Energy use and power
Most New Zealand businesses can save 20% on their energy bills with a few simple changes. Cutting down energy use also reduces pollution.
Here are some simple steps to reduce your energy use.
- Check your building is properly sealed and insulated.
- Ensure all heating and air conditioning is properly tuned.
- Choose the highest efficiency light bulbs, appliances and equipment.
- Turn all appliances off when they’re not in use.
- Minimise the use of hot water where you can.
If you are running high-energy machines, schedule this outside peak hours whenever possible. Keep everything well-tuned and maintained. If your business uses non-renewable energy sources, like coal, gas or diesel generators, look at how they might be replaced with electricity or a more sustainable option.
Check your energy bills and account information. This should provide a pretty good idea of how much electricity, gas or other energy sources you are using and when. A smart meter can give hourly updates on electricity use.
Changing what your business buys can improve its sustainability. It’s also a powerful way to influence others.
Choose products and services for your business that show a commitment to sustainability whenever you can. Certification schemes are a good way to do this where they have high standards that are independently verified. For example, choosing Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper and cardboard helps support better forest management. Choosing Fairtrade products helps support workers’ rights and small producers in local communities.
A brief guide to sustainability certifications (external link) — The Sustainable Business Network
Here are some questions to ask your suppliers:
- What sustainable options they have and how the improvements can be proved?
- Where their products come from and the conditions in which they are made?
- What the packaging is made of, how it can be disposed of, and whether they will take it back?
- Whether the product will be reused, recycled or can be easily repaired?
Many larger companies have a lot of information about sustainability on their website, or in their annual or sustainability reports. Otherwise, ask when getting a quote. This information will make your products more attractive to conscientious customers, who may be happy to pay more to do the right thing.