Heinrich Böll Foundation Cambodia and ‘Going Green’

Heinrich Böll Foundation Cambodia and ‘Going Green’

HBF Cambodia is taking steps towards creating a ‘greener’ office, as a team effort to help reduce the combined output of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Group Energies Renouvelables, Environment et Solidarites (GERES) was commissioned by HBF to conduct an audit on the offices emission of greenhouse gases between August 2008-May 2009. GERES found that within this timeframe HBF’s emissions were 40.0 tCO2e, which equated to 3.1 tCO2e per employee. 

Based on the recommendations made by GERES, the HBF Cambodia team is working on a range of responsibilities to drive the process of ‘greening the office’. A ‘Green Team’ has been established amongst the staff, and each member has taken on a different task to help manage the level of GHGs released. GERES’s recommendations include everything from important, simple steps such as shutting down and turning off all electronic equipment after use, monitoring rubbish, water and stationery waste and recycling reusable materials. On a more general scale, GERES suggested more effort needed to be made in reducing energy consumption by increasing the efficiency of the office equipment, as well as monitoring the use of the shared office transport. 

Steps that have already been taken by the ‘Green Team’ staff are: ensuring that electricity and office equipment is always off and unplugged during the lunch break and at the end of the working day; using more environmentally friendly products, such as soap bars instead of plastic bottled hand wash; re-using wasted printed paper; printing double-sided where possible; switching to energy saving light bulbs, where 6 bulbs at 75 watts each were transferred to 3 lamps at 45 watts each in the meeting room; usage of the HBF car has been limited to more necessary, longer journeys and alternative greener methods have been used such as walking or taking the office bicycle; installing a more efficient air-conditioning unit in the coordinators room, which is the largest room in the office; having the air-conditioning temperature set to no lower than 25˚c; and using internal shading methods to help keep the office cooler, to decrease reliance on electric cooling appliances. 

As conscious efforts continue to be made by the HBF team as a whole, the total omission of GHG gases will decrease at a sustainable level overtime. A significant factor in this greening process is that efforts made are carried out as a team, and that increasing awareness on how small steps can contribute to making a bigger difference is key.

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