Pope Benedict XVI may go down in the history books as the first pontiff to resign in over 600 years, but most people don’t have a clue that he should also be remembered for helping to transform the Vatican into the “world’s greenest state”.

As he waves goodbye to the papal seat and welcomes in his successor, we take a look at how you could learn from the “green Pope” to save energy, cut bills and create a more sustainable business.

Go solar

In 2008, 2,700 solar panels were installed on the roof of the Paul VI auditorium (the space used in bad weather for the Pope’s address with pilgrims). The panels have helped to reduce the Vatican City’s carbon dioxide emissions and save oil.

When the panels were installed, it was reported that they would generate 200 watts of energy per inhabitant at peak times, making the Vatican a world-leader in the renewable energy stakes.

Installing solar panels, with advice from British Gas, could help you follow in the outgoing pope’s footsteps and slash your commercial energy bills, reducing the size of your business’s carbon footprint.

Turn electric

Your company may use a fleet of vehicles, but why not take a leaf out of the outgoing pontiff’s book and consider going electric?

Pope Benedict XVI was presented with a customised electric vehicle last year by Renault. The white Kangoo Maxi van – emblazoned with the papel coat of arms, of course – was used within the Vatican as well as at his summer home.

It has a 44 kilowatt electric motor, a lithium-ion battery which cuts harmful emissions and can go 170km without charging.

British Gas can help install an electric vehicle charger at your business or home, offering competitive commercial electricity prices that will beat the petrol pump.

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