I spoke to a facility manager for a municipality recently and we were talking about the variety of energy-saving methods he and his team had implemented in the different facilities they oversee. Those implementations made up a list as long as his arm, but other than lighting swaps, going from metal halide to LED, few of what had been implemented were in-your-face obvious improvements that anyone could see, and recognize. Most of the energy improvements they’d made were behind-the-scenes, under the hood changes, hidden from the untrained eye.

These invisible improvements were everywhere, but since they were invisible, no one was talking about them. Worse yet, the Energy Efficiency Committee, who’d recently toured the facilities, weren’t aware of the different implementations that had been made either. And they thought they were lagging, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Luckily, he’s got a one-hour face-to-face with them scheduled for later this week so he can bring them up to speed with everything that’s been done.

“That’s important,” he tells me, “because they have so much influence on budgets and the City Council.”

Internal Communications

I told him that one of the things he could consider doing was to put together a quarterly, half-yearly, end-of-season or as-it-happens newsletter to keep all the interested parties — even if they’re internal — up to speed with the happenings of the arenas, swimming pools and other facilities under his control. After we hung up, I decided this was such a good idea that I needed to write about it – not just for the recreation directors and facility managers working for municipalities, trying to influence sustainability budgets, but also operations managers in private facilities too – to give the owners a snapshot of where they are, or what’s been done, and what all these changes mean to the bottom line.

Mail Chimp

Of course, you could just send everyone an email with attachments. Or, you could move that email up a notch or two by using Mail Chimp.

Mail Chimp is a one of the easiest ways to send out email newsletters that look great — they say that over 10 million people use it to send over 600 million emails each day. And if your list is less than 2,000 recipients (and I’m pretty sure it will be if it’s targeted to internal folks), it’s absolutely free.

There are a wide range of templates that you can choose from to create a good looking email. And don’t worry, they don’t need to be text-only emails. Pictures make explanations so much better, so take pictures of the improvements you’ve made –and include them. Some concepts may be harder to explain than others and pictures can help. Oh, and since facilities track some important numbers – like visitors per season, teams served, numbers of players or skaters – if your template has the space, numbers should be included. A sidebar is a great place

EPA calculator

150,000 kWh saved is the equivalent of 21.8 passenger vehicles driven for one year

for that, or for other important numbers, such as kilowatt hours or gigajoules saved – or you can use a website like the US’s Environmental Protection Agency  that lets you take numbers and convert them into equivalencies saved, such as greenhouse gas emissions and plug them into your template. >> Did you know that if you save 150,000 kWH that’s the equivalency of 21.8 passenger cars driven for one year?

Using an email tool like Mail Chimp not only ups your game, but it lets you track openings and clicks — so going into that next meeting, you’ll know who’s taken the time to read it and who hasn’t.

Mail Chimp is easy, quick to set up — and a really good way to communicate to the people you need to influence. You will probably find that if you blow your own horn every once in a while, your audience will not just appreciate the information you’re supplying them with, but will look forward to what you’ll be sending next time.