If you can’t measure, you can’t manage
The first step is to objectively Measure your emissions, this sets your baseline for improvement. Once this baseline is established, with support and understanding of the different technologies and operational solutions available, the next step is to Reduce emissions.
Reducing emissions can deliver additional benefits
A common misconception in many businesses is that reducing emissions will require additional capital investment or operational costs, with no foreseeable return. Actually, the reverse is true. As an example, in my experience the commercial payback in replacing metal halide lights with LED lights in a retail setting is about 2.5 years on average. This permanently reduces the electricity that your business uses, simplifies your maintenance (no working from heights issues in replacing globes) and the cost of the maintenance. The permanent reduction in electricity volumes is a permanent cost avoided, as electricity costs rise with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Many other technology options in assets exist to improve efficiency in energy usage. These range from improving air conditioning efficiency, Building Management Systems to reduce peak load impact, co-mingled waste, or heat pumps to use waste heat energy to heat water.
The next step is to investigate Renewable options, to reduce your carbon footprint.
Exploiting renewable energy to generate income
If your asset portfolio includes a reliance on electricity, then have you considered using renewables to reduce your electricity costs and generate an income?
Imagine if, as an example you had a network of 100 locations, each with solar panels on the roof, and a 1-megawatt battery (noting that batteries are typically available as 4 MW units and supply issues aside). In the middle of the day when panels are generating more energy than the network can absorb, the solar power is used to charge the battery. Then, when peak load is reached at 6pm, your Virtual Power Network (VPN)of 100 Megawatts sells power into the peak demand market. The current market average in October 2021 for a Megawatt of power in peak demand was $18,000. That’s $1,800,000 for an hour of battery power you sold back into the network when there was need!
In this example, you have reduced your business power bills by generating your own energy and simultaneously leveraged your asset portfolio to generate another income stream by operating your own VPN.
Procuring emission-reducing initiatives that suit your portfolio
Having identified the options in renewables, the next step is to Procure and execute the specific initiatives to realise the emission targets. This could be as simple as installing Building Management Systems to make sure that no one leaves the lights on (literally) or a range of other interventions.
Finally, having measured the result of your efforts, any residual gap could be Offset by securing Carbon credits, or entering into a Private Power Agreement (PPA) which provides access to completely carbon offset electricity.
And just like that, you have a clear pathway to Carbon Net Zero and proof positive that being green is not only good for the planet, but great for business.
*Source United Nations Climate Action Fast Facts Temperature Rise