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The importance of supply chains for the sustainable business

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By Katie Burrows, Energy Services Solutions Manager at Haven Power

Global giants Google and WWF turned heads this June after announcing the details of their environmental data platform, a joint initiative which aims to tackle harmful emissions and waste across fashion industry supply chains. This will allow fashion brands to source raw materials and track their sustainability, providing them with greater transparency over the environmental impact of their supply chains.

The news comes as the fashion industry continues to grapple with a giant sustainability problem. Today, the industry accounts for about 2-8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, much of which originates from the raw material stage.

The same issues with unsustainable supply chains can be felt across every industry. For decades, major corporations have outsourced their environmental impact to other companies, and in some cases, other countries. Supply chain emissions are up to 5.5 times greater than a company’s direct operations – but until recently, a lack of transparency and accurate data prevented us from seeing the full picture.

Now the tide is starting to change. In the UK, we are seeing pressure being applied across the supply chain by a growing number of companies, both big and small, as they align their business strategies with the nation’s 2050 net zero carbon emissions targets. This has led to a radical shakeup of the traditional tender process, with many companies now listing sustainability, including the use of renewable energy, as a prerequisite for doing business. Suppliers with a poor environmental performance now risk being struck off in favour of competitors with greener credentials.

Take Sainsburys, for example, who this year pledged to invest in a greener future for the whole business. As well as reducing its use of plastic packaging, this also includes ensuring that its suppliers are committed to reducing their carbon emissions. Consumers are now directly influenced by a company’s sustainability policies and are aware of how this impacts their commercial performance. According to research by Unilever, a third of consumers now choose to buy from brands who they believe are doing social or environmental good. The research also found that ‘sustainable brands grew 46% faster than the rest of the business and delivered 70% of its turnover growth.’

Customers are also increasingly willing to do their own research, with data playing a greater role in consumer decision-making. Apps such as Almond provide consumers with more transparency into the brands they are engaging with, giving greater insight into the products they are buying and their carbon footprint. Many of these apps give brands a rating based on their corporate responsibility, including how carbon conscious they are.

We are in the midst of a revolution in how we work, with more and more businesses now putting sustainability at their core. Despite great progress in recent years, the urgency for increased transparency in supply chain sustainability has never been greater. As countries around the world continue to wrestle with the financial and social impact of Covid-19, supply chains are becoming increasingly fragile.

Widespread disruption to manufacturing and logistics has seen many companies rush to reroute or find alternative sources, running the risk of partnering with the wrong suppliers. On-site audits are being cancelled due to travel restrictions and quarantine rules, and so sustainability standards are now at a risk of being compromised to meet new demand.

Companies must be proactive in their due diligence and mitigation strategies to ensure that any progress made so far has not been in vain. At the same time, they must encourage/enact change across their operations and accelerate progress towards a zero carbon economy.

Image by winterseitler from Pixabay 

Brits want country to focus on renewables before space travel

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43% of British consumers care more about technology that can reduce carbon emissions and remove plastics from the oceans, than space travel or house robots.

The findings, from research conducted by Expleo, come as the UK government is under pressure to embrace a ‘green’ recovery post-COVID.

The report, which surveyed 2,000 UK adults, suggested that people prefer “powerful, but boring” tech that solves real-world problems over flashy gadgets or novelties such as home robotics, virtual reality or home entertainment.

In tandem with the desire to reduce ocean plastics and carbon emissions, 41% of people specified that they would like to see an advance in renewable energies over the next decade. Smart meters, – which by law, will be in every home come 2024 – were praised by over 80% of people for adding value to their lives, due to their long-term potential to reduce energy use and CO2 emissions through better energy management.

On the other hand, interest in ‘headline grabbing’ technology was low. Just 15% of people surveyed expressed an interest in space tourism, and even fewer (11%) said that they want to see robotics carrying out domestic chores in their homes in the next decade. Only 19% of respondents are optimistic about the prospect of self-driving vehicles, but slightly more (22%) said they’d be open to introducing more smart technologies, such as voice assistants, into their homes.

