Operation TLC – reducing energy bills at Barts Health NHS Trust

Turn off, Lights Out, Close Doors

Operation TLC is a campaign I was recently working on with Global Action Plan for Barts Health NHS Trust. The campaign was designed to engage with the Trust’s hospital staff to encourage them to reduce their energy bill by communicating the benefits of carrying out each action. Operation TLC stands for Turn off (unnecessary equipment), Lights out (when possible), Close doors (where possible). These actions were determined following various research to understand where energy was being lost but also where the patient experience could be improved. For example, not only does closing doors help to reduce drafts and keep warmth in, it means that patients experience peace and quiet during their stay, especially at night time.

The campaign aimed to be simple to carry out, quick to understand and accessible. The three actions could be adopted by everyone through out their working day around the hospitals.

Here is a video (containing footage I shot) which explains what Operation TLC means to range of Barts Health staff,

To celebrate NHS Sustainability Day and to help raise awarness of the campaign, a team of volunteers stood outside a number of the hospitals to encourage ‘High Fives’ in support of Operation TLC. You can see photos here from outside the Royal London Hospital:

Operation TLC

Operation TLC

Operation TLC

1,200 people were reached that day simply by high fiving everyone that entered the Royal London Hospital and St Bartholomews Hospital. The day contained a range of events from Global Action Plans ‘eco interactive’ displays, workshops, site visits and energy saving stand. The Guardian newspaper wrote a great piece about how the day empowered and encouraged innovation: NHS Sustainability Day: empowering and encouraging innovation

The Guardian, NHS Sustainability Day

You can read more about Operation TLC here in the Global Action Plan website: Operation TLC – Nudging in the NHS

The team were very pleased with the results of the campaign and how well engaged the staff were but there’s nothing more satisfying than to win an award for all the hard work.  Barts Health NHS Trust won the HSJ Award for Improving Environmental and Social Sustainability. More information can be found here on the Sustainable Development Unit website: HSJ Awards 2013: Improving Environmental and Social Sustainability

Easy to cook, healthy Indian food!

I recently had the pleasure of filming Cyrus Todiwala, (chef and owner of Café Spice Namasté), cook a dish for NHS Sustainability Day.

NHS Sustainability Day, hosted by Barts Health NHS Trust is intended to initiate action around sustainability for the Trust and community. There will be a number of events happening on the day, there are celebrities endorsing the day and there are a variety of ways to get involved. For more information, have a look at the website.

Cyrus Todiwala came up with a Pink Fir Apple Potato with Sesame Seed recipe. Pink fir apple potatoes are in season at the moment and make a delicious, healthy and easy to cook recipe. The following video was filmed in Café Spice Namasté:

It was fantastic to hear how all of the ingredients used were locally sourced, seasonal and organic. And, I can vouch for how easy it is to cook! Here is a version I made:

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and I used the left over ginger skins to flavor tea. A trick Cyrus taught us (but which unfortunately had to be left out of the edit)

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I can’t wait to visit the restaurant and try more food on the menu.

What do you make?

Charlene Lam‘s story-telling at the IDEO Make-A-Thon reunion last week was really entertaining. Her talks allowed me to reminisce and make me think back to my ‘making days’.

Charlene is a creative who works with materials and textiles. Her company Creative Clerkenwell looks to connect creatives in London and will feature at the Clerkenwell Design Week in May. Charlene told a great story of the things she makes. Meet the ‘operation red rabbit‘:’To celebrate the Year of the Rabbit, a warren of red rabbits were made from papier mache and placed around the streets of East London’.

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Charlene’s story telling inspired me to question what I make…

When I was about 9 years old my dad bought me a hot glue gun. Accompanied by a scalpel and balsa wood, I used to enjoy making structures and boxes. They weren’t anything in particular but I loved it. My dad enjoyed encouraging my creativity and I loved making things – it was a win-win!

A number of years later, I took the then called ‘CDT’ craft, design, technology A Level
and discovered the wood work and silversmith workshops. I’d find any excuse to turn objects on the lathe or make pieces of jewelry.

Then I went to university and built on all these skills by discovering the soldering iron. It’s amazing what you can create by soldering an electronic circuit board together…! I designed the ‘anti-theft handbag‘, a biometric handbag which only opens when the correct finger is scanned. I thrived on making prototypes and models.

