We’ve been putting a lot of thought recently into how we can make events more environmentally friendly. Both in the sense of the suppliers we use and what we actually do ourselves. The supplier issue is reasonably straight forward, as if they have a green policy and we do a little due diligence, we can easily select appropriate suppliers.
It becomes a little more complex when addressing our own environmental impact. We have found companies who can do assessments on our behalf, however there is a significant cost associated with this and, in many cases, we need to become certified and then go through a renewal process each year. For a one off event this simply isn’t feasible.
So we have decided to focus on what we believe are two key issues in the coming year, water conservation and reducing our carbon footprint.
Reduction in Water Usage
To reduce the amount of water both used and wasted, we are implementing a number of strategies. These are dependent on staff, stewards and attendees cooperation and help to make the most of them. They are as follows:
- Signs will be put up in front of sinks wherever practical to encourage people to turn off the taps while washing their hands.
- Vehicles are to be washed at a carwash instead of washing them at home, as they recycle the water they use as opposed to it running away down the drain.
- Reducing the electricity we use. Yes, I know that one surprised me too, however I wasn’t aware that power stations use thousands of gallons for cooling purposes, so by reducing our usage of electricity we are also saving water.
- Leak detectors are to be installed at various points around the buildings. These will be a permanent fixture and benefit the campus long term. We have contacted Envirotech about these as they can assist us with the specifications and their leak detectors are simple to install so can be done by the maintenance team.
- Whilst we don’t believe there are currently leaks within the grounds, this can be pressure tested to make sure there is no drop in pressure which would indicate if a leak is present. We are also speaking to the leak detection people about this to see if their equipment can do this for us, saving us having to call a company in to do so. Obviously if leaks are identified, further investigation will be required to find the source of them. The funding for this is still in discussion and we hope will be agreed in the coming weeks.
Reducing Carbon Footprint
- The first and probably the factor with the biggest impact here is in selection of suppliers. We intend to use local suppliers wherever possible and those who use local produce for the catering. Where this is not possible we will however have to make some allowances, but these should be minimal.
- Speakers from the UK will be given priority to reduce the number of flights we are responsible for.
- Attendees will be encouraged to use public transport wherever practical. In addition we are looking into running a private bus service from popular locations. Many people tend to arrive alone in cars, so any documentation will encourage them to car share if that is the only option available to them.
- We are also in discussion with the campus to install power saving light switches, while it’s unlikely these will be in place for the next event, they will benefit from them in the long term and an assessment is underway to justify the cost savings.