Energy saving in the restaurant… (1)

Our catering team look like they’re getting ready for Shakespeare Week in this photo…

Joe looks as if he is ready to burst into Shakespearean prose! ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day…’ or is it ‘Alas poor light bulb‘?

We’ve now replaced all the bulbs in our restaurant chandeliers with energy saving halogen candle style bulbs. This is all part of our on-going bid to reduce our energy consumption and become greener in all areas of our work. Our SMART meter charts daily usage so we can track the savings we are making. This is sure to add up over the course of a year, especially when you consider that the restaurant is open every day for at least 6 hours!

We also have another handy gadget in our energy saving tool kit – a real time electricity monitor.

energy monitor

At the moment this is recording the energy used to power one of our catering ovens. We know it is not the most efficient model as it has been in place for many years now and are therefore in the process of purchasing a replacement. To help us see the savings this will make, we’ve attached this monitor to the current (old) oven to see what we’re using. When the new oven is in place, we’ll do the same and compare.

Look out for another post coming soon from our Assistant Catering Manager about some of the green actions already in action!

Did you know we’re part of the West Midlands Greening Museum project?

Find out how the rest of the cohort are doing on the Greening Museums site!


A ‘Green’ Father Christmas…

With Christmas just around the corner Father Christmas will be checking and rechecking those lists and we’re hoping to be on his ‘nice’ list for all our green activities…

Energy reduction is a one of our key priority areas in the National Trust at the moment. We’ve made an ambitious target to use 20 per cent less energy, halve our fossil fuel use and generate 50 per cent of our energy from renewable sources by 2020. Here at Charlecote this may seem like a huge task but we’re doing our bit. Some of our previous blog posts looked at special ‘switch it off’ events and networking events where we have been able to ask questions to people in the know, share ideas and get inspiration from other organisations.

Many National Trust places also have a green champion. Here at Charlecote, its me! I recently had a great chat with Katie, one of our External Affairs interns, from our central office in Swindon. She had heard about green champions and I was delighted to tell her more…

My recent exploration into the realms of changing energy behaviours revealed a mysterious character whom I was yet to come across. This character resides at our properties and goes by the name ‘Green Champion’. They may not actually have magical powers, but they can certainly instigate small but profound changes in our attitudes towards energy; a magical enterprise indeed!

This week, I had the pleasure of discussing the benefits and challenges of ensuring behavioural change at our properties with Ruth Webb, Property Administrator and certified Green Champion at CharlecotePark, Warwickshire.

Ruth was approached four years ago to assume the role of Green Champion. Like me, she had little experience of dealing with the technological side of energy. However…

< Read more >

And whilst we’re mentioning Christmas, have you seen this ingenious way of recycling light bulbs?


Ruth, Green Champion

Celebrating all things beautiful and useful: Win a year of Good Energy

Our green group saw this exciting competition on our website and thought it was worth sharing. If you do enter, let us know as we’d love to see what you do. Good Luck!

We’re harnessing the power of nature and being careful with energy, water and waste so that the special places we look after can be beautiful and useful forever.

Join us in celebrating everything that is both #beautifulanduseful in your life by shooting a short video or snapping a photo. You could win a year’s supply of renewable electricity and a home energy audit with our partner Good Energy.

How to get involved
Entering the competition is easy. All you need to do is shoot a short video or take a photo of something you find both beautiful and useful, and share it on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #beautifulanduseful and mentioning @nationaltrust.

The competition closes at midnight on Thursday 12 December, so get those entries in for a chance to win.

Got any questions?
Our terms and conditions should answer most of your questions, but if there’s anything else you want to know please get in touch via Twitter or Instagram using @nationaltrust.

Beautiful and useful inspiration
Our beautiful and useful inspiration videos were put together by Charis Williams, professional artist, up-cycler and TV expert. We found out how she got into up-cycling and delved behind the making of the films. Some of her tips might be useful for your own photos and videos.

Read our interview with Charis Williams.”

< Full terms and conditions are on our website here >

Switch it off and see what happens…

Here at Charlecote we are very concerned about our electricity bills. With costs rising we’re seeing an increasing amount of money being spent on energy. This is money which could be used for important conservation work and community projects at Charlecote.

Every National Trust place records meter readings each month and these are added to huge spreadsheets which track consumption. As an organisation, we are pledging to reduce our use of fossil fuels by 50% in the next 10 years and we aim to reduce energy usage by 20% by 2020 (compared with our usage in 2009). This is quite a task and knowing what energy we are using, where and why is a big part of the process.

(Find out more about the National Trust, Energy & Climate Change here)

energy outreach NTPL David levenson

Switch it off
A few weeks ago, we decided we’d have a ‘switch it off’ hour where we all had a good look around our working areas and turned off all our non-essential electrical items. But what is non-essential? Everything is essential at some point of the day,  otherwise we wouldn’t have it. Well, in this sense we classed it as all those things that should be switched off at night.

So between 8am – 9am we all resisted the urge to turn on lights and log on computers and just enjoyed the peace. Some of our teams took the opportunity to have a catch up and discuss work plans for the coming months, others got on with paper work, tidying desks or filing. It was an interesting exercise just figuring out what you could get done without any need for electricity! You can get on with a surprising amount when you put your mind to it.

Of course some jobs are more reliant on energy use and that is why we picked a time that would (hopefully) cause the least disruption and also allow us to get the site ready for opening to visitors at 10.30am.

What happened?
It worked! By promoting the ‘switch it off’ (SIO) hour to staff, there was a conscious effort to check our workstations at the end of the day in readiness for the S.I.O hour.

The graph below shows our usage on Tuesday (‘normal’ day) and Wednesday (SIO morning).

This has helped us get a better understanding of what our night time usage should be with only essential energy users such as freezers, etc. (also bearing in mind that we do have a holiday flat, donor family accommodation and staff accommodation on site so this will fluctuate).

2013.08_Energy Shut down results

We’ll probably carry out the same exercise again at different times of the year to see seasonal variation.

It certainly hasn’t ‘saved us’ money on our bills yet, but it is helping us to better plan what we can do to minimise energy use. Perhaps another benefit of the exercise has been getting the staff teams involved and being able to see an impact our behaviour has on our energy use.

We’re also taking part in the Greening Museums project with some of our neighbouring heritage venues in a bid to keep us on track and share best practice. You can find out more about this project on their blog site here.

Ruth, Green Champion