It’s been rewarding to look back on the years leading up to our 10-year anniversary to realize how much the efficiency/conservation landscape has changed during this relatively brief timeframe. Early on, it was difficult to find willing individuals within organizations to take efficiency implementation seriously. Fast-forward, conservation-conscious supporters now are increasingly forming Green Teams to exponentially increase savings of both energy and the dollars that flow in following implementation. Houses of worship have been among the leaders in the Green Team movement. Citing environmental stewardship as their mantra, these EnerChangers have come to realize the power and value of Green Team deployment.
To be clear, Green Teams are not any one group stakeholder’s domain. No less than Harvard University has shared their Green Team learnings in their Sustainability Publication. Various sector Team Leaders at Harvard offered their tips and insights which led to a Top Ten list of suggestions for anyone interested in organizing such Teams. Combined with our own observations and participation in our program participants’ Green Teams, we pass these valuable words of advice on for all to benefit.
- Start Small
The crawl, walk, run philosophy definitely applies to Green Team success. Trying for too much, too rapidly will invariably result in disappointment and even perhaps failure. Gaining some traction at a simple, basic level will pay great dividends as the program progresses.
- Hold Regular Meetings
Avoid imposing over-burdensome demands on participants but do hold regular yet not-too-frequent meetings. Publishing Meeting Agendas (Goal Setting, Status Updates, Roles and Responsibilities, etc.) and observing and respecting people’s time, will stack the deck in favor of success.
- Break Down Borders
Avoiding silos and divisional self-interests can be achieved by encouraging cross-departmental collaboration. Teams work together to ensure focus on the greater good, reducing the presence of self-preservation of pet behaviors and traditions held by any individual stakeholder group.
- Involve Facilities Services
Avoid re-inventing the wheel and importantly, to recognize their critical role in effecting improvements, be sure to include personnel who regularly tend to the issues of maintaining buildings. Facilities people can aid immeasurably in “selling” the Green Team’s Agenda throughout the organization.
- Create A Green Team Campaign Calendar
A published 12-month Calendar of Activities will help anticipate opportunities to implement new protocols. Many of the actions that the Team will identify occur seasonally. The Calendar will maximize success through advance planning as well as through creating awareness of the Team’s efforts.
- Encourage Individual Project Ownership
The Team will generate an abundance of opportunities so it’s important to establish project “champions” so that everyone need not be involved in every single project. Subcommittees promote initiative and taking individual responsibility for carrying out the Team’s priorities.
- Create a FUN Team Culture
The global issues we’re all concerned about are dire enough. Diligently working on solutions should have an upbeat rhythm and an aura of informed optimism that ought to foster an attitude that doesn’t take everything too seriously. Hope must be an active component for any Green Team.
Be proud and loud about what The Team is up to. Find communication channels that inform and educate as much of the organization as possible about the purpose and the specific actions underway. The greater the awareness, the greater the spectrum of achievement.
- Create Satellite Teams
Intra and Inter-connections with others engaged in similar Team activity will definitely have a synergistic effect. Friendly rivalry and substantive sharing of Best Practices will act as a stimulus for more and greater success.
- Show Appreciation
All successful management groups know that recognition is at the top of the list when it comes to motivation. These are worthwhile activities the Team is pursuing. Frequently acknowledge individual and sub-committee accomplishments to maximize Team impact.
Team Assignment # 1
Consider kicking off demonstrating the impact that your Green Team can have on both your organization’s finances as well as your carbon footprint and the environment, by conducting a fun after-hours Energy Treasure Hunt. For details, visit the Treasure Hunt Webinar and the PDF parked at enerchange.org/_____. This popular route to improved efficiency and conservation will set the tone for things to come through Green Team Activity.
EnerChange salutes the many clients who have established Green Teams and is proud of the manner in which those Teams have spurred deeper dives into saving money by saving energy.