The Charities Facilities Management Group is running an survey for members to assess recycling and waste management policies and costs. We will discuss the survey results at a Charities FM Group meeting later in the year.
Saving water is part of the wider picture of sustainable facilities management; it's good for the environment and can also save your charity money by reducing your bills for water use and sewage services. Facilities managers are generally responsible for managing the consumption and disposal of water. This page sets out some key steps facilities managers can take to reduce water usage.
The first step is to audit where water is used your charity.
Measure how much water your organisation is using. Check your water meters and bills and find out how much water use and disposal is costing you. Also review the indirect costs related to water use: the costs of water heating, plumbing and drainage repairs and maintenance, as well as consumables such as laundry products.
Understanding the complete picture of your charity's water use will help to establish base-line information, identify ways of saving water and set targets.
Develop a plan for reducing the amount of water your charity uses. This should be a simple, step-by-step guide outlining your specific goals and strategies.
Communicate your plan and seek to get buy-in at senior level. Emphasise the benefits:
reducing your charity’s carbon footprint
contributing to corporate responsibility goals
saving energy - using less hot water means you will be paying lower heating bills
Options for reducing your water use
reduce the flow of water
modify existing items so that they use less water
replace existing items with water-saving equipment
re-use grey water
educate staff about using less water
Locate and Fix Leaks
Prevent unnecessary water loss at your properties by finding and repairing all leaks and developing a preventive maintenance program. Part of this program should be to make a checklist of all potential sources of leaks – and instigate regular inspections of equipment.
Toilets and shower rooms
install water-saving fixtures in toilets and showering areas. These may include:
water-efficient toilets and urinals
tap aerators to reduce the flow of water from taps and shower head
install tap aerators
use dishwaters which are designed to use less water
if your charity has laundry facilities, consider installing washing machines which use less water.
Do not hose down paths and driveways as a matter of habit. Use a broom to sweep them.
Landscaping choices: use plants which are tough enough to survive without irrigation. Turf over those areas which will be used for recreational activities.
Harvest rainwater: use water butts to collect rainwater and use it for watering.
If you use a sprinkler system, ensure that the sprinklers are not spraying paved surfaces. Don’t use hoses and sprinters when it is windy.
Inspect sprinkler systems regularly to ensure that they are functioning as intended.
If you have a grounds maintenance contract discuss your water saving policy with them and ensure that contractors follow your policies.
If you are undertaking refurbishment or new developments, consider installing grey water systems. Grey water is tap water that has been used: in washing machines, tubs, showers, and bathroom sinks. It is not potable - safe to drink - but it is also not toxic and generally disease-free. Grey water reclamation is the process that reuses this water instead of simply piping it into a sewage system.
Rainwater harvesting systems can be a viable option for charities where a building has a large roof area and the organisation also has a high demand for nonpotable water.
Involve your staff and service users
Educating your staff and users to be aware of sustainability issues is a key step.
publicise your water conservation goals
build awareness of water waste
encourage people to ensure faucets are turned off and to report leaking taps
11th Century Gloucester Cathedral installs solar panels
Gloucester Cathedral is installing solar panels as part of plan to make ancient building fit for the future.
Gloucester Cathedral plans to install up to 200 solar panels on on its roof. The panels will generate 25,000 kilowatts of energy - and will enable the Cathedral to reduce its energy bills by a quarter.
Private Members Bill on Safeguarding the Environment post Brexit
Geraint Davies MP has introduced a Private Member’s Bill in Parliament to make provision for the safeguarding of standards of environmental protection derived from European Union legislation after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
The following is a report on a meeting of the Charities Facilities Management Group which focused on recycing.
David Prestage of the BPR Group outlined how to design and implement an effective recycling scheme. The BPR Group is the parent company of Paper Round, the recycling company which was originally set up as a Friends of the Earth project in 1988.
Prestage outlined the main elements to look at when planning a recycling scheme. These include:
Reviewing your existing infrastructure
Measuring your waste volumes and weights
Assessing space availability
An important first step is to “bin the bin”:
Remove under desk bins
Install central banks of bins
Segregate recyclables and non recyclables
Prestige said a communication strategy was crucial to implementing a successful scheme. Prestage recommended obtaining senior management buy-in and engaging with staff and running regular communications campaigns. He also outlined some of the benefits of a good recycling scheme, including reduced expenditure on cleaning, improved office environments and reduced risks of pests.
Prestige ended his presentation with a case study of the National Theatre’s efforts to implement a recycling scheme. The recycling service at the Theatre caters for the public areas, café and bar as well as back-of-house storage areas and a large area of office space.