One theme I have carried through all my life is enjoying making birthday cards, wrapping paper out of old paper and making purses or small bags to hold objects. Give me an old piece of card, scrap material or unusual packaging and I can guarantee it will be kept for a rainy day.

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When I graduated from my undergraduate degree, however, I moved into London and no longer had the space for much model making or workshop equipment. Life changed too and London had lots to offer and plenty of places to explore. My interests also change slightly. I became very interested in sustainability and reusing objects. It was Victor Papanek’s ‘The Green Imperative‘ that changed my view on ‘life’. I started to view objects and consumerism in a different way and set myself the challenge of not buying new clothes for a year. I found this remarkably easy and I got a real kick out of rediscovering my wardrobe again.

So, this is where my ‘I make….’ story comes in.

I (like to) make old clothes comes to life. Not buying new clothes did nonetheless mean I could continue indulging in my love of buying from charity and vintage clothes shops. There’s something really exciting about knowing that a piece of clothing has a story behind it, is cheaper than its original price and has potentially been saved from landfill. The only problem is that most people are turned off buying second hand because of the smell, it may not fit properly or more often than not, hasn’t been displayed in a way that they can relate to.

Talking of clothing with history, DoTheGreenThing recently created Glove Love ‘an initiative where we take lonely single gloves that have lost their original partners, wash them and then pair them with brand new glove lovers’. The best bit about buying the gloves is the lovely message that comes with them. Each pair of gloves is tagged telling you a story of where they were found. Seriously, it’s worth £5 to just read the story (and to have an odd pair of gloves with a Do The Green Thing label on them).

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I don’t often find a garment of clothing fits perfectly but that’s where a pair of scissors, needle and thread and accessories come in handy. I wish I had taken “before and after” photos of some of my creations but instead will have to list them out and hope you can use your imagination.

– The ugly 70s dress that ended mid calf: 15cm off the length gave it a new lease of life.
– The shoulder padded ‘Dynasty’ dress: removing of the shoulder pads and a brooch made it this season.
– The 80s pencil skirt: a tuck in the top made it sit higher and therefore more flattering.
– The black, sleeveless, moth eaten, shapeless dress: stitching up of the holes and a retro belt transformed it.
– The boring tweed jacket: now with red button holes made it this seasons must have.

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Sometimes a new belt, change of length, additional stitching or different combination of accessories can transform an outfit. Trust me, it’s very satisfying when people ask where an outfit is from and the answer is ‘part charity shop, part old garment, part hand-me-down’.

I worked on a project a couple of years ago which is very relevant to this love of making old clothing come to life. In collaboration with [re]design, we took ‘Chalky Van’, the chip-fat-powered-chalkboard VW van to the Vintage Festival at Goodwood. I facilitated a few engaging sessions with the festival goers around the reuse of clothing. The most insightful was when I placed a nasty old shirt on the van and asked people what they would do to give it a second life. People of all ages came to write or draw their answer on the van.

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Some of the best responses that really touched me were:
‘use the buttons as eyes for my puppet’ – girl aged approximately 6 years old.
‘blow my nose on it’ – man aged approximately 50 years old.
‘tie a belt around it and wear it with my tapered chinos’ – girl aged approximately 25 years old
‘make a scarecrow’ man aged approximately 30 years old.

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I’m clearly not the only person who sees the value in an old piece of clothing!

Making old clothes come to life is a passion I have. I will never have a fashion label from it, nor will most people ever realise the story behind my wardrobe but it does make me happy knowing that I wear second hand clothing. Keeping spare buttons, boxes of material and never throwing away clothes my infuriate my boyfriend but that’s the designer in me….! Forever curious about what I can get my hands on next and adapt.

Sustainable business models: Green Growth Business Boot Camp

I was invited to take part in a panel at Kingston University for their Green Growth, Business BootCamp. The aim of the sessions is to address the increasing need to develop environmentally more friendly products and services and help enterprises & entrepreneurs make the most of the opportunities created by increasing consumer demand, resource costs, and regulatory controls in the eco-field.

The second event in the series was looking at sustainable business models and innovation; What business models are available, and how can they be introduced? What are the elements of a business model?

Ecoinomy

goCarShare

Markers

The panel session included myself talking about Ecoinomy – the behaviour change company who motivate employees to use less energy in the workplace, GoCarShare – helping people car share by hiring out the spare seats in their car and Makers – connecting designers, manufacturers and retailers with the very best UK manufacturers.

All three companies have strong values, focus on a sustainable business model and have society and the environment in mind.

