Small steps, big impact: How to reduce emissions in your workplace.

Small steps, big impact: How to reduce emissions in your workplace.

Although the top 100 energy companies contribute over 70% of industrial emissions, we all have a role to play. Technological advancements have made monitoring and reducing carbon emissions easier than ever. Here's how.

Small steps, big impact: How to reduce emissions in your workplace.

Even though more than 70% of all industrial emissions are caused by the top 100 energy companies, we all have work to do. Living in a time where technological advancements have become the epicenter of our societies, monitoring and reducing carbon emissions has never been easier, and here’s how. 

Energy consumption: Transport & Logistics

Around 11 billion tonnes worth of products are transported each year by freight companies, contributing to nearly 37% of CO2 emissions in 2021. A staggering amount. It’s paramount that a sector that relies heavily on multiple forms of transportation to deliver the goods we need around the world needs improving. Whilst making sustainable changes to a global shipping company may be hard to manage with the demand for fast and efficient product delivery, there are still various ways in which a business can become more sustainable and still deliver in a timely fashion. 

Maritime transport, one of the most energy-efficient modes, has become a sore point as its carbon footprint is growing. The emissions from this sector alone are projected to increase from 90% to as much as 130% of emissions by 2050 – a stark contrast to the global net zero project. The European Commission is working to combat the issue and has set out a series of targets to reduce the amount of GHGs emitted. These include implementing a system for MRV of emissions, reducing targets, and applying market-based measures. The EU emissions trading system is also supporting the sector as part of its Fit to 55 targets.

But decarbonization work also needs to be done at each warehouse and facility that break up the logistic routes. Companies such as Rhino offer solutions for optimising utility consumption, providing companies with clear and concise reports of the energy used – electric, water, gas, etc. – and supplying solutions for reducing costs. 

Innovative technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), which uses Artificial Intelligence, can help with tracking and monitoring solutions that will enable operators to control issues surrounding GHGs, plan the most efficient routes, and prevent the production of excessive CO2 emissions. 

Energy consumption: Offices & Real Estate

Buildings are responsible for 39% of energy-related carbon emissions, with 28% being from operational emissions and 11% from materials and construction. Many of these emissions are difficult to avoid, yet companies can still make drastic changes to reduce their carbon footprint – and they need to. Due to European Union legislative action, by 2030, new office spaces will need to have 40% less embodied carbon, and by 2050, all new buildings must have a net zero embodied carbon. 

One of the easiest ways an office space can reduce emissions is by making a conscious effort to monitor the amount of energy consumed daily. Considering that the average business uses between 15,000 and 25,000 kWh of energy per year and 1,450 kWh of energy produced by fossil fuels will create approximately one tonne of CO2 emission, small savings can have a big impact. 

Large businesses, inevitably consume much more energy, and according to the same study, the average is around 65,000 kWh in gas and 50,000 kWh in electricity annually. Reducing these figures has a positive impact on ESG and saves money. In the Netherlands, businesses are charged approximately €0.62 per kWh for electricity and €0.45 around €0.62 per kWh of gas. That means a large business with the above consumption levels can expect a utility bill in excess of €60,000 per year – staggering costs. Understanding precisely what your needs are and where you can reduce emissions can seriously reduce overheads. Smart metering solutions can help companies reduce their energy costs by at least 10%, resulting in large financial savings.

Energy consumption: Retail

The retail sector accounts for 25% of global emissions, with most of those emissions occurring within the retail value chain. To reduce this, retailers have to make impactful reductions to the way that they procure, transport and distribute their products. Whilst a lot of this can be done by using sustainable materials and choosing local products that have shorter distances to travel, many ways of carbon management can help retailers manage and reduce emissions. For instance, making sure to increase the energy efficiency of retail stores and logistical hubs can be effective drivers for carbon reduction. 

Carbon accounting can help quantify the impact of an organisation’s business activities, measuring climate impact and identifying where most of the emissions come from. This accounting will also help retailers remain transparent to customers and reduce the amount of unintentional greenwashing. As we wrote before, conscientious shopping isn’t just a buzzword, and more and more consumers will stop spending money with businesses that don’t align with their values. Tools that present ESG data reports can mitigate risk.

Effective decarbonisation strategies 

By utilising smart meters within any workplace, companies can monitor and reduce energy consumption as and when possible while receiving reports of yearly use and monetary savings when making the appropriate changes. 

But smart meters are most effective when rolled out as part of a large decarbonisation strategy that includes thorough and consistent energy monitoring. Companies such as Rhino offer an energy monitoring platform that allows companies to track their real-time utility consumption on a portfolio level. Effective energy management helps companies pinpoint areas for sustainable improvement, increasing energy efficiency. LED lightbulbs and programmable appliances such as thermostats are simple ways to save energy and reduce costs.

Electricity or renewable energies such as solar energy can further reduce the amount of GHGs produced by a business. Real-time energy monitoring can also help with making behavioral changes, making sure that occupants use their building efficiently and sustainably.

Methods of working can also help bring down emissions. Many places of work are now offering the choice of remote or hybrid working where possible because daily commutes to the workplace contribute around 18bn kg of CO2 emissions annually. By implementing a hybrid working model, companies can retain the flexibility and environmental benefits of remote working while safeguarding workplace engagement.

All sectors can reduce their contribution to emissions by becoming conscious of where energy is consumed and how much energy is being consumed by their buildings. Becoming more sustainable and climate-conscious is just the beginning of a variety of solutions a company can implement to become carbon net zero. 

To find out how Rhino can help you on your journey to make small steps for a big impact, you can reach our team here.