For many larger organisations, calculating their carbon footprint forms part of their corporate social responsibility.
Equally, smaller organisations are starting to calculating their carbon footprints with the view to reducing it.
This article, carbon footprint – how to reduce it, sets out some practical steps that an organisation can take to minimise and mitigate their emissions.
What actions can a organisation take to reduce their carbon footprint?
The most effective way to reduce your organisation’s carbon footprint is to identify the largest contributors and address these first.
Typically the largest contributor to an organisation’s carbon footprint is the indirect emissions associated with electricity use. Generally, electricity use is greatest from lighting, IT equipment and air conditioning.
To reduce your carbon footprint from lighting you can: (for detailed solutions see – How to choose energy efficient lighting?)
1. Make sure your organisation’s lights are switched off when when not required (i.e. out of office hours, weekends etc). You can do this manually or by investing in sensor lights which atomically switch off when not in use
2. Reduce the number of lights by de-lamping overlit areas. The optimal lighting level in most offices is around 500 lux. Anything over this suggests you have too many lights
3. Replacing old inefficient lights with energy efficient alternatives like compact fluorescent lights or LEDs
To reduce your carbon footprint from office equipment you can:
1. Make sure that all equipment that is not in use is powered down during out of use hours. Similarly to lighting you can do this manually or through automatic power shutdown technologies
2. Reduce the amount redundant equipment through rationalising machines
3. Invest in energy efficient equipment that automatically manages it’s own power use
To reduce your carbon footprint from air conditioning you can:
1. Ensure that air con units are well maintained, for example, regularly cleaning the air con filters
2. Manage the thermometer controls to ensure that conflicting heating and cooling requests are not placing unwarranted demand on the system
Two other areas of an organisation carbon footprint which are usually quite large include gas heating and travel.
To reduce your carbon footprint from gas heating you can: (for detailed solutions see – How to reduce gas heating bill and save on your electric bill?)
1. Make sure that your gas system is well maintained by flushing the system at least once a year
2. Insulate pipes which are exposed to the air environment and ensure optimal timer controls are set-up on the boiler system
3. Invest in energy efficient boilers such as condensing boilers
In terms of travel the most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint is in reducing the number of business flights and where possible use more sustainable forms of transport such as walking, cycling, public transport or car sharing.
Reducing your carbon footprint is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to improved environmental performance. Additionally a reduced carbon footprint will save you money on electricity, heating and travel bills.
Our writers come from all over the world, but one thing unites them - their passion for sustainability.