What Will it Take to Reach NetZero by 2040?
Hint: We Need to be Looking at Energy.
What is Net Zero, and why is the UK trying so hard to reach it?
Several countries, including the UK, have made significant commitments towards a Net Zero economy. These commitments are in a direct response to climate science showing that we must eliminate carbon emissions, not simply reduce them. The target for Net Zero will mean enormous changes for us in the UK, not only for our home lives, but our transport systems, businesses, and agriculture. While the UK made history in 2019 for being the first major economy to set a legal target of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, many believe this is not enough.
Groups such as ‘The Extinction Rebellion’ and ‘Friends of the Earth’ have called on the country to amend the target to 2035-2040. The UK’s independent Climate Change Committee are now revisiting and reanalysing if a net-zero target before 2050 is even a possibility. Many areas will need rapid change, one of which is energy.
Why is Energy such a key factor in the road to Net Zero?
While we have reduced our emissions by 38% from 1990 levels, this is largely due to changing the ways we generate electricity. If a Net Zero target by 2050 is to be achieved, we need to go a step further and alter how we use electricity.
Looking at the positives, we have almost completely transitioned away from using coal power generation in the UK and have increased the level of renewable generation from wind, solar and biomass. However, we all use a large amount of energy in our daily lives, from driving and eating to washing and entertainment, everything has a level of energy consumption.
The shift to more renewable sources of energy has had a large, positive effect on emissions but levels of consumptions remain high. We need to view energy as a finite resource and explore ways that we can reduce our usage.
How can we reduce consumption?
Most businesses could use less energy and make significant savings by making a few simple changes.
1. Get a handle on temperature control
Controlling the room temperature is crucial to saving money on your energy bill. It is recommended to cool your environment to 25ºC in summer and heat it to 20ºC in winter for optimal energy savings. Every 1-degree increase in thermostat setting in winter will use 15% more energy. Every 1-degree decrease in summer will use 10% more energy. There’s also no point heating or cooling an area that is rarely used, such as storage rooms, cleaning rooms, etc.
2. When was the last time you checked your HVAC?
Even an A+++ rated heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system cannot perform well without regular maintenance. An annual maintenance contract ensures tuning-up that HVAC system before each cooling and heating season and the system last longer with minimal repair costs. You should also change or clean your HVAC filters every month during peak cooling or heating seasons. The more you use air-conditioning and heating, the more air and particles are being run through your HVAC system. Dirty filters cost more, overwork your equipment, and result in lower indoor air quality.
3. Are you using it? No? Then flick that switch.
Make sure that you switch off all printers, scanners, microwaves, lights, air conditioners, coffee machines during weekends or holidays. They continue to draw power even if they are plugged in. Switching them off after working hours will conserve energy and reduce your energy bill.
4. What gets measured, gets managed!
Monitoring and tracking using an energy management system can help provide both energy information and the incentive to lower consumption. If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it! Most companies could reduce their energy costs by up to 30% by implementing cost-effective energy efficiency measures. These can range from turning off lights in empty offices to switching off idling motors and more. You don’t know what measures will help until you get deeper insights into your consumption!
5. From the ground up.
If you, as a manager, are looking to reduce electricity costs, that’s great! But that may only get you so far. The real goal is inspiring employees to be energy-efficient in their day-to-day work and making it part of your organisation’s culture. Check out our whitepaper to find out more about creating behaviour change towards Net Zero. We will be continuously conducting research and gathering evidence, all of which will be available in our knowledge centre.
Get started on reducing energy consumption in your business, and creating a culture of sustainability in your employees. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s see how we can help.