Carbon Saving Strategy Guide (Guest Blog from Climax Community)

Guest blog from Climax Community outlines ways to reduce your businesses carbon footprint

Carbon Saving Strategies

Electricity, heating, and cooling are all major sources of carbon emissions. Improving energy efficiency is a great way to reduce your carbon output. If you don’t own your own or have control over the activities in your office then you can use some of these stats to speak with the landlord/ property facilities manager to persuade them to make changes.

Switch to a Renewable Energy Provider

If your business does not own or long-term lease its premises, but still wants to cut your carbon footprint, switching to a green energy supplier might be the best option for you. REGOs –or Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin – assure that the origin of the energy supplied to you is 100% renewably sourced.

For an average office space for 12 employees, this option can help reduce around 6 tonnes of CO2e in a year.

Generate your own electricity

Generating your own energy can help you cut energy bills and potentially earn money in the longer term. Heat pumps, solar and battery storage are all within reach for SMEs who own their own property, and you may qualify for government support in installing and operating them. As an example, the cost of solar panels has fallen significantly in the last years, making them affordable and a suitable implementation for GHG reduction. For an installed solar panel capacity of 3kW, or 12 solar panels, this means an annual electricity output of 2500kWh, or a carbon savings of 0.7 tonnes of CO2.

Switch off the unused appliances

Phantom electricity is power that is consumed by all those electronic appliances and devices you have in your office when they are either in standby mode or entirely turned off, but still plugged in.

The biggest phantom power consumers include any device with a remote control (such as a TV, DVD player); an external power supply (the plug for your router, printer or cable modem); a charger (for a mobile phone, tablet PC); or a continuous display (a microwave, VCR or coffeemaker with a digital clock). Laptop computers and cable boxes (particularly cable boxes with integrated DVRs) draw an average of 9 watts and 44 watts in "off" mode, respectively.

Switch to LED lighting

LED lighting is one of the most energy efficient forms of lighting a business can use, other than natural daylight. LED bulbs use approximately 15 times less electricity than halogen lighting and can significantly reduce your energy use. On average, then, the LED light bulb would cost £5.40 upfront, plus £19 in energy costs over its 20,000-hour lifetime, for a total of £24.40. It would cost £25.80 to buy incandescent bulbs to cover the same period, and a further £152 in energy costs, totalling £177.80.

This means that you could save £153.40 by upgrading just one bulb to LED!

Reduce by 2°C your office temperature

Heating costs increase by around 8% for every 1°C increase. Turning it down 2°C would save around £160 on a £1,000 bill and nearly 1 tonne of CO2e.

Install a smart meter

Next-generation smart meters encourage employees to implement behavioural changes to reduce electricity consumption by providing insight into daily energy consumption and managing load distribution using machine learning algorithms. Energy monitoring usually involves data analysis for end-users from the overall energy consumption of a facility and consumption of each device. These appliances usually detect standby power and provide remote control of the appliances. The savings can be around 10% to 15% of the electricity bill. Some smart meters charge a subscription fee for data analysis and personalized recommendations to reduce energy consumption.

Double or triple glazing and cavity insulation

These alternatives offer the possibility of reducing energy consumption by improving insulation. It is estimated that one-third of the heat is lost through the walls and windows in an average office.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, it is estimated that an average office could save up to 2 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.  The savings using these alternatives averages £140 for double glazing and £225 for cavity insulation.

Switch to EV vehicles

With lower operating costs and declines in battery costs, electrifying your fleet may be an excellent choice to lower fuel costs, reduce emissions, and improve air quality. Electric vehicles cost around £3.50 to fully charge, for a range of 100miles. Equivalent petrol or diesel car costs between two and three times more.

A taxi company with a 20-car fleet, for example, could expect to gain around £48,000 per year by switching to electric vehicles - following an incremental capital outlay of £68,000.

There are a number of grants across the UK for those who want to switch to EVs. These include grants for purchasing new electric vehicles and installing charging points.

Martina Colman, Climate Change Engineer at Climax Community

Martina is a climate change and sustainability advocate with a background in engineering, renewable energy, and sustainable development. She has worked in a variety of projects across R&D and consulting, ranging from biofuel implementation at a country level to energy efficiency and climate change impact measurement. Originally from Argentina, Martina has worked on projects across Latin America, Europe and Asia. As a supporter of broadening the roles of engineers to solve today’s most pressing problems, Martina is passionate about the inclusion of sustainability as a practice to promote systemic change.

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