Stephen Magennis, UK Quality MD at Expleo said: “The results of our research suggest that consumers are keen to see technology being used to improve society as a whole and not just bring comfort in our life. This topic is not new, but I think that the coronavirus pandemic has opened many people’s eyes to the transformative role technology can play in solving real-world problems, whether that’s streamlining the transition to remote working or accelerating innovation in the medical sector. ​

“Today’s businesses should not ignore this or they could face serious backlash from their consumers. More than ever, they need to focus on green technology and innovation to positively influence the planet. It is particularly true for businesses in the energy and mobility sectors: reducing carbon emissions and energy consumption, or driving electric vehicles, are top of consumers’ minds.”

National Grid commits £10m to hydrogen energy project

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National Grid is partnering with Northern Gas Networks (NGN) and Fluxys Belgium to build a first of its kind offline hydrogen test facility in the UK, to understand how hydrogen gas could be used in the future to heat homes and deliver green energy to industry. 

The £10 million project will be delivered by DNV GL, with support provided by the HSE Science Division and academic partnerships with Durham University and the University of Edinburgh and involves building a hydrogen test facility at DNV GL’s site at Spadeadam, Cumbria. 

The facility will be built from a range of decommissioned assets, to create a representative network which will be used to trial hydrogen and will allow for accurate results to be analysed. Blends of hydrogen up to 100% will then be tested at transmission pressures, to assess how the assets perform. 

The plans have been submitted to Ofgem and if funding is awarded, the aim is to start construction in 2021 with testing beginning in 2022.

Currently 85% of homes and 40% of the UK’s power needs are supplied by gas. But as the UK works towards becoming one of the world’s first net zero economies by 2050, the gas sector needs to demonstrate a viable pathway for decarbonisation. 

NGN, one of the UK’s Gas Distribution Networks, is contributing to the project and owns the H21 distribution rig currently under construction at the Spadeadam site. 

A collaboration between all the UK gas and transmission networks, and now in its second phase, the H21 programme is demonstrating how the existing gas distribution network can be repurposed to safely carry 100% hydrogen to heat homes and businesses.

The hydrogen test facility will remain separate from the main National Transmission System, allowing for testing to be undertaken in a controlled environment, with no risk to the safety and reliability of the existing gas transmission network.

Antony Green, Project Director for Hydrogen at National Grid, said: “If we truly want to reach a net zero decarbonised future, we need to replace methane with green alternatives like hydrogen. Sectors such as heat are difficult to decarbonise, and the importance of the gas networks to the UK’s current energy supply means trial projects like this are crucial if we are to deliver low carbon energy, reliably and safely to all consumers.” 

Tim Harwood, H21 Project Director and Head of Programme Management at NGN, said: “This project will link with Phase 2 of the H21 NIC, by connecting the National Grid transmission assets to the distribution network being built alongside the ‘HyStreet’ of purpose-built hydrogen research houses.By adding transmission assets, we can then demonstrate a full beach-to-meter scenario, showing how the gas industry can collaborate together in a hydrogen future. “

Thierry Bottequin, Engineering Manager from Fluxys Belgium, said: “This is an important step in investigating the conversion possibilities of our infrastructure for the transmission of hydrogen-natural gas blends and hydrogen. We believe that the multiphase scope of the project perfectly complements our own research to document the reliability, safety and integrity of the existing gas infrastructure when used to transport hydrogen.”

Revealed: Companies committed to reducing their carbon footprints

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The impact of climate change continues to be in the news – e.g. rising sea levels and erratic weather patterns, both of which constitute a danger to humans and wildlife.

Thankfully, a strategy is now in place to reverse the effects of climate change and restore harmony to the planet. Back in June 2019, the UK government became the first country to sign their ‘Net Zero’ target into law – marking it as the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions.[1] Since then, other governments have followed suit, introducing their own laws and policy changes to help reduce the amount of carbon we emit. 

