The road to sustainability and net-zero is becoming evermore pressing. We continually hear about burning rain forests, extraordinary weather events, the melting Artic icecap, plastic pollution but to name a few examples of our effect on planet Earth.
As a result, our customers increasingly want us to help them run better businesses that strive for a neutral carbon footprint, reducing the impact of our activity on the Environment
There is one simple, cost-effective way to start the journey to carbon net-zero which is often overlooked, and that is to make sure that the energy being consumed is actually required and not wasted. (The World Economic Forum reports that the United States wastes 68% of the energy it produces!) To do this, one needs to know where, when,how and why energy is being consumed in the business throughout the day and night. This information provides the building blocks to be able to compare, tomeasure improvements, to innovate and ultimately to build a better business.
Consider energy consumption in a commercial enterprise such as an hotel. Previously, it was the responsibility of the purchasing department to negotiate the best supply deal. Consumption itself was regarded as largely the realm of the property department. And staff behaviour was possibly guided with an occasional directive to switch off the lights when they left.
If we apply the connectivity that modern technology brings to the hotel example, being able to measure energy consumption with the correct granularity means that it can be consumed more wisely. Staff can take responsibility for their own departments’ consumption, and the analysis of that data allows decisions and investments to be made that work in the long-term. One can have a building and a staff contingent that respond to the occupants’ needs whilst continually striving to minimise their carbon footprint by making best use of what exists and replacing orupgrading judiciously.
If we continue with the hotel analogy, the negotiation of the supply contract needs to reflect a potential reduction in consumption. And, whilst it may cost a little more in the short-term, buying ‘green’ energy will contribute both to sustainability targets and to customer sentiment. It may even affect financial funding and shareholder appeal.
To be truly smart, we need to consider the enterprise as a whole, set sustainability goals, and include these when considering investments on a local level. The data needs to be integrated and not just sit in the local environment. As the second biggest cost to the business after payroll, how we buy and use energy is crucial to the enterprise as a whole, and all staff, buildings, plant and services should all be contributing towards building a more sustainable business.