Decarbonisation is a journey, and, like all journeys, it starts with making the first step and then the next. The critical thing is to start the journey and to start now. This is according to Carl Ennis, CEO of Siemens UK. Siemens globally has reduced its carbon footprint by more than 50 per cent in its manufacturing emissions over the past 6 years on its journey to carbon zero by 2030.
Here are Siemens’ top tips on how to achieve results today, using existing technology:
Green energy 1: Switch to a green energy supplier, one that generates electricity 100 per cent from renewable sources. Consider replacing gas heating with an air-source or ground-source heat pump. As gas prices rise, electrifying your energy is a sensible move.
LED lights: These are one of the quickest and cheapest ways of reducing your carbon footprint and, saving some money. Whether it’s on the Christmas tree, in the office or on the factory floor, replacing neon, halogen and incandescent bulbs will save energy, save bulbs going to landfill, reduce your energy bill and usually pay-back investment in two years or less.
Green energy 2: Generating your own renewable carbon-free power using solar panels, wind turbines, water turbines all make massive differences to your need for grid-sourced power. You may be able to finance through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), an arrangement in which a third-party developer installs, owns, and operates an energy system on a customer's property. The customer then purchases the system's electric output for a predetermined period, so there’s no capital outlay. If you don’t have the space, talk to any neighbours that have and join forces.
Data: Audit your energy usage so that you can identify the easy routes to reducing demand in the system. This may be as simple as turning things on and off while checking your smart meter or it may require a more sophisticated Energy Management System. Once you know where the carbon is produced you might be surprised at how simple it can be to cut energy usage and costs.
Educate: Train and incentivise staff at all levels to turn heating down rather than open a window, to close doors and prevent drafts, turn off lights and heating when they leave rooms, and turn off equipment rather than leaving it on standby overnight or at weekends.
EV charging: Electrify your business fleet and provide charging for staff electric vehicles too. The costs are starting to fall, and battery technology is rapidly improving so it’s a sure-fire way to cut energy use, CO2 emissions and costs.
Insulate: If your building is old enough not to have double glazing, look at installing double glazing or, as a lower-cost option, maybe secondary glazing using glass or Perspex. Also, consider internal or external cladding or lining to walls and ceilings to reduce heat loss and don’t forget lagging pipes to prevent loss of heat.
Materials: If you package things in your business, make sure the materials used are easy to recycle and that you pack in the most energy-efficient way. Look at your supply side to cut waste to landfill from packaging.
Biodiversity: If you have grounds around your buildings or even roof space, consider what you can do for biodiversity on your site. Carbon absorption helps the planet just as much as carbon-cutting.
Supply chain: make sure you are not just passing your carbon emissions down your supply chain and support your suppliers in moving to greener more sustainable operations.
Carl said, “these tips are things we have done. They have resulted in significantly lowering our CO2 emissions and our costs. In some areas, costs will rise as demand increases faster than supply through companies adopting greener operations under growing pressure from government and shareholders. In other areas, costs may fall as providers achieve economies of scale. Neither should be an excuse for postponing your programme of carbon reduction. We have to make progress now and all the evidence we see is that early adopters win in both the short and long term.”