- Published: Friday, 20 November 2015 00:09
- Written by James Bruce
We are all very excited here at the Assembly Rooms today as we are attending the VIBES awards tonight having been nominated for a Sustainability Award.
Every one here at the Assembly Rooms are committed to delivering a sustainable and environmentally friendly service so we thought we woud have a chat to our Facilities Manager Kevin Haddow who has the tough job of implementing many of the changes we have introduced. Here's what he had to say.
Why do you think it is important to run a venue sustainably?
It is the responsibility of every individual and organisation to be aware of their environmental impact on the local and global community. We only have one planet and as custodians we must be diligent that we care for our home. With the increase in events and volume of public utilising the many facilities we have to look at ways of reducing our carbon emissions through reduced energy consumption and increase our recyclable waste.
Making the local community aware of our success can also encourage the public, suppliers and clients to become involved. As well as being responsible it also makes good business sense through reduction of site operating costs.
What do you see as the benefits to customers?
Wherever possible we try to look at the impact our operation has on the world around us and the encouragement of customers to participate in our green ethos through recycling, reduction in energy consumption and engaging in our continued efforts in sustainability has had an enormous effect in retaining existing customers and attracting new clients who are themselves committed to promoting sustainability.
Our customers have the knowledge that we recycle 98% of all waste generated at source, the drinks they are consuming are part of a bio-ware range that are recycled as food waste and the bottled water they are drinking helps provide clean, sanitised water in the developing areas via WaterAid.
What are the benefits to the venue and those running it?
As well as encouraging our staff to become engaged in and made aware of our sustainability vision we have reaped the benefits of reduced operating costs. With motion sensors controlling the water and lighting we have reduced our overall usage in unoccupied areas.
Further reductions have been made by controlling our environment utilising the latest Building Management Systems (BMS) to ensure that only areas in use are heated and ventilated. With the latest environmental controls we can also ensure that the venue provides healthy space for staff, clients and customers.
Can you talk us through some of the changes you have made and what difference it has made?
The biggest change we have made over the last two years is working with Resource Efficient Scotland and Creative Carbon Scotland. This has enabled us to focus on making small changes that have a huge impact and they have supported our efforts through training workshops and seminars. Our senior management team are also fully committed to the process with regular meetings to discuss progress and develop further strategies for the future.
Practical changes have been made to our waste management processes, working with ChangeWorks Scotland to improve our recycling at source to 98%. We have also changed our supplier of disposable glasses to Bio-Ware products which are 100% compostable.
What is your next big sustainability project for Assembly Rooms?
Our next project at the Assembly Rooms is to replace all of the current energy saving lamps in the building with LED units. This is not as easy as it sounds as we require the ability to dim the lights throughout the building to ensure we can provide the same lighting aesthetics for our clients, the lighting is extremely important to everyone that uses the venue. New technologies on the market are being investigated with a potential trial at Church Hill Theatre to assess the suitability of the units for the Assembly Rooms. The LED lighting will reduce our electricity usage in the building by around 50% while LED lamps last on average 10x longer than standard Compact Fluorescent lamps.
Do you think the buy in from staff and management has made a big difference to your success?
None of what has been achieved at the Assembly Rooms could have been achieved without buy in from senior management and staff alike. We have also had a lot of support from within Cultural Services management team who have been supportive in what we have been working towards at the Assembly Rooms with the hope being that our successful initiatives can be integrated at the other Cultural venues in the city.
Do you think venues across Scotland could be doing more?
Personally I think everyone can do more regardless of their achievements to date. Everyone should be looking to make small improvements whether it be at home or in the workplace, it is usually the small improvements that make the biggest impact. We need to continue to educate on the necessity of folding sustainability into the way we lead our lives and as a part of the City of Edinburgh Council, we want to lead by example. We need to work with our employees, clients and suppliers to work towards providing not only a profitable business but a safe and sustainable environment for all.