The Carbon Trust will today launch an online service designed to boost employee engagement with the green agenda, arguing that embracing environmental best practices could potentially save large U.K. businesses and public sector bodies £500m (US$774 million) a year through energy and waste reductions alone.
The company will today launch the so-called "Empower" tool, which can be downloaded by public bodies and businesses free of charge.
The interactive application allows employees to take a virtual tour of a typical office building to learn how to make environmental improvements, such as turning off unused equipment or avoiding unnecessary corporate travel.
They can then also set personal goals for reducing their environmental impact using the application, which can be shared with their managers.
Analysis by the Carbon Trust has found that a typical 10 story office building with a 30,000 square-meter floor area and 2,500 employees could save £150,000 (US$232,320) and over 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually by using the Empower tool.
A spokesman said this could equate to total savings of £500m (US$774 million) if all the organizations and businesses in the U.K. carried out half of the recommended measures.
He added that Empower was the most "sophisticated, rigorous and robust tool" that the company has developed to engage employees.
Richard Rugg, director of Carbon Trust Programs, said the tool was designed to help change employee behavior, which is often seen as one of the greatest obstacles to companies' efforts to curb their environmental impacts.
"Companies often struggle to harness the huge energy savings that an effectively engaged workforce can help deliver," he explained. "Part of the problem employers face is making actions practical, fun and sustained. By creating a virtual tour entirely from an employee's viewpoint, every aspect of Empower has been designed with the end-user in mind."
The program was originally slated for release in November, but was delayed to early January as the organization ironed out a number of technical glitches.
The Empower program estimates companies could make annual savings of over £200 (US$309) per employee by taking advantage of the following tips:
• Turning off your PC and monitor in the evening could save £39 (US$60) a year per person.
• Keeping blinds open and turning off lights when there is enough daylight, or when areas are unoccupied could save more than £10 (US$15) per year per person.
• Accepting a 1 degree reduction in workplace temperatures could save more than £4 (US$6) per year per person.
• Using the phone or videoconferencing to avoid four car journeys could save £150 (US$232) year.
• Reducing paper use by only printing when necessary, and printing double sided could save £20 (US$31) year each per person.
[Editor's note: This article originally appeared at BusinessGreen.com and is reprinted with permission.]