Sunbelt Rentals is one of Kier's strategic suppliers, providing rental equipment with an emphasis on environmental and sustainable solutions. Here, Mark Bown national account manager for Sunbelt Rentals Limited, talks to us about the latest sustainable equipment being used in construction and likely trends for the future. 

“We have worked in long-term partnership with Kier for the last 10 years. Thanks to our similar values in terms of social impact and sustainable considerations, we have built a strong relationship during this time. Providing environmentally friendly solutions isn’t anything new to us and we’re committed to finding new, innovative technologies and sustainable ways of working for our clients.  

Recently, we have seen a huge increase in interest in sustainable equipment throughout the construction industry, with some of this demand being driven even more since the release of the Construction Playbook. Those working in the industry have acknowledged the need for bringing innovation into the industry to reduce carbon and we’re constantly innovating, trialling and improving on the technology we already have – with a big focus on reducing carbon.  

It’s so important to be able to see the tangible benefits of sustainable equipment, from cost to carbon reduction – we need to know if what we’re trying is working. We have a new customer portal so that site teams can review a range of products such as our solar tower lights’ performance, including how much time it's been running for, how much CO2 has been saved etc. It’s great for sites themselves to be able to calculate savings of CO2 output.  

Recently, Kier has used our solar powered lights at its Cattlemarket site in Bristol as well as on the M6 in Highways, these have proved to be massively successful.  

With sustainable equipment, we always need to be looking to the future and thinking about new innovations that can be developed, or how we can take technologies we already use and use them to even greater effect. Personally, I think that in the future we will see drones used much more for aerial surveys which not only provides customers with a safer and more accurate solution but also requires fewer people onsite to carry out the surveying task.  

It’s also important that our customers don’t get left behind. Over the next two years, electric charging will be needed on all larger sites across the UK and to address this, we have been working with Kier Highways to provide more charging stations to support their projects.  

One of the most important aspects of specifying and selecting sustainable equipment is through customer trials, providing important on site testing for new equipment purchases with customers willing to undertake trials. With Kier we have been running trials of  a range of equipment such as our UK-first trial of the PUNCH Flybrid flywheel technology at Kier project Shakespeare North as well as  using HVO fuel. 

Working with Kier brings a broad range of work and projects. From large sites such as HMP Wells to installing fibre networks, there are always new challenges for increasing the sustainability credentials across the Group.”