It is nearly a year since we started down the road of the Carbon Reduction Commitment and things have moved on quite a bit since then. After much delay the appropriate paperwork was sent out to the qualifying companies and the registration period has arrived. However, it would appear from various reports on the web that only about 13% of the aforementioned companies have registered. The good news for us is that the first part of our application has been started, but I guess that is just the start.
For those of you that have missed out on all the news relating to CRC (somehow) there is an early action league table which was introduced to pacify all those companies that had put time and money into reducing their energy usage before the start of the CRC season. There are only two parts to this though, one is to introduce automated metering (which we have, but which is fraught with its own problems and not always reliable) and the other is to apply for the Carbon Trust standard.
The Carbon Trust standard is good in many ways; it requires a continuous commitment to reduction (going back over three years) and that awareness is maintained at an individual level – they will audit one or more sites to see what is in place. (The bad news is that it costs in the region of £12k to apply with assistance – a worthwhile investment, but not always easy to make the powers that be see the light!)
So, how do you maintain energy awareness? I think this is one of the hardest things to do as there are often other things that take priority – after all, which site manager does not have a to do list longer than tailbacks on the M6? When you are spending half a million pounds or more on electricity, how easy is it to persuade individuals that turning off a couple of 18W light fittings will make all the difference? When you have done the easy projects and turn to the ones that will cost money or payback over more than 12 months how convinced are you that the justification is worth the effort if capital expenditure is being squeezed?
We are planning to run some shorter energy awareness sessions (by we, I mean I will be planning and delivering them). I am hoping to be able to relate the spends on site to things that individuals can relate to, and not to just talk about cost cutting, but more about waste in general. I know that there are already a number of converts, but some that will never be convinced, but I have seen at Daventry that the middle 40% can be made to think about their energy use at work. I will let you know how successful the sessions are.
In addition to that I am displaying the energy data that is sent through each week, with an explanation where possible if there are sudden peaks or troughs, and I am putting together some more meaningful data to show the trend in usage month by month as well as a comparison to last year. I am also resorting to the occasional bit of nagging gentle reminding so that people don’t just walk past things that have been left on – I have even noticed a growing tendency to turn lights off in the warehouse! Once you start to think about it there are many ways to keep the momentum going, some of them even cost money.
I guess that the gist of my message is that although it appears that there may be resistance – as they say, it is futile and eventually the barriers will come down – it is just a case of thinking of different ways to get the message across – threats are not always necessary! Once bad habits are banished you from the majority the few left to be convinced will probably go along with the rest – good old peer pressure.
Next on my hitlist is a reduction in the outdoor lighting – I am in the middle of some surveys so will update you when I get some quotes.