These changes have had a huge impact on the way businesses work, inspiring many to introduce new ways of reducing their carbon footprint. Here, we look at those businesses that are  going above and beyond to ensure their emissions are kept as low possible or are offsetting the carbon they unavoidably emit as part of their daily operations.  

Aviation – EasyJet

Airlines are a significant contributor to carbon emissions globally. In fact, it’s estimated that the flights we catch account for some 12% of all transport emissions annually.[2] Yet there are airlines that are making significant efforts to try and reduce this figure – one of which is EasyJet. In a recent report, EasyJet ranked top of the list of airlines trying to cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change and has since become the first airline to operate net zero flights across its whole network.[3]


This has been possible through carbon offsetting initiatives which helps to offset the emissions the airline uses during flights. It’s estimated that the company will spend around £25million each year carbon offsetting, lowering their impact on the environment and positioning themselves as market leaders in reducing CO2. 

Off-grid energy – Flogas

As one of UK’s leading off-grid energy suppliers who help companies offset carbon emissions, Flogas has quickly become a market leader in the fight against climate change. In its ‘2040 Vision’ manifesto, the company has laid out plans on how it intends to the support the government’s carbon emissions targets by supplying its customers with100% renewable energy solutions by 2040. As well as aiding its customers, the company has also undertaken several landmark steps in its own carbon reduction strategy such as promising to offset all Level 1 and Level 2 CO2 emissions for 2019 and became one of the first 0ff-grid gas suppliers to add BioLNG powered delivery vehicles to its fleet. Since then, Flogas has also launched its Carbon Offsetting Initiative for both its commercial and consumer customers. 

Fast food restaurants – McDonald’s

As one of the most iconic restaurants in the world, McDonald’s are firmly under the microscope when it comes to taking sustainable measures. Luckily, the company is making considerable efforts to reduce its impact on the environment wherever possible. With around 36,000 restaurants located in over 100 countries worldwide[4], McDonald’s has now began switching to energy efficient appliances to help cut energy waste by around 25%.[5] It also aims to source all its packaging from recycled materials by 2025.[6]

Automotive – BMW

Regularly named as the world’s most sustainable car manufacturer, BMW has gained a reputation for its creativity and innovation in terms of reducing carbon emissions. The company’s long list of green credentials speaks for itself – for example, from 2009 to 2019 BMW has been able to reduce its delivery fleet emissions by over 40%.[7] The company has also invested heavily in electric technology, turning to more renewable fuels to reduce carbon emissions even further. As it stands, BMW is currently on track to ensure that a quarter of all the vehicles it sells will be electrified by 2021, with a third in 2025 and half of all vehicles by the year 2030.[8]

Manufacturing – Siemens 

Manufacturing often requires energy intensive processes that create high levels of carbon emissions. However, this didn’t stop electronics manufacturer, Siemens, from becoming the first global company to commit to carbon neutrality by 2030 through using renewable energy at its factories.[9] It’s also set out sustainability goals within its ‘Serve the Environment’ programme which details how it intends to create zero waste. As it stands, zero per cent of its waste has been sent to landfill from its factory in Newcastle and the business currently boasts a 92% recycle rate overall. [10]

Software – Google 

With a reputation for creating innovative software, it comes as no surprise that Google is one of the IT giants leading the way in terms of sustainability. As well as reducing its carbon footprint through company-wide efficiency improvements, Google also uses on-site solar power as a renewable fuel supply. [11]The company then uses carbon offsetting to bring its remaining footprint to zero and goes to great lengths to ensure that the projects it supports help provide long-term global benefits.[12]


[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-becomes-first-major-economy-to-pass-net-zero-emissions-law

[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47460958

[3] https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47460958

[4] https://www.mcdonalds.com/gb/en-gb/help/faq/18510-how-many-mcdonalds-restaurants-are-there-in-the-uk-and-the-world.html

[5] https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2019/08/26/101-companies-committed-to-reducing-their-carbon-footprint/#5f24529f260b

