NORTHAMPTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / November 22, 2022 / Antea Group
For many corporations, it is no longer a question of if, but when they need to get serious about reducing carbon emissions.
With the impact of new regulations and a stronger global drive to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, there’s no better time than now to start thinking about your organization’s low-carbon transition plan.
Choosing decarbonization tactics that are practical and achievable for your organization’s function and size is an important step, but it’s also important to consider when and how to implement these tactics – and when not.
We’ll take a close look at six of the top decarbonization tactics so you can start this informed process.
6 decarbonization tactics for companies today
Many organizations fail in their quest to decarbonise their business by failing to develop a coherent strategy of which decarbonisation tactics to pursue, as well as when and how to pull the levers on these tactics.
Not understanding the full scope of your organization’s needs can result in choosing the strategy that sounds most impressive, or the least expensive, over the one that best suits your business, resulting in unnecessary waste of time. , money and resources. .
Furthermore, pulling the lever on all strategies at once is also an unwise decision. Careful consideration of the specific situation of a site or asset is needed to decide when and how to implement these tactics. A well thought out low carbon transition plan will ease your transition to a low carbon economy of the future.
1. Greening of the network
The carbon emissions emitted to produce electricity that powers your facilities are counted as part of your organization’s carbon footprint. Different utilities and networks have different emission rates depending on the sources that generate the electricity. As more renewable energy is brought into the grid, the emissions associated with purchased electricity will begin to decrease, but it can be difficult to predict when and by how much it will decrease.
Although your organization does not have control over the levers of grid greening, it is still important to consider and monitor throughout your decarbonization journey.
2. On-site solar power
With governments around the world investing and offering incentives for solar installations, having a solar assessment of your properties is a sound investment.
A solar assessment will determine if your location has the potential to install solar on-site. There are several areas where solar power can be installed, but common areas are large open spaces near your site, over parking lots, and on rooftops, especially large rooftops with little to no equipment on top. It’s also important to consider ownership models, on-ownership or as part of a power purchase agreement (PPA), as well as local incentives and policies, such as net metering.
3. Heat pumps
Worldwide, nearly half of all energy use in buildings is related to space heating, and most heating is done by burning fuels that have direct carbon emissions. The most common way to decarbonise space heating is to switch to heat pumps, which use electricity instead of fuels.
As heat pump adoption accelerates and electric grids continue to become less carbon intensive, electric heating will become a more affordable and lower carbon option. Plus, combining a switch with heat pumps with purchasing renewable energy can decarbonise your heating quickly and cheaply.
An analysis of your site will help determine if a heat pump system is a good option. In some cases, they can be installed as a secondary system along with existing natural gas lines.
4. Fleet management
Most company fleets today use gasoline and diesel as their primary source of power, which can account for a significant proportion of a company’s emissions profile.
There are several ways a company can reduce emissions from its fleet, including:
- Optimization: Using younger vehicles, predictive maintenance, reduced downtime, and on-time delivery are examples of ways to reduce fuel use and emissions without major technology changes.
- Electrification: As the global drive towards electric vehicles continues to accelerate, more vehicle fleets will be comprised of hybrid and fully electric vehicles, especially passenger vehicles. Electric charging vehicles are rapidly entering the space. Although not all types are available today, that hasn’t stopped companies from planning their integration in the future.
- Alternative Fuels – There are several types of fuel switch that can be made to reduce or eliminate fleet emissions, such as biodiesel, renewable natural gas, and hydrogen. These technologies are currently limited in their availability and use, but some, such as hydrogen, may continue to make significant advances for particular uses.
5. Optimization of facilities
Facilities optimization is the process of conducting assessments of a company’s sites to find opportunities for improvement, whether in energy, water, waste or any other resource. The opportunity exists to achieve significant reductions in most installations and it can also have other additional benefits, such as operational improvements or the identification of health and safety risks.
It is important to consider which site locations to focus facility optimization efforts on and how to apply those learnings to other sites. Considering each site by its total resource use, spend, and emissions (don’t forget future grid greening) can help determine which sites to focus on first. There may also be considerations specific to some sites, such as those with data centers or sites with low occupancy that could benefit from a smaller footprint or consolidation with another site. For more information on facility optimization, consult Antea Group’s Facilities Optimization service line to get answers to your questions.
6. Environmental Financial Instruments (IEF)
Environmental Financial Instruments (EFIs) refer to a broad set of financial mechanisms to purchase attributes that reduce your site’s carbon footprint.
- Carbon Offsets: A carbon offset is avoiding or sequestering greenhouse gases outside of the reporting company’s operations. Your business can purchase offsets to offset your operational emissions. Carbon offsets can be purchased on different marketplaces that provide information about the projects such as monitoring, verification, project description, additionality, leakage, etc. The justification for the offsets is that the emission reduction projects would not be produced without the financing obtained by selling them on the market. Careful consideration should be given to when and how your organization should use offsets.
- Renewable Electricity Certificates (RECs): RECs are a market-based solution that allows companies to purchase the attribute of renewable energy generation and claim its environmental benefits. Outside the United States, these clean energy attributes are called International Renewable Electricity Certificates (I-RECs) or Guarantees of Origin (GoO).
- Green Rates: Green rates are programs that electricity customers can sometimes opt into to purchase renewable electricity and claim its environmental benefits. Instead of being purchased on an open market like RECs or offsets, they are purchased directly from your electric utility.
- Virtual Power Purchase Agreements (VPPAs): VPPAs are a series of contracts between a customer, a utility, the electric grid, and the owner of a renewable electricity project that allows the customer to purchase renewable electricity from a renewable electricity project. renewable energy without having the project on site. VPPAs typically require customers purchasing large amounts of electricity (>100,000 MWhs) in the US.
Start your low carbon transition plan
Before determining which decarbonization tactics will work best for your organization, it is important to understand your current carbon emissions by conducting a baseline greenhouse gas emissions inventory.
Charlie Quann, Lead Climate Change Advisor at Antea Group USA, shares why this is an achievable first step in encouraging organizational leaders to invest in a low-carbon future: “Leadership sometimes thinks of sustainability and decarbonization as a cost and only as a cost”.
A baseline greenhouse gas inventory creates a context around where carbon—and money—is being wasted. Charlie continues: “To help, at least at a high level, reframe that narrative to show that there are real tangible returns on investment, that this actually makes business sense, that’s really a starting point for this.”
Learn how to start the path towards your own low carbon strategy with Antea Group.
About Antea Group
Antea®Group is an environmental, health, safety and sustainability consultancy. By combining strategic thinking with technical expertise, we do more than effectively solve customer challenges; we deliver sustainable results for a better future. We work in partnership with and advise many of the world’s most sustainable companies to address ESG business challenges in a way that fits their unique pace and goals. Our consultants equip organizations to better understand threats, capture opportunities and find their position of strength. Finally, we maintain a global perspective on ESG issues not only through our work with multinational clients, but also through our sister organizations in Europe, Asia and Latin America and as a founding member of the Inogen Alliance. Learn more at us.anteagroup.com.
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