How can offices reduce their impact on the climate crisis?

Kimberley Pierce

Head of House of Sport Operations

Climate Crisis

After the publication of IPCC 2021 Report, COP26, Extinction Rebellion’s non-violent civil disobedience, and Greta Thunberg’s school strike for climate movement, the climate crisis is at the front and centre of our social psyche.

It’s therefore no surprise that we’re all looking at how we can reduce our impact on climate change at home.

Some are eating less meat, some are more mindful of turning lights and power sockets off when not in use, some are switching the thermostat down a notch or two, and some of us are doing all three (and more).

But what are we doing in the workplace?

What are House of Sport doing to reduce its emissions?

The bigger brands and global companies are committing to achieve net zero status, but as a small site in London what can we do?

Lots, it turns out.

Back in March 2021, House of Sport signed up to the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) Business Climate Challenge pilot.

This was launched to work with businesses and organisations located in the Better Bankside Business Improvement District to reduce their carbon footprint by firstly cutting their building energy usage.

Emissions from heating and powering London’s commercial and industrial buildings currently make up 36 per cent of the capital’s carbon footprint.

Retrofitting buildings and improving overall energy efficiency performance of London’s workplaces will play an important role in reducing London’s emissions and provide a significant opportunity for green jobs in the Capital.

Climate Challenge

House of Sport committed to reduce its energy consumption by at least 10% in a year as a starting point.

Our friends at BetterBankside, who are pioneering a low carbon neighbourhood, invited us to take part in the GLA initiative. 

Since the launch of the pilot we have received tailored technical advice from Turner & Townsend funded by the GLA.

Turner & Townsend have provided us with a survey of the building, a detailed report of our building management systems, and numerous recommendations on how best to reduce consumption to achieve our target.

The GLA have also followed up with several training sessions to help us analyse our data long-term to identify wastage and replace less-efficient equipment with more eco-friendly equivalents.

Where are we at?

House of Sport was refurbished in 2017 and London Sport made great choices to help manage the building successfully from an energy perspective; motion-activated lighting systems, no gas, smart technology HVAC systems for heating and cooling air.

Our Landlord London Marathon Events Ltd, who are also involved in the pilot, have already selected green energy tariffs with our energy suppliers.

We also recycle, promote active travel, choose sustainable suppliers where possible and purchase from producers who have the Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance seals to support sustainably sourced products.

Despite this, we have only been ranked between ‘typical’ and ‘good’ against CIBSE’s Non-Domestic National Energy Efficiency Data (NEED) benchmarks for offices of our size, which means there are further energy savings we can make.

Steps to Operating a Net Zero Building

Although we are only at the beginning of our journey, the decisions made by London Sport pre-refurbishment mean we have a great platform to launch from, as you can see below.

But as with most things, a consistent approach is key. 

The steps to operating a net zero building are as follows:

  1. Baseline your emissions by recording data and reporting findings
    1. Thanks to Turner & Townsend we have a great report to work from, and have developed skills to track, monitor, and analyse our energy usage
  2. Improve Operational Efficiencies
    1. By analysing and tracking our energy usage data we can identify areas of wastage and implement changes to operations to reduce. We have already started this work
  3. Transition to low carbon heating
    1. House of Sport already operates heating and hot water from low carbon sources
  4. Generate clean energy on site
    1. Our Landlord will need to complete some viability studies to see if clean energy can be generated on site
  5. Procure renewable electricity
    1. Our Landlord already currently procures a 100% renewable energy tariff
  6. Offset remaining emissions
    1. Further training and support will be required for us to explore how we can offset remaining emissions once we understand what our base usage is

Once we’ve got our House in order and minimised wastage, we’ll need to look at how we can potentially offset the remaining emissions.

Our friends at the GLA in the Climate Change team are already looking at training and upskilling opportunities for those who are unable to hire a sustainability manager to do this for them.

How can you help?

We are calling on our Resident organisations and Associate Members to support us with this challenge by:

  • turning off your monitors, desk-based power sockets, and chargers before you leave for the day
  • unplugging any devices that don’t need to be plugged in 24/7
  • sorting your waste to recycle it
  • composting what you can whilst on site
  • making use of our new hybrid meeting room tech rather than travelling when it’s not required
  • utilising our shared printing services which is launching January 2022
  • only filling the kettle with the necessary amount of water
  • switching off the the wall mounted monitors in the meeting rooms when not in use 

Make our House your home by adopting the same energy saving measures in the workplace as you do at home.

And for those who don’t call House of Sport their home, what do you have in place at your workplace?

Could you do more to support their efforts? Is there no one who is dealing with your carbon footprint currently, but you are interested – why not set up a group?

Ten actions companies can adopt to fight climate change is a good start, and you can see these suggestions in an article from youmatter.

If nothing else, the easiest thing to do is treat the workplace like your home; would you leave that light on after you’d left the room?

Would you leave that window open if the heating is on?

If the answer is no, then perhaps one of the simplest ways to support the movement and demonstrate personal responsibility is to extend your home habits into the workplace.

And if you don’t have mindful habits, maybe now is the time to build some.

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Where are we?

House of Sport
190 Great Dover Street

We’re based a short walk from Borough Station (London Underground) and London Bridge Station (London Underground & National Rail).

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