As one of the largest associations of its kind, Orwell Housing provides housing for more than 7,500 residents by managing over 4000 properties across East Anglia. Powering the maintenance services, as well as helping to lower the associations carbon footprint, is 2 and 4-stroke petrol from Aspen Fuel – a switch made by Repairs and Estates Manager Simon Bennett three years ago, and one that’s delivering improvements on a daily basis to the workforce, the residents and the machinery alike.
Simon manages all elements of the direct labour operations (DLO) from co-ordinating the 75-strong workforce to sourcing and purchasing equipment across the repairs and estates division. “We renew our machinery every three years” explains Simon, who has been with Orwell Housing for ten years. “To help us with our objective or carbon neutrality, some of what we now invest in is battery powered but, with the diversity of items like mowers and woodchippers that we have on our fleet, for these we’re looking at better and cleaner ways of fuelling them and that’s where Aspen comes in.”
“I was familiar with Aspen Fuel but always just assumed it would be much more expensive for us than pump fuel. It wasn’t until I sat down and did a cost analysis, factoring in the downtime of the team going backwards and forwards to the forecourt, that I could demonstrate Aspen was a viable choice.” Being ethanol-free and virtually free from sulphur, benzene and other hazardous hydrocarbons, Aspen alkylate petrol burns cleaner than regular petrol making it safer and greener for operators, machinery and the environment.
“The operators like using it – they notice the reduction in noxious fumes and don’t go home smelling of petrol come the end of the day. This is also a major plus for those tasks where we’re in close proximity to the residents.” He continues, “Three years in, we’re also seeing a big reduction in the number of machinery breakdowns we’re experiencing with is a further cost saving.”
Overall, Simon feels the whole Aspen experience has been really positive for the group. “We order Aspen in bulk, with the cans being collected by the team as and when they need them. This way, we can easily monitor usage and, with the plastic containers being fully recyclable, we are also reducing our output to landfill. I’ve recently done another cost analysis, which has shown that purchasing Aspen has actually decreased our annual fuel bill by approximately 10-15%.”