Green View: Awards recognise special efforts

Over the years, I have sat waiting in many over-heated, over-lit reception areas. It’s the same routine. You introduce yourself to the receptionist, get your visitor badge, then sit down and wait, staring at the walls, writes Peter Gudde.

Over the years, I have sat waiting in many over-heated, over-lit reception areas. It’s the same routine. You introduce yourself to the receptionist, get your visitor badge, then sit down and wait, staring at the walls.

Judging by the certificates on display declaring the company’s total commitment to one thing or another you may be forgiven for thinking that for a price, you can always get someone to say something nice about you. Or am I just jealous?

But how much effort has this business really made to warrant that piece of embossed card?

I’d like to think that recognition is given where there has been justifiable effort to make a difference both to that business and to me as a customer.

I was lucky enough to attend the Greenest County Awards in Bury last month. These awards recognise people, communities and businesses that have done something special in the environmental way of things to make a difference in Suffolk. This year, I was pleased to see Abbeycroft Leisure Trust get a gong. The Abbeycroft team collected two certificates for their work to manage the carbon footprints of the leisure centres in Bury and Haverhill.

It may seem strange that while we expend energy in an attempt to get physically fit, a leisure centre should be trying to save energy to get carbon fit. To put it another way, a lot of power and water goes into providing customers with the facilities they now expect for the entry fee. This costs money, so there’s is a clear reason to get the centre into shape.

Abbeycroft has used the free expert advice and guidance available for businesses in Suffolk and is now taking action to cut energy use by improving lighting, installing efficient heat and power plant and upgrading energy controls. This has not been done by chance but through Abbeycroft realising that this effort will deliver savings, and so is good for business.

So, next time you visit Bury or Haverhill Leisure Centres, take a moment to glance at the lobby wall as you go for your swim or keep fit class. Those certificates have been hard earned.

For free help to cut your energy use, contact the Suffolk Environmental Business Advice Service on 0800 02 88 938 or e-mail suffolkbusinessadvisor@groundwork.org.uk

--Peter Gudde is Environmental Management Officer for St Edmundsbury Borough Council where he has worked since 1993.