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As businesses try to reduce their impact on the environment and commit to carbon neutral or net zero strategies, one of the best places to start implementing emissions reductions is through effective energy management. It can be a complex issue depending on the nature of your organisation, but as a simple starting point, here’s five ways your business can reduce your carbon footprint through energy management.
1. Access the Carbon Neutral Supply Chain
One of the simplest ways to reduce your carbon footprint through energy management is to access the carbon neutral supply chain.
Many leading global and Australian based businesses now have certified carbon neutral commitments, including energy retailers, which means doing business with them or purchasing their products won’t add to your supply chain carbon footprint. For many organisations, energy makes up the largest component of their carbon footprint, so purchasing carbon neutral energy upfront can help keep your carbon footprint down.
You can ask your suppliers for their sustainability credentials through your procurement process, or do some research to check out if a company you intend to work or partner with, is listed as committed to Science-based Target or if they are Climate Active carbon neutral certified.
2. Effectively Manage Your Energy Consumption
Effectively managing your energy consumption has a range of benefits and is often the best place an organisation should start when looking to reduce its carbon footprint through energy management. One of the main drivers is managing energy costs. And for organisations that are committed to carbon neutrality, who effectively have a price on their carbon emissions, managing and reducing energy consumption will realise savings in not only energy costs, but also in the cost of offsetting carbon emissions.
There are also a range of other benefits to managing your energy consumption, including driving operational efficiencies, managing growth, and engaging your staff in carbon management and sustainability efforts.
What to consider when reviewing your energy consumption:
- Review and compare your energy costs from different suppliers to ensure you are getting the best value.
- Ensure you are using energy efficient equipment.
- Understand where your major uses of energy are, whether it is heating and cooling systems, lighting or refrigerants etc. and put processes in place to optimise when they are used and if you need to implement more energy efficient options. This might include for example installing LED lights or purchasing equipment with higher energy ratings.
For larger businesses, energy data monitoring systems such as Energy Management Systems (EnMS) are robust and valuable tools you can employ to help uncover energy saving opportunities and justify capital expenditure. If you need an energy audit, organisations such as ours can assist.
3. Review your Energy Source
Once you’ve reviewed your energy use data to uncover potential savings, you can focus attention on changing the energy source by investing in clean energy.
The rapid rise in renewable energy sources means clean energy is now an accessible and low-cost option for organisations to reduce their operational emissions.
Voluntary offsetting particularly over the past year, has seen sky high records of carbon offset prices, and meanwhile the price of renewable energy certificates has decreased. As these prices converge, this presents an opportunity to reduce scope 2 emissions by surrendering renewable energy certificates, rather than relying on offsets.
Investing in clean energy also has added benefits for organisations and more broadly.
For organisations with corporate objectives around achieving renewable energy targets, we typically recommend those objectives are aligned with RE100, which recognises both onsite and offsite renewable energy generation as a means to achieve 100% renewable energy.
For smaller businesses, the GreenPower program provides an option to purchase renewable electricity, plus there are government grants and a wealth of resources to explore to help you understand how to manage and shift to renewable energy sources.
4. Seek out Expert Advice for Opportunities to Offset your Costs
As mentioned, for SMEs there are generally many government grants on offer, but for larger businesses, large-scale emissions reduction opportunities can be complex, and finding and prioritising those activities requires sophisticated thinking and collaboration across business and government.
One of our clients Orica announced it is nstalling new emissions reduction technology through funding across state and federal government. The requirements around accessing the funding that made this possible, not to mention the work done to identify the opportunity for emission reduction, required considerable analysis and engagement from a range of parties. So, if you fall into this category, get expert guidance to seek out opportunities.
5. Get stakeholder Buy-In
Cost savings are always attractive to a business, and we know for most they come before a focus on reducing your environmental impact or carbon footprint. But as we’ve shown, these can both go hand-in-hand.
Gather your data, make sure it has integrity and is robust, and then demonstrate how your strategy to create energy savings will save the business’s bottom line – even if it is over the long term such as investing in solar or self-generated offset projects. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also be able to reduce your carbon footprint through energy management.
Like to learn more?
We assist clients in managing their energy through energy audits, improvements in energy management systems, government policy and strategy, and renewable energy procurement. Reach out to the team to learn more.