The Met Office has been named one of the most sustainable public sector organisations in the UK
Meanwhile Met Office Facilities Manager, Chris Richards, scooped the title "Sustainability Manager of the Year".
The awards follow the implementation of a number of steps aimed at making the Sustainability. They include a water recapture scheme which saw a 47% increase in recycled water use (this has increased by 180% in the last 24 months) and the installation of 1000-panel rooftop solar photovoltaic array at the Exeter HQ, which, at the time of installation, was the biggest in Britain. This is now studied by other businesses and government departments as a way to achieve the "solar vision" anticipated for 2020.
As of June 2014, the Met Office hit its 80% waste recycling target and has set a target of 85% for next year. It is the only public sector organisation (and one of only 17 organisations in total) to hold the Wildlife Trust's Biodiversity Benchmark, and have done, since 2011. The Exeter HQ site has a total of 355 observed wildlife species including slow worms, bats, dragonflies and meadow wildflowers.
Sustainable commuting is encouraged within the Met Office with many staff either walking, cycling, using public transport or car pooling. Meanwhile video conferencing is now a first option further reducing travel within the company.
All these measures have been driven forward by Met Office Facilities Manager Chris Richards who was named "Sustainability Manager of the Year".
Chris Richards said: "We're acutely aware of the impacts of our operations, and are committed to meeting our objectives in a sustainable way. We minimise our carbon footprint where possible and aim to achieve neutral, if not net positive, environmental impacts".
Met Office Head of Property Management, Lynda Jones, was made a Fellow of the Institute of Public Sector Estate Management in recognition of her dedicated work with the organisation.
The 2014 Public Sector Sustainability Awards were presented by Lord Redesdale at a ceremony at London's ExCeL exhibition centre.
The Public Sector employs 5.7 million people and operates property valued at around £700 billion. The operational cost of running these buildings is estimated at over £10 billion per annum. Public sector estates are a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK.