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How to reduce your carbon footprint and budget at the same time

‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ Plato.

Plato was onto something. We can all learn valuable lessons from history on the wisdom of reducing our use of natural resources, re-using serviceable materials, and recycling when objects have reached the end of their usable life. This seems to be a lesson we all need to re-learn regularly.


Make Do and Mend campaign poster from 1943
Image © Imperial War Museum

Make Do and Mend was one of a number of campaigns led by the British Government during WW2 to save resources – in the above case to reduce clothing consumption. It offered practical guidance on altering and mending clothes. With the typical resourcefulness of the time, instructional pamphlets were mass produced.


But the same principles can be applied to many areas of life, including construction. Poole Waite have long worked on these principles – having been founded in the 1930’s when WW2 followed hard on the heels of the Great Depression.


Retrofit and renovation are the way forward to reducing our carbon footprint


It is said that the most sustainable buildings are the ones that already exist, including internal features as far as possible.


This is a recent lesson that Marks and Spencer have faced with the refusal to grant permission to demolish their flagship store on Oxford Street, London. Like many building owners in the future, they will have to make decisions based on the most sustainable route in the development of our built environment.


In pursuit of a net zero future, using existing quality ironmongery can make a substantial contribution towards these goals and reduce your carbon footprint. This approach should always be front of mind on heritage listed buildings and period properties, or where ironmongery is of high quality with many years of life left if given a little TLC.

Exterior of Waltham Forest Town Hall
Waltham Forest Town Hall. Image: Wikimedia Commons

A case in point is a recent project we undertook at Waltham Forest Town Hall, where refinishing the existing ironmongery of this Grade II listed building was chosen over renewal.


The most sustainable ironmongery is already on the door


Retrofit and renovation are emerging as the driving forces of sustainable architectural practice, with a focus on the value of existing structures.


Old Briton B and C T-shape door closers in need of refurbishment
Before: Old Briton "B" and "C" T-shape door closers pre-refurbishment

Above is an example of a particular specialism of Poole Waite: the refurbishment of a much-loved and sought after British classic, The Briton Door Closer.


Reusing ironmongery is not just sustainable; it can help improve public health too by refinishing with our bespoke antimicrobial coating, proven to eliminate most pathogens in short order.


It can also be the perfect solution for newly installed ironmongery, where a different finish is required by a new owner or to fit in with a changed theme or design approach. This is readily achieved through our bespoke process outlined below.


Three Briton door closers in different finishes, refurbished by Poole Waite
Refurbished Briton "B" and "C" T-shaped door closers

5 steps to refurbish your existing ironmongery


Building owners, facilities managers, architects, and contractors can follow this simple process to reduce your carbon footprint and budget at the same time, with Poole Waite's refurbish and refinish service:

  1. A site visit is recommended for ironmongery already in situ – this helps ensure they are suitable for refinishing and in correct working order.

  2. The owner or contractor then removes the ironmongery and sends to Poole Waite for processing.

  3. In our purpose-designed workshop we strip products down, inspect and undertake any repairs/engineering works and replace worn or missing components.

  4. Products are then refinished to the required specification:

  • They are polished/lacquered if they are brass.

  • We can also bronze plate or antique brass plate as desired to maintain the heritage aesthetic.

  • In more contemporary buildings, we can satin chrome, satin nickel plate, or powder coat to most RAL colours.

We all owe our planetary home our best efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle.


Whether your project is old or new, Poole Waite’s long history and expertise make us the perfect partner to help you make the right choice…

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