When surveyed, only 10% of British firms claimed to have a set carbon reduction target. Considering that the government has announced a goal to move towards a 100% renewable future by 2050, it's concerning to reflect on the low level of engagement from companies. There are, however, organisations that are taking up the cause and making a range of adjustments to how they operate their facilities and conduct their business activities in a bid to make a positive environmental impact.
Tips to get you started
1. Conduct an audit
The best place to start, of course, is by studying what you are currently consuming, the cost and the necessity for the energy usage going on throughout your premises.
Study your current electric bill; do a stocktake of all the devices and machines that require to be plugged in daily in order for your business to operate. You may find that there are some units which do not need to be continuously activated.
2. Efficient lighting
The BBC reported that the initiative taken by British supermarkets to make improvements to the types of lighting used in stores has contributed to a decrease in energy demand. But with 40% of energy consumption in commercial buildings being attributed to lighting, there is, however, still a long way to go.
To make your commercial property more energy-efficient, it is advised to select LED lighting options and to employ IoT technology such as sensors which will automatically detect occupancy and switch lights on and off accordingly. This means you will no longer be at risk of leaving the property vacant yet lit up in areas that are not being used.
3. Optimise your HVAC systems
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are a significant drain on energy resources – in fact, 40% of all carbon emissions can be attributed to shortfalls in this area.
It's crucial to have a regular maintenance schedule to prevent costly malfunctions that could result in these machines turning on and off unnecessarily. Furthermore, it is often the case that HVAC equipment is left running in unoccupied zones, especially in large-scale buildings where it is difficult to track how all spaces are being utilised.
Using IoT devices to track people movement throughout your commercial property, you can ensure that rooms are sufficiently cooled or heated in response to occupancy.
Food waste accrues daily in commercial buildings, how you choose to dispose of it could help you to shift the needle when trying to lower your carbon emissions. If you already have paper, plastic and tin recycling bins, adding a food waste depository to your facility shouldn't be too difficult. You will have to ensure that it is regularly emptied and maintained for hygiene purposes, but by taking this initiative, you are making great strides towards reducing CO2 and methane emissions. One less thing to send to a landfill!
Examples of companies that are getting it right
Marks and Spencer
The famous British retailer has made it its business to tackle climate change. The store's management has actioned plans to reduce carbon emissions throughout its many stores as well as its supply chain. The company reduced its carbon footprint by 44% when measuring 2006/07 against 2018/19.
"We believe we make significant savings and improve performance through smarter staff engagement. We've introduced our Making Energy matter campaign to engage, energise and reward staff for helping us to achieve our goals."
Banking giant, Barclays, is another serious contender when it comes to environmentally ethical business. In their 2019 Energy and Climate Change Statement, the organisation acknowledges that their building emissions and waste generation impact the climate; therefore, they aim to minimise their emissions through "using strict environmental management criteria" for their buildings and by "raising colleague awareness to encourage environmentally responsible behaviour at work and at home."
The statement goes on to detail how Barclay's invests in energy-efficient buildings and technology, reduces its use of natural resources and emissions from their real estate portfolio through "sustainable practices in property design and property management."
The points covered in this post are simple yet effective measures that you can start applying to your business practices today to ensure that you are making positive strides towards lowering your carbon emissions. With recent global discussions on the current state of the planet's ozone, it is only a matter of time before environmental laws and mandatory carbon emission limits start impacting your organisation. Use the initiative to audit your current carbon footprint and then formulate and implement an action plan to update your current business practices, equipment and building features will help to make your operations sustainable as your carbon emissions decline.
If you’d like to find out more about how occupancy analytics can help to reduce your building’s energy costs, visit our website for further information.