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The 5 easiest ways to reduce your business’s carbon footprint

December 12, 2019

For a long time, the trade sector has flown under the radar when it comes to the climate change debate, with manufacturing taking the brunt of the heat. But with businesses in the U.K. responsible for 18% of all total CO2 emissions, it’s going to take a combined effort to make a difference. Phil Foster, CEO of business energy comparison firm Love Energy Savings shares his top insight.

“Going green doesn’t have to mean spending green. Making small changes to your business and communicating these clearly with consumers can have a positive impact on your carbon and financial budgets!”.

In this article, we explore the quick ways you can make a difference to your carbon footprint and, if your smart, your balance sheet.

1. Make your business a smart business

You can’t manage what you can’t measure, but with these gizmos and gadgets, you’ll be collecting and storing data like a business from TV series Black Mirror.

Smart energy meters — say goodbye to missed meter readings and estimated bills, these compact computers record and upload your property’s energy usage directly to your supplier.
Smart thermostats — take full control of your business’s ecosystem with a whole host of time and energy-saving tools. Rad by rad management, open window warnings, geofencing; all managed from your mobile phone.
Smart water meters — it’s not just electricity and gas you can monitor. Smart water meters allow you to see water usage per building from a cloud-based system. They can identify leaks and areas of waste so you can develop a comprehensive water management plan.

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2. Electric Power Tools

If you’re a landscape gardener or tree surgeon, you could be cutting foliage and your carbon thanks to new battery-powered tools. The DIY market had a cordless revolution years ago. Now, thanks to improvements in battery power, the outdoor market is experiencing a similar overhaul with everything from lawnmowers to backpack blowers, chainsaws to trimmers, getting the rechargeable treatment. It’s not just for early adopters either, brand heavyweights, STIHL recently released their first electric chainsaw, signalling the mass-market capability of this technology.

Comparable in runtime and power, these rechargeable tools not only offer reductions in carbon footprint, from reduced fossil fuel use, they are also quieter, lighter and easier to fix with companies promising up to 70% less maintenance. Of course, it’s still early days, and like all first-stage technology, there’s a price, but once you factor in reduced running costs and upkeep, manufacturers promise returns within 2-3 years. And as research into battery storage continues, Checkatrade believes it won’t be long until all your tools are whisper quiet and clean.

3. Turbocharge your business with an electric van

Set to be one of the fastest-growing segments in the electric vehicle (EV) market, light commercial electric vans are quickly becoming an economically viable alternative to their carbon-producing counterparts, with manufacturers investing heavily in battery storage; improving cost, range, size, payload.

Nissan ruled the road last year with the release of the NV200 – based upon Europe’s fastest-selling car of 2018, the Leaf. Perfect for small or medium-sized businesses, this workhorse boasts an impressive range of 174 miles, depending on payload and weather, and a bottom-line boosting mpg of as little as 2p per mile. Renault also made a significant impact last year, producing one of the largest commercial electric vehicles on the market. The Kangoo Z.E. can carry up to 1.1 tonnes with a load volume of 3mᶟ and uses the latest lithium-ion technology to keep the range at a gentlemanly 74 miles.
Low-emission vehicles are also an excellent way to skirt the Ultra-Low Emission Charging Zones, which are becoming increasingly prevalent in urban areas.

An electric van can pay dividends in other ways too. They’re a great way to avoid the fees charged in the Ultra-Low Emission Zones and they give the impression your business is as conscious and ethical as your van. First impressions are everything and with more consumers using their purchasing power to have their say an E.V. van could open a whole new market of eco-conscious customers. A full list of vans eligible for the government grant can be found here.

reducing carbon footprint

4. Introduce a recycling scheme

There’s plenty of waste service providers that offer environmentally friendly commercial waste collection. Alternatively, use your local council. You’ll have to segregate on-site, like your domestic waste, but the upside is lower costs & higher quality recycling, thanks to reduced contamination. Separating your rubbish onsite is also a great way to engage staff and advertise your eco identity to customers.

Recycling should be empowering and fun. Here’s how to make yours a success:

– Make sure sorting points are well-positioned, and bins are clearly labelled
– Brief all teams thoroughly before rollout to reduce contamination and potential penalties
– Engage staff during with company newsletters and informal targets

5. Switch to a green tariff

If you’re not engaged in your business energy contract, you should be, because there’s more opportunity than ever before to minimise your bills and your carbon footprint.

1. Switch to a 100% green tariff – typically more expensive, although prices are coming down, these green tariffs provided by Octopus Energy, for example, are certified renewable by an independent third party.
2. Switch to an environmentally friendly supplier – EON, Scottish Power, Orsted Energy: these major suppliers have committed to a high, if not 100%, green energy generation on all their tariffs. Unlike option one though these green credentials are not guaranteed and depend on demand and production.

But with the planet burning through fossil fuels and renewable technologies rapidly improving, it won’t be long until a green tariff is not just the first choice for the planet, but your profit as well.

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