The UK government is calling for all businesses to pledge to cut their emissions to net zero by 2050. The Together for Our Planet campaign aims to reduce carbon emissions and contribute to a greener life.
Businesses may have a higher carbon footprint than a household, but they can also make a great impact on the environmental change. With the help of the government, they can take various initiatives to reduce their emissions and encourage their staff to do so too.
Not only that but sustainability initiatives are often a great way to save money. Amidst the cost-of-living crisis, activities that help reduce spending are welcomed.
Here is how to be kinder to the environment as a business all while taking the bite out of budgeting.
Optimise your office energy efficiency
There are many small changes you can make that will improve your office energy efficiency.
Switch to LED lights
By replacing your fluorescent lights with LEDs you will increase your lighting efficiency. LED light bulbs reduce your electricity consumption by up to 75%, especially the ENERGY STAR rated products, compared to their incandescent alternatives. Moreover, they last up to 25 years longer than their incandescent alternatives while providing the same level of brightness.
In terms of cost, switching to LED lights can reduce your energy spending by up to 20%. If you want take things further, you can install occupancy sensors that will reduce your energy consumption even more.
Staff kitchen hacks
There are a number of small kitchen changes you can make by asking your staff to participate in your energy-saving endeavours. For example, you can encourage them to only boil as much water as needed when using the kettle, wait until the dishwasher is full to run it, and not leave the refrigerator open.
Invest in energy-efficient equipment
Did you know that PCs use more energy than laptops? We often don’t pay much attention to the equipment we’re using and how it’s impacting our energy consumption, but like-for-like changes can be a big help.
Before buying new equipment, make sure you check the specs and choose the most energy-efficient one. By changing your equipment often, you are making sure that it’s running at its optimal condition, as older appliances can take a toll on your energy consumption.
Switch off your equipment
Moreover, it’s important to switch off your electronic equipment when not in use to save energy. Many small businesses tend to leave computer monitors and printers on stand-by when they’re not using them, especially overnight, instead of switching them off completely. This is a practice you can instil in your staff.
Get a programmable thermostat
Heating up your office or retail space has the biggest impact on your energy bill and the environment. While you can encourage your staff to dress appropriately for the weather, you will still need to turn on the heating to create a welcoming environment to work in.
Nevertheless, there are certain things you can do to save on heating. For example, you can reduce your thermostat and not have it on the highest temperature. The recommended room temperature is 18°C–21°C depending on the environment. Similar to your household, you can set various areas to different temperatures. In corridors and storage rooms, where people don’t spend much time, you can have the temperature set to a lower setting than in the main offices.
If you have a retail store, you can have the thermostat at a lower temperature because people will be coming in and out of the shop and will be dressed to keep themselves warm.
Moreover, it’s worth getting a programmable thermostat that allows you to control when the heating comes on depending on use to maximise energy efficiency. Make sure it’s turned off when the building is unoccupied.
Introduce a Cycle to Work scheme
In January 1999, the government introduced the Cycle to Work scheme which aims to promote healthier journeys to work and reduce road congestion and pollution. Since then, over 1 million people across the UK have benefited from it.
As a business, you can introduce the scheme to your employees and encourage them to ditch the car for a bike. It costs you nothing to sign up – essentially, you buy the bike and the relevant accessories, such as a road bike helmet, cycling gloves, and a reflective mirror, for your staff and they ‘rent’ it from you. At the end of the scheme, all costs are recovered. In fact, you are saving up to 15.05% in National Insurance contributions for every employee who partakes in the scheme.
Cycling to work has many health and well-being benefits for your staff, resulting in happier and more productive employees. Moreover, people who cycle to work tend to take fewer sick days, thus saving company money.
Encourage remote working
Flexible working arrangements have become the norm after the pandemic. Employees appreciate the opportunity to work from home at least part of the time, and thanks to telecommuting, that’s done with ease.
Moreover, having your staff work in the office only on certain days of the week means that you get to save money and energy and cut your business’s carbon footprint due to the smaller head count in the office generating energy. Plus, you will help reduce commuter traffic emissions.
Revising your HR policies to accommodate flexible working arrangements is a great way to not only save money and protect the environment but also to attract new talent to whom your policies are appealing.
Order stock in bulk
Ordering stock or office supplies in bulk will not only help you save on shipping costs but will also have a positive environmental impact. Fewer shipments and deliveries mean lower levels of fuel consumption and reduced packaging for smaller items, while being a benefit to the environment in itself, will also allow for more items to be carried within a single shipment.
This winter, focus on saving energy, money, and the environment by optimising your office or retail space and getting your staff to join in on the initiatives too. Even small changes can have a great impact.