bill.”

Savings made through identifying that the water was being discharged into the burn, on top of the savings through switching to TWCS, has significantly helped to cut costs for the Scottish retail institution.

It belies a more important message

Alan Munro added: “It belies a more important message: firms must look to suppliers that are capable of delivering services that go beyond simple cost-cutting and in doing so take advantage of the great opportunities that Scotland’s trailblazing open water market offers.”

Since 2008 – the first time in the world that a retail market was opened to competition – around 130,000 non-household customers in Scotland have been able to choose who can supply their water and wastewater services.

The sector is still led by Scottish Water subsidiary Business Stream, the default supplier following market deregulation, but this is simply because many businesses remain unaware of the potential cost saving and other benefits of moving to another supplier.

TWCS offers businesses and organisations the added value of developing strategies to better manage their water and waste services; even offering educational support to help enforce cultural change to show employees how to use water more efficiently.

Operating in Scotland for three years, TWCS is continuing to attract many leading Scottish businesses from across a wide range of sectors including banking, finance, hotels, leisure, commercial, education and retail sectors.

It has been based in Edinburgh but has moved to Linlithgow to allow it to work from a central Scotland base to service its customers and growth ambitions.

The firm is part of the Thames Water Group, the UK’s biggest provider of water and wastewater services serving 15 million customers in London and the Thames Valley, and with a heritage dating back 400 years.

Inprova Energy is the UK energy & water division of procurement outsourcing specialist, Inprova Group.

Water market reform in England

On 1 April 2017, the non-domestic water market in England will be fully open to competition, allowing businesses to switch water provider in the same way as Scottish businesses  already can.

Inprova Energy has published a free eGuide to help organisations in England prepare for water market reform.

Download the Inprova Energy  guide ‘Preparing for UK water market reform and competition’

Further information: www.inprovaenergy.com 

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What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?

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shaker kitchen designs

A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.

When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.

1. Modern

New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.

modern kitchen designs

This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.

2. Classic

Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.

classic kitchen designs

With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.

3. Shaker

Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.

shaker kitchen designs

The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.

Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.

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Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy

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Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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