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THE DEDICATED EDUCATION MAGAZINE FOR HEAD TEACHERS AND EDUCATORS ACROSS THE UK

Cultivating a greener future in education through smart asset management

By Rachel Houghton of Business Moves Group

When it comes to asset management, facility managers in the education sector are facing increasing pressure to maximise efficiencies and achieve sustainability goals within their institutions. 

However, some schools are finding it hard to prioritise sustainability projects, as recently reported by QA Education.

With students demanding a greater focus on sustainability, it has become imperative for educational institutions to adopt environmentally responsible practices. 

One area that holds significant potential to impact sustainability is physical asset management, which encompasses furniture and IT equipment. 

This article delves into the importance of sustainable asset management in educational institutions and explores how implementing a detailed digital inventory system can help cultivate a culture of sustainability.

Asset management

Asset management, or asset verification, involves managing all physical assets within an educational institution, primarily furniture and IT equipment. 

These assets significantly influence an institution’s environmental impact and resource utilisation. For instance, the average office chair has a carbon footprint of 72 kgCO2e, while a six-person bench desk generates 228 kgCO2e.

Much of this footprint comes from embodied carbon which is generated during an item’s manufacturing process. To enhance sustainability, institutions must prioritise reusing and repurposing existing assets rather than buying new ones.

Leveraging digital inventories for sustainable asset management

One effective approach to sustainable asset management is the adoption of detailed digital inventories. Creating a comprehensive inventory that includes item condition, age, location, and carbon footprint, along with pictures, enables educational institutions to gain a clear overview of their assets. 

This data-driven approach empowers facility managers to make informed decisions that align with sustainability objectives, yielding multiple benefits.

1. Waste reduction and cost savings: Sustainable asset management practices enable institutions to minimise waste and embrace a circular economy approach. By meticulously tracking assets, items can be repurposed, repaired, or responsibly discarded at the end of their lifecycle. This minimises waste generation, optimises resource utilisation, and leads to both environmental benefits and cost savings.

2. Informed decision-making: Digital inventories offer insights into asset utilisation, allowing facility managers to identify and redistribute underutilised assets effectively. For instance, if desks go unused at one site, facility managers can flag the surplus inventory when another site or department needs new desks.

3. Cultivating a sustainable culture: Prioritising sustainable asset management sends a powerful message to students, staff, and the broader community about an institution’s commitment to environmental stewardship. By integrating sustainability into all aspects of life, educational institutions can inspire and educate the future generation, cultivating a sustainable mindset.

4. Community Engagement: Unwanted furniture or IT equipment that is still in working condition can be donated to local charities, fostering community engagement and support. We have a nationwide network of charities that are always happy to receive unwanted items.

Conclusion

As environmental concerns grow, and students demand greater sustainability efforts, educational institutions must prioritise sustainability as a core component of their operations. Sustainable asset management is often overlooked but can be highly influential by offering institutions an opportunity to reduce their environmental impact and generate cost savings. 

Educational institutions can cultivate a sustainable culture that resonates with students and paves the way for a greener future by adopting digital inventories and data-driven decision-making. Embracing sustainability not only benefits the environment but also prepares the education sector for a more promising and sustainable tomorrow.

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