Cold and draughty buildings with poor air quality affect our wellbeing and health at work. Running buildings is increasingly expensive due to the cost of living and energy bill crisis, and is the third largest carbon emitting sector globally. Done in the right way, maintenance and retrofit can fix these issues. This leaflet provides suggestions for trade unionists for why and how to start advocating for building retrofit at work.
Overheating, drafts, mould, damp, and poor air quality, are common issues in the workplace as a result of poor maintenance and lack of insulation. This can contribute to ill health including respiratory conditions & allergies.
The cost of heating and cooling is putting businesses under risk of closure. Improving insulation and replacing inefficient old equipment can slash a building’s energy use, when done correctly. Your ideas for reducing workplace accidents and increasing energy efficiency will appeal to your employer and help build a good working relationship.
Climate change is a great issue for recruitment and organising, in particular with younger workers. Reducing energy use and decarbonising heat sources can decrease carbon emissions, in many cases up to 60%. Upgrading old buildings emits much less carbon than building new ones. Talking to workers about the unions’ efforts and the support it needs, can help to attract new, active members to your branch.
Talk to all workers, not just members. Have they been too hot or cold at work, or had problems with ventilation or damp?
Very simple adaptations can improve energy efficiency as well as health and wellbeing. Starting with suggestions of small, low cost actions starts discussion and prompts action – remember to ask your members if they have ideas! Having an understanding of the benefits of different retrofit measures and existing environmental issues at work helps to be credible and confident in conversation with employers and colleagues.
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