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Sustainability West Midlands

SWM News April 2020 - Sustainable remote working and connectivity

In February, we were privileged to speak at the Microsoft 'How green is your digital' conference in London, just before the lockdown came into force. Since then we have embraced the world of remote working, become accustomed to video conferencing, collaborating on documents online, making improvements to our website and considering how we can continue to support our stakeholders virually. But what are the implications of this on the environment and on carbon emissions?

Some of the benefits of home working are obvious. With less people traveling there is less congestion and lower air pollution. By working at home, people can achieve a better work-life balance and avoid the stress and costs associated with travel. Migrating to on-demand cloud services can result in lower carbon emissions, and collaboration on cloud-based software to produce documents can result in more efficient processes, quicker decision making and reduced paper consumption. Improved connectivity will result from the roll out of 5G with hubs in Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton and Worcestershire.

When improving our websites have we thought about the associated carbon emissions? By using compressed images, efficient file formats and lightweight fonts we can make our websites more carbon efficient. And then there's the impact of energy use at home and how this changes with the seasons. Working at home during the winter can result in greater overall energy use as each individual heats their own home, often using systems which heat the whole house rather than just the office space.

We know that our stakeholders are keen to understand more about the sustainability aspects of remote working and are asking us for support on how to quantify and report on this. We've set up our new online forum for members to support even more opportunities to network and make connections.

Our Comment  a deeper analysis of the aspects to consider in making remote working and connectivity more sustainable, as well as highlighting useful resources.

 Anna Bright, Chief Executive, on behalf of the Sustainability West Midlands Team

Funding Opportunities

  • By 30 April 2020. Apply for a share of £220 million funding for all-electric bus towns set out in an ambitious and innovative action to meet the demands of the travelling public. 

  • By 31 May 2020. Over the next five years, Cadent Foundation will be awarding £20+ million of grants to charities and community groups to support projects that make a real difference.

  • By 8 June 2020. A collaborative R&D competition is focusing on low carbon vehicle technology, with emphasis on electrification, energy efficiency and lightweight vehicle structures.

  • By 10 June 2020. UKRI's Embedded Researcher scheme is inviting UK based academic researchers to apply for placements at non-academic host organisations and support of £70K.

  • By 30 June 2020. National Lottery Heritage Fund has put together a £50million fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus outbreak.

  • By 19 October 2020. The MCS Charitable Foundation is making funding available for a range of projects that accelerate the adoption of renewable energy and low carbon technologies.

  • By 30 June 2021. The Worcestershire Natural Networks project aims to boost biodiversity in an ERDF-funded venture which includes our members Worcestershire County Council.

  • By 31 December 2021. Businesses in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent can benefit from free energy audits and 60% grant funding towards energy efficiency measures.

  • By 31 December 2021. Marches Renewable Energy Grant Scheme allows eligible applicants to apply for a 50% grant for the installation of renewable technologies. 

  • By 31 December 2022. GBSLEP Habitats Grants Programme is still open and is focused on reducing dereliction and the improvement and development of natural habitats. 

  • By June 2023. Coventry City Council has extended a further £8.1 million of funding to support small and medium sized business in Coventry and Warwickshire.

  • By 2025. The Severn Trent Community Fund is temporarily closed until summer 2020, while some of the fund is re-aligned to support charities directly affected by coronavirus.

  • Monthly. Monthly themed funding is available for Birmingham based projects that aim to deliver positive change.  

  • On-going. The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) is a £10 million programme which supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects.

  • On-going. The Community and Environment Fund is to provide benefits to communities along the route disrupted by the construction of HS2.

  • On-going. BEIS funding of around £162 million is available for industrial research and innovation, including Carbon Capture, Use and Storage.

  • On-going. The UK Government is encouraging applications to the Urban Tree Challenge fund, which has £10 million available for the planting of trees in urban areas of England. 

  • On-going. The next round of the Energy Catalyst Programme is due to launch. Up to £20 million will be available to support businesses to develop sustainable energy technologies. 

  • On-going. Community Led Homes funding is available to groups at every stage of the community led housing journey up to when the project is completed.

Over the past year we have promoted >£900 million of accessible funding.

Upcoming SWM and Member Events

Due to the current restrictions on travel and work as a result of coronavirus, some events may be subject to cancellation or rescheduling. SWM do not organise these events and we urge you to keep a close eye on our events page for any updates.

A full list of upcoming events is available here as well as our full member list here.

Other SWM and Member Updates 

SWM members can send their events, research or other contributions to to be included in the next newsletter. Not a member? There are many advantages to SWM membership; find out more here.

Other News and Events

For a full list of all our upcoming events, visit our events page here. For news items, visit our news page here.

We hope you enjoyed reading our newsletter. If you would like to subscribe to our newsletter, are interested in becoming a member or have news stories, events, case studies and reports, please visit our website or contact us. In order to avoid this email going into spam, please add us to your contacts list.

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