Planet Mark, the sustainability certification company, delivered a workshop last week to a group of interested boys in order to explain what an audit is, why they are useful and how they are done. The workshop was delivered by two of Planet Mark’s senior Environment Agency accredited energy auditors. Planet Mark are currently working with the school to measure our emissions, determine where they are coming from, and propose innovative and efficient solutions to reduce our environmental impact.

As Eton College’s 400 buildings are spread across an extensive site, the School is one of the most complex organisations that Planet Mark has worked with. Representatives from the company explained to boys that the environmental agenda has never before been so high, with the rising costs of energy bringing the issue into particular focus. Boys were told that 30 years ago, few companies were interested in operating efficiently or sustainably, simply because energy was so cheap compared to today’s sky-high prices. COP was yet to exist, and most people were almost unaware of the threat posed by rising global temperatures. One unit, or therm, of gas three decades ago cost about three pence. Today, the same unit of gas costs upwards of £1.50. This stark difference demonstrates how beneficial it can be for companies to get a handle on their emissions, not only to benefit the environment but also to reduce costs.

Environmental audits and the process that follows aim to boost the sustainability of an organisation’s operations and reduce consumption. Of course, price is a major incentive. An audit gives focus to an organisation, educating them on their environmental impact. In a school the size of Eton College, even making minor changes can add up to effect a major change. For example, if you spent one minute less in the shower every time, about £80 worth of energy would be knocked off the annual energy spend – reducing carbon emissions in the process.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with Planet Mark, to assess our impact, create innovative solutions, and enact positive change. Every boy is part of this journey and even the small changes can make a difference.