Is your business using energy in a sustainable way? More sustainable energy usage will improve your reputation among staff, investors and customers alike, and save you bucket loads.
So, how exactly do you improve your business' energy usage? In this article, we'll examine the incredible benefits you're missing out on, as well as some steps you can take to use energy more sustainably in your workplace.
Why bother improving the sustainability of your workplace?
Improving your business' energy usage has many advantages. Here are a few reasons why your business should consider prioritising more sustainable energy use:
- You'll enjoy big savings: Being energy efficient saves you money - EECA Business estimates that energy efficient Kiwi businesses spend approximately 20 per cent less on their energy bills. These savings would free up more cash to devote towards other aspects of your business.
- You'll attract investors: How well a building performs increases its longevity over time from an investor's perspective, according to the leader of Ernst and Young's Sustainability and Climate Change practice in Oceania, Dr Matthew Bell. A high energy efficiency rating spells good news, so consider getting a NABERSNZ rating so you can showcase your excellent building performance to potential investors.
- You'll improve your reputation among existing and potential customers: Environmentally-aware companies are incredibly attractive to consumers. New Zealand's millennial generation are very conscious of sustainability issues, and are looking to businesses to lead the way when it comes to energy efficient practices. Demonstrating you're taking action will make you a more respected brand and can be a USP that gives you a leg up on competitors who aren't doing the same.
- Your employees will be more engaged: Yes, that's right - a more energy efficient building can increase the engagement and satisfaction of your staff. Take a look at the video from EECA Business below, where Dr Bell discusses the connection between energy efficient buildings and workplaces - something you may not have considered!
What strategies can you put in place to improve the sustainability of your business' energy usage?
1. Implement a sustainability policy
Write sustainability into your processes and documents. Get a group together and discuss ways you could save energy and how you'd go about implementing them. Evaluate your suppliers (and energy companies!) and consider switching to ones who prioritise sustainability and who will help your business become more environmentally-friendly.
2. Go digital
The average Kiwi uses 236 kg of paper every year, according to figures from New Zealand's Ministry for the Environment. That's five times the world average. By continuing to print all your documents, you're contributing to this. Shift your documentation online so that you're not wasting as much paper. For example, instead of printing out contracts for new staff, get them to sign them digitally.
3. Invest in energy efficient electricity for your office
Sustainability is all about smart energy - you're still using electricity and gas to power your lighting, heating/cooling systems, kitchen appliances and office computers, but you're doing it in a better way. Switch your existing light fittings and bulbs to more energy efficient alternatives to significantly reduce your environmental footprint - and enjoy big cost reductions in the long-term. As an additional measure, you can install timers and sensors to ensure that your lights are only on when they need to be.
4. Convert to renewable energy sources
Renewable energy is energy that comes from self-replenishing sources, such as the sun, wind and water. We're a world leader when it comes to these kinds of sources - 80 per cent of New Zealand's electricity is sourced from renewables. Where possible, try to use renewable energy to power your office. You can do this by installing geothermal heat pumps or solar panels to replace less sustainable energy sources such as coal or oil.
5. Bring in the experts
Some of these steps are straightforward to implement, but if you're a decision-maker with a lot on, you may not have time to do it all yourself. You could delegate the responsibility to one of your employees, or enlist the help of an energy company to run through all of these things and get the sustainability of your workplace heading in the right direction.
Contact is committed to sustainable energy use. Our Added Value Services for big businesses work with your company to identify energy-saving opportunities. We conduct energy audits and monitoring to identify energy efficiencies that will deliver the biggest benefits to your bottom line.