How smart technology can assist small businesses transition to future net zero 

Every business in the UK has a part to play when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. It’s often large businesses and “gas-guzzling” industries such as manufacturing and oil that are in the limelight for energy offences.

However, it’s important to consider that small businesses also play a significant role in the transition to future net zero.

The UK Government recently launched the Together for Our Planet campaign. As the UK’s 6 million small businesses make up 99% of the UK’s enterprises, it’s time to acknowledge the small, but practical steps each and every small business in the UK can take to reduce carbon emissions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Every step that a small business takes on their journey to net zero adds up–not only in protecting the health of the planet, but also in future-proofing their business and encouraging new investment, new customers and new opportunities for growth. We are providing the support and advice small businesses need to join us and become leaders in the fight against climate change.”

The campaign calls for all small businesses to lead the charge to net zero, encouraging them to pledge to cut their emissions to net zero by 2050 or sooner through the new UK Business Climate Hub.

The Together for Our Planet Business Climate Leaders campaign supports small businesses in taking their next steps to reduce emissions. The hub provides small businesses with practical tools, resources and advice on steps to take to reach net zero. These include:

  • Installing energy-saving light bulbs
  • Switching to cleaner forms of transport, such as electric vehicles
  • Using environmentally-friendly packaging options
  • Replacing windows with energy-efficient alternatives
  • Switching to renewable energy suppliers
  • Installing rainwater harvesting systems
  • Reviewing procurement to include local and sustainable suppliers
  • Installing heat pumps and electric charge points for vehicles
  • Increasing solar energy production
  • Installing smart meters

There are huge opportunities for small businesses to go green. In doing this, they not only play their part in saving the planet from the impact of climate change, but they can also grow their businesses and ensure they are fit for the future.

Other benefits to small businesses include:

Differentiating themselves from the competition

Attracting new customers

Attracting new investment

Saving money on their running costs

Smart technology makes achieving these objectives simpler and easier. Smart metering, centralisation of energy and monitoring of building assets can empower organisations to make the right energy decisions and build a brighter, cleaner future for all.

Smart metering and automated meter readers

It’s true that what you can measure, you can manage. Smart meters and automated meter readers (AMRs) help you take control of your business’ energy use and costs. They also put an end to estimated billing and manual meter reads.

You can either replace a traditional meter with a smart meter or retrofit AMRs onto your existing meters. These devices provide real-time consumption data, giving you an accurate understanding of your business’ energy consumption habits and insight into how you can make your operations more efficient. For example, you could lower your energy consumption and emissions significantly by turning your heating down by just one degree. Your smart meter or AMR can give you the data to prove this.

Smart building management system

A centralised system that allows for advanced energy reporting and monitoring will allow business owners to periodically adjust their energy use according to peak times, identify inefficiencies and reduce energy consumption and cost overall.

A smart building management system can also control other parts of the building, such as heating, lighting ventilation and air conditioning. Different areas and functions of the building can be fitted with sensors and connected via a data network that feeds real-time information into the management platform.

For example, occupancy sensors can be used to automatically control heating and lighting systems—if there is no-one in a room, lights and heating can be turned off (thus saving energy). This is just one example of the power of smart technology in helping small businesses reduce their energy consumption in both the short-term and the long-term.

The time is now for small businesses to take action against climate change. This will help them seize new opportunities, grow, encourage investment, create new jobs and adapt to the challenges of our changing planet. In addition, reducing emissions can lower your business’ running costs, save you money and help attract new customers. Using smart technology will, ultimately, help you maintain a competitive advantage as we head towards a net zero future.

Matthew Margetts

Matthew Margetts is a Director at Smarter Technologies and brings experience in media and technology spanning more than 25 years. His background includes working for blue-chip companies such as AppNexus, AOL/ Verizon, and Microsoft in the UK, Far East and Australia.



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