Going greener might look different for every business, but there are steps you can take whether you’re just starting out or further along the road to zero emissions. Here are some ideas to get you started…
Introduce a cycle to work scheme
Reducing your impact on the environment could be as simple as allowing your employees to make changes to how they work and travel.
Support your employees to cycle to work through a salary sacrifice scheme. This is better for your employees’ health and well-being and better for the planet. The Cycle to Work Scheme is a tax-efficient, salary-sacrifice employee benefit. You can also save on reduced National Insurance Contributions on the cost of cycle hire.
Insulate your buildings
Non-domestic buildings are responsible for 9% of UK greenhouse gas emissions every year.
Properly insulating your windows, walls, doors, roof, chimneys and pipes will reduce your energy use, cutting emissions and saving you money on bills.
(source: Final UK greenhouse gas emissions national statistics: 1990 to 2018)
Minimise the waste from your products and packaging
Waste isn’t only bad for your bottom line, it’s bad for the environment. Most production processes contribute to carbon emissions, and if products cannot be reused or recycled, then incinerating or landfilling discarded plastics and other rubbish releases more carbon and potentially other harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.
WRAP have resources and tips that can help you tackle this waste, including:
- Reducing the amount of packaging you use
- Using recyclable materials
- Minimising the use of unnecessary single-use plastics
- Reducing the environmental impact of textiles and clothing by designing for durability, with greater use of more sustainable fibres and recycled materials
- Smarter storage for perishable goods to avoid food waste
- Clear labelling on appropriate disposal methods, so your customer can do their bit too
Adjust heating and cooling system timings, temperatures and rooms
You could significantly lower your energy consumption and emissions by turning your heating down by just one degree.
Other changes you can make right now include:
- Setting your thermostat correctly
- Making sure systems are turned off when the building is unoccupied
- Turning air conditioning off if you have a window or door open
- Keeping radiators free from obstructions
Switch to LED bulbs
Upgrading from conventional lighting to LED bulbs could deliver cost savings of up to 80% for your business.
LED bulbs use less energy, last much longer and reduce maintenance costs compared to regular bulbs, meaning you’ll make back the cost and more. You can save more money by installing lighting controls that automatically switch off or dim lighting.
The Energy Technology List is an easy-to-use source of information on energy efficient products for buildings and provides a list of verified efficient products, including lighting.
Install a smart meter
Smart meters enable you to take control of your business’ energy use and costs – and put an end to estimated billing and manual meter reads.
Speak to your energy supplier directly to find out about having a smart meter installed at no additional cost and check Smart Energy GB for more information.
Talk to your supply chain
We will only make progress towards net zero emissions if everyone gets involved.
Ask the businesses in your supply chain how they are reducing their emissions. This could prompt them to take action and may give you new ideas. Try having a conversation about reducing environmental impact with each of your suppliers at least once in the next three months.
How about factoring in environmental impact next time you are looking for a new supplier?
Electrify your vehicle fleet
Electric vehicles can save you money and offer a superior driving experience, as well as reducing your environmental impact.
Go Ultra Low have a selection of tools that can help you work out:
- What government incentives are available for your business
- Potential savings on fuel, tax and road charges
- Which vehicle is right for your business, how far it can travel and the location of your nearest charging points
Install your own renewable electricity or heating
Switch from a gas boiler to a low carbon alternative, like a heat pump or solar thermal, and you will immediately reduce your impact on the environment.
Or generate your own renewable energy, for example by installing solar panels, and you could even make money by selling excess electricity you produce back to the grid.
These projects have higher upfront costs and you may need planning permission before starting work, so will work best if you are planning on remaining in your current premises for the next few years allowing you to recoup the costs.
For information on all these actions visit the UK Business Climate Hub at smeclimatehub.org/uk/