Conference Aston’s building services manager, Robert Nowakowski (pictured), says educating colleagues is key to maintaining a green venue
Changing people’s habits, such as encouraging someone to switch lights off when they leave a room, or to email a document rather than printing it, can be incredibly challenging.
Behavioural psychologists have come up with the three Rs of habit change: reminder, routine and reward.
Reminding colleagues about their responsibility to use less energy and create less waste is critical to our venue’s success. By educating them about the impacts of waste, we can encourage small changes to become routine and reap the rewards of an environmentally sustainable business.
We’re incredibly proud to be accredited to ISO 14001 – the international standard for environmental management. We have a monthly ‘green meeting’ with the heads of each department to share updates and discuss issues with team members. These could be about recycling coffee cups, reducing electricity consumption in our kitchens or managing water usage in our hotel rooms. We bring in senior managers from each department to disseminate information and to educate their teams. It’s vital that everyone in the organisation understands what we’re trying to achieve.
It can be a real challenge to encourage change. People are set in their ways and often aren’t doing what is required of them. We have ‘green champions’ and host a monthly wasteless week where we promote and educate on the importance and benefits of reducing waste and energy consumption. This commitment to education has resulted in significant savings.
In February 2016, we reduced our heating usage by 32% compared with last year, our electricity by 23% and our water by 27%, while maintaining the same number of hotel and conference guests.