For most businesses, energy savings and eco-friendly processes are not only vital for reducing your carbon footprint but can be ways of saving money at the same time. It doesn’t matter whether you are a large corporation or a small business, sustainability is the name of the game and it’s becoming increasingly important.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways for you to act right now and significantly lower your carbon footprint.
1. Switch to LED
One option that many businesses are going for is the switch to LED lighting. While these new bulbs and fluorescents cost more than filament or CFL varieties, they last up to five times longer and use far less electricity. An average 12W CFL bulb is the equivalent of a 6W LED bulb. On top of that LED reduces CO2 emissions and they can dramatically improve the light quality in your office.
2. Get Better Insulation
If you have an office in an old building, then it may be that you are losing heat through poor, ineffective insulation. This not only adds to the cost of your fuel bills but greatly increases your carbon footprint. Reviewing your office space and improving the insulation can mean you provide a healthier environment for your employees whilst cutting the amount you pay out to utility companies.
3. Overhaul Your Heating
Many businesses also have old or inefficient heating systems that can mean great cost savings if replaced. The current Government is committed to decarbonising the UK’s heating over the next couple of decades and there are subsidies for businesses through the Renewable Heat Incentive to introduce certain types of technology. These include biomass boilers and heat pumps which are considered low carbon solutions. The return on investment on these heating systems more than offsets the initial cost of changing your system and will also lower your carbon footprint by moving you away from heating that uses fossil fuels.
4. Develop Carbon Friendly Practices
Much can be achieved by small changes to the way your business operates and many of them are low cost solutions that simply require a change of viewpoint.
- Switching off the lights: If your business is leaving on lights or devices and draining power when no one is there, you’re not only boosting your carbon footprint but adding to your utility bills.
- Introduce smart meters and devices: Having a better idea of when and how you use your power means you can then do something about it. The latest smart meters can do just that and allow you to have a deeper level of control. If you have the budget, you can also introduce smart devices that switch off lights when offices are not in use.
- Use less paper: Switching to digital practices also means you end up printing out much less. Does a client really need a hard copy of a document or can you send it directly to his or her mobile device? The latest multi-function printers not only use less power, they can enable you to switch to more efficient ways of disseminating information.
- Associate with Green Suppliers: It’s not just your business that adds to your carbon footprint. Your suppliers and even your consumers can have an impact. If you depend on certain suppliers it might be a good time to check their own green credentials and make sure these align with your own.
- Skype don’t drive: We have more technology at our fingertips than ever before. Do you or your employees have to drive to that meeting or can it be conducted using video conferencing platforms? These are far more reliable nowadays and will save you money on fuel and lower your carbon emissions even further.
5. Recycling for Businesses
In the UK, businesses have a responsibility to recycle all their waste. Most do this but many aren’t aware of the waste management hierarchy. This encourages making the most of your waste, repurposing and reusing first before sending to recycling. This is important and taking a regular look at how much waste you produce and the processes you can introduce to reduce it is also vital in reducing your carbon footprint.
6. Swapping to Solar
If you have the money, as well as the space, you can switch to a different and sustainable energy source: Solar. A number of high profile businesses, including IKEA, have installed solar panels on their outlets in recent years. The return on investment for solar is still reasonably good despite the reduction in the Feed in Tariff last year. The research and development now being carried out on storage mechanisms for solar may also mean that businesses in the future can become fully self-sufficient when it comes to electricity production.
Budget doesn’t need to be a bar on lowering your carbon footprint. Simple changes to your operating practices can have a significant impact on your emissions. These are also a great marketing tool as many consumers are now looking to deal with and buy from businesses that have sustainability at their heart. It might just be time to review your processes and implement some changes that make a big difference.