International Reducing CO2 Emissions Day 20238th February 2023 The Housing App
Carbon dioxide is a huge contributor to climate change, with consequences planet-wide. These days, carbon reduction is a concept that is never far from our minds, particularly for those of us working in the housing sector. We work to improve housing conditions, reducing excess cold hazards – often by having insulation installed to reduce the carbon output of homes.
When, though, do we stop to think about our carbon footprint as professionals and as companies? Awareness days such as this help us to take a step back and reflect upon our environmental efforts, motivating us not only to look at our own actions but also to encourage others to do the same by raising awareness of the small steps we can all take to behave sustainably.
RHE is working to minimise the impact of our business on the environment. We are committed to achieving net zero as a company by 2050, supporting the UK’s collective effort to reach this target in the same timescale.
The connection between ways of working and carbon emissions was evident when the pandemic hit in 2020 and the stay-at-home mandate saw us working from home and travelling far less. The UK then saw a 15-million tonne (3%) reduction in CO2 emissions when compared to the previous year.
As a company that gives weight to environmental issues, at RHE we were already recruiting and working remotely when the pandemic hit, making the transition to online operations straightforward and sustainable. Whilst we retain a small office space, this is kept to a minimum and is continually under review. This year, we’ll be undertaking a home energy survey with our employees to assess more accurately the benefits of remote working in terms of carbon emissions.
We keep travel to shared office space to a minimum and consider whether each and every journey is necessary. In keeping with this, the majority of our training and conference events are now conducted online. If we do need to travel, we use trains where possible, and when hiring vehicles we consider electric cars over petrol/diesel.
Numerous small changes can equate to a big difference overall, and good practice can spread … I attended a conference this week which brought together groups concerned about the energy crisis, to look at its impact on householders. There were numerous networking sessions, and every time I wanted to exchange contact details with someone, I was offered a business card. When I presented my electronic business card in return, it was met with widespread enthusiasm; the electronic version represents a small behavioural change that reduces use of paper/printing and waste – I know I don’t keep every business card I’m given! (There are a number of smartphone apps that will design and distribute digital business cards.)
We’d love to here about the ways you and/or your local authority have changed the way you operate to reduce carbon emissions. Please share them in the comments section and let’s spread some good practice!
Alison Thomas, Senior Housing Consultant