Practising what we preach: The task of making a 19th century grade II* listed building sustainable

Leigh Court is the headquarters of Business West - the largest Chambers of Commerce in the UK, which supports more 20,000 businesses across the region. 

A 19th century mansion, with an exterior made of Bath stone, set in 27 acres of parkland, Leigh Court operates as a business centre offering, serviced offices, conferencing and meeting facilities, event space, a wedding venue and is frequently used as a film set.  

In 2020, Business West upped its commitment to safeguarding the environment and addressing the climate crisis by issuing a climate change statement announcing that it is carbon neutral and will be net zero by 2030. This builds upon a 10-year journey to increase the resource efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint and environmental impacts of Leigh Court and its sister site in Swindon, Park House through the introduction of an ISO 140001 system. 

“Being sustainable plays a key role in how we operate our site. It is very difficult to encourage other businesses to work with the environment in mind to minimise their impacts, if we are not doing it ourselves.” 

Sam Shinner, Estate Manager at Leigh Court

The unique challenges associated with an historic grade 2* listed building required Business West to look at innovative ways to turn a property that was not built with a climate crisis in mind, into a sustainable workspace for staff, clients and visitors. 


What were our biggest hurdles? 

  • Leigh Court is a grade 2* listed building, which puts limitations on what changes Business West are permitted to make to the fabric of the building, aspects of the interior and prevents onsite renewable generation. 
  • Leigh Court is not just the head office for Business West, it is also a wedding and events venue, filming location. It also offers serviced offices to a wide range of tenant businesses. Housing a diverse range of staff, tenants and clients means that more factors need to be taken into consideration than your standard office space; for example, the events business brings with it the challenge of food waste and food packaging waste, and Business West has had to adapt its waste management systems accordingly. 
  • Being host to a variety of services, means that people come and go from Leigh Court all the time. Staff and visitor travel therefore plays a significant role in Business West’s carbon footprint.

Environmental improvements: 


  • Leigh Court’s electricity is 100% renewable having switched to local provider Ecotricity. 
  • Thermal imaging scans on both Leigh Court and Park House enabled Business West to pinpoint areas of heat and concentrate on areas of improvement 
  • Business West has offset remaining emissions using Gold Standard Verified Carbon Offsets through Ecologi 


  • Separate bins for mixed recyclables, glass, and general waste, in addition to food waste bins in communal kitchens for staff to use 
  • Compost is made from plant waste and coffee grounds  
  • Single-use plastic like crisps packets and chocolate bar wrappers are being used to create eco bricks which will be turned into garden furniture 
  • Leigh Court uses refillable glass water bottles for events and glass milk bottles to minimise waste 


  • In cooperation with North Somerset Council, the driveway to Leigh Court is part of the National Cycle Network route 41  
  • Incentives and facilities have been introduced to encourage staff and visitors to travel to Leigh Court by bike. Including a cycle to work scheme, cycle parking, showers, cycling route maps, and cycle repair kits 
  • The car park has two electric car charging points on offer for visitors and staff to use, with additional points expected soon 
  • Staff are offered 20p per mile in expenses when they choose to cycle to work 
  • Employees are encouraged to car share for business travel by offering them an additional 5p per mile 
  • Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have adapted to a hybrid working model this not only gives staff the freedom to work from home when they please, but it has played a significant role in reducing travel emissions 
  • There is Augmented Reality equipment available at Leigh Court. This enables hybrid meetings and reduces the need to travel 
  • We have a zero emissions hydrogen-powered pool car available for staff travel 


Going the extra mile for nature: 

  • Leigh Court has six beehives that were installed by a local beekeeper. This was an opportunity for Business West to take part in a national project that studies the health of bee populations.  
  • Leigh Court is surrounded by a large amount of woodland and green space of which the far end of the grounds has been left to grow wild to provide habitat and a food source for bees, insects, and other animals. 
  • The meadow area has been created to allow insect populations to thrive to support the wider ecosystem. 
  • Staff and tenants are encouraged to use the surrounding cross-sectoral group of organisations that have made public commitments to reach net zero by 2030. This group aims to promote peer-to-peer discussions and helps practitioners have open and honest discussions on their challenges. 

Our Achievements and Commitments:

  • Business West is a certified B Corp. Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet a verified standard of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. 
  • Business West’s journey to becoming net zero has begun with becoming carbon neutral. A climate change position statement has been issued, to show our commitment to taking climate action. This outlines three clear steps towards reducing carbon emissions and accelerating the decarbonisation of business activity across the region. 

At Business West, we understand the threat that climate change poses to the planet. By showcasing the changes we have made to our HQ Leigh Court, we hope this will encourage and inspire other businesses to take effective climate action. For more guidance and support on what your business can do to tackle climate change, visit our Trading to Net Zero Hub.