Successfully adopting and using new technologies is an essential part of reaching net-zero emissions. Energy and sustainability services company, SMS, takes a look at the foremost carbon reduction (CaRe) assets on the market today, which they can fund, design, install and deliver for your business as part of an integrated net-zero strategy.
There is no single certain route to net-zero carbon emissions, whether speaking from the perspective of our national 2050 target or from the standpoint of an individual organisation. With so many moving parts, there remain plenty of unanswered questions, ifs, buts and maybes whenever the topic is deliberated.
However, as the climate clock keeps ticking, none of us – not government, not industry, nor consumers – can really afford to stand still despite the uncharted territory. What is clear is that we must start reducing carbon emissions now, no matter what.
Therefore, in these early days of embarking on net-zero decarbonisation journeys and the general absence of well-trodden zero emissions pathways, it is up to UK businesses and public sector organisations to blaze their own trails and become leaders of sustainability. Most won’t be able to achieve this entirely on their own – they’ll need to work with experienced energy and sustainability partners, who not only have the required technical expertise and energy market knowledge, but the strategic acumen and engineering skills to deliver achievable zero carbon outcomes.
At SMS, we are already working with our clients to put such plans in place and help them make sense of net zero. This includes acknowledging that, whilst there might not be a single route to carbon neutral emissions, clear potential paths certainly do exist and are achievable – particularly in terms of the low-carbon energy assets and solutions that are readily available to invest in and benefit from. Successfully navigating and deploying these solutions requires a deep understanding of your organisation’s relationship with energy and carbon, and also being able to utilise this knowledge to decide which combination of carbon reduction assets are best suited for your business.
As a leading energy and sustainability services company, we are not just building these bespoke strategies with our clients, we are also helping remove the substantial financial obstacles standing in the way of net-zero pathways. Our Carbon Reduction (CaRe) Asset Funding allows our customers to access and invest in low-carbon technologies at scale and at no upfront cost, kickstarting a passage to zero emissions without any commercial constraints to hold it back.
Below we look at five of the foremost low-carbon asset classes for your business’ net-zero energy strategy.
Investing in energy efficiency measures are often a great place to begin a carbon reduction strategy, but what comes next? Generating electricity on the same site that it is consumed could reduce grid supplied energy costs by up to 80%, but this requires investment in suitable onsite renewable technologies for your business, ideally making use of ‘free’ resources such as the sun and wind. Whilst Government subsidies (e.g. the feed in tariff) have encouraged the uptake of renewables, as technology costs come down these support mechanisms have been largely phased out. Despite this, the rise in non-commodity costs and pressures for greater CSR mean the business case for onsite renewables has never been more appealing. The key is to size a renewable technology (or combination of) with battery storage to meet the energy demand on the site.
With businesses facing rising energy demand, an increasingly instable grid, limited site capacity and – if already introduced on site – intermittent renewable generation, battery storage has become recognised as an integral part of a low-carbon energy strategy for any large energy user. Besides facilitating and improving your utilisation of on-site renewable generation and maximising efficiency through more flexible energy usage, installing a battery can make your business more resilient to brownouts, protecting your production from interruptions and your other assets from damage by providing a backup or emergency power supply.
Electric vehicles & charging
With transport today the largest source of emissions in the UK, making up 26% of the country’s carbon emissions, investing in clean transport is an area where organisations can make a very practical and impactful contribution to addressing climate change. Simultaneously, making the transition to EVs now can also help substantially cut costs in the long term, as well as creating new revenue streams and boosting brand reputation. Besides the cost and tax savings of switching your petrol/diesel fleet to an electric one, EV charging as a solution in its own right brings with it a plethora of commercial advantages, including the potential to bring in new customers requiring charging facilities and related retail opportunities. EV infrastructure also presents an opportunity to integrate with on-site renewable generation such as solar and battery storage, which can further reduce energy costs, unlock flexible energy value through Demand Side Response, and generally enhance sustainability across your entire estate.
Like transport, the provision of heat currently contributes around a quarter of all UK greenhouse gas emissions, however general awareness about its impact on the environment, the need to move away from natural gas heating, and indeed what the alternatives might be, are much lower. This doesn’t make the transition to low-carbon heat any less important than it is for the transition to EVs – if anything it makes the case stronger. Despite being a much less developed market, there are some proven solutions available for businesses to benefit from and integrate into their net-zero strategies today. For example, heat pumps utilise a range of heat sources including air, ground, water and waste heat and can be fully powered by your on-site renewable generation, providing significant carbon emission reductions compared to alternative to ‘conventional’ gas fuelled heating systems.
LED lighting & controls
With a vast majority of UK building stock ageing and highly inefficient, boosting the energy efficiency of UK businesses is one of the greatest immediate challenges for the country’s decarbonisation. Major improvements are required not only to reduce emissions, but to lower energy bills, improve comfort and practicality, and prepare the building stock for a switch to low-carbon heating and other technologies. Besides heating, lighting is one of the main culprits for wasted energy. Investing in more efficient LED lighting and smart controls and sensors could drastically reduce running costs, make your business more sustainable, as well as deliver improved standards of lighting and greater control over output.
SMS (www.sms-plc.com) is a leading energy and sustainability services company that partners with public sector organisations to reach net-zero carbon emissions. SMS can provide the funding to help you access and deploy any combination of the above assets at scale, as well as providing an integrated net-zero strategy and delivery model, including project scope, design, installation, operation and ongoing maintenance.