Helping businesses on the path to a sustainable net zero future

The UK was the world’s first major economy to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050. Reaching this target will require extensive, systematic changes across the business landscape as well as amongst employees.

The overarching mood which is the backdrop to COP26 and the growing net zero agenda has dramatically shifted from ‘concern’ to emergency. There is a groundswell of opinion pointing to a clear and present danger to our planet that is overheating, giving us a finite amount of time to ensure we don’t damage it irrevocably.

If the temperature increase in global warming continues at its current rate, it will have a devastating impact. The science is clear – to avoid the worst effects of climate change, society must limit global warming to 1.5°C by the end of this century. We are not currently on target for that. We can get on target, but it is a concerted effort that will involve huge collaboration across businesses, governments, and consumers.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) 2021 study on the current trajectory of our climate, dubbed a “code red for humanity”, revealed that human activity has already done irreversible damage to our planet.

COP26

The COP26 conference has provided an important platform to bring world leaders together to set a roadmap to recovery. The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow in early November had the purpose of discussing and agreeing measures to combat climate change before further damage becomes irreversible.

Further catastrophe can and must be avoided, but it means that we must act now and urgently. This was the stage on which COP26 took place. Nations and thousands of other delegates focused their efforts on accelerating action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. The landmark agreement from COP21 directed the world on a new course for global climate action.

Finalising the rules of the Paris Agreement has been the critical objective of COP26. The target for the conference was to see concrete methods and policies set by the end of this year in how our nations will work together to address this major issue. The following were expected:

• Limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and make efforts to hold warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

• Strengthen resilience and enhance abilities to adapt to climate impacts.

• Direct financial investment into low emissions and climate-resilient development.

The overarching mood is one of concern; it is a sobering challenge we are faced with. But there is also good reason for optimism – optimism that what we have right now at our disposal will allow us to make significant inroads into addressing this environmental challenge.

Recognise, realise, respond

At Northern Gas and Power, we have seen that our customers are recognising this challenge and realising the positive impact they can make in changing the current course of direction towards climate catastrophe. They are also starting to respond to the challenge by putting measures in place that effectively fully reducing their energy use and carbon output.

As a business we have long espoused the importance of improving energy management. Having focused much of our attention on helping businesses procure energy effectively, our emphasis has shifted to helping them manage it more effectively too. Both go hand in hand.

Our customers understand the bigger picture. They are building a new energy management approach into their overarching business strategies.

Many are now bringing their concerns to our attention, expressing a willingness to embrace and adopt a different approach to their production patterns. Many are growing in awareness not just from the environmental improvements it brings, but also the bottom line, too. They can see a clear synergy between reducing energy use and reducing cost and carbon output. It all links.

Radically reduce emissions

Dan Smith

Many businesses and customers, though, struggle to know where to start on the road to net zero.

Dan Smith, Northern Gas and Power’s Director of Energy Services, said, “There is definitely the appetite to change but many businesses just don’t know how to begin. The first and fundamental measure is to radically reduce emissions. This is the first step and it is paramount. Solar panels, air source heat pumps – all these will play a part in the mix, but they have to come after. First and foremost is the task of radically reducing emissions. This is the basic principle that businesses need to build into their operations immediately.”

The business perspective

Businesses need to get a clear view on where and when they are using energy and when and how they are wasting it so they can take the necessary preventative action. They should be able to view consumption trends and energy costs so that they can make educated decisions on not only carbon reduction strategies saving on costs, but also positively impacting on the environment, helping the UK achieve its ambitious net zero targets. This is the first step to radically reducing emissions.

Energy management was traditionally a cost-saving exercise. Today, it is a carbon-cutting one. This does not mean, however, that the two are mutually exclusive. Cost management and carbon management are compatible with ClearVUE. Businesses can stay economically competitive while having a positive impact on improving the environment and tackling the climate emergency.

Energy today is a far more measurable and manageable commodity than it has ever been before, meaning that businesses can more easily monitor how much energy they are using, where they are wasting it, and how they can use it better.

Energy management is the process of monitoring, controlling, and optimising energy in a building, site or organisation to satisfy both economic and environmental requirements.

Energy management technologies provide businesses with the opportunity to maximise energy efficiency and monitor and target energy waste. It gives businesses access to view energy consumption, measure energy performance, and manage energy-related costs – all in real time.

There are a host of measures that businesses can use to improve their efficiency. Simple behavioural changes such as ensuring all relevant power is off, wider production or operational changes, and embracing energy management technologies, all have an impact.

Businesses can respond to the information provided by energy management systems and act on them, changing their behaviours and processes and tweaking their operations to have an impact on their energy consumption.

By cutting their energy use, businesses cut costs and carbon. That is a fact.

A more efficiently run operation and better staff awareness means businesses can enhance their performance and maintain a competitive advantage. Energy management improves both brand awareness and bottom line. The savings made can be reinvested into the businesses through new materials, machinery, or even new jobs.

It is often the case that businesses do not have the time, resources, or knowledge to be able to fully manage and monitor their energy portfolio. The energy and carbon strategy landscapes are constantly evolving, with new regulations coming in as well as government-driven net zero obligations, whereby companies could face fines for having no sustainability strategy in place. In addition to this is brand perception. Customers and supply chains will become less likely to work with businesses without comprehensive carbon reduction credentials.

Gaining a ClearVUE

That is why Northern Gas and Power has invested millions in its own proprietary energy management system. ClearVUE Systems is part of Global Procurement Group, trading in the UK as Northern Gas and Power.

Since our inception in 2012, we’ve grown our team to over 800 energy experts, working across three continents and providing unrivalled energy services and procurement expertise. There are few companies better placed to pioneer the vital solutions in this new digital age for the energy sector. Tens of thousands of clients rely on our expertise daily.

ClearVUE Systems is part of Global Procurement Group (trading in the UK as Northern Gas and Power) and from its inception in 2012, the team has grown to over 800 energy experts working across three continents, providing leading energy services and procurement expertise. Over 20,000 customers rely on its support daily. ClearVUE Systems is a leader in the development of commercial energy management technology, systems and IoT hardware. Its objective is to put businesses in control of how they view, control and use their energy to bring about positive change, by reducing consumption and carbon, and improving their business efficiencies.

ClearVUE Systems is a leader in its sector because it is driving new ideas with advancements in technologies in energy management to meet the challenges we are all faced with, as we all work together towards a net zero carbon future.

ClearVUE energy management system is a unique proprietary platform and the only energy management system that provides data of this kind. We believe the platform stands out from the competition because it is the only system that has been built on decades of energy-specific and sector knowledge. We fully understand the complexities of the energy sector and have simplified this into a powerful solution, providing businesses with access to decades of knowledge in a simple-to-use solution.

Case study

Klinger Manufacturing

Klinger is a world-leading manufacturer and provider of industrial gaskets and valves Klinger’s variable speed compressor was down and had automatically switched to the inefficient fixed speed unit. This was proving an unnecessary drain on energy, which was impacting on the business’ bottom line.

Problem

ClearVUE was able to target the issue early, preventing costly consequences for Klinger down the line. Using ClearVUE they identified increasing energy usage on the compressor house. The team was able to respond instantly and address the situation by quickly fixing the variable speed compressor which was experiencing problems 

Alex Long, Maintenance Manager at Klinger, said: “ClearVUE drew attention to a major productivity problem, allowing us to repair quickly, saving costly expenditure and maintenance.”