Atelier Tenners’ New Year’s Resolutions

At Atelier Ten we are always striving to help our projects tread more lightly on the planet, and we also work tirelessly in our efforts as part of the World Green Building Council and other national green building councils to campaign for stronger regulation COP26 to reduce the impact of the built environment.

While we maintain our call on governments to keep the reduction of carbon emissions a priority, this January we are sharing some of the steps, big and small, the people of Atelier Ten are taking in our everyday lives to minimise our own impact on the environment.

Commitments from our staff to offset carbon emissions

We calculated the carbon associated with our summer holidays last year to off-set it, and we are going to do the same again this year. – Bernie Carr, Glasgow

We will purchase carbon offsets for personal travel and vacation. – Singapore

Tips and resolutions for reducing electricity consumption and emissions at home

We use the OhmHours app: it alerts you to peak hours of electrical use on the grid, so you can reduce your load at those times and therefore reduce the use of imported dirty energy, along with reducing the chance of a regional power outage. – Claire Maxfield, San Francisco

We’ve changed all our lights at home to LED fittings. – Joseph Lazell, Manchester; Mitru Orban, Edinburgh

I work by daylight as long as possible. It’s hard in the winter, but I almost never turn the lights on in the summer. – Haley Jones, New Haven

I turn off appliances when not using them instead of leaving them in stand-by. – Mitru Orban, Edinburgh

I have cut my coffee consumption and limit the water we pop in the kettle to only what we need. – Alan Stuart, Manchester

Lights are switched off if the room is not in use. – Tracey McDowall, Glasgow

Ways our staff are reducing consumption and waste of food

We put our compost bag in a bin in our freezer door – freezing our compost is a simple, no-cost way to avoid the unpleasant aspects of composting such as smells, flies, leaking bags, and frequently having to take out the compost. This strategy helps us compost more and create less trash. – Isabelle Hens, San Francisco

I will not buy Starbucks and I will start bringing my own coffee from home in a reusable coffee cup. – Lucy Thomson, Glasgow

As a family we now eat less meat: three days a week we have vegetarian meals, and we’re planning on increasing this to four days a week in 2023. – Bernie Carr, Glasgow

During grocery shops we try and buy fresh produce which doesn’t have any packaging. – Alan Stuart, Manchester

My resolution is to reduce food waste, and I am getting a compost bin to start putting food scraps in – hopefully by summer I will have compost to use in my garden! – Alice Beglan-Grant, Glasgow

I will avoid eating meat and reduce my dairy consumption. – David Cameron, Glasgow

We’ve resolved to consume and buy less as a family, only buying absolute necessities to create less waste, especially for food. The normal U.S. household wastes nearly a third of the food it buys. An alarming statistic considering the greenhouse gas impact. – Veronica Binnix, New York

How we’re planning on reducing the environmental impact of household chores

We’ve started to use a pressure cooker where we can, rather than the oven. For example, instead of roasting a chicken in the oven for 1 hour 45 minutes, it takes about 40 minutes in a pressure cooker, saving quite a lot of energy. – Joseph Lazell, Manchester

I don’t preheat the oven when baking or cooking. – Mitru Orban, Edinburgh

We started drying clothes outside when the weather allows and minimising our use of a drier. – Joseph Lazell, Manchester

I rinse dishes with cold water, instead of hot. – Mitru Orban, Edinburgh

We bought a washing machine with an A+ energy rating, and with no drying function. We only put a load of laundry on when we have a full basket, and always reduce the temperature to 30°C. – Kate Carpenter, London

I dry the clothes on a drying rack. – Mitru Orban, Edinburgh

In our house we are limiting the number of washes per use of clothing (not to sound smelly!). – David Cameron, Glasgow

We take quick showers – spending less than 5 mins in the shower; even for my child! – Tracey McDowall, Glasgow

Ways our staff have committed to reduce consumption of goods

If we buy plastic bags, we use them as bin liners before we buy the real thing. We do have bags-for-life which we are able to use most of the time. – Tracey McDowall, Glasgow

I’ve started being more conscious about purchasing bottled water disguised as cleaning products. Instead of purchasing a bottle of all-purpose cleaner, I buy the concentrated powder which can be mixed with tap water in a reusable spray bottle. Similarly, I now use laundry sheets instead of bottled liquid soap or worse individually plastic wrapped pods. Small steps to reduce my waste. – Aditi Agarwal, San Francisco

I will find creative ways to reuse plastic bottles, glass, jars, cardboard boxes, take-away boxes for storage of things at home.
– Singapore

I am using Vinted to recycle clothes. I also save all packaging I receive from any online purchases to reuse when I send clothing items via Vinted. – Tate Josserand, London

