Basingstoke shopping centre Festival Place has won an international Green Apple Environmental award, which recognises, rewards and promotes environmental best practice around the world.
The Festival Place Technical Services Team won the award for work carried out in the centre’s non-public areas, which has reduced CO2 emissions by 47.4 tonnes a year and made savings of £190,000 over a five-year period.
A key member of the award-winning team was Interserve electrical maintenance apprentice James Veitch, 19, who carried out much of the work himself.
Tony Barley, Assistant Facilities Manager and apprentice supervisor, said: “We have been involved in energy saving initiatives at Festival Place for some years now, and we identified that making changes to our non-public stairwells would be a potential way to generate economic savings and reduce our electrical energy consumption.
“It soon became evident that the major part of the project could become a very interesting and rewarding environmental undertaking for James.”
James, who is two-thirds of the way through a three-year apprenticeship run with Basingstoke College of Technology, was briefed to look at the fluorescent lighting in the stairwells, which was fully illuminated 24 hours a day.
With guidance and supervision from the rest of the team, James carried out the initial project scope and costing process, submitted plans, and bought and installed a new lighting system, which dims down to ten per cent during periods when no one is nearby, meaning the lights are only fully on for around one hour each day.
“We are very aware of the environmental impact we have as a site,” said Tony.
“James’ work has made huge savings, both economic and environmental, and his work will be used as an Environmental Marketing Tool highlighting the success of what has been achieved by the youngest member of our team.
“Winning this award is fantastic; it shows our apprentice system really works.
“I’m a big believer in the system – I’m a product of an apprenticeship myself. As my father said to me, an apprenticeship lets you earn and learn.
“The older members of our team pass on their experience and skills to the new generation, and I know the system works. The whole Festival Place team is heavily involved with our two apprentices – both of whom will finish as fully qualified engineers – and it is very rewarding.”
James said: “It was a great challenge to be given a project like this. I love the work – it’s so varied. Festival Place is so big you always have different jobs to do and it’s a great team.
“I think apprenticeship is the way forward. My brother and sister went down the traditional route and went to university. They envy the position I’m in. I’m earning while I’m learning – there’s no downside!”
Festival Place’s Tech Services Team competed against more than 500 other entrants for the Green Apple award, which will be presented at a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament on November 25.
The team has also been invited to achieve Green World Ambassador status and have its winning paper published in The Green Book – the leading international work of reference on environmental best practice.