Green helps me go for gold

EDF Energy Team Green Britain ambassador and Olympian Tim Brabants explains why he’s equally at home on two wheels as he is on the water

Olympic sprint kayak champion Tim Brabants may spend much of the day on the water training for 2012, but when he’s not paddling, he’s peddling.

“Cycling everywhere is just something I’ve always done,” says Tim, who is taking a break from being a doctor to prepare for London 2012. “Even when I was doing my GCSEs I used to cycle six miles to and from school. I cycle everywhere I can – to the club, to the gym and when I was working at the hospital, I used to cycle to work. It’s much more dependable than some forms of transport, more energy efficient, it can be quicker and you don’t have to find somewhere to park. For me, it’s also a way to keep up my level of fitness.

“As a kayaker I spend much of my time outdoors and that gives me a greater appreciation of the environment. That’s why I became an EDF Energy Team Green Britain Ambassador – to inspire others to think about the environment and sustainability, too. Nearly 40 per cent of our car journeys are to and from work or business mileage, so it is quite important to look at different ways to get around 1. “With the average commuter driving only 12 miles a day, there are plenty of healthy, low-carbon alternatives available.

Swapping your car journey to work for a cycle ride, a jog or a walk isn’t just good for the planet – it can help you to stay active, sleep better and be mentally alert and ready for the day 2.”

However, Tim also admits that there are some times when journeys need to be made in a car. “Obviously I need to transport my boat, so sometimes I need four wheels. In addition to my work with EDF Energy I’m also an ambassador for another London 2012 sustainability partner, BMW Group. BMW will provide a fleet of fuel-efficient, low CO2 vehicles for the London 2012 fleet and the BMW 3 Series that I drive has a number of fuel-saving technologies, including Auto Start Stop and a low emission diesel engine. I do try to keep my carbon emissions down by combining trips, so where possible I only make one journey rather than two.

“It’s changes like these that we can all make on a daily basis that add up to cut your carbon footprint, and I’m really encouraged by the younger generations. As a Team Green Britain ambassador I’ve been to schools that are signed up to the Pod, EDF Energy’s education programme. They have kids coming up with great ideas to live more sustainably.

“I think this will be one of the biggest legacies of the Games – getting more people involved in thinking and living sustainably.”

This is something that EDF Energy is aiming to achieve through Team Green Britain, a community which it founded to inspire more people to live a lower carbon life. More than a million Team Green Britain members, including Olympians like Tim, are using cycling, recycling and energy efficiency to help cut the nation’s carbon footprint. Advice and ideas to help people save energy and money can be found at www.teamgreenbritain.org.

EDF Energy is also leading the way in the development of the electric vehicle market in the UK, and has partnered with BMW Group to loan 35 fully electric Mini Es for its vehicle fleet ahead of the Games. EDF Energy forecasts that there will be 600,000 plug-in vehicles in the UK by 2020. The transport sector accounts for approximately 24 per cent of total carbon dioxide emissions in the UK 3, so an increase in electric vehicle use could have a real impact in the fight against climate change.

The Mini E is the latest British icon to be supported by EDF Energy’s low carbon vision for London, following partnerships with the EDF Energy London Eye and Tower Bridge.

1. www.teamgreenbritain.org/what-you-can-do/get-motivated/travel/alternative-ways-to-how-we-work/#articles-carousel-widget-tabs. Transport is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, and commuter and business travel constitute nearly 40% of all miles driven by car. Information Source: Department for Transport, How to reduce costs and carbon emissions from business related transport (Under Managing your commuter and business travel).

2. With an average car commuter driving 12 miles a day, cutting that by half through car-sharing would save around 400 kg of carbon dioxide over one year, equivalent to around 170 litres of petrol. (An average car commuter drives 12 miles a day. Cutting that by half through car-sharing saves around 400kg of CO2 over one year, or about 170 litres of petrol. Information Source: Car share leaflet, Highways Agency.

3. 2011 Research Report by Ricardo and National Grid - Bucks for balancing: Can plug-in vehicles of the future extract cash – and carbon – from the power grid? (page 8). Available at http://bit.ly/riKjOF.

3. DECC - UK Climate Change Sustainable Development Indicator: 2009 Greenhouse Gas Emissions, final figures.

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