We spoke to Denis Garnham, energy manager for Addenbooke's Hospital in Cambridge, about his team's challenges and achievements and to find out his top tips for engaging employees on sustainability.
Tell me a bit about your role.
As energy manager for one of the largest hospitals in the UK, my role includes all aspects of energy management, including efficiency investment and targeting, utility procurement contracts and ensuring compliance with energy related legislation.
Had you always planned to go into energy management?
No - I actually started as an electrical engineer working mainly in electronics then progressed to an estates management role in operational maintenance. For the last four years as the trust energy manager, I've combined my electrical engineering skills with that of an estates manager to ensure the hospital energy and sustainability needs are covered.
And what are you doing at the moment to help meet those needs?
I've got a number of key projects underway at the moment - lighting throughout the hospital is an ongoing challenge, as is window replacement. With a hospital this large there's no shortage of opportunities to improve on both the trust estate and the patient environment.
There are clearly a lot of challenges that come with working in such a big hospital - but what would you say is your biggest?
Sustainable procurement is my greatest challenge. The hospital has many supply lines and needs, and trying to change attitudes can be demanding.
What have you found is the best way of changing attitudes and engaging people on sustainability?
By trusting in the commitment people already have. Folks generally want to engage in sustainability and here at Addenbrooke's it's clear they want the hospital to prosper in all disciplines. It's important to always make sure employees are listened to and effectively communicated with.
What do you love about your role?
My job is such that I can really make a difference to the staff and visitors to the trust. My best moments are always those where a plan or a project has gone to plan and everyone is smiling!
Talking about projects that have gone to plan, what would you say has been your biggest achievement?
Making real reductions in Scope 1 and 2 emissions while maintaining a high level of growth has been our best achievement since I became energy manager. We have managed a 4% drop per year since 2007 despite the trust estate increasing by 33% in the same period.
That's a fantastic achievement! What's the most important lesson you've learned along the way?
Easy - communicate. Even if it's bad news or you're unsure on how to proceed! If you do that, colleagues and stakeholders will always contribute and the issues will be resolved.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I'm a keen sailor and fisherman.
Finally - what's your favourite motto?
Henry Ford once said, ‘Don’t find fault, find a remedy!’