I was recently given the opportunity to attend a 2Degees Live event, ‘Raising the Energy Performance of Your Property, which I attended last Friday. 2Degrees Live events are run by the 2Degrees network which is a forum for companies and individuals to communicate about sustainability issues.
It was a very energetic event and really showed how cooperation between people from different sectors and organisations can work for the common good. A teammate from the day mentioned that they thought that this open and honest collaborative effect seems to be more widely and enthusiastically used within the sustainability community; where the benefits are shared for the planet, and it’s not just about improving a business for commercial reasons.
The presentations and discussions that we heard were valuable in learning about other businesses’ experiences of using various technologies to reduce their energy use and looking at the more radical ideas of selling light as a service, rather than light bulbs as products, which is a business plan that Phillips is moving towards. The Environment Agency has also taken the decision to not heat their offices above 19°C or cool below 24°C, which has required effective staff engagement.
One of the many points I took from the day was that buildings need to have some sort of assessment (not necessarily complicated, but appropriate to the building type) to look at how a hierarchy of measures can be implemented. This can start with making the more affordable energy savings and efficiencies (turning lights, printers and equipment off, turning the temperature down in the office) before putting in appropriate technologies according to how you use energy.
Our member companies could consider how they might make energy savings through staff behavioural change and implementation in new technologies. Here at the FIA we are putting in a more efficient lighting system (using LED panels instead of the old fluorescent tubes) and we’re currently looking at the feasibility of solar PV panels for electricity. What we could improve on is encouraging staff and visitors to reduce energy use, to ensure that these measures aren’t mitigated by people’s belief that by implementing these technologies, the burden of responsible energy use is taken off their shoulders.