[6] https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2019/08/26/101-companies-committed-to-reducing-their-carbon-footprint/#5f24529f260b

[7] https://www.bmwgroup.com/en/responsibility/sustainability-at-the-bmw-group.html

[8] https://www.bmwgroup.com/en/responsibility/sustainability-at-the-bmw-group.html

[9]  https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2019/08/26/101-companies-committed-to-reducing-their-carbon-footprint/#5f24529f260b

[10] https://new.siemens.com/global/en/company/sustainability/resourceconservation.html

[11] https://www.google.com/about/datacenters/renewable/

[12] https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//green/pdfs/google-carbon-offsets.pdf

UK government pumps £350 million into ‘green recovery’

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UK industry will receive around £350 million to cut down carbon emissions under new plans to step up efforts to tackle climate change.

The multimillion pound investment package will build on progress towards the UK’s target to reach net zero by 2050, by helping businesses to decarbonise across the heavy industry, construction, space and transport sectors and to secure the UK’s place at the forefront of green innovation.

The investment came ahead of the PM launching the first meeting of the Jet Zero Council, which will bring together government, representatives from the environmental sector and the aviation and aerospace industry to tackle aviation emissions in line with the government’s ambition to achieve the first ever zero emission long haul passenger plane.

The projects set to receive funding will work on developing new technologies that could help companies switch to more energy-efficient means of production, use data more effectively to tackle the impacts of climate change, and help support the creation of new green jobs by driving innovation and growth in UK industries.

The package includes:

  • £139 million to cut emissions in heavy industry by supporting the transition from natural gas to clean hydrogen power, and scaling up carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology which can stop over 90% of emissions being released from industrial plants into the air by storing carbon permanently underground
  • £149 million to drive the use of innovative materials in heavy industry; the 13 initial projects will include proposals to reuse waste ash in the glass and ceramics industry, and the development of recyclable steel
  • £26 million to support advanced new building techniques in order to reduce build costs and carbon emissions in the construction industry
  • A £10 million boost for state of the art construction tech which will go towards 19 projects focused on improving productivity and building quality, for example, re-usable roofs and walls and “digital clones” of buildings that analyse data in real time
  • Launching a New National Space Innovation Programme backed by £15 million initial funding from the UK Space Agency, which will see the first £10million go towards projects that will monitor climate change across the globe, which could protect local areas from the impacts of extreme weather by identifying changes in the environment
  • Opening up bids for a further £10million for R&D in the automotive sector, to help companies take cutting edge ideas from prototype to market, including more efficient electric motors or more powerful batteries

Chaired by the Transport and Business Secretaries, the first Jet Zero council meeting discussed how to decarbonise the aviation sector while supporting its growth and strengthening the UK’s position as a world leader in the sector.

The members will look at how to work across their sectors to achieve these goals, including through brand new aircraft and engine technologies. These could include using new synthetic and sustainable aviation fuels as a clean substitute for fossil jet fuel, and eventually the development of electric planes.

The government says that over the past decade, the UK has cut carbon emissions by more than any similar developed country. In 2019, UK emissions were 42% lower than in 1990.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We’ve made great strides towards our net zero target over the last year, but it’s more important than ever that we keep up the pace of change to fuel a green, sustainable recovery as we rebuild from the pandemic.

“The UK now has a huge opportunity to cement its place at the vanguard of green innovation, setting an example worldwide while growing the economy and creating new jobs.

“That’s why we’re backing cutting edge research to cut costs and carbon across our great British industries, and even paving the way for the first ever zero emission long haul passenger flight – so that our green ambitions remain sky high as we build back better for both our people and our planet.”

Business and Energy Secretary, Alok Sharma, said: “Climate change is among the greatest challenges of our age. To tackle it we need to unleash innovation in businesses across the country.

“This funding will reduce emissions, create green collar jobs and fuel a strong, clean economic recovery – all essential to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.”

