Some interesting analysis by Carbon Brief showed that COVID-19 is “interrupting energy demand and carbon emissions”. Their analysis concludes that the annual fall in global carbon emissions is estimated to be 5.5% in 2020 compared to 2019, which is significant, but not enough to meet the global emissions reduction target of 7.6% per year this decade in order to stay within the 1.5°C temperature increase limit required to prevent catastrophic impacts of climate change.
As businesses across the country start to prepare for reopening their sites and operations, we need to consider how it can be done in a way that is both financially and environmentally sustainable. We need to make sure our carbon footprint doesn’t return to normal, even whilst our operations do.
At Energise, we specialise in helping organisations operate as normal while reducing their energy use and carbon emissions. Here are some ideas that you can implement to keep your footprint smaller:
Train your Teams
Use the time available now to provide training to your teams on improving efficiency in your operation. This could include training on a standard approach to opening and closing sites, operational fleet use and new reporting processes. Most employees are unlikely to know what the energy and carbon impact is at the site they work at so take the time to put everything into perspective and set clear, achievable goals for improvement that they can work towards.
Appoint and Advocate Zero Heroes
A single point of contact at all sites can be invaluable. Zero Heroes are the people who drive action at their site and feedback on their successes and challenges so that everyone can benefit. The successes of your Zero Heroes add up to make a large business-wide success.
Some of our clients choose to incentivise Zero Heroes based on the impact made, measured against consumption reporting we provide. This sees a healthy competitive nature instilled amongst the Zero Heroes and can drive additional environmental impact.
Implement Opening and Closing Checklists
Work with your site managers and teams to produce checklists relevant to your business that assist in suitably opening and closing sites in line with energy needs. Commonly, we see Duty Manager’s walk into a site at 8am and turn on all lighting, HVAC and sometimes kitchen equipment even though they won’t be opening the site for customers until up to 4 hours later.
As part of checking in on your sites whilst they are closed, take the time to walk around everything, allocate an on and off time to major equipment and train your opening and closing managers.
Utilise Consumption Data and Reporting
Data detailing your electrical and gas consumption can sometimes be available from your supplier and if not, a 3rd party can be appointed to collect and analyse it.
The common saying is “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” and this is true for energy and carbon.
Detailed energy data can guide you to identify areas of energy waste, measure and reward Zero Heroes, and keep an eye on any unexpected energy increases.
Conduct an Energy Survey
Walk around your site both whilst it is operational and non-operational to see differences in energy use. You can use these walkarounds to identify areas of energy waste (i.e. areas of lighting on when not in use), find opportunities to implement energy efficient technology (i.e. installing a master isolator switch for equipment that is typically difficult to turn off), and engage with employees to consider the energy and carbon impacts in their day-to-day work.
Surveys can be conducted by yourselves and more detailed outcomes can be achieved by working with an energy consultancy such as Energise.
Review your Fleet
Cars, vans, HGVs and all other fleet can be a big contributor to your business’s carbon footprint with the average diesel car, travelling 20,000 miles a year contributing 5.7tCO2e to your carbon footprint.
If your fleet is owned or not due for renewal, implement vehicle checklists including tyres pressures, excessive loads and aerodynamics. If your fleet is due to renewal, consider your options for replacement. Does the employee need to travel for business, or could their work be done remotely? Is an electric vehicle or hybrid more suitable for the user and their business needs?
In conclusion, many operations before the lockdown included some wasteful aspects whether that be inefficient processes, unengaged employees or business-wide bad practices. Now is the perfect time to review and optimise keeping your operational energy costs and carbon footprint low for the benefit of your business and the planet we call home.
Adam Wright has over 8 years of experience working in the Energy industry in upstream and midstream production with global businesses and, more recently, in end-use Energy Consultancy and as Client Lead of multiple hospitality and leisure businesses for Energise.