I can remember someone telling me “never volunteer for anything!” I never listened as it appears I’ve volunteered to be the first contributor to this blog and I also volunteered to be the Estates Department Green Impact champion back in 2010. Will I ever learn?
So how did you get involved in green impact I hear you ask. Well back in 2009 the green impact initiative was announced and departments were invited to participate. Having always had a personal interest in the environment and being curious I offered to get involved. That and the fact that I was asked to volunteer clinched it!
My first act was to invite colleagues to an initial meeting to help form a green impact team. The response was very encouraging with far more people turning up than I envisaged although that it might well have been the quality of biscuits I offered as a bribe. What did surprise me is how many people were genuinely interested and wanted to help. I still think biscuits were a major factor though!
Luckily as we were the Estates department (now EFM) we are responsible for setting policies for energy management, carbon reduction and waste recycling initiatives for the rest of the University.
You can see what we do here http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/efm/engineeringmaintenance/energy_carbon-mgt
You’d like to think we would set an example for everyone so we were already carrying out several of the elements required in the workbook but we still had some work to do. Mostly small things such as labelling light switches, purchasing new reusable crockery instead of disposable plastic and of course only using fairtrade biscuits for volunteer bribery! We also created a green impact noticeboard within our departmental intranet as printing lots of posters and literature seemed counterproductive! I particularly enjoyed hunting round and kidnapping several electric heaters that had been hidden away in cupboards and under desks following several office moves. Most of these were now redundant but seemed to have sentimental value to several colleagues who tried to replicate some sort of tropical island environment around their desk. They were lucky I let them keep their sun loungers!
At the awards ceremony we were rewarded for our hard work with a silver award which we were very pleased with for our first year. Of course this spurred us on to do better and last year we improved to achieve a gold award. This year we at least hope to maintain gold standard and do even more involving our landscape team who will complete the Grounds element of the workbook. Luckily it didn’t take many biscuits to bribe them!
A large part of achieving an award was to reduce the amount of paper we used in printing and copying but more about this tomorrow ………