Sustainable Technologies to Help Your Business Achieve Net Zero

Adela MeiBusiness PlanningLeave a Comment

Person sitting at desk with Net Zero symbols around her iPad

In today's rapidly changing world, sustainability has become more than just a buzzword; it's a business necessity. For businesses of all sizes, including sole traders and local enterprises, embracing sustainable technologies is a crucial and achievable step toward achieving net zero goals and contributing to a greener future.

At BIP, we believe managing environmental impacts is not only a responsibility but also an opportunity to have a positive social effect on our clients across the South West. Below, we share how we're working towards Net Zero within our own business, and you can also read more about our environmental policy here.

In this blog post, we'll explore seven key areas of sustainable technology and how they can help your business thrive while reducing its carbon footprint.


Renewable energy sources

One of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by harnessing renewable energy sources.

Solar panels
Install photovoltaic panels on your business premises to generate electricity from sunlight. Not only will you lower your energy bills, but you'll also reduce your reliance on non-renewable energy sources.

Wind turbines
If your business operates in a windy area, consider small-scale wind turbines as an alternative energy source. They can provide a consistent and clean source of power.

Biomass energy
Use organic materials, such as plant waste, to produce energy. Biomass energy is sustainable and can help you reduce waste disposal costs.

How are we doing it?
Here at BIP, our operations are based in an eco-friendly building. Our office has environmental features built into the design, including a wind turbine and photovoltaic panels on the roof feeding excess energy back to the grid. The building is heated by a biomass boiler, including underfloor heating, with a gas supply for backup, and the rooms have self-ventilating windows to regulate temperature.

 

Smart meter on the wall in an eco-friendly office

Energy efficiency

LED lighting
Replace traditional lighting with LED lights. They consume less energy, have a longer lifespan, and create a more comfortable working environment.

Smart thermostats
Use devices that learn from your behaviours, allow remote temperature control, and provide real-time energy consumption data. This leads to better control over heating and cooling costs.

How are we doing it?
Our office lighting is on motion sensors, and rooms are reactive to natural light. All lights and IT equipment are switched off overnight, and we take proactive steps to measure and monitor our carbon footprint on an annual basis. We also go beyond measurement by actively seeking innovative ways to reduce our carbon footprint. By doing so, we demonstrate our ongoing commitment to combatting climate change.

Water conservation

Water is a precious resource, and conserving it is a fundamental step in businesses achieving Net Zero.

Rainwater harvesting
Install systems to collect and store rainwater for non-drinking purposes like irrigation or toilet flushing. It's an eco-friendly way to reduce water consumption.

Greywater recycling
Implement systems that treat and recycle water from sinks and showers for reuse, helping you save on water bills.

Low-flow fixtures
Replace taps and toilets with low-flow alternatives that use less water per minute, contributing to water conservation efforts.

How are we doing it?
We use water efficiency devices wherever possible, following the recommendations on a Free Water Efficiency Audit provided by South West Water. And we actively seek opportunities to reduce consumption, including encouraging our landlord to apply for grants and funding.

Recycling bins for sustainable waste management in an office

Waste reduction

Minimising waste is not only environmentally responsible but also cost-efficient

Composting
Businesses with outside space are increasingly installing compost bins for their staff to drop food waste and other compostable waste into. As it breaks down into nutrient-rich compost, staff can then take it home for use in their own gardens, or it can be used in the office gardens. It's a really easy-to-manage alternative to landfill.

Recycling programs
Implement systems to separate and recycle paper, plastic, glass, and other materials, reducing your carbon footprint.

Digitalisation
Move toward paperless operations by using online communication and storage solutions. This can both reduce paper waste and streamline business processes.

How are we doing it?
We reuse materials whenever possible and ensure that waste materials are recycled whenever feasible. We also seek to maintain partnerships with licensed and appropriate waste disposal organisations to handle non-reusable waste responsibly.

Green bike racks for staff outside an office building

Sustainable transportation

Promoting sustainable transportation alternatives for your business can make a big difference to your carbon footprint, and your costs.

Electric vehicles
Consider adopting electric cars or vans for company use. They not only reduce emissions but also offer potential tax incentives.

Carpooling or shuttle services
Offer shared transportation options for employees to reduce the number of individual vehicles on the road.

Bike facilities
Provide storage and shower facilities for employees who cycle to work, promoting a healthier lifestyle and reducing carbon emissions.

How are we doing it?
We promote sustainable transportation alternatives such as video/phone conferencing to reduce our team’s mileage and the associated carbon footprint. When we need to travel, we car share wherever we can and are as efficient as possible with route planning when car journeys are necessary. Our offices have secure bike storage and shower facilities for any staff who are able to cycle to work.

Supply chain sustainability

Extend your sustainability efforts to your supply chain.

Local sourcing
Purchase goods and services from local providers to reduce transportation emissions and support the local economy.

Eco-friendly packaging
Use biodegradable or recyclable packaging materials to minimise waste.

Sustainable procurement
Choose suppliers based on their environmental practices, ensuring that your entire supply chain aligns with your sustainability goals.

How are we doing it?
We routinely consider the environmental impact of materials and supply chains when making purchasing decisions. We favour environmentally friendly products, and engaging suppliers that also commit to reaching Net Zero.

Digital solutions for sustainability

Leverage digital technologies to optimise sustainability.

Smart grids
A smart grid is an electricity network that uses digital technologies to monitor and manage the transport of electricity and the demands of end users. Smart grids provide in-depth insights into your electricity usage. This information then allows you to pinpoint your key consumption patterns and focus on specific ways to reduce your usage.

One of the ways that you can help facilitate the movement towards the wider use of smart grids is by getting a smart meter. This enables information to flow between your business, the grid and your energy supplier. You can also explore how your current supplier is using smart technologies to pave the way for a greener future.

IoT (Internet of Things)
The number of devices connected to the internet now far exceeds the number of people on the planet. Businesses are rapidly utilising the devices – or things – they connect to the internet to monitor and measure activity in order to drive greater efficiency, solve problems, and gain the upper hand over their competition. Small businesses might use IoT sensors within their premises to monitor air temperature and quality; they could use AI-powered technology to monitor their inventory or apply machine learning to help improve organisation and functionality.

Blockchain
Blockchain is a digital ledger that is distributed across a network – rather than being maintained in one location – making it very difficult to hack. It can store data of any type. Until recently, it was mainly associated with cryptocurrency, but it is now being applied in all kinds of sectors including healthcare, retail, manufacturing and more. Blockchain enables transparency and traceability, making it ideal for supply chain monitoring. It can also be used for smart contracts whereby a digital agreement can come into effect immediately once all specified parameters have been met – potentially cutting out time-consuming third-party processes.

Two women looking at laptop in a supply chain warehouse

As a business, there are so many ways to reduce carbon emissions and move further towards your Net Zero goals. Adopting some or a combination of these sustainable technologies within your operations could really help shift the needle, resulting in a more sustainable future for your business and ensuring a greener South West. Remember, sustainability is not just a trend—it's a long-term investment in the future of your business and our planet.

Get free green business support with Prosper

Are you a business in Mid Devon, East Devon or Exeter? Under our latest business support programme, Prosper, we’re offering free, practical advice and guidance on sustainable business practices. Whether you’re at the beginning of your Net Zero journey or you've made some initial changes, the support we provide will be relatable, effective and led by your business needs. Find out more and register your interest here.

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