Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Calling in the experts

Some solutions are fairly obvious when it comes to conserving energy: turn off light switches, switch off computers, close the door to keep out the cold etc but some things are more tricky. Even more so with our Grade 2* listed building that lets in rain and cold through the skylights in winter... and manages to keep it warm and humid in the summer. Helpful.

We do have a few building features that will help us be cooler in summer and warmer in winter such as a huge roof, tall towers creating draughts and nice thick walls but we can't radically alter the look of the building or original features due to our heritage listing. For these reasons we have asked a few people to help us with greening our building. We've commissioned an Energy Options Survey from Fulcrum (a founding member of the UK Green Building Council) and appointed our architects Cook Townsend to project manage the building work.

Hopefully when the building work is done, we'll not only have a building that is much more energy efficient, we'll also have a nicer space in which to climb and work.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Our Mission Statement and Renewable Energy

After a bit of wrangling and tweaking, we have come up with our Mission Statement for the Environmental Policy:

Our aim is to make The Castle Climbing Centre a benchmark for environmental and economic sustainability and to demonstrate that there is a place for sport and commerce in a sustainable future without compromising financial success and high standards.

Eventually this will form part of a larger and more detailed Environmental Policy (EP) but we are happy with our progress so far.

Another very exciting change this month is we switched our energy suppliers to Green Energy and have opted for their "Deep Green" policy which now means 100% of our energy comes from renewable sources. This plan is slightly more expensive than your regular, run-of-the-mill, not even slightly renewable brown energy so our next move will be to find out where and how we use so much of the stuff.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Increasing recycling

While we are still formulating our Mission Statement for the new environmental intitiative, we thought we might as well get on with improving the recycling system around the centre. Kind of a no-brainer really. We got new bins, new signs, and contacted our recycling company Greener World about what kinds of things we can recycle. We have actually been recycling for some time but were often unsure about what we can recycle these days as it seems to change.

We then got interested in what is recycled here in the UK and what goes to China and is that bad?

THEN we got to thinking that surely whilst it is admirable to recycle everything we possibly can, maybe we are simply producing too much? Ray has offered to do an autopsy of the recycling and rubbish. Rather him than me!

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

We have identified a need for change...

This month, The Castle’s CEO Steve Taylor approached the core managers and the board of directors with his thoughts about the state of the planet. He’d been reading up on climate change, carbon emissions and peak oil and become certain that if he didn’t act now in any and every way he could then he too would be to blame for runaway global warming – the point of no return for human life on our planet.

Needless to say, if we weren’t already switched on to the urgency of the situation (and some had been for years) we all got excited by Steve’s approach that “now is not the time to panic or despair, now is the time to act!” as it became obvious that we can’t rely on governments to help us, and it is not enough to make individual changes in our own lives – businesses like us HAVE to change the way we do things.

Not only did all the managers agree, we were very excited about the new direction for The Castle...

We aim to examine our business' impact on the environment and invest heavily in reducing that impact. We are going to do this in 5 ways:
1. Create an Environmental Policy and use that policy as the standard in all our business dealings.
2. Communicate to our staff, customers and the Board about what changes we are making and why.
3. Make physical changes to the building to minimise energy usage.
4. Assess our supply chain and opt for locally produced, organic and low carbon products in ALL purchases where possible.
5. Examine our waste management - REDUCE our waste where possible and RECYCLE everything that it's possible to recycle.