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We look at the UN’s seventh Sustainable Development Goal, and announce our new energy certification
Energy for All
[This is part of our series about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Click to here to read our introductory first post.]
The seventh of the UN’s development goals for a sustainable future tackles energy – more specifically, “ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.” The targets for this goal measure things ranging from international policymaking to technological advances, with the 2030 objective of ensuring that everybody in the world, from the poorest countries to the most developed, has easy access to sustainable or renewable energy.
This might seem like too large a goal for any one person or business to make a real difference, but that’s not the case. There are a lot of measures, big and small, that will make a huge difference if adopted by a large number of organisations.
Responsible Energy Management
For example, we have recently addressed our use of energy and taken another step in enhancing our sustainable credentials. As of the 9th of March, we have achieved the rigorous ISO:50001 standard for our energy management system, adding to our existing suite of internationally-recognised certifications.
As a business we work to help our clients to become more sustainable, often providing advice and expertise beyond waste management, and energy management is an increasingly big issue for the environment. Achieving this standard in energy management is therefore part of Bywaters’ aim to lead by example. This certification by the British Standards Institution is the product of many years of energy initiatives, carbon reduction schemes, and electricity monitoring across the business.
Solar Power and Beyond
Our work towards this standard began in 2015, when Bywaters installed London’s largest solar retrofit on the roof of our flagship facility in Bow. The 1MW array, which consists of 4,000 panels, hugely reduced our reliance on non-renewable energy, reducing our energy costs and associated carbon emissions by around 45%. The array produces enough power to run 237 homes for a year, and is almost enough to fuel our entire daytime operations.
Increasing the final global energy share of renewable energy is on the key targets of the UN’s energy Development Goal. Between 2010 and 2016 – when we installed our solar array – the global share increased from 16.6% to 17.5%. The energy markets are moving in the right direction, but faster change is needed; only since 2012 has the growth of renewable energy sources outpaced the growth of total energy consumption. In its own small way, our array contributes to this improvement – any excess energy is fed back into the National Grid.
But saving electricity is only one part of sustainable energy management, and so since then we have developed our energy management plan to further reduce our reliance on non-renewable sources and prepare the way for the future. Through smart collection, monitoring and analysis of our energy data we have improved our energy efficiency, and will continue to do so in the years ahead.
Running a Responsible Business
Striving for sustainability is at the heart of Bywaters’ ethos, and achieving the ISO:50001 standard is only the beginning of our drive for improvement in energy management. It is becoming increasingly vital for individuals and businesses to consider the environmental impact of their activities, and as we move forward into a new decade Bywaters is committed to being the most responsible, most sustainable business we can be.
Alongside our other ISO certifications – 45001 for Health & Safety, 14001 for Environmental Management and 9001 for Quality Management – the ISO:50001 standard acts as a marker for the quality and effectiveness of our operation. This high-level baseline is our new starting point, from which Bywaters will work to improve even further in the years ahead.
Energy Efficiency and Me
While you might not have room on your roof for a record-breaking installation, there may be more ways than you think for you to reduce your reliance on non-renewable energy and increase your energy efficiency. If you’ve got a business, or even just a house, then solar power may be a fruitful avenue. Solar installations can be small, and depending on your location and average sunlight can end up saving you far more money than they cost.
Otherwise, small actions add up to big changes. By taking care to choose products with high energy efficiency – the classic example is LED bulbs, which are six times more efficient than incandescent ones – we can increase demand for sustainable technologies. Proper insulation and programmable thermostats can increase the energy efficiency of buildings very quickly, while simple actions like washing clothes in cold water can have big effects.
Join Bywaters this week, as we consider how we could use energy more responsibly and work towards the UN’s vision for 2030.