  • I discussed how Ecoinomy have had to approach different stakeholders in different ways to explain the value of the system and about the importance of using the correct language to engage with people. The business model relies on direct cost savings being made; the system produces opportunities to reduce energy consumption, opportunities to motivate employees and ways to change general office behaviour – we call this a win-win-win system – the environment gains by CO2 emissions being reduced, the economy gains by people being efficient and using less and society gains by employees forming community groups to save money for a local cause of their choice.
  • goCarShare encourages people to think about sharing car journeys to help reduce the number of empty seats on the road (and in turn reduce the amount of CO2 and pollution) and help share costs. Drummond Gilbert (founder of goCarShare) opened by saying that he learnt there are 38 million empty car seats in Britain everyday and he wanted to do something about it. Based on a Collaborative Consumption model which uses swapping, sharing, bartering, trading and renting to create business, goCarShare rents car seats on journeys. The environment gains because there are potentially less cars on the road which means reduced emissions, the economy gains because the driver gets help with petrol costs and society gains because….well, I car shared once with Craigs List in California and had a great experience. Whether it’s a case of having help stay awake, potentially sharing the driving or just enjoying the company, car sharing is a great way to change attitudes to the way we use our cars. goCarShare had a lucky break last summer when they partnered with UK music festivals to encourage festival goers to share the driving to the events. The Secret Garden Party even taxed people who had empty seats in the their cars!
  • Chris Pett of Makers discussed how important it is to make the designer the heart of any manufacturing process to add value to the end result. Keen so use local materials and a sustainable supply chain, Makers turn sketches and prototypes into real products making sure that the product has not travelled miles to the end user but made the product where the end user is – while making sure their products are tested to international standards. The right supply chain and pricing is as important as the look and function: Makers’ design service is focused on producing commercially viable designs ready for manufacture. Our design clients can also use the Makers production service to produce the finished product.

After the panel discussion we answered questions from the audience. This is what I took away and hope everyone will remember when developing their sustainable businesses:

Do you believe in what you do? It is essential to believe 100% in what you are trying to achieve. The ‘green’ and ‘eco’ world can be a tough place to succeed in if you want to quickly prove that you are sustainable. You must persevere, be articulate and not let people put doubts in your mind.

How are you adding value for the end user? You need to remember that although you believe in your business, service or product, you still need to think about why the end user will use it. Whether you are changing behaviours in the workplace, offering a sustainable supply chain or helping provide cheap car journeys, you need be clear what makes you different to your competition.

How do you explain what you do? Not everyone will understand the language you use to describe your business. You probably talk to like-minded people most of the time but there will always be people who either don’t want to understand or who are unfamiliar with eco focussed business. Think about changing the language you use to target the person you are talking to if you want to engage with them.

How many times have you written your business plan? It’s important to have a business plan that you are happy with but it’s also important to not be afraid to veer away from it. If an opportunity comes along to collaborate with others, partner with another business or change your model, then do it if it feels right. With the changing economy and people becoming more environmentally conscious, it is sometimes worth being ready to change your business if it will help you reach your end goal quicker.

Who did you last speak to about your business? Networking is essential. You never know who you might meet who could help you and your business. Not only at networking events or conferences but everyday! A small link may lead you to a large connection which could open doors and even raise your profile considerably.

The Green Growth events is a great series for entrepreneurs wanting to be exposed to ways to succeed in business. Next week the session is looking at marketing. I hope everyone that attended the series is able to go away and set up one of the next successful eco-businesses.

‘Art with a message’ at the Vintage Festival 2011

WWF @ Vintage Festival

The panda made me do it‘… was a vivid message I took away from this year’s Vintage Festival on the SouthBank. Have you thought about what pledge you might make to help preserve the natural world we live in?

I was really pleased to be able to help WWF at the Vintage Festival 2011 with their artwork collaboration.
Wayne Hemingway
, fashion designer, found of ‘Red or Dead‘ and co-founder of the Vintage Festival curated the WWF event to create a collaborative artwork to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

WWF @ Vintage Festival

It was a fantastic way to encourage the public to express their love, hopes or fears for the natural world (or how it’s inspired them) and be creative in how they presented it. The tables were full of material donated by the likes of Cath Kidson and paints, stencils and pens to create a fabulous art installation that can be shown around the country. The pieces of art were attached to a fishing net so that over the three days a wealth of love, happiness and stories could be collected.