Image by Steppinstars from Pixabay 

WHITE PAPER: Why Net Zero is so hard to achieve

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By Simon Potts, Managing Director, Future Motors

The UK government’s aim is to get carbon emissions to Net Zero by 2050, placing ‘clean economic growth’ at the heart of its industrial strategy. With the stakes so high – environmentally and economically – why has the move towards net zero been so hard to achieve and why have UK businesses been so slow to grab hold of the opportunity the green tech revolution offers? 

Download the latest Future Motors Discussion PaperWhy Net Zero is so hard to achieve’ to find out how small changes in your business can make a big impact on your net zero commitment. 

‘Superfunds’ should drive Britain’s green future, says think tank

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New British pension ‘superfunds’ should be created to invest in infrastructure for country’s green recovery.

That’s the view of the Social Market Foundation, which also says that ministers preparing for a ‘green recovery’ from coronavirus should be ready to take more risks and spend public money up front to support innovative ‘pathfinder’ infrastructure projects and new renewable energy markets in their early stages.

The cross-party think tank says building new roads, power sources and communications networks could create much-needed jobs and make Britain’s economy more productive and resilient, with priority given to “shovel-ready” projects that support domestic supply chains and employment.

In a new report, the SMF identified pension reform as the key to financing and funding new infrastructure.

Ministers should encourage UK pension funds to merge into fewer, larger funds able to invest large sums in big long-term projects, the SMF said, citing Australia and Canada, where such funds have successfully delivered major infrastructure investments.

The government launched consultations on pension consolidation and the creation of “superfunds” in 2018 and 2019, but despite Boris Johnson’s previous support for the plans, ministers have yet to announce decisions.

The SMF said that the need to support an economic recovery with infrastructure projects meant “urgent action” is now needed on pension reform.

Investment rules should also be reformed to allow the new funds to pay the management fees often involved in running big infrastructure projects, the SMF said in a report setting out how to get more private money into big UK projects.

The SMF report was sponsored by Tidal Power Limited, which is pursuing plans to build a fleet of new tidal lagoons to generate power for the UK grid.

The report draws on a roundtable discussion among parliamentarians, former officials, investors and academics. Based on that event, the SMF concluded that politicians must offer much greater certainty and financial clarity to investors about the profits they can make from funding infrastructure projects.

Such profits should be energetically explained to voters as a necessary condition of private financing of public infrastructure, the SMF said. Political pressure to eliminate profits from private finance deals helps deter investment in infrastructure, the report found.

Politicians’ determination to minimise taxpayer costs by asking the market to fund new projects is also limiting Britain’s ability to build new infrastructure projects, the SMF said.

To support the economic recovery, government should be prepared to take more risks by spending directly to support new “pathfinder” projects that would then be replicated by private investors if they succeed.

The SMF also recommended:

  • A cross-party commission with an independent chair should be created to establish a “strategic vision” of the UK’s infrastructure needs over at least the next decade. Parties taking part in the commission should give public commitments to ensure financial and regulatory support for the projects identified in the vision.
  • An urgent review of planning regulations should be undertaken with the aim of reducing planning risk for investors. This could include narrowing the scope for Judicial Review of projects identified as top priorities by the new cross-party commission.

Richard Hyde, Senior Researcher at the SMF said: “The best way to support the infrastructure the country urgently needs in the long-run is to make better use of the billions of pounds held in pension funds that could be profitably invested in helping Britain on its way to a green recovery. Ministers should move quickly to encourage the creation of pension superfunds like those in Australia and Canada.

“In the short-term, ministers looking to get infrastructure projects up and running and providing jobs should be prepared to spend directly to support pathfinders that can prove to investors that it is safe to invest in similar projects. That means taxpayers bearing more of the risk, but the long-term rewards justify that risk.” 

Don’t let COVID-19 wreck your Net Zero plans

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By Onsite Energy Projects

We all need to refocus on the big issue of climate change, but we are facing a significant recession in the next few years. I predict that capex budgets are going to evaporate, and as a result investment plans are going to be put on hold. The consequence could be to derail our climate change and sustainability plans for some years to come.

