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Housing association works to reduce its environmental impact

A housing association in Newent has started focussing on reducing its environmental impact. 

Over the last six months, Two Rivers Housing has saved £4,000 and cut almost 15,000 kg of carbon through a project run by the University of Gloucestershire.

The savings were achieved via a series of energy-saving measures, such as adjusting refrigerator temperatures, increasing recycling and turning off equipment when not in use.

While many of the improvements were little things, they all added up to big savings - as well as long-term behavioural changes that will further support the housing association's attempts to reduce its carbon footprint.

As a result, Two Rivers has received a 'Silver' standard from the university's Green Impact project, which is led by the Students Union.

In order to move the project forward, staff at the housing association formed three teams, which they named the Jolly Green Giants, the Green Machine and the Eco Warriors. The teams worked on various aspects of the project, including preparing and presenting a portfolio of evidence for the assessment. This was based on a variety of categories, including water, recycling, energy, travel and transport.

Having always been committed to improving its environmental impact, Two Rivers has previously introduced technology to cut energy usage, such as reducing unnecessary travel.

The Newent office has been accredited as achieving the BREEAM 'Excellent' sustainability standard. At the end of last year, the firm was also 'Highly Commended' at the national Building Energy and Efficiency awards.

Executive PA Sue Barter helped to co-ordinate the project. She explained that the company has always worked hard to maintain a low carbon footprint. "But this project gave us an opportunity to involve staff as individuals and to show how they could make a significant difference by changing their own behaviour," she added.

Ms Barter was pleased about the progress the company had made in its short time taking part in the project. "Together, we made great savings in just six months, so we're keen to make these changes permanent features and to continue building on what we have achieved."