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The United Kingdom is in legal bind. By 2050, it needs to have reduced its energy consumption by eighty percent – or else risk running foul of international law. This is no mean feat, and certainly not without business getting on board.
Businesses currently account for half of the United Kingdom’s CO2 emissions. Above private households, the brunt of responsibility for reducing private households lies heavily on businesses and business owners.
This isn’t only an ethical responsibility to reduce energy consumption; there’s also a legal one.
Any business who employs over 250 people and has a turnover of at least £38,937,777 must obey Environmental Savings Opportunity Scheme regulations. It is worrying that 76% of executives say they know nothing of the scheme. It seems many business in Britain are not obeying the law – which could get them into trouble.
To reduce energy consumption, businesses need to take the lead – to save the planet and to future-proof their business.
Here are six simple ways businesses can reduce their emissions.
- Turn off and unplug
How many of your staff just let their monitors go to sleep at the end of the day? This may be marginally more convenient, but its way more harmful for the planet. Make sure that staff are shutting down monitors, and that any other equipment in the office, like lamps are unplugged.
It’s a time told truth that monitors consume a lot of energy when left on standby, and a simple measure such as this will reduce your energy consumption – and reduce your energy outgoings.
- Meetings via Skype
Cut down on travelling expenses – and the greenhouse gas emissions that come with them – by conducting long-distance meetings over Skype. It may be an unpopular move with staff at first, who relish the opportunity to travel with the job, but it ultimately it will make a massive difference to your company’s emissions. All the energy usage adds up.
- Install Renewables
Plenty of experienced UK companies are considering installation of solar panels and other renewables on their sites. Solar panels are a great choice if you have limited space. Almost any business with access to a roof can install solar panels.
If you have access to land bigger than one acre you can also consider wind turbines – but do ensure you have at least that much land, otherwise installation of wind turbines is ineffective.
- Make Sure Your Equipment is Efficient
It’s surprising just how many offices have equipment that is wholly unsuitable for a business conscientious of climate change in the 21st century. Plenty of light bulbs don’t conserve enough energy, and considering the high energy demands of businesses, that’s bad for your coffer and the environment.
Look at replacing all incandescent lightbulbs with energy saving LED light bulbs to start with, and see what other technology and equipment can be updated to become more energy efficient.
- Opt for a Meat-free Canteen
It is important that your work provides sufficient options in the canteen for staff to eat, but there’s no reason to provide meat. Although some staff may not like it at first, the meat industry is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions. To cut down your carbon footprint, making your office a vegetarian one is a good way to go to cut down your emissions overall.
- Encourage Low-Carbon Get-to-Work Schemes
If your staff must travel some distance to work, consider setting up schemes that cut down the carbon emissions of those who do so.
There’s numerous ways to do this; a car share scheme is a very popular way. Sell this to your staff by saying it’s a way to cut down individual petrol costs while saving emissions. Set up a kitty for staff who carpool together to cover petrol costs.
Another way to do this is by subsidizing a cycle to work scheme. Make a deal with a local bike company to subsidize the cost of bikes for your staff. Then offer incentives for staff who use the scheme.