A blueprint for a greener way of life

If a new eco-friendly training initiative that’s being trialled by the ParalympicsGB team is a success, we could all become champions of sustainability, says Mark Prigg

It could provide an eco blueprint for sporting events and even music festivals around the world.

The ParalympicsGB team is set to create environmental and sporting history later this year by running the first training camp to be accredited as sustainable. Organisers have already run test events to trial the energy-saving effort, and are hopeful the camp being held at the University of Bath late in August will break new ground for eco-friendly events. The camp will see 150 Paralympians and Paralympic hopefuls from 12 sports come together to train, and organisers have been working with EDF Energy and its ‘Team Green Britain’ initiative to reduce the carbon footprint of every aspect of the event, from waste to water consumption and even transport.

Penny Briscoe, performance director at ParalympicsGB, said she hopes it will lead to long-term changes in the way athletes live and train. “The ‘Green Team’ partnership with EDF Energy isn’t just about achieving success in the short term; we want to encourage a long-term change in the way that our staff and athletes think about the environment,” said Briscoe.

Click here to win one of five exclusive EDF EcoManagers

“The teams behind the different sports and the athletes themselves have been very positive about getting involved, so we’re hopeful we can make a real difference to the carbon impact of our activities. It’s certainly made the staff team at ParalympicsGB think about how we could be greener.”

The initiative has already been backed by some of Britain’s most famous paralympic athletes. “We want to strive for excellence to become a cleaner and greener team too,” said Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, who has been involved in the scheme. “The principles are the same – breaking down everything that we do, analysing it and seeing what improvements we can make, both individually and collectively.”

The team hopes to repeat its recent success – Britain has finished second in the medals table at the last three summer Paralympic Games and brought home 102 medals from Beijing in 2008, 42 of them gold. ParalympicsGB has been working with sustainability expert Toby Radcliffe, who is also a professional triathlete, to use the camp to develop a new accreditation scheme.

“We want to make the team and the camp as sustainable as possible,” said Radcliffe. “Our aim is to get the event accredited as sustainable, and we are working alongside the US Council for Responsible Sport to develop the process. A lot of our work is around carbon footprinting, but also the athletes themselves –we want them to go back into their communities and help spread the message.”

As well as their athletic training, athletes will also be provided with daily energy saving tips and invited to attend EDF Energy’s educational Low Carbon Arcade. The arcade features touch screens with interactive games and quizzes that visitors can use to learn about sustainability. At the camp there will be stationary bikes, both pedal and hand-powered, which athletes can use to power a lighting column, thus making a link between physical energy and electricity.

“For the athletes, it’s about preparing for 2012,” said Radcliffe, “But in my experience as a professional athlete, people who are already really focused and make a lot of behavioural changes to achieve their goals, in this case by following a strict training regime, are already very passionate and aware of these issues already. The message is definitely in keeping with living a healthy lifestyle, and the athletes have been very receptive.”

If the plan is a success, the camp could also have implications for everything from business conferences to music festivals. “What we want is for ParalympicsGB to become a true green team, and by setting a precedent we hope other teams and organisations around the world will follow what we are doing and be able to gain the same accreditation,” said Radcliffe. “This could be used at any multi-day event, from sporting to conferences, music festivals, and on a bigger scale, the Olympic Games themselves.”

The team has been working closely with the University of Bath, who will host the event. Professor Glynis Breakwell, vice-chancellor of the University of Bath, said: “Everyone should be doing their bit to save the planet. The University is a leader in finding scientific and technical solutions for energy sustainability. The University is a leader in finding scientific and technical solutions for energy sustainability, and we were the first university in the country to win the gold standard from the Green Tourism Business Scheme.”

EDF Energy will also be sending dozens of staff to the games, acting as volunteers working at the camp and leading the education sessions. Gareth Wynn, EDF group director, 2012 programme, said: “Sustainability is at the heart of EDF Energy and we believe that the Bath training camp is a great opportunity to put some really tangible measures into action that will show how ParalympicsGB is leading the world, not just in sport, but in the race against climate change.

“The aim is to get athletes, coaches and the wider public thinking more carefully about how they use energy and become champions of sustainability in their own communities.”

Team Green Britain

The gadget measuring the Green Team

All of these athletes, and the camp itself, will use EDF Energy EcoManager devices to monitor and control appliances, and see energy consumption. These will be offered to all participating athletes and coaches. The EcoManager is a new wireless appliances controller that helps users to take more control of their electricity consumption. By not only giving users a better understanding of the relative costs of running individual monitored appliances but also the benefit of being able to switch them off remotely, the device enables users to achieve both environmental and cost-saving benefits.

EcoManagers will be installed throughout the camp itself and by incorporating the EcoManager into their daily routine, athletes will be able to take more control of their energy consumption, wherever their training takes them.

Training camp

The eco training camp initiative falls under EDF Energy’s Team Green Britain initiative, which is working with thousands of schools and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint ahead of 2012. The scheme has also linked up with colleges in East London as part of the Legacy Champions project, and is supported by London 2012 and Britain’s athletes. For more information, visit www.teamgreenbritain.org

Team Paralympics Great Britain: the athletes going green

Double-gold-medal-winning-swimmer Ellie Simmonds has turned to cycling to do her bit for the environment. “I like to ride my bike to and from training, as it makes me feel like I have done my bit for the environment, and at the same time helps with my health and fitness,” said Simmonds. She believes the benefits of cycling have even helped her relax.

“It helps me to wake up in the mornings and relax in the evenings. I also try to do my bit around the home and make everyday changes that have an impact on helping lower my carbon footprint – things such as making sure I switch off my favourite gadgets overnight. I’m an ambassador for EDF Energy’s Team Green Britain, as it’s a great initiative that builds awareness of how people can live a more sustainable lifestyle.”

Bristol table tennis player Will Bayley has attended previous camps, where many of the ideas were first trialled. “A more sustainable approach to our training and the camps fits perfectly with my mindset,” Bayley said. “It’s about stripping out the excess and waste and achieving our goals. We all have our faults, and I’m looking forward to working with experts to see how we can make changes that make a positive difference.”



News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Bruce, left, with Cream bandmates Ginger Rogers, centre, and Eric Clapton in 1967
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker