At the start of a new year most of us think about setting goals for the future. Let’s help you focus on actions that apply to just about every business as a starting point on its journey to sustainable development goals.
We haven’t included absolutely everything as this can be overwhelming and we want you to be motivated to take action! In addition to the ideas in this blog, we have a ‘Sustainability Audit’ that we can email you which includes lots of other great recommendations. Download it free here.
What does sustainability actually mean?
Sustainability is defined as :
- The quality of not being harmful to the environment, depleting natural resources and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.
- The development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Start by engaging your team!
Everyone needs to understand what the business is trying to achieve and how they can help to save energy, money and the planet!
Appoint a ‘Champion’ to keep the momentum going.
- They can be motivated and trained by looking at the Carbon Trust’s YouTube channel
- You can also download free posters and stickers that look great from the Carbon Trust
Now you have taken the first step start to look at how you can make improvements. You don’t have to do everything at once. Perhaps set a goal of one improvement a month.
A few heating improvements
- Use a smart meter to monitor electricity usage.
- Set heating thermometers to recommended levels (19-21ºC for offices, 16-19 ºC for workshops, 11-14 ºC for heavy work and 10-12 ºC for stores)
- A 1ºC reduction in temperature can cut fuel consumption by about 8%
- Replace old heating controls with ‘optimum start controls’ which ensures the building is warmed up when your team arrive. Typically costing only a few hundred pounds, these monitor the weather and temperature outside. If it is colder they switch the heating on earlier and if it’s warmer they switch it on later.
Lighting that really saves energy!
- Fit photocell sensors which automatically switch off lights when there is enough natural daylight
- Fit light switches that work by sensing movement, since they prevent lights being left on for longer than is necessary.
- Research suggests that turning off lights or using photocell sensors can reduce the energy used by 15%
- Change old style fluorescent tube lights to newer high frequency, mirror reflector, T5 or T8 triphosphoric coated tubes.
Typically these will reduce energy usage and costs by 60%.
Did you know that office lights left on overnight use enough energy in a year to heat a home for almost 3 months!
Remember ‘out of hours’ energy!
- Don’t leave computers and monitors on standby after hours – turn them fully off.
- Leaving a PC on overnight for a year creates enough CO2 to fill a double decker.
- Don’t leave electrical items e.g. printers, photocopiers and vending machines on standby after hours – turn them fully off.
Did you know a photocopier left on standby overnight wastes enough energy to make 21 cups of tea!
Other ideas & taking things to the next level
- Use video and teleconferencing to reduce the amount of travelling to meetings.
- http://www.skype.com and http://www.zoom.us are two widely used systems – both of which can often be used for free.
- If you exhibit or run events then ensure they are organised as sustainably as possible to reduce the negative impact the events may have. Look for firms that can help you deliver this.
- Use modern energy efficient machines and equipment.
- Not only do they tend to be much more energy efficient, but there may also be interest free loans to help fund them and enhanced capital allowances to make them more tax efficient.
- Check whether you can claim immediate 100% tax relief (via accelerated capital allowances) by buying government approved energy saving technology.
Details of the scheme and approved technologies are available here.
Use the industry specific guides from the Carbon Trust for additional ideas to save energy in your business sector.
The Carbon Trust website contains detailed downloadable energy reduction guides for all major industries and business sectors.
Download a free full copy of our ‘Sustainability Audit’ here which includes lots of other great ideas. Each small step we all take makes a difference, so why not take the first step now!