posted by Pia Delisante

Montevideo
measures up

Pia Delisante on the British embassy in Uruguay's 10:10 success

Montevideo

Photo: Andre Deak

The green team at the British embassy in Montevideo knew that 10:10 success would be a challenge. The post had already made substantial energy savings and carbon footprint reductions thanks to the foreign office's previous green initiatives, so 10:10 meant an extra effort from all.

In the end, the post achieved a 30% emissions reduction, beating the 10% target 3 times over!

How it's done

We began by understanding the embassy’s carbon footprint and brainstorming the best ways to reduce it. The green team drew up a chart identifying several courses of action: quick wins and longer term challenges requiring more significant investments or changes.
We achieved a 30% emissions reduction, beating the 10% target 3 times over!

The biggest contributors to this success were:

- 17% reduction in flights; by constantly challenging the need to travel by air and reducing business class travel we were able to reduce 47% of air travel.

- 12 % improvement in heating oil: by regulating the temperature efficiently and by improving insulation.

- 2 % improvement on vehicle usage: better planning of official fleet in order to reduce fuel consumption.

Thanks to the funds available at the FCO, we were available to install solar panels at the residence and low energy consumption lights at the embassy. Other actions included:

  • Constantly promoting energy savings. For example, we reduced the use of drying machines – washing lines are a must on sunny days
  • Cutting down on the time it takes for embassy lights to turn off automatically
  • Controlling heating and air conditioner systems
  • Lowering the temperature of water heaters

The green team also developed a sustainable programme for the residence. There is a compost station, an organic garden and a recycling plan for all waste.

The willingness of all, not only the green team, to make these changes is the reason that our post exceeded the 10% target. 

All staff members accepted the challenge and contributed. Even the smallest actions made a difference. The willingness of all, not only the green team, to make these changes is the reason that our post exceeded the 10% target. 

Plans are set for the following year. Sustainability of the savings will be a priority.

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