Whilst the global impact of climate change is widely acknowledged, experts are divided over the potential extent, writes Janey Brockwell. The World Bank believes that as many as 150m people could be displaced by 2050 due to climate change. A recent study from an Australian think-tank suggests that the true figure could be closer to 1bn!
The UK has committed to leading the global war on climate change by reducing greenhouse gases to virtually nil by 2050. Shortly before leaving office, Theresa May stated that there was a “moral duty to leave this world in a better condition than we inherited”. The government is therefore continually searching for solutions to provide that much sought after rarity in politics: a win-win scenario.
So just how far does our responsibility extend? And what can we do in our homes, workplaces and shared common areas to help?
5 ways you can do your bit
Have a lightbulb moment
Lighting is the biggest cost for communal living areas and it is often both inefficient and ill-considered! Consumption may be reduced in a number of ways, from installing LED lighting to implementing motion sensors that automatically switch off lights when no one is in the room. As with many energy efficiency measures, environmental benefits coincide with cost savings – the return on investment for LEDs can typically be recovered within a few months, with bulbs lasting up to 10 times longer than traditional light bulbs.
Set the temperature to “just right”
Controlling heating is key and should be a mainstay of any energy management plan. Basics, such as incorporating seasonality and prevailing temperatures into thermostat settings, are key as is ensuring that the area is equipped with appropriate insulation and ventilation so that it derives maximum benefit from any available heat source.
Get smart with your metering
What you can’t measure, you can’t manage. The first smart meter was designed in 1977 to provide accurate and automated energy usage readings. Since then there has been a multitude of changes and upgrades, culminating with the latest Smets II meters which were introduced earlier this year. The Smets II meters are the first of its kind in that they are universally supported by all suppliers.
Go off grid
There is now an increasing number of on-site generation technology available, the most common being solar panels. The increased availability of Power Purchase Agreements (PPA’s) mean that many organisations are faced with an appetising combination of immediate savings and a reduced carbon footprint, without any capital outlay or associated risk.
Consider an electric vehicle
The number of electric vehicles registered on UK roads has increased from 3,500 in 2013 to around 235,000 today. This exponential growth is projected to continue, particularly with supporting infrastructure being continually upgraded and various tax benefits on offer.
Get started today
With many companies providing efficiency audits for little or no cost, there is every reason to review your options and help the country fulfil its 2050 goal whilst saving money in the process. Perhaps a win-win scenario for bill payers can be achieved after all!
Janey Brockwell is senior utilities co-ordinator, in the property management department at Advantage Utilities