10 ways to become a net zero business - part 2

4th July 2023
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...continued from 1 to 5

If you missed the first 5 points in our "10 ways to become a net zero business" blog, head over to our main site Zenergi.

6.
Surveying

Once the data is completed, surveying would be the next step although don’t let the data collection hold you back from getting your sites surveyed as this can be done at the same time.

Understanding your buildings, the challenges you may encounter, those quick wins and longer terms projects are all part of the Net Zero process.

Are you a site that has a mix of A listed buildings in a national trust location, roofs that are not suitable for solar panels or an abundance of land but not sure how to the get the best from it then the survey will determine where these projects sit, which would be priority and those which may have to wait until the load drops to see how much renewables may be required for example.

Surveying will bring out the possible, help to create milestones and give you confidence on how to remove those emissions from the atmosphere. Spend time well within the survey stage and this will deliver a better, smoother transition to achieving your goals.

illustration of people looking at a graph
7.
Understand barriers are you likely to encounter

We often encounter various hurdles as we embark upon a sustainable future. The want is there but not necessarily the finances or resource within to achieve what you set out to do. You may be a rural business with limited infrastructure to allow for renewable technologies or have good links to public transport meaning that Solar and more sustainable modes of travel are not quite going to work. You may be operating within a grade A listed building which can provide additional challenges or maybe don’t have the board support to move forward.

If I were to choose one barrier that will impact most and hold the biggest challenge it would have to be how we are going to finance change. Change will require organisations to consider a range of funding mechanisms such as PPA’s and leased models, grants, zero interest loans, and if you can fund it yourselves then this will of course provide the best return. Spending time to plan the financial impact will allow you to grow more sustainably and as budget permits. Starting small may be the answer, proving the benefits to help your organisation make larger more impactful decisions building confidence, and strengthening your model towards a net zero future.

8.
Offsetting

There is a place for offsetting and many businesses may be forced to go down this path where energy efficiencies or renewables are limited via a landlord lease agreement or where space is at a premium.

Offsetting however would be much lower down the Net Zero process where you would be more proactive to look at a heat decarbonisation strategy or energy efficiency strategy which would almost certainly come before offsets. Are your billing supplies green, water conservation targets met, smart IT, LED lighting, BeMS optimised, draughts repaired, heat loss prevented, behavioral change managed etc.

It may be that all of the above has been done and you have exhausted every avenue, then maybe it’s time to talk offsets.

9.
Keep it Simple

Net Zero can be complex without taking steps to simplify the process. At Zenergi we have broken down Net Zero into 3 categories; Measure, Prepare, and Deliver.

Measure is the data collection phase, prepare is surveying, understanding your challenges and engaging stakeholder support, and deliver is the fun part, which is to take the data, the surveying and making this come to life.

If we simplify Net Zero by taking some of the steps, we have discussed here then the process becomes more manageable, the daunting first step is an enjoyable experience, and sharing your successes and challenges will help you and others to celebrate the progress made.

10.
Think sustainability in every business decision you make – This will help with Net Zero

Sustainability should be at the heart of every business decision you make as this can be impactful to, for example, your people, your customers, and the environment. Let’s not forget that we are in a climate and economic emergency, and emphasise emergency when thinking about how your employees travel to and from work, whether your environmental strategy is reciprocated by your supply chain, and how your organisation has defined and set a target to achieve net zero.

If the winning of tenders and future business important; then a pathway to a sustainable future will be underway and those who are yet to experience competition with a sustainable twist will soon be challenging themselves to collate and manage their estate more thoughtful of the outcomes.

Being sustainable is more than just a tick-box exercise, sustainability is about making a choice, challenging mindsets, and mobilising your organisation towards a more inclusive structure.

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