At the same time, saving money has never been more important – to be competitive and grow jobs.  So how can you keep up the pace of sustainability gains, energy savings and make your business more competitive ?

Never has there been a better time to look at our zero capex, off-balance sheet solution.  We can help with energy savings ideas, sustainability innovation and develop the business cases for energy efficiency measures.  We can deliver them as an energy supply agreement without any cost to you.  All you need to do is pay for the power we provide (at a discount to what you are paying for grid power).

There is no cost to you for our analysis and recommendations.  We have experience in delivering solutions for complex manufacturing environments. We can particularly add value where you have a lot of use of heat, steam, chill or air conditioning.

In short we can accelerate your plans, not have them beaten back by lack of capital caused by COVID-19.

If you would like to know more email us at info@on-site.energy or call on 0161 444 9989.

Onsite Energy Projects provides energy savings and energy generation solutions to energy intensive businesses, without capex if required.

How can businesses be more sustainable post Covid-19?

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When faced with great change, we often tend to focus on the negative implications, and in doing so, lose sight of the positive opportunities for our lives and our businesses. These not only help us to protect our businesses and our employees, but allow you to make a positive and lasting improvement to the environment.

Amongst the tragedy and widespread disruption caused by Covid-19, there’s been one glimmer of hope – namely the future of our planet. Carbon emissions have dropped dramatically across the globe, with some reports showing that CO2 levels are 36% lower since lockdown started. But now, as restrictions start to lift, experts have warned that this won’t last unless we start investing in clean energy and continue to galvanise behavioural change across every sector.

But where do we go from here? And what role could SME owners play in ensuring that any environmental gains made during the last few months haven’t been in vain?

Here, Opus Energy, the renewable energy provider to small and medium sized businesses, shares some ideas on how we can take the lessons we’ve learnt from the pandemic and implement them over the long term to reduce our carbon footprint.

Limit the travel of your employees where possible

We have all seen the inspirational images from across the globe of reduced CO2 levels and even wildlife remerging in places we thought they were lost, and it’s disheartening to think that it could all be lost as soon as we begin to mobilise again. As a business owner, it may feel as though this is out of your hands, but as small and medium sized enterprises are the employers of 60% of the UK’s population, supporting your employees to make greener transport choices will make a real impact on the country’s pollution levels.

Even better, if your employees can continue to work from home, consider offering days where your team can do so. Since March, we have seen that businesses can continue to thrive with teams virtually working, and that has been reflected in the reduction in traffic.

There’s no getting away from the fact that transportation constitutes a huge percentage of the UK’s total carbon emissions, with research showing that work-related travel accounts for over a third (37%) of total emissions from passenger transport – 24% from commuting and 13% from travel in the course of business. So, if letting your employees work from home is a viable option, this is definitely something to consider.

Be an advocate for cleaner transport 

For some businesses, it’s not possible for employees to work from home, and as they begin to filter back into the workplace, it’s important to continue the gains we’ve made on reducing the environmental impact.

Public transport or carpooling are usually the go-to option for greener travel, but as we continue to combat Covid-19, social distancing measures will likely impact these forms of travel. With this in mind, options such as cycle to work schemes can work for employees that have a shorter commute, and are a great employee benefit to consider – and carbon neutral. The cycle to work scheme also has tax benefits for your business, as employers can save 13.8% on National Insurance Contributions.

If you have a fleet of vehicles though, consider making the switch to electric. While this might not be available to you immediately due to budget restraints, in the near future, it’s a positive option to explore, particularly as the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars will be banned from 2035 under new Government regulation.

If you offer company cars, incentivise the electric options, for example, installing charging points. We know that range and charging anxiety are still key factors holding drivers back from selecting an electric vehicle, so having the infrastructure in place to allow your employees to charge their vehicles during the day will go a long way to settling that feeling. Electric vehicles solve two problems at once: reducing exhaust-related emissions and reducing the use of fossil-derived fuels – meaning we can keep air pollution down to a safe level.

