According to a recent report from the government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions fell 8.4% in 2014, with a portion of that decrease due to the changes Britain’s energy suppliers are making.
It’s a significant step forward. But it will take a lot more work before the UK can reach its legally binding 2050 target of bringing CO2 emissions down 80% from their 1990 levels.
And with as much as 36% of the UK’s emissions coming from energy supply processes (including transport), it’s clear that suppliers need to take responsibility for helping Britain achieve that goal.
So what are we doing to help cut the UK’s emissions?
1. Switching to solar
If the UK wants to cut its emissions significantly by 2050, it needs to find new ways to replace fossil fuels as an energy source.
And one clean, renewable source that’s continuing to grow in popularity is solar panelling. We’ve got 17 years of solar expertise behind us, and we’ve handled projects both large and small. For example:
• Solar panel installation (pdf) on the roof of the St Silas Church, Pentonville, eliminates 6.6 tonnes of CO2per year
• Solar field at Toyota’s Burnaston plant (pdf) reduces annual emissions by almost 2,000 tonnes
As well as helping the nation to cut emissions, these projects also help businesses save money on their commercial energy . They get to use the free electricity that the panels generate, and any extra gets sold back to the grid with a feed-in tariff.
2. Burning biomass
Sometimes, solar projects just aren’t the best option for a particular location. So in some cases, we’ve been able to help businesses install biomass systems that use wood-based fuels.
While the burning of these fuels does still release some CO2, it’s the same amount of CO2 that was absorbed by the living wood throughout its lifetime. And since it’s a legal requirement when receiving biomass benefits to plant new trees to replace the ones that get cut down, biomass systems can be considered almost completely carbon-neutral.
We’ve made a substantial investment in Econergy, specialists in the design and installation of biomass systems, who’ve recently been bringing low-carbon biomass to call centres, offices and schools. The benefits include:
• easier budgeting, as the cost of biomass fuel is relatively consistent compared with fossil fuels
• better delivery on corporate social responsibility targets (CSR)
• lower energy bills
3. Smart businesses and their smart meters
Reducing emissions isn’t just about changing your energy system: it’s also about intelligent consumption.
Smart meters give you up-to-date information about your usage and your costs through a display in your premises.
• you won’t get unexpected bills
• you’ll be able to see exactly when your usage starts to climb too high, meaning you can take early action to reduce your energy use and your emissions
• with multiple smart meters, you can identify which parts of your business use the most energy, when
More than half of our business customers already have a smart meter installed, and the government wants to see every business and home in the UK with a smart meter by 2020. So it might be worth getting a head start with one now.
The UK still has a long way to go if it wants to achieve its target emissions by 2050. But with some effort from both sides – both businesses and suppliers – we could be well on the way to a leaner, greener Britain.
Are you using renewable energy sources for your business? Let us know on LinkedIn or Google+.