Co-operative Food Group - Training completed

MEA were commissioned by the Energy Saving Trust (EST) to deliver household energy training to Area Energy Champions of the Cooperative Food Group. The result was informative, engaging and stimulating advice and training. Twenty sessions were delivered to the Area Energy Champions, District Energy Champions and Operations Managers across the UK - from Belfast to Broadstairs, Inverness to Nottingham. The training was delivered to them with a view to cascading the training to the store managers, store energy champions and ultimately to all Co-op retail staff.

The basis for the training was the understanding that through undertaking energy saving measures in the home, staff would be able to apply these techniques in the work place, and in some cases vice versa. The Co-op group has an overarching ambition to cut energy use by 25% by 2012 and has made significant in-roads to achieving this target. However, they acknowledge that they are only going to be able to do this with the assistance of a motivated and fully trained group of energy champions.

The training thus developed was delivered to twenty groups of Area Energy Champions numbering 258 participants. Each, now fully trained in home and store energy efficiency, will between now and autumn be cascading the training to all staff. They are tasked with assisting the Regional Energy Managers delivering on the 25% target reduction in energy use. It is the opinion of the trainers that this is now well within their grasp.

The training was well received and appreciated by both the Regional Energy Managers (who delivered it in tandem) and the attendees, some of whom were quite skeptical of the impact that they could have. All are now ‘energy literate', fully trained to achieve major savings, both in the home and in store.

On the store energy side we had a rather hilarious ‘airing dirty laundry' session revealing several energy gaffes - a suspended ceiling that was removed to reveal another lighting rig full of working and lit T12 tubes; a water heater left permanently on but not used for three years, two floors above the trading floor and lastly; a spare extractor fan that was turned off to save the store £5,000 per year. It was also useful to note that although many stores have been refitted recently and had upgrades, most of the energy savings that have been made in this district have been through the housekeeping actions of the energy champions network, not through the installation of clever kit.

Some of the attendees were experienced energy champions. Their previous work in this area had brought them into contact with the Energy Saving Trust before and some had undertaken measures in their own home. Many of the age old myths were busted, like timing your heating rather than leaving it on all day - one energy champion had saved over £500 in the last quarter by doing so!

We hope to work with the EST and Co-op again in the near future and wish the Co-op the best of luck with achieving their targets - we are sure they can do it.

Here is a selection of the feedback form the project:

"I just want to say a big thank you for the vital role you played in delivering the training in a very professional and knowledgeable manner, whilst being amiable and engaging with the district and area energy champions."

"Thanks for all your hard work and effort in delivering this project in so many different area. I now happy that my whole region has been covered from Scotland to Ireland and the IOM."

"Thank you very much for the great job you have done in our first two energy champion training sessions."

"My belief is that we have really set the champions we have worked with up with the tools to go and continue the cascade process of a sustainable, self perpetuating package which will benefit all the recipients at home, at work and for the general good of the environment."

"Thanks a lot Kris, I enjoyed it and learnt a lot."