Making an Ecologically Sustainable Business
Committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, the Government of Canada plans to deliver by enacting the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act. The Act intends to set and meet 5-year targets, through credible plans aimed at reducing emissions. For the best outcome, and to prevent the full consequences of climate change, support and involvement from all parts of society are required. Provinces, territories and some cities have already begun to implement plans of their own and now we must think of ways we act more locally, in our everyday lives. Activities such as transportation and industrialization, which everyone benefits from, are major contributors to the rise in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, resulting in the steady increase of the earth’s temperature. As energy use accounts for a majority of carbon emissions, it’s important for businesses to start contributing to the reduction of GHG through sustainability.
Importance of a Business Becoming Sustainable
Without drastic measures, climate change will continue its dangerous path, eventually leaving the environment uninhabitable for future generations. According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we are close to an irreversible tipping point, indicating that if not enough change is made, the damage will be passed the point of repair.
- Canada produces an estimated 3.3 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, with only 9% being recycled and 86% ending up in landfills. The remaining 5% becomes litter or is burned to create energy, contributing to emissions.
- Annually, plastic pollution can cost up to $2.5 trillion in ecological, economic, and social impacts.
- According to the IPCC Report 2022, the world is on track to reach the 1.5℃ level within the next two decades, which could result in catastrophic effects, including increasing natural disasters.
“IPCC Working Group 1 Report is a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.” – UN Secretary-General, António Guterres
While there are many aspects to reducing GHG emissions, it would be a vast improvement if we could minimize energy use and decrease the amount of CO2 people contribute to the atmosphere. If people are not more conscientious about the amount of wasted resources and committed to implementing change, the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 will be a lost cause. Outside of this, there are a few more reasons that make the decision to become sustainable much more appealing to businesses. For overall growth and progress, switching to more environmental options creates long-term value and desirability no matter which industry a business operates within.
- The Competitive Edge
The race to sustainability is on and many people recognize the seriousness of how quickly climate change is evolving. This has impacted the choices people make on a daily basis, including where they want to be employed, the places they shop, or investments they see as innovative and forward-thinking.
- Brand Equity
All companies must consider their brand personality and they do this through their vision, mission, goals and values. A sustainable business will take environmental concerns into consideration while crafting its voice and persona, allowing consumers and stakeholders to trust their values align with the company. The perception of a business is key to upholding a positive reputation and thus increases brand equity.
- Market Share Increase
Once a business is recognized as trustworthy, consumers will gravitate towards its good reputation, resulting in improved profit margins for the company. According to the EY Future Consumer Index Survey from 2021, sustainability is quickly becoming a top priority for consumers, with 61% of consumers planning to pay more attention to the environmental impact of what they consume and 64% intending to focus on the value they receive for their money. These indicators tell us a more sustainable business will attract more customers, even if it comes at a higher price.
Even with the knowledge that sustainability is important, many don’t know where to start. The amount of information can be overwhelming and the task of overhauling the systems and operations of entire buildings can be daunting. But there are some simple first steps to help ease companies into the process.
Creating a Sustainable Business
The irrefutable truth that climate change is greatly affecting our planet and way of life is causing businesses to reconsider multiple decisions in how they operate. As in most changes, planning and care must be taken through step-by-step processes.
- Eco-Friendly Products
Countless products are essential to the daily operations of all businesses including stationery, cleaning supplies, technology hardware and more. By ensuring paper items are 100% recyclable, cleaners are chemical-free, and hardware is disposed of properly, companies can greatly reduce their impact on the environment.
- The 3 Rs
It’s back to basics with the 3 Rs. Reducing waste, reusing, and recycling. Switching to multi-use items such as mugs instead of paper cups will reduce waste output and repurposing materials, including wood, cardboard, or food waste, allows for saved time and money. Where these options are not possible, following proper recycling protocol is crucial to eliminating waste, saving energy and preventing pollution.
- Increase Energy Efficiency
Consumers put faith in the businesses they support, making it almost necessary for them to take steps towards a zero-emissions future. Manufacturing green products and tailoring services to ensure they are environmentally friendly are key to these steps. In addition, transparency of operations and the processes the business is implementing to achieve lower emissions and less energy consumption is important to build trust and help consumers adopt the same techniques.
Although not all solutions are easily put into practice by consumers, more emerged each day as technology and innovations continue to evolve. This can also be said for the solutions offered to businesses.
