Make your New Year resolution 'Green'
What's your New Year resolution? The Highland Council's is green and aims to reduce energy consumption in 2018.
The Highland Council has recently relaunched and refreshed its Green Ambassador initiative in a move to raise awareness of important environmental issues, champion steps to cut down on energy usage and to promote the circular economy message to all staff.
Following a Council-wide vote, the group will now be known as the Eco Officer network, and a team of 65 from across the region will help the Council’s Climate Change team in delivering carbon and cost savings across the organisation.
The Council manages its carbon emissions through its Carbon Management Plan, which was last updated in 2013. As a result of increased ambition by the Scottish Government and the Council’s own commitment under its “Local Voices, Highland Choices” programme to help mitigate against and adapt to climate change, Members recently agreed that the plan should be reviewed and updated to ensure the Council has a robust strategy in place to meet its emission reduction obligations.
The Eco Officer team will play a key role in delivering the outcomes of the new carbon management plan, and have already started working towards reducing the Council’s energy consumption by supporting planned shutdowns of non-essential electrical equipment across multiple offices.
The new network will be officially launched at an event in the Council Chambers at HQ on 31st January 2018, which will give the Eco Officers an opportunity to meet up to learn more about schemes to cut the amount of carbon generated by the Council, such as energy efficiency measures and sustainable transport options, whilst also taking part in workshops on waste reduction and asset re-use.
Councillors and senior managers have given their backing to the campaign, and Councillor Allan Henderson, Chair of Environment, Development & Infrastructure Committee said: “As a Council we recognise that we have an important role to play in achieving Scotland’s climate change ambition, not only as an employer but also as a service provider and a community leader. The Eco Officer initiative is a way of ensuring our staff are made aware of all the ways they can help to reduce the amount of carbon emissions the Council produces through travel, energy and waste.”
He added: “Nearly 70 Eco Officers have volunteered to take part in the scheme already and they will play an important role in promoting low carbon initiatives and raising awareness amongst their colleagues and in the wider community. This will not only help the Council reduce its carbon footprint, but will also save money through reduced energy consumption, less waste being sent to landfill and more efficient practices in respect of business travel.”
Behaviour change can account for as much as 15% in emissions and cost savings, and a dedicated network is a key way of achieving this. To further increase its environmental performance, the Council will continue to install renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures across its estate, including biomass boilers, combined heat and power (CHP) and solar photo-voltaic panels.