4 Taking action – transport and behavioural change

4.1 Behavioural change

Although physical measures are important, many organisations can also save significant amounts of energy, and so reduce their carbon emissions, by encouraging employees to change their behaviour.

Top-down energy-saving campaigns may have some benefit but they tend to suffer from a general reluctance by employees to be ‘preached to’ by management. However, regular information, using data supplied by the energy manager or team leaders, can help explain the reason for management’s focus on energy, and can also be used to create an element of competition between teams, departments or sites in a single organisation. ‘Grassroots’ action, with employees deciding how to save energy themselves, can be remarkably effective, especially in manufacturing environments where managers can overlook inefficient practices. You will need to consider what would work best in your organisation: this depends as much on its internal culture as on the opportunities for saving energy or cutting carbon emissions. However, as a general rule, it is best to try to actively involve as many staff as possible.

Simple measures that can be targeted include switching off lights or computer screens when they are not in use; ensuring that staff kettles are not just filled up at the start of the day and then fully reboiled for every cup of coffee; checking that timers are enabled on photocopiers and similar equipment; ensuring that thermostats are set correctly; and making regular inspections for leaks in plant using steam, hot water or compressed air.

You may find the following resources helpful:

  • Guide to Employee Engagement to save carbon emissions from the Energy Saving Trust (a downloadable PDF document).

  • Logicity is a computer game set in a 3D virtual city. It has five main activities, including one where you are set the task of finding and switching off unnecessary equipment in a high-energy office and another exploring a low-energy office.

4.2 Working from home and teleworking