COVID-19 has presented challenges to businesses of all sizes and types, but there has been one significant positive outcome. Organisations have recognised the fragile state of our world and the importance of sustainability moving forwards.
At the height of lockdown, commuter traffic disappeared, cities went quiet, and weekday energy consumption dropped to the lowest level seen since 1982. These changes threw into sharp relief the impact of our economy on the environment and point to interesting possibilities for the future.
Changed work and travel patterns can make a significant difference to the environmental impact of an individual, a whole organisation, industry or sector. The public sector accounts for around 2% of the UK’s carbon emissions, and has been identified by government as a role-model for the rest of the UK.
The sector faces challenging energy consumption reduction targets – including a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020/2021 compared to 2009/2010 levels. The timing has been fortuitous. As the business landscape has changed and sustainability has come to the fore, the energy industry has focussed on new, innovative solutions.
Smarter energy use
The public sector – covering a vast number of public functions and municipal buildings – has a significant estate and energy demand, with more than £2b spent each year on energy. Energy efficiency measures are estimated to be worth more than £800m each year to the public sector.
There are different ways to improve energy efficiency. Installing highly efficient LED lighting, for example, can reduce energy consumption and costs; material upgrades to buildings (such as double glazing, or cavity wall insulation) can also help.
Understanding energy use can also help customers to reduce their consumption and costs. Smart meters can enable customers to understand their energy use. This, combined with detailed insight from an energy audit and behavioural change – turning off lights or equipment, for example – can add up to a significant impact.
Finally, smart meters are the building blocks for a smarter, more sustainable energy network. To find out more about what the smart grid is and what it means for businesses, click here. All good suppliers will provide smart meters for your business at no extra cost (if you’re a Haven Power customer, contact your account manager today to arrange your appointment).
Electrifying your vehicle fleet
The transport sector is estimated to account for as much as 21% of the UK’s GHG emissions. As such, accelerating the shift to low-carbon transport will play a significant role as the UK looks to meet its emissions reduction targets as outlined in the Paris Agreement and enshrined in UK law.
The government is already committed to switching its existing vehicle fleets to electric vehicles (EVs), aiming for 25% conversion by 2022. As EVs become cheaper and more widely mass-produced, prices will continue to fall, and the energy industry is prepared to capitalise on exciting possibilities which EVs will unlock, such as vehicle-to-grid solutions and asset optimisation.
These possibilities can bring added value and financial benefit to businesses. On top of the environmental benefits – reduced tailpipe emissions and no reliance on fossil fuels – EVs become both a valuable and viable solution for businesses in the public sector and beyond.
Purchasing renewable power
Renewable generation has been on the up in the UK for the last decade or so, and this shows no sign of slowing down. Consumer demand for sustainability has rocketed; companies and corporations are now expected to play their part as the UK transitions towards a future net-zero economy.
Many energy suppliers offer renewable energy contracts as standard. Choosing a renewable energy contract is the first step for public sector organisations looking to meet their emissions reduction obligations.
For large businesses, Corporate Power Purchase Agreements (CPPAs) can ensure that renewable power is matched directly to your energy consumption, backed by government certificates called Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs) or Guarantees of Origin (GOOs).
Contact Haven Power today to find out how they can help your public sector business with its sustainability goals.