While there are many technological tools and new ways of doing to help us transition to sustainable lifestyles, our patterns of thought, belief and business as usual behaviour often block this path.  An audit will identify the inefficient use of resources (water, energy and materials) and polluting chemicals while offering solutions to guide a shift to sustainable living and working.   However for an action plan (behaviour change and / or investment in efficient technology) to be implemented it needs to be embedded in a story of sustainability that inspires.  Old fears of sacrifice and the dominating message from the market place of consumption as status and a reward are as well entrenched as they are unsustainable.  The good news is that, although few and far, there are communities of people across the Earth who are living stories of sustainability, compassion, creativity and connection with each other and the web of life.  Let’s grow this circle.

Every successful journey of change needs a Vision, a Map of Action, inspiring Symbols and Stories that connect. (Futerra – theory of change.)   The core values behind a change to sustainable being need to be identified and  contextualized by the community/ organisation that wishes to make sustainable changes.

Diagramme of Futerra's Theory of Change

Diagramme of Futerra’s Theory of Change


1  Process Steps for an Audit for Environment Sustainability

1.1 Audit criteria:  What are the driving motives for the audit and how does this align with the core values of the organisation?  (to save money, to get a green accreditation, as part of an action plan to shift to environmentally sustainable practice, to grow awareness for earth friendly behaviour, etc.  Does the audit process have support from the key decision-makers/?

1.2 Scope of a baseline Audit – NB questions:

A prelim assessment with identification of priority action areas for detailed studies or a complete audit.

What is included with respect to the physical area – the entire complex or a priority section?

Are all elements: electricity, transport, water, waste, GHG Emissions, chemicals used and landscape greening to be included?   Or are specific aspects to be prioritised?

Will there be enough `staff’ to assist with an audit of all aspects?  Should specific aspects to be prioritised?   Are additional skills required?

What are the timelines?

1.3 The audit team.

Who will assist the sustainability auditor with the collection of information?   Ideally, the `staff’ responsible for areas and or activities should participate in the process.  This builds understanding both ways between the auditor and the staff about how things work and opportunities for more efficient behaviour and or technology changes.

The audit team needs a team co-ordinator.

The audit team needs a `media / marketing’ person to inform the wider community about the process, to share information and to encourage a shift toward more Earth friendly behaviour in the wider circle of the congregation.  A Media person who is part of the journey will have a better understanding of the issues and can help with future creative ideas for messages and activities to prompt Earth friendly actions

1.4 Audit Plan + checklists.

A statement of work defining the scope of the audit needs to be developed between the audit team and the auditor.  Information needed for the audit needs to be identified as well as who will be tasked to access and compile the information.  Time and or technical limitations need to be identified.

1.5 Background data:

To determine consumption trends, including seasonal patterns, consumption records for 1 year of electricity/ water / refuse / including costs and volumes are required.  This provides a benchmark against which to measure future efficiency actions as well as information against which to set targets.  It also provides the auditor with information about the service tariffs – and a way of determining if the tariffs being charged are optimal.

Additional checklists for information e.g. type and amount of cleaning chemicals, types of light bulbs may also be required from the staff.

Information from the building / complex manager about `appliances that can’t be seen such as the number and info about geysers and aircons.  How many water and electricity meters are there?

Have any efficiency measures been introduced and were they successful.

How many people use the complex on which days of the week. (Consumption is a function of the numbers of people involved.)

1.6  On site walk through

The auditor needs to do an on site walk through to understand how the complex works and to record the activities and `appliances’ at the site that use energy, water, chemicals and generate waste.   The activity hours and numbers of people as well as the `appliances / lights’ etc will be recorded on a spreadsheet.  It is essential that the on site visit is conducted with staff who are responsible for each area / aspect.  They will be able to provide valuable information about how the areas and appliances in the different parts of the complex are used.

1.7 Audit Draft report

A draft report which identifies the activities and appliances that would benefit from efficiency actions and or alternatives (e.g. eco- friendly cleaning materials).  The draft needs to be checked by the audit team to ensure the data was correctly captured.

Agreement by audit team on aspects to prioritize.

Identification of return on assessment exercises e.g. for an energy efficiency lighting refit.

1.8  Final Audit

Final audit will include:  background information assembled by the team, spreadsheet of appliances with inefficient ones highlighted, set of recommendations for behavioural and or technical changes as required for each aspect,  return on investment studies for technical refits ( e.g. dedicated recycle bins/ lights / water heating) NOTE return on investment studies are best done by industry partners.

1.9  Action Plan with timescales

This plan to be prepared by the audit team and does not need to include the auditor.  It needs to include actions to raise awareness, behaviour change and a programme for refits.

Kim Kruyshaar August 2016