In today’s changing world, being aware of the environment around us is a big factor in most people’s lives. The igils already take a great deal of pride in their activities, and we thought we could give existing and prospective clients a glimpse behind the scenes as to who they are doing business with, and our general outlook on life.
Commuting (or lack of)
When albino igil was born in 2004, the intention was always to be a non-commuting workplace. As it has grown, we have managed to keep this important aspect of business in place. For us it means we arrive at work fresh and firing on all cylinders, we’ve used no fuel in getting to work and a sense of well-being from the carbon emissions saved. Equally as important, we get to spend more time with our families when not in the hutch beavering away. For the client it means cost savings due to reduced overheads – no large office rents or mortgage to charge for and no costly transportation bills. Not one of the igils commutes to work.
Using Technology Wisely
As part of this de-centralised working method, we have embraced communications technology in order to stay in touch with each other and our clients. Our graphics guru is based in Scotland, the remaining three core members live within walking distance of the hutch, and we regularly use freelancers on a project basis whom we know and trust, and have often never met in the flesh. With email, voice communications and video conferencing we can talk face to face, share working screens and even allow each other to take control of the other’s computer if needed. With the right work ethic in place this can greatly speed up workflow. This also means we can communicate with clients wherever and whenever – we have worked on projects for developments taking place off the African coast, designed by architects in Spain, led by a marketing team based in England and alongside a fellow 3D visualisation studio in the USA. We have designed and had manufactured large-scale products here in the East Midlands for a Norwegian company, which were shipped directly to their client in Australia – all through video and voice communications. We estimate we have probably only met around 30% of our clients, and those we have met we often then rely on distance communication as the relationship develops.
It is ever more apparent that energy usage is a large overhead for any business. For us, the first step to cutting our own reliance was eliminating the energy used to commute, next we needed to tackle the day-to-day energy used. At albino igil we have developed the hutch, a loft conversion in an outbuilding, as our main studio. Kitted out with the latest in super-speedy computers, we decided to capture the heat these generate and use the shape of the work space to help circulate the heat, a triangular cross-section is one of the most efficient of spaces to keep warm. To retain this heat in the winter, we specified two different forms of insulation when converting the studio, and this same insulation helps to keep us cool in the summer. The floor cavity has 30cm of insulation to prevent heat loss downwards.
Our latest step in minimising energy consumption is the installation of a 4kW solar PV array here at the hutch. This will more than meet the energy demands (on a sunny day) of our equipment, with enough to put back into the national grid. As anyone running a business knows, the closer you are to a resource, the more you tend to value it. When working with accounts, you tend to notice where money is wasted, you take ownership of the process. We find the same happens here with energy, even moreso now that we produce our own. When purchasing new equipment the energy efficiency has always played a part in the final decision, but now this is more apparent as we take real ownership of the supply.
The above highlights the direct actions we have taken with respect to the business of albino igil, how we have invested in reducing energy costs to not only save our own money, and therefore our clients’ money, but also benefitting the environment in our own small way, and helping us attain a work/life balance we thoroughly enjoy. There really is no argument for doing it any other way. As individuals here we also make personal choices on a day-to-day basis which will not affect you directly as a client, but which give an insight in to who we are and how seriously we take this approach to life. We could mention our allotments, the chickens, the greenhouses and orchard we have planted around us, which will provide fruit for not only us here but the people around us. Or the new hedgerows we are setting this winter, the bird boxes and the bee hives on the horizon. We have a plan in place, a plan where we can work and live in the new sustainable cottage industry. But that’s another website.