We saw during the lockdown period the impact that the reduction of traffic had on air pollution across our towns and cities. This showed us that that not only is it possible to reverse the damage, but that we need work together to keep these new-found levels down, and advocating the use of cleaner, more green transport is a huge step in achieving and maintaining this.

Flexibility is key 

Covid-19 has shown us that flexible working means more than just letting your employees work from home: it’s about fostering working relationships built on mutual trust and autonomy, and not being afraid of making bold changes to your business. It’s important for business owners to acknowledge this and to continue to allow their employees flexible working where possible. Not only will this be appreciated by your current employees, but would-be applicants will now, more than ever, be looking for flexibility from employers. It could also help you reduce your energy consumption.  

When the time comes to reintroduce your employees back into your working environment, you should talk to your staff about their needs as many people’s circumstances will have changed. You should also look at how you will allow for social distancing measures, as the safety of your team needs to be at the forefront of all your decisions.

Staggering shifts may be a viable option here. Having half the team work from your premises one week and the other team the next, or even adjusting your opening hours, will go a long way in supporting your team as they return to work. As well as this, adequate space between employees is vital. You’ll need to be smart about your layout, as relocating people to opposite ends of the property or across several floors will only increase your overall electricity consumption.

If you haven’t done so already, you might want to look into installing motion-sensor technology to your office appliances. This can be an effective way to cut your electricity consumption, especially if there are going to be times where there isn’t anyone in the premises or large parts of the building.

Utilising smart meters will help you monitor your electricity consumption during this time. The near real-time data they provide on business energy usage means that you can spot key trends and identify areas for improvement, as well as address any issues swiftly and appropriately. Ultimately, evaluating your habits and identifying opportunities for intelligent change can make a huge difference to your bottom line.

The power of collective action

Although the sharp reduction in emissions we have seen during the lockdown may be temporary, it’s shown us what is possible and what can be achieved through collective action. Together, we should try and continue to reduce our emissions and not slip into old harmful habits.

Can a data centre achieve Net Zero?

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By OnSite Energy Projects

Achieving net zero is a challenge for any business but data centres are amongst the most power hungry users. Globally data centres consume >3% of total power generation (that’s 140% of the entire UK power generation). So can data centres ever attain net zero?

Some data centres simply buy “green tariffs” which in my view is a cheat, and it won’t be acceptable in the long run.  It also misses the real opportunity of embracing the move towards net zero, which is  to reduce operating costs and be green at local level. Achieving net zero lies in a combination of energy efficiency and local zero carbon generation.

Data centres are often measured by their PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) which is Total Facility Power consumption divided by IT Equipment Power.  Typically PUE is in the range 1.5-2.0  depending on location.  The traditional approach in building a data centre is to size the power supply and cooling to the maximum compute capacity, with redundancy.  In practice this means a lot of equipment on standby or in reserve just in case.

We typically see several energy savings options in data centres.  For instance, alternative cooling technologies can be used which save significant energy (up to 90% of cooling load), and are also cheaper than traditional cooling and more scalable to deploy as IT power grows.  Resulting PUE can fall below 1.1.

Reducing consumption also narrows the gap that zero carbon onsite generation then needs to address.  The main factors in specifying generation solutions are usually available space on site, scale of generation needed and access to nearby low carbon or renewable generation.

The benefits such an approach brings are (1) cheaper operating costs;  (2) reduced CO2 emissions; (3) long-term cheaper power than grid, and (4) enhanced resilience. These are all key factors in attracting and retaining tenants.   Adoption of the alternative cooling technologies can even enable more dense rack compute power, so enabling more use of space, higher rents and higher occupancy.

The technology may not be there today to go fully net zero, but I am convinced its coming.  Adopting a strategy towards net zero will be vital for attracting and retaining customers.

Onsite Energy Projects enables the achievement of net zero via our innovative data-led approach and zero capex solution. For more details please contact us at info@on-site.energy or on 0161 444 9989.

http://on-site.energy

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