Global energy demand will rise by 50% between 2020 and 2050, according to the “International Energy Outlook 2021” released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). This increase will result in a rise of 24.7% in CO2 emissions by 2050 - contributing to the rise of Earth’s average temperature. However, renewable energy shares are growing, and it is estimated that by 2050 they will be ahead of gas and coal and nearly be on par with hydrocarbon liquid fuels. Energy is a critical resource for residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation activities. By factoring in the long-term impact of energy consumption, businesses and organizations can make key adjustments to their operational model, enabling their facilities to prioritize greener initiatives and utilize renewable energy over fossil fuels.
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 of energy usage 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 that do not need to be continuously activated.
2. Efficient lighting
LED lighting has revolutionized the way buildings can light their spaces. Not only has LED been attributed to increased productivity in workplaces due to its ability to mirror natural light without disturbing natural body rhythm; it can also be recognized for its environmental and energy efficiency.
LED bulbs typically use 25-80% less energy than traditional incandescents and can last up to 20 times longer. Reducing the demand from power plants and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Deployed with IoT technology such as sensors that will automatically detect occupancy and switch lights on and off accordingly, means there is no longer a risk of leaving the property vacant yet lit up in areas that are not in use.
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 utilized.
Using IoT devices to track people movement throughout your commercial property, you can ensure that rooms are sufficiently cooled or heated in response to real-time utilization and occupancy levels.
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
Toyota Material Handling
The Columbus, Indiana headquarters of Toyota Material Handling has been awarded the 2021 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence –– and for good reason, too. The manufacturer has made great strides to effectively reduce its carbon footprint over the past five years. Since 2018, seven projects have been implemented to reduce emissions and improve efficiency, resulting in a 37% reduction in CO2 emissions, a 23% decrease in natural gas consumption, and a 22% drop in electricity consumption.
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 its 2019 Energy and Climate Change Statement, the organization acknowledges that its building emissions and waste generation impact the climate; therefore, Barclay aims to minimize its emissions through "using strict environmental management criteria" for its 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, reducing its use of natural resources and emissions from its 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. The latest forecast from the EIA reinforces global messages from the past year from climate advocates and independent bodies, and at its current trajectory, humanity will fall far short of the Paris Agreement goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
It is only a matter of time before environmental laws and mandatory carbon emission limits start impacting your organization. Using 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.
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