From Awareness to Action: Tackling Scope 1 Emissions in Your Business Operations
What Exactly are Scope 1 Emissions?
Scope 1 emissions are greenhouse gases directly produced by a company's own operations, such as burning fossil fuels in boilers or vehicles. And while these emissions may seem like a necessary evil to keep your business running, they have a significant impact on the environment, human health, and eventually your bottom line. Governments worldwide are cracking down on carbon emissions, and companies that don’t get on board risk hefty financial penalties and damage to their reputation. So it's clear: taking action to reduce Scope 1 emissions isn’t just the responsible thing to do, it’s also good business sense!
How do Buildings Play a Role?
Would it surprise you that buildings are actually one of the most notorious pollutants? Most people usually resort to vehicles or energy production, which no doubt are major causes, but buildings are truly significant emitters. They account for a whopping ~40% of global carbon dioxide emissions. This is due to the energy required to power HVAC systems, lighting, and other building operations, as well as the materials used in construction and maintenance. In commercial and industrial buildings, HVAC systems are the main culprit, accounting for up to 50% of total energy consumption. Our company, Resolute, specializes in this space. We provide software tools backed by analytics to maximize the efficiency of HVAC systems. Not to toot our own horn, but these tools are one of the most innovative, practical, and cost-sensible ways to introduce substantial energy and cost savings to businesses while also reducing emissions. It only makes sense that Scope 1 has been a major topic of interest for us. We want to help businesses meet standards before they become official, giving you a head start.
So, what are some other steps that businesses can take to reduce their Scope 1 carbon emissions? The good news is that there are both short-term and long-term solutions.
Short Term Solutions:
Energy Audits: Conducting an energy audit is the first step in identifying inefficiencies in your operations. It helps you understand how much energy you’re using and where you’re using it. Energy audits can identify areas to reduce energy consumption and costs, such as installing energy-efficient lighting, upgrading HVAC systems, or optimizing processes.
Improving Energy Efficiencies: After an energy audit, you can start implementing energy-efficient solutions that will lower your carbon emissions. For example, replacing incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs, installing smart thermostats, or insulating buildings to reduce heating and cooling demands. We mentioned, already, how performance analytics software like Resolute’s can also play a meaningful role in energy optimization and carbon reduction.
Switching to Low-Carbon Fuels: Another way to reduce Scope 1 carbon emissions is to switch to low-carbon fuels. For example, companies can replace diesel fuel with biodiesel or natural gas, which produce fewer emissions. This can be particularly effective for industries that rely heavily on transportation, like logistics companies.
Implement Green Procurement: Companies can also implement green procurement policies, where you prioritize suppliers and products with lower carbon footprints. This can help reduce the emissions associated with the production and transportation of the goods and services you consume. Technically, this type of practice would fall under Scope 3, but every bit helps, right?
Encourage Sustainable Employee Practices: Encouraging sustainable employee practices such as reducing paper usage, encouraging carpooling or public transportation, and promoting remote work can also help reduce a company's carbon footprint.
Long Term Solutions:
Conversion to renewable energy sources: One of the most effective ways to reduce Scope 1 carbon emissions is to switch to renewable energy sources like solar, wind, or hydropower. By generating your own energy on-site, you can drastically reduce your carbon footprint and dependence on fossil fuels.
Carbon capture technology: Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a technology that captures carbon dioxide emissions from industrial processes and stores them underground. This technology can help reduce carbon emissions from power plants, refineries, and other energy-intensive industries.
Electrification: Electrifying processes and transportation can help reduce emissions, especially if the electricity is generated from renewable sources. Investing in electricity powered equipment, especially, will be critical. Vehicles are well on their way as we have seen.
Sustainable supply chain management: Businesses can also reduce their carbon footprint by implementing sustainable supply chain practices, such as using renewable energy sources in their supply chain, reducing transportation emissions, and sourcing materials and products from environmentally responsible suppliers.
Circular economy: In a circular economy, products and materials are designed to be reused, and waste is seen as a valuable resource that can be used to create new products or generate energy. This approach can help reduce the environmental impact of production and consumption, as well as create economic opportunities by generating new business models and markets.
The need to reduce Scope 1 carbon emissions cannot be overstated, and businesses must take action to address this pressing issue. At Resolute, we are making a concerted effort to tackle the current pollutive building landscape by empowering businesses to leverage their systems data. Although the prospect of changing operations may seem daunting, investing in emission reduction measures now will undoubtedly pay dividends in the future. With legislation looming on the horizon and consumer awareness and power higher than ever, it's crucial for companies to adopt a comprehensive approach that includes both short-term and long-term solutions to reduce emissions. By doing so, businesses can position themselves as leaders in sustainability and contribute to creating a more green-conscious future for everyone. This is an urgent call to action, and businesses cannot afford to ignore it if they want to succeed in a rapidly changing world.