WWF @ Vintage Festival
WWF @ Vintage Festival

Not only were people able to share their thoughts and messages on the natural world and living in a sustainable environment but they all appeared to have a great deal of fun! I was, as ever, amazed by the creativity that came out.

To show just how collaborative the event was, a video was produced made up of still photos taken over the weekend.

I hope that the messages left behind will really make people stop and think about the world we live in. Conserving the amount of water we use, being conscious of the decisions we make in everyday life, helping preserve our environment and being considerate with our actions are often talked about but not often embedded in our lives.

The WWF are running a number of events for their 50th Anniversary – ‘Lots of people are doing fantastic things to help us protect the natural world – buying sustainable seafood or forest-friendly wood, adopting an animal or saving energy at home or at work… ‘- If you weren’t able to join them at Vintage, take a look at their website to see how you could can take part.

Ecoinomy launches new website

For those that aren’t familiar with Ecoinomy, they are a behaviour company whose aim is to motivate employees to be less wasteful in the workplace.  Their online system encourages behaviour change by creating communities of employees who are rewarded for saving money.

Ecoinomy home page www.ecoinomy.com

Ecoinomy home page http://www.ecoinomy.com

Creating behaviour change takes time. It is not a matter of telling people to do something different or about removing items that encourages bad habits. It is about empowering people to feel they are making a difference that they benefit from.  Making changes alone often feels pointless and goes unrecognised but making changes as a group where you can see a tangible difference can be incredibly motivating and rewarding especially if there is an element of competition involved. This is what Ecoinomy does!

Ecoinomy has two offerings – the eco.system which is aimed at organisations who have more than 250 people who would use the system and eco.logic which is aimed at departments, project teams or companies with less than 250 people who would use it.  Both work in a similar way – a cause (charity, community group, event etc) to save money for is agreed, people join the system and enter their cost savings into the system.  A carbon calculator estimates the amount of CO2 saved and the money calculator adds up the money saved.  A percentage of this money goes to the chosen cause.

It’s a win, win, win situation – the company saves money by the employees consciously changing their habits (whether it’s reducing their printing, cycling to a meeting or not ordering biscuits for the next meeting), the employee sees a reason to think sustainably and feels motivated in the workplace and the environment wins because the CO2 emissions are reduced. Once momentum builds on the system and people see new ways to save money, the system becomes invaluable.

There is also a free e.Book ‘Ecoinomics’ on the website which can be downloaded for tips on how to operate in a less wasteful way. The fun illustrations and novel examples are not only thought provoking but also obvious and easy to carry out!

The fantastic thing about innovation like the Ecoinomy systems is that it creates interaction within the workplace and encourages employees to think further than the workplace.  If workplaces can become less wasteful and attitudes changed by employees seeing how much money they can save for their company and cause, then the hope is that those messages will go back to the home and we can live on a happier planet.

 

 

Insightful South Africa

Visiting South Africa blew me away – its beauty is undescrible, its vast landscapes are unimagineable and the ‘african skies’ are magnificant. It’s a real shame though that it’s sustainable issues are, in my eyes, desparate.

I had heard about people talking about crime in South Africa and had been told numerous times to lock car doors, not walk around at night and not to go near the Townships but no one had mentioned the environmental or social issues I’d see.

Here are a few of the insights I picked up on my 2 week travels.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

Banner in Knysna - Water Stressed Area

Banner in Knysna – Water Stressed Area

It was interesting coming into Knysna on the Garden Route to see a large banner saying ‘this is a water stressed area’ – the countryside was incredibly lush and it had rained all day!

The banners were also posted on rubbish bins and on lamp posts helping them to stand out to people walking or driving by.

Although it was good to see someone being environmentally conscious and keen to get the message across but the campaign didn’t appear to be carried out futher. There were no messages to explain how they suggested the locals to cut back on their water use. And, if i wasn’t educated on water use and the environmental problems we face regarding water, I would see this sign as ‘not my problem’.

While watching tv that evening, a large star burst flash came up on the screen saying ‘save energy – turn off your television when you are not watching it’.  It was definitely eye catching and possibly a message we, in the UK should be adopting. Do the locals take note?

'eco diesel'

‘eco diesel’

Apart from the new buses that had been introduced in Cape Town after the Football World Cup and the local mini bus style taxis (who will change their route to suit customers!) everyone appears to drive.  No one commutes by bicycle and trains are hardly used (or seen!).  I saw this sign at a petrol station saying ‘eco diesel. good for your car, even better for your world’.  You could argue that eco diesel (whatever that really is!) is more environmentally friendly than using unleaded petrol but wouldn’t it better for people to learn how to ‘eco drive‘, car share or encourage better public transport?

