Renewable energy has always been a hot topic but is now more prominent and pertinent for businesses than ever. We all have a responsibility to look after the planet in our domestic and working lives. But UK businesses have a corporate social responsibility and duty to reflect our countries priorities. Smallbusiness.co.uk make an imperative point as they explain the exact impact… ‘UK businesses consume 56% of the UK’s energy. If more businesses switch to renewables, a significant difference could be made to the environment.’
But let’s not fall into a trap of assuming that only big businesses have the largest impact on our environment. It can be all to easy to think about the environment, how it is impacted and directly assume that big business effects the overall carbon footprint the most. The bigger the company the bigger the impact right? Collectively no, in fact SMEs flip the David and Goliath story on its head, as they in fact hold the impetus in this instance. The House of Commons Business Statistics state that ‘There were 5.7 million SMEs in the UK in 2018, which was over 99% of all businesses.’ Clearly reflecting that, when it comes to business and how they work together to impact our environment, the ball is in the SME court.
Exactly how can an SME contribute?
How does an SME actually do their bit to be green, become environmentally friendly and ensure their ecologically responsible conscience is covered? When it comes to being green, in the hierarchy of action, reducing consumption always comes first. This should then followed by onsite energy generation as a follow-up.
Good news, reducing your consumption of power not only helps the environment but also helps you save money. A win-win situation. So, what options do we have?…
- Ensure your Building Management System is working effectively: Setting your heating, air conditioning and lighting to come on and switch off at more appropriate time can reduce usage effectively. Why turn on all the lights in the building at 7am if staff don’t actually get in until 9am?
- LED Lighting: Something that seems so simple, but many businesses don’t take advantage of this option. This measure can show a clear reduction in your energy usage and thus the amount payable on your bills.
- Heating Controls: Ensure you regulate temperature throughout the day to reduce unnecessary heating or cooling.
- Efficient Boilers: Dated, tired and old boilers can be extremely inefficient overusing gas excessively. Replacing them can impact usage extremely.
- Smart Meters: Smart meters allow for greater accuracy of billing and reflect live usage. They are also indispensable in monitoring your business for ineffective areas for energy usage.
Onsite Energy Generation
Many energy generation initiatives may be out of reach, as well as not being a realistic option, for the vast majority of SMEs. However, there are still options, which are clearly viable.
So, what practical options are there?
- Solar (photovoltaic) panels: We all know what solar panels are, a perfectly viable option for a small or medium sized businesses to become greener.
- Biomass boilers or stoves: The Energy Saving Trust describes exactly what these are: ‘A stove burns logs or pellets to heat a room – and may be fitted with a back boiler to provide water heating as well. A boiler burns logs, pellets or chips, and is connected to a central heating and hot water system. A wood-fuelled biomass boiler could save you up to £960 a year compared to an old electric heating system.’
If you think as a business these options are not viable to you but you still want to play your part, you can do your bit by ensuring your supplier is sourcing their energy through renewable sources. The majority of suppliers offer green options today, however they can come at a premium. There are some suppliers that offer it as standard. Those which offer these options include companies such as Haven, Good Energy, Ecotricity and Bulb, they pride themselves on being ethical suppliers of renewable energy. It’s good to note that although their electricity may be 100% renewable, gas suppli
es are much harder to source naturally and so you would generally not expect to find this offered as a ‘green’ option. However, some still do and when they do it’s referred to as carbon neutral gas.
In conclusion, although it can sometimes seem an unsurmountable option, going green is easier than you think for SMEs and something which will not only improve your corporate social responsibility, save money and help the environment. It will also help you feel good inside, clear your conscience and be your good deed not only for the day, week, month or year but for the ongoing future.
Utility Team can help you do your part to help the planet, contact us today to discuss your energy efficient opportunities- call 02476 997901 or email email@example.com
Article written by Alex Rubboli, Senior Energy Consultant