Running UK ELT centres and working with students, we are constantly taking measurements to help us improve – whether number of bookings, website visits, student progress or staff satisfaction. Environmental impact is no different.
If we want to reduce our negative impact on the environment or ‘carbon footprint’ we have to keep track of our energy consumption, waste and travel miles. Only by measuring them can we make sure our changes and projects are having an impact.
Measurement means you can demonstrate our progress, giving our environmental projects credibility and helping to motivate your team. Drops in energy use or waste are also positive milestones to share with your students, staff and industry colleagues.
Although we can’t always measure everything, for example seasonal operators in rented premises, doing an environmental audit and measuring what we can, often reveals new opportunities to reduce consumption, environmental damage and costs.
Measure to see progress
It is not only motivating to be able to see your negative impact decreasing but sharing your goals and progress openly will build trust with students, staff and your local community. Celebrating you green achievements and sharing the challenges will inspire others to make changes too.
✓ Be ambitious in your goals
✓ Measure regularly
✓ Share your progress
What should I be measuring?
While you can undertake a professional audit, this simplest place to start is with your gas and electric bills. Burning fossil fuels is the main cause of global warming so start by thinking what consumes electricity, gas or fuel. Then think about your food, water, materials and waste.
You do not need to convert these into carbon dioxide equivalents but can immediately set to work trying to reduce the numbers, whether kilowatt-hours or kilos of waste for landfill. Once you have the figures, start thinking about how to reduce them.
✓ Electricity and gas consumption
✓ Fuel consumption (add up air and land miles for students and staff)
✓ Water consumption
✓ Website carbon footprint
✓ Materials, recycling and landfill
✓ Food and food waste
If you want any kind of certification you will need to show measurements to prove your efforts.
~ Will will write more about this topic soon! ~
- Carbon Trust Better business guide to energy saving
- ISO 14001 Checklist (A generic industry checklist that may help ELT organisations in audit and measuring their environmental impact)
- Free carbon calculator
- Eco Schools Programme: WWF programme aiming to build awareness and good practice in schools, leading to a Green Flag award
- Environment: treading lightly on the Earth (free Open University course)
- The Green Ration Book: Assessing the carbon cost of everyday living