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10 Carbon reduction tips for your business

Author: Net Zero Now

Published: 15 Sep 2022

In Association with NZN
The first step towards Net Zero success is working out how carbon intensive your business currently is. By calculating what your current emissions are and where they are coming from, you will get a baseline understanding of where you are currently at compared to average levels in the UK.
By understanding where we can make the biggest improvements, we can take actions that generate the most significant reductions. However, as time is of the essence when it comes to climate change, we want everyone to do what they can right now.

So, we have gathered 10 top tips to reduce your carbon emissions that are easy to implement and affordable.

  1. Choose building materials that are highly insulating. This will help lower energy costs and create a more consistent and comfortable temperature range in your office.

    Take an energy efficiency self-assessment to find out where you are losing the most heat and implement a plan on how you will reduce this. Up to 60% of heat in a typical building is lost through walls, floors, roofs, and windows.
  2. Heating and hot water systems are essential for every business and can account for up to 40% of total energy costs.

    Coolant gases used in air conditioning systems have a very powerful impact on the climate. 1kg of R134A, a common refrigerant gas in AC units, is 1,300 times more damaging to the climate than the same amount of carbon dioxide. Maintenance of systems can identify leaks early and avoid large scale topping up to replace lost gas.

    Make it a priority to keep all heating and cooling systems well maintained. This ensures efficiency which means it will run better and save you money. For more information, check out the heating, ventilation and cooling guide from the Carbon Trust.
  3. Lighting is an important aspect of all offices as it makes for a comfortable and enjoyable space for employees and clients. LED lights are the most cost effective and energy efficient light bulbs on the market and now come in a range of options.

    Using LED light bulbs is a fairly inexpensive accessible swap that could make huge savings on your carbon emissions, plus they have a much longer lamp life.
  4. Establishing a lights-off policy for your staff to follow in areas where they don’t need to be on at certain times of the day could save up to 20% on your energy bill alone.

    Put lighting on a motion sensor in some areas – like conference rooms, bathrooms and storerooms will also save your energy usage and therefore reduce costs.
  5. A simple way to reduce your emissions is to look at who your energy supplier is. Switch to a supplier that offers electricity generated from renewable sources like solar, wind or hydro.

    Note: we understand that during the unprecedented energy price rises, this may not be viable.
  6. Purchased goods and services come under scope 3 emissions, accounting for 80% of emissions for accountancy practices.

    Can you lease your furniture instead of buying? By leasing you won’t need to worry about maintenance or disposal. Often the leasing companies will refurbish their furniture to extend their life.

    Select reused furniture or timeless furniture made to last. Trends can be short lived, so it is a better investment to spend a little more on some quality pieces.

    If you do decide to purchase new furniture, consider buying from an environmentally friendly supplier. Often the furniture will be made from less harmful materials. Plan for how you will dispose of it in the future. Avoiding landfill will ensure it its components are recycled and reused.
  7. Making a laptop is an energy intensive process, both from the materials used and manufacturing the laptop itself. China manufactures nearly 70% of global laptops, with the materials that go into them being mined all over the world; cobalt from Congo, Silver from Peru, the list goes on. The mining process itself for precious metals is highly intensive, often resulting in huge amounts of land being cleared, which releases CO2.

    Buying refurbished laptops is a great swap as they are often less expensive, customisable, come with the latest software, tested extensively, and come with a warranty. Not only this but they massively benefit the environment when compared to buying new as it reduces the production impact, prevents the laptop potentially going to landfill and leaking toxins and decreases demand for new parts.

    If you do purchase new computers, carry out regular health checks on them and consider installing software that is specifically designed to increase the devices life. Companies, such as Citrix, offer products that can double the life expectancy of a computer.
  8. Staff travel is one of the biggest contributors to emissions for most services firms. Since the pandemic, remote and hybrid working has become commonplace, helped by using virtual conferencing technology improving the quality virtual meetings. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that businesses can operate with reduced business travel.

    Consider setting up a Cycle to Work scheme for your employees. This scheme can save your employees up to 35% on a new bike and the scheme has been found to save over 130,000 tonnes of CO2e per year.

    Installing electric charge points for bikes, scooters, and cars can attract eco-friendly clients and encourage staff to utilise more low-carbon technologies. This is particularly beneficial in regional areas that don't have good access to public transport. Grants of £350 per charge point are currently available through providers like PodPoint.
  9. Instead of purchasing bottled water for your offices, or water dispensers that use large plastic bottles, install filtered and sparkling water systems. These are becoming commonplace in offices.

    Consider installing waterless urinals and low flush toilets to save on water and carbon emissions.
  10. The UK commercial and industrial sectors generated 43.9 million tonnes of waste in 2018, approximately 19% of the UK’s total waste. Of this, approximately 50% is recycled and recovered, which means that 20 million tonnes of office waste still end up in land fill, the ocean or incinerated.

    Depending on the size of your business you may want to consider moving to a dedicated waste collection service. The service will ensure all your waste is collected but often they will provide the various bins you will need. A more efficient waste management system will often save you money in the process as well as set a better example for your employees and clients.

    Every year the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper. Go digital and promote the use of digital documents to your employees and clients.

    Make sure to recycle your ink cartridges. This can reduce the environmental impact of a cartridge by 46%.

    Purchase in bulk where possible, have clear recycling policies, provide drinking water, and move to more eco-friendly suppliers.

Net Zero Now provides a simple, credible and affordable route to Net Zero for SMEs and a way to celebrate and promote those that achieve this vitally important goal.

If you’d like a free Demo of the Net Zero Now platform please click on the link here.