The trust, which has today (January 5) launched an online tool to help organisations, says engaging employees in cutting energy use, paper waste and travel could save small business more than 15% in energy costs.

Larger businesses could also use the Carbon Trust Empower tool to save £150K and more than 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

According to the trust leisure giant Whitbread and Oxford City Council have already signed their staff up to use the system

Carbon Trust Programmes director, Richard Rugg, said: “Companies often struggle to harness the huge energy savings that an effectively engaged workforce can help deliver.

“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.”

“Employees are a critical ally in cutting energy waste, get them onboard and reap the rewards in lower bills and reduced carbon emissions.”

People are able to look for energy saving throughout their office – starting by considering how they arrive for work, with options to join a company carpool or travel by public transport, before moving on to their desk, where they can commit to switch off their PC when not in use, print double-sided, and teleconference rather than travel.

The virtual journey also helps staff cut energy waste in other parts of the office, such as the reception area, kitchen, corridors and toilets.

As well as helping individuals create and keep track of personal action plans, Empower provides a wealth of engaging workplace facts and enables office managers to view the sum of their employees’ individual energy savings.

Whitbread’s head of energy and environment, Chris George, said: “Whitbread has a clear target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 26% by 2020.

“We believe that Empower is a strong learning platform which will help our teams to understand how we can work together to reduce energy consumption within our portfolio of buildings in the UK.

Oxford City Council energy and climate change team leader. Paul Robinson, added: “The new Empower tool is great fun to use and we intend to roll this out to all our staff in the near future as part of our commitment to reduce our operational carbon emissions by 28% by the end of March 2012, relative to the 05/06 baseline emissions.”

Luke Walsh

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