Energy saving with Sport & Exercise
The 2016 silver Sustainability Awards team (working towards gold) stand out for their work on energy saving. They put in place energy-saving materials, committing to installing LEDs and participating in the Winter Shutdown.
Sports & Exercise has a Sustainability Team of about eight people. We have formal meetings every month, but we also tend to catch up informally to make sure we are on track with the application deadlines. The meetings are usually chaired by our Communications & Marketing Officer, who takes minutes, creates action lists and reminds us of any deadlines coming up.
Our facilities are spread out between four different locations, three of which take part in the Office Awards. It can be challenging to coordinate and communicate between the different sites because sustainability means different things in different areas. However, our Communications & Marketing Officer acts as a central point of contact. They help a great deal to make sure our Sustainability Awards efforts are coordinated and consistent. We find that emails work best for communicating outside of meetings, as we all work different shifts.
We are very lucky at Sport & Exercise to have a very engaged and positive Senior Management Team representing our different locations. Our Operations Manager acts in an overseeing capacity and gives us advice on how to make sustainability a reality at Sport & Exercise.
Where we are now
Sport & Exercise first joined the Office Awards in 2016, achieving Silver. We are now working towards Gold. To reach Gold we will have to complete a standalone project with a demonstrable sustainability impact. The project we are working on is called the ‘Make Your Move’ Challenge. It is a step counting competition, using pedometers to measure staff activity and encourage sustainable travel.
We have many different sustainability initiatives, including:
- A commitment to install only energy-saving LED lighting
- An energy-saving shut down of the gym over Christmas
- ‘Switch-off’ stickers to raise awareness and remind main offenders
- Promoting the Sustainability Awards to visitors on our display screens
- A pedometer challenge
Many of the activities we do here at Sport & Exercise are embedded within our operations and business ethos. We were already a fairly sustainable business from an operational point of view, so taking part in the Sustainability Awards was about deepening that commitment as well as recognising and publicising our existing practices.
Saving energy is an important priority for us because it is simply best practice. One way we have implemented this is by pledging to install only energy efficient lighting at Sport & Exercise. We also have a rigid Christmas shut down in place, which serves as our own ‘Earth Hour’. This has a significant energy-saving impact, as we have ten gyms at our Pleasance site alone!
The Sustainability Awards introduced us to new materials, such as the ‘Switch Off’ stickers, that helped us not only save energy but also to raise awareness of these issues amongst our staff. It showed people that even small behaviours like switching off lights can have significant impacts when they become day-to-day actions.
Taking part in the Sustainability Awards has helped to create more links amongst our staff and opened up new branches of communications with our managers. Having facilities spread across several sites can be a challenge, so it was great to get everyone together through the Awards.
We are also making sure to communicate not only with our staff but also our gym users. We are therefore using our display screens to advertise the Sustainability Awards. Through social media we inform people about upcoming events or Dr. Bike sessions.
As wellbeing and wellness is of special interest to our department, we’re enjoying running our ‘Make a Move’ Pedometer challenge as part of our Gold submission. We have already managed to walk to Detroit collectively!
Tips and advice
Convey that small things make a difference
One of the biggest successes for us is the increased awareness of sustainability issues amongst staff. Everyone in our department is now fully aware that small things like shutting down your computer or turning off unused lights have an impact. These are behaviours people also take home!
Speak to whoever is responsible on the operational side
As energy efficiency might not necessarily be an area of expertise for your Sustainability Awards team, make sure to talk to someone who can help you. This might be in-house facilities staff or Estates, depending on your department.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
This goes with the above. Having an interest in sustainability might not necessarily mean you are an expert in the field, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. The Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability is always keen to support everyone with their efforts to be more sustainable.
Make it consistent across your sites
Practices may differ if your department is spread across several buildings. Make sure you have one point of contact between the sites who can manage communication, resolve issues and delegate tasks.
Highlight and champion what you are already doing
After applying for the Sustainability Awards and learning more about sustainability, we were amazed to find out how much we were already doing as a department. Instead of just trying to get people to adopt new behaviours, we are also proudly publicising what our department was already doing.
Work with your department’s interests
We come from a wellbeing angle, so for our Gold project submission, we decided to run a pedometer challenge. This has helped staff to think about their wellbeing in new ways. For example, we encouraged staff by finding fun facts about the positive environmental impacts of active travel. It showed people that wellbeing is not just about going to the gym but also about sustainability.