Sustainable Solutions for Businesses & the Environment
While people try to keep up with technology, businesses must use the opportunity to capitalize and become more sustainable. Energy management solutions (EMS) help businesses focus on their energy use, minimize it where possible, and reduce their negative impact on the environment.
The most energy-efficient lights on the market today are LED lights and given that they help reduce lighting bills by up to 75%, they are the ideal solution to reducing GHG emissions.
- EnergyStar and DLC certified products consume 10% less energy than outlined by the EU Energy Efficiency Class A benchmark.
- With nearly 50% higher light output, fewer LED lights are required when retrofitting a business space.
- Made of non-toxic materials, they reduce the risk of harm to the environment upon disposal.
- Generally packaged in recycled material boxes which also double as a safe way to dispose of the lights. That is, once they die, which will take a while due to their long lifespan of over 50,000 hours.
- HVAC Systems
Since COVID-19 changed the way people everywhere live, ventilation and high indoor air quality (IAQ) have become of great importance to consumers and businesses alike. Considering HVAC systems tend to be running throughout the day, they end up accounting for nearly 15% of a building’s energy bill.
- EnergyStar certified HVAC system solutions can help reduce monthly lighting bills by up to 50% and reduce 18 metric tons of GHG emissions.
- Using precise and efficient control of electric motors, Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) help businesses avoid peak demand charges, as well as reduce energy use and carbon emissions.
- Economizers enhance ventilation by allowing fresh outdoor air to flow through and thus decrease the need for mechanical cooling, which saves energy.
- An even more environmentally friendly cooling technique is an evaporative cooler. Using water as its refrigerant eliminates chemicals that could be harmful to the ozone, and it is estimated to use only one-fourth of the power consumed by traditional air conditioning.
- Building Automation Systems (BAS) can manage multiple systems within a building through automation. Controlling the HVAC, security, lighting and other critical systems, the BAS can deliver improved energy efficiency as well as lower operating and maintenance costs.
- EV Charging Stations
As part of Canada’s action plan for net-zero emissions by 2050, the government has committed to achieving 100% zero-emissions new vehicle sales by 2035. Although people have already expressed interest in electric vehicles, the lack of infrastructure leaves many apprehensive. Businesses can help mitigate the concern through the installation of electric vehicle charging stations.
- EVs reduce pollution and GHG emissions, improving air quality and aiding in the fight against climate change.
- Typical gas-powered vehicles emit 4.6 metric tons of CO2 annually. By switching to an electric vehicle, the average driver can reduce their GHG emissions between 60-90% depending on if their vehicle is fully electric or hybrid, as well as the sources of electricity within the province.
- Automatic energy management systems mean EV owners can charge their vehicles without the worry of peak load charges and with e-mobility, drivers can pre-book their charging slots.
- For a completely renewable way to drive vehicles, EV charging stations (or EVSE) can even be connected to a solar power source.
- EV owners can also install smart chargers, allowing them to monitor statistics and GHG emission-related data.
- The Watergater Valve
A common problem faced by business owners and property managers is high water bills but reducing usage isn’t always an option as there are many industries in which water is crucial to their manufacturing processes. Their solution? The Watergater Valve.
- For a variety of reasons, such as leaks, turbulence and cavitation, there is air contained within the flow of water. Since water meters are unable to differentiate, companies end up paying inflated water bills. The Watergater Valve creates a compression zone of laminar flow – an area too dense for the air to pass through – resulting in more accurate meter readings.
- It is also manufactured in compliance with NSF/ANSI/CAN 61-2018: Drinking Water System Components – Health Effect standards, which means it keeps your drinking water safe.
- A 180-day money-back guarantee and 10-year manufacturer’s warranty are offered through EnerSavings, letting businesses know they rest easy with their decision to choose the Watergater Valve.
- Installation can be completed within a couple of hours and the savings begin immediately.
All of these solutions have one benefit in common though, reducing a company’s operating expenses in addition to their GHG emissions. Lowering energy use through retrofitting lighting and HVAC systems and installing EV charging stations and the Watergater Valve is made simple by one energy management company.
EnerSavings – Your Trusted Energy Advisors
EnerSavings, Canada’s leading energy management company, is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario and specializes in reducing a business’s operating expenses and GHG emissions. We pride ourselves on going above and beyond for each client, using industry-leading products and fighting for a more sustainable future. To learn more, visit www.enersavings.com or contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we can achieve a carbon-neutral future for Canada.