Virgin Trains has been awarded two Kitemarks by the British Standards Institute (BSI). A first-ever for a UK train company, the prestigious Kitemark stamp is one of the world’s most recognised symbols of quality and was given to Virgin Trains for its tangible efforts to reduce energy consumption on trains and at stations.
To gain Kitemark accreditation, a company must demonstrate robust processes for measuring their carbon reduction, as well as a 2.5% reduction year-on-year for the past three years in energy consumption. Virgin Trains has exceeded this target, achieving a 7.2% year-on-year reduction at stations and an impressive 19.6% reduction when stations figures are combined with its train fleet.
Some of the initiatives Virgin Trains has introduced as part of its carbon reduction commitment are:
Regenerative braking: energy from braking is returned to the National Grid. An energy metering programme also monitors and tracks energy consumption.
Reducing energy consumption within the train: introducing timed auto-door-closing when trains stand at stations. This reduces the energy needed to heat/cool the interior in response to the outside temperature. Better control of onboard heating and lighting avoids unnecessary waste. Complementary lighting is normally turned off until it is needed by the customer.
Locally-driven energy saving plans: installing lighting sensors, optimising heat timings and thermostats, reducing water use through ½ flush toilets and encouraging campaigns among users of buildings to switch off lights, VDUs and so on.
Peter Bowes, Virgin Trains Safety and Environment Director, explains: “Virgin Trains has done a huge amount of work over the past two years to reduce our energy consumption and we are delighted that this has been recognised by the British Standards Institute in the form of two Kitemarks. Of course we are ambitious to do even more and hope that our work towards achieving BS EN 16001, a best practise standard for energy management systems, will position us as a leader in our industry.”