I found it hard to find many recycling points around Cape Town and the surrounding towns.  We did, however go to a farmers market style happening in the Woodstock area of Cape Town and there people appeared to be more environmentally conscious.  There was a recycling notice stating that the neighbourgoods market was recycling and that there were separate bins to put recycling into.  Although the sign was clear, easy to read and placed in a prominent place, I didn’t see the recycling bins and am sure all the rubbish went into one bin….

Recycling notice board

Recycling notice board

There is clearly an educational element needed in the city to help people understand the necessity of how to recycle!

There was a story on the news one evening about the problem with travelling between Johanesberg and Durban.  The train currently takes a large amount of time as does driving, therefore the taxi company have decided to set up a local cost ‘taxi’ airline to fly people between the two towns. Designed to work like a taxi rank, people will line up and get on the next available plane.  When people were interviewed to ask their opinion of the new service, there were comments along the lines of ‘the local taxi service is terrible so this won’t work’ rather than ‘we should not be harming the environment by flying’.  South Africa, please build a high speed train line before encouraging cheap flights!

WESTERN INFLUENCES

'eco' reuseable coffee cup

‘eco’ reuseable coffee cup

In Western countries, especially London as I see it everyday, the ‘to go’ coffee culture is bigger than ever.  Whether it’s a fashionable thing or a convenience thing, people are buying coffees on their way to work or when they are out and about. The good thing is that people are being more environmentally conscious and buying reusable coffee cups (the KeepCup is a popular brand).

Recent research (see Lucy Siegel’s article ‘Are Single Use Paper Cups Evil?‘ in the Guardian) does show however that the energy used to produce and then wash a cup each time does not necessarily challenge the energy used to produce paper cups and recycle them….

My point here is that there is not the same ‘to go’ coffee culture, that I noticed, in South Africa but clearly the coffee shops either feel they should be selling ‘eco cups to help the environment’ or that it is a good way to make money!  Western trends are definitely strong in South Africa.

INNOVATION & COMMUNITY

Beer can display at Cape Town airport

Beer can display at Cape Town airport

The only place that I saw any type of local art work to do with sustainability was at the airport as I was leaving Cape Town.

I couldn’t find any information on what the installation was for but someone had clearly designed a fantastic looking tree with leaves/flowers made out of recycled beer cans.

Maybe it was a simple way to promote the beer drunk in South Africa….? I’d love to know who produced it.

We visited the Cape Wine region close to Cape Town and were really impressed with the Solms-Delta wine estate.  I had been to an event the week before travelling to South Africa where Mark Delta (director) had explained the importance of providing a sustainable future for the estate and those working on the estate. He had over come a social problem where the people working on the farm felt they owned the farm but weren’t being heard, by mortagaging his land to buy the plot of land next door for the farmers to own. This way, both the Delta estate and the local workers could work in collaboration with empowered workers for a sustainable future.  The estate runs various events through out the year to promote community projects, fundraising and encouraging local collaboration.  They also produce a fantastic range of wines (which should not be over looked)!

Solms-Delta wine estate

Solms-Delta wine estate

SOCIAL ISSUES

I was shocked at the number of social issues in and around Cape Town.  Ignoring theft, muggings etc, the general urban issues that cause everyday annoyance or problems was pretty sad.  I was surprised to hear that even though there is a postal service, you are hardly likely to receive any post (unless it is a plain, thin envelope) as it gets stolen before it reaches your letter box!  Apparently Amazon do deliver to South Africa now but the service is not regularly used due to the unlikely event of actually receiving the items purchased!

Message on a PostBox in Cape Town
Message on a PostBox in Cape Town

Maybe it’s also a problem in the UK but I noticed a letter box in Cape Town with a sign on it asking people not to put their rubbish in the box.  It is clearly a problem which means a notice was necessary.

To sum up my trip, South Africa is well worth a visit. I was pleasantly surprised that it is a self sufficient country in terms of produce yet the social issues seriously need some help.  The racist attitude and urban poverty were hard to stomach which really need to be overcome for the country to flourish.

Environmental education, better communication and western knowledge could really benefit the country and make it even more amazing than it currently is.

Have you been to South Africa? I’d love to hear your thoughts.