Posted on: 09 February 2018

With the popularity for renewable energy increasing, making changes to your business practices could enhance your company’s eco-credentials and improve sales over the long term while your competitors are still deciding what to do. Energy expert and writer, Jason Smith, looks at how your business can plan ahead and adapt for the future.  

There are easy ways to save energy in buildings, including installing highly efficient heating and cooling systems, ensuring heat doesn’t escape, using renewable energy such as solar to reduce cost and carbon, and switching to high-efficiency lighting. These are widely-known improvements that many companies already integrate into their buildings. But are they enough to keep up with evolving legislation to reduce global CO2?

The politicians’ goal

Most local politicians are aware of the environmental challenges their cities face. Citizens want to conserve energy and have clean air to breathe when going about their daily lives. Major world cities are now taking big steps towards cleaning the air.

The usual first step is to hit consumers where it hurts: in their pocket. For example, the low-emissions scheme in London has been in force for nearly 10 years now. It charges a premium for the most-polluting vehicles coming into the zone, but it has had minimal impact, according to The Telegraph. When consumer behaviour can’t be influenced by taxes, legislation comes next. And that’s what has started to happen.

The legislation effect

Energy initiatives are likely to start taking shape in more and more cities, with some success stories already in place. Here are some global examples in discussion already:

  • In New York City, lawmakers have set a target of getting 1 GW of energy from solar by 2030 and it’s highly likely that major cities will follow suit. Some UK cities mirror the climate in New York, although the UK is likely to miss the EU targets for renewable energy generation.
  • Also in the US, the state of California has set a target that by 2020 all new construction is to be carbon neutral. This report suggests that goal is well within reach, though they note that energy consumed by buildings is the second highest contributor of greenhouse gasses.
  • Scotland is on track to produce 100% of its energy from renewable sources within the next two years. Even the whole of the UK managed to produce 50% of its energy from renewable sources for one day in June 2017.

Planning for the future in your business

It’s most likely that more legislation is on its way if the projects above continue to deliver the results predicted. There are two choices you can make:

  1. Do nothing and wait for changes to occur. By taking this path, you may have additional future expenses to retrofit buildings, a limited timeline to introduce change that could involve expensive contractors, or escalating costs of raw materials as demand increases.
  2. Embrace the changing world and adapt for the future. Leading companies take this path to ensure they’re always ahead of the market. Consumers are all too aware of what their favourite companies do when it comes to the environment, and consumers tend to converge to companies that match their ideals.

You could also aim for a carbon negative premises; this objective involves much more planning and consideration including reviewing building materials used, consuming less energy, recycling water use, generating energy from renewable sources, and new methods such as having a living wall garden to absorb CO2 in the atmosphere. It’s easy to become carbon neutral, but going the extra mile with a carbon negative building that generates more energy than it consumes is perfect for those companies that want to push the boundaries.

About the Author

Jason Smith is a writer and energy expert who has spent over ten years helping businesses increase their energy efficiency. He manages the website Business Electricity Prices, which provides guidance to small and medium-sized businesses on reducing their utility bills.

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