|Energy Smart focuses on four themes: lighting, water, electricity and heating.|
The campaign was launched using a short film considering the environmental impact of a fictional council employee’s activities. The film was produced by the UK business video production company iceni®, with input from Birmingham City Council’s communications team.
In the film, ‘Helen’, works for Birmingham City Council. As she climbs out of bed on a cold October morning, a seemingly unimportant event throws her day in two different directions. Helen is about to live the same day twice... at the same time. Energy Smart Helen saves resources by switching off TVs and monitors and not wasting water. The other Helen wastes energy and this makes her day go from bad to worse as she gets covered in coffee, loses her work and gets a parking ticket.
The film was displayed at the Senior Council Officers meeting to launch the campaign and copies were given to delegates to take away to show to staff at their team meetings, in this way disseminating the campaign throughout the Council.
The film will now be a regular feature at corporate inductions for all new staff. An energy awareness segment has been built into staff induction sessions in order to show the DVD and provide new recruits with the opportunity to ask questions of the Council’s Sustainability and Energy Management team. Louise Holland, principal Human Resources officer for the Council said: “We’re really pleased to have a regular energy awareness slot as part of the corporate induction. The DVD presents a serious topic in a light-hearted way, allowing staff to take the messages on board and change their behaviour accordingly. We’ve also included a Q&A session so that staff can speak directly to the council’s specialists in energy management and raise any issues they may have.”
Following the launch of the film the Council has produced features on each of the four campaign themes in their monthly internal newsletter, ‘Inner Voice’. These features include ‘hints and tips’ based around saving energy in relation to the current theme of the campaign. For example, for the heating theme, the following hints and tips were provided to staff:
Room for improvement...
Are there rooms in your building that are used only occasionally, but are heated all the time? Many radiators have individual controls so that they can be turned on only when needed.
Move furniture away from radiators to leave plenty of space, allowing heat to circulate properly. Blocking the radiator makes it work hard to heat a room.
Hit the floor
If your heating is provided via floor grilles, make sure they are not blocked or covered by furniture such as filing cabinets, which will absorb the heat.
Dress to impress
Our buildings are heated during cold weather but on cooler days, before the central heating is switched on, don’t waste energy by using a fan heater - a stylish jumper or cardigan will keep you just as warm!
Game of draughts
Draughty windows and doors make life at work uncomfortable, as well as wasting energy. Fitting draught strips will stop heat escaping and draughts. Draught-proofing and keeping windows and doors closed can reduce energy consumption by 15 percent.
Keep windows and doors closed in cold weather. If you forget to close a window overnight, it can waste the energy needed to drive a small car more than 35 miles.
As well as providing hints and tips, staff have been actively engaged in the campaign through a competition where staff were asked what the chief cause of climate change was (the correct answer being CO2 of course). Hundreds of people entered the competition, and the winners received wind-up radios.
The campaign also has an email address for which the responses to the competitions can be posted. The email address is also used for suggestions and complaints which are actioned by the Sustainability and Energy Management Team within the Council’s Urban Design department.