Clothes-off day at architectural practice reveals opportunities for energy saving

Cool operators — staff at the Exeter office of architects Lacey Hickie Caley were given a ‘clothes-off’ day as long as they took other steps to reduce their carbon and energy use.
Everyone in the Exeter office of a firm of architects is more aware of energy-conservation opportunities.The Exeter office of architects Lacey Hickie Caley (LHC) used the 100-days campaign to increase awareness among its staff of the opportunities for reducing energy consumption. The practice recognises that its activities as architects, urban designers and planning supervisors has an impact on the environment as local, regional and global levels — both through its own business operations and through its the provision of professional services to its clients. Spirit LHC won the award for the best clothes-off carbon-saving campaign. Associate director Ian Graham explains, ‘Despite having no air conditioning, LHC decided to join in with the spirit of this event by agreeing that all staff would be able to don their shorts and T-shirts as long as they took other steps to reduce their carbon and energy use. ‘Luckily for us, the day coincided with the hottest day of the year so far.’ Staff were also asked to take steps to reduce their energy consumption, ideas which could easily be replicated at home.They included turning off fans, using scrap paper, having one fewer hot drinks, not overfilling the kettle, using tap water in stead of bottled water, unplugging chargers when not in use and turning off all non-essential lighting. The campaign also contributed to the ethos of the practice. Associate Grant Elliott explains, ‘LHC is currently working towards gaining Environmental Management Systems BS8555 accreditation, which we hope to achieve by January 2007. The “100 days of carbon clean-up” campaign works in conjunction with gaining this accreditation as it raises awareness of the impact that individual staff can make to the environment and what they can do to reduce it. The clothes-off day is a clever way of highlighting the difference that even simple changes can make to an individual’s energy consumption.’

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