I will carry re-useable cutlery with me and return plastic cutlery to food establishments when offered. – Singapore

I’ve resolved to cut out fast-fashion shopping and look for CSR reports for brands and labels that I’m considering purchasing from. Additionally, I’m aiming to consume more consciously by buying less when it’s not completely necessary and looking for second-hand options before buying new. – Alivia Green, New York

I am washing and saving packaging from food deliveries to use in my own kitchen when cooking. – Tate Josserand, London

I resolved to use less single-use plastic. I already reuse plastic bags so will add more products to the list, and I bought reusable produce bags. – Madeline Gradillas, San Francisco

We donate all unused clothing to charity shops. – Tracey McDowall, Glasgow

I’m not going to allow myself to buy coffee unless I have a reusable mug with me – saving money and reducing waste! – Haley Jones, New Haven

I will leave a reusable bag in my daily backpack for use to carry any last-minute shopping. – Singapore

I will not buy into ‘fast fashion’ anymore, I will start using places like Depop and local charity shops where I can. – Lucy Thomson, Glasgow

We recycle everything we can. – Tracey McDowall, Glasgow

How our staff plan on reducing our transport related carbon footprints

I’m looking to do 10k steps a day, including walking home from work most office days! – Seamus McGovern, Glasgow

I started cycling to work during the summer and autumn months which is just shy of 2 hours pedal power each way! (I’m going to pick this up again post ice and snow!) – Alan Stuart, Manchester

I will ride to the SJ campus once a week to embrace zero carbon transportation. – Singapore

I’ve been using a cargo ebike for the school run and commuting – last year’s mileage was 1,700 miles. For 2023 I want to switch even more trips to ebike, avoid the car as much as possible and exceed that mileage. Transitioning to a carbon neutral economy will mean not just replacing gasoline cars with electric cars, but also more mode-switching to lower energy forms of transportation. – Emilie Hagen, San Francisco

I have started to do shopping in person and on foot, instead of getting deliveries – reducing the delivery drivers’ footprint.
– Alan Stuart, Manchester

I am walking to local appointments to try and walk 10k steps a day. – Tate Josserand, London

I will walk to my local supermarket when we only require a few bits instead of driving. – Lucy Thomson, Glasgow

I always walk to our local shop and health centre. – Tracey McDowall, Glasgow

I will walk up the stairs rather than using the lifts. – Alan Stuart, Manchester

Make use of the cycle-to-work scheme in the UK. This also ties in with getting fit and healthy in the new year – two birds with one stone! – Dara Byrne, London

In 2023, I am going to prioritise attending meetings and site visits by public transport instead of driving. – Andrew Lyons, Glasgow

I’m going to take the train to the office and walk to the train station when possible! – Haley Jones, New Haven

We changed our car to an electric vehicle. – Joseph Lazell, Manchester

Our car is almost 10 years old, so we’ll look to replace it with an electric car next year. – Stuart Russell, Glasgow

Ways our staff are reducing the need for heating and cooling at home…

I installed smart heating controls and smart TRVs at my house and my parent’s house. Thermostats are set at 18° generally, 17° when the rooms are not being used, 21°or 22° in the room that is being used, and time scheduled for certain periods (such as heating the bedroom / kitchen / bathroom up for an hour in the morning prior to leaving and then switching off). The system also has a geofencing occupancy detection to detect when there are no occupants in the house and turns the system to frost protection, with a pre-heat function when it detects you are travelling back home.– Scott Gibson, Glasgow

We set the air conditioning temperature to 26°C at home.– Singapore

I installed self-adhesive draught excluder strips on windows and doors.– Mitru Orban, Edinburgh

We upgraded to a new boiler with weather compensation. This modulates the flow temperature based on the external weather temperature. On a slightly more temperate winter day, it only heats the radiators to around 30 or 35°C.– Joseph Lazell, Manchester

We have a smart thermostat which ran an energy saving investigation program and determined new set points for our heating: 58°F degrees overnight and 68°F during the day (since I work from home) – given that I live in a pretty cold winter climate this saves a significant amount of energy.– Amy Leedham, San Francisco

I’m turning my heating thermostat down to 18°C.– Tate Josserand, London

My heating has been turned down to 20°C and is off during the day, even when I’m working from home. I work with a blanket round me! – Tracey McDowall, Glasgow

We’ve reduced our hot water cylinder temperature to 50°C.– David Cameron, Glasgow

My resolution for 2023 is to electrify my house by including a heat pump for water and space heating. – Claire Maxfield, San Francisco

Check back later this week for resolutions on other topics!