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Five actionable steps for a successful transition to sustainable power

23 November 2023

It is becoming increasingly apparent that current energy use and policies are unsustainable from a global perspective. More and more businesses are recognizing the need to transition to sustainable energy sources, realizing that we can’t continue to deplete our energy sources at the same rate or release carbon in the same amount without repercussions.

Reducing your company’s use through conservation is one way to decrease your environmental impact and is certainly worthwhile. However, ensuring the energy your company uses is sustainable can have even more impact. Here are some practical, actionable, and effective steps every business leader can take to ease and speed their transition to lower-carbon, more sustainable power:

1. Install your own clean energy-generating system

Adding a solar, wind, hydro, or geothermal energy system to your business can help you run your company primarily on clean energy. In addition to all the other benefits of in-house energy generation, having your own micro-generation system guarantees that your business is using sustainable energy.

If you are unsure of the best approach to acquiring on-site generation, what type of system is best for your business, or how much capacity you need, an energy management consultant can help. They will work with you to assess your needs and options. They can also help you find government incentives that may be available to help cover your initial set-up costs.

2. Speak to your employees and neighbours

As a business leader, you are in a position of influence and authority. Use that to help your community become more sustainable. Setting an example by publicizing your clean-energy efforts is one step toward doing that. You can also involve your employees in the process to help make thinking about energy use a regular part of their lives, which can then trickle down into their choices outside work.

You can make sustainability a topic at the forefront of the thoughts of your employees, neighbours, and community by talking about your own efforts and demonstrating your commitment to going green.

3. Change your electricity procurement contracts to prioritize renewable sources

Even if you purchase solar, wind, hydro, or geothermal energy generation equipment, your business will likely stay tied to the grid, buying some of your electricity from energy companies. That doesn’t mean you can’t make that portion of your energy consumption more sustainable. Most utility companies offer sustainable energy contracts, where some or all of the energy you buy is generated from sustainable sources.

Using these contracts doesn’t require the upfront investment of acquiring your own means of creating energy, and it makes switching over an easy and affordable change on just about any company’s budget. However, sorting through the various contracts offered by multiple providers can be confusing. This is where Canada’s energy consulting firms can use their knowledge to help you understand options available in your local market.

4. Use energy-efficient suppliers

In addition to changing how you source your energy, you can have an impact by addressing the power used to create your supplies and materials, deliver your product, market your services, or run any other aspect of your business.

By working with suppliers, consultants, and other businesses that have made sustainability part of their company’s ethos, you ensure that the companies your business supports are doing their part to transition to sustainable energy. You will reward sustainable choices with your support and your company’s business.

5. Make your values known to your government

Renewable energy has made significant progress in a relatively short time. In 2020, renewable energy made up 29% of all electricity. While that’s a laudable effort, it is not enough to stem the tide of climate change. Government action is one of the best ways to lead consumers and energy producers to more sustainable policies and push for the necessary changes.

The United States has set a goal to use 100% carbon-pollution-free electricity by 2035. Canada’s 2030 target is 90%, with a longer-term goal of 100% electricity generated from renewable, non-carbon-emitting sources. These goals and the resulting changes are responsible for much of these countries’ progress toward sustainable energy adoption. They show that government action leads to meaningful change.

You can make your voice heard through voting, speaking with elected officials, and supporting government programs relating to clean energy. Show your government officials where you stand on energy goals and initiatives, as well as large- and small-scale programs intended to meet or exceed those goals. Lend your company’s name to efforts you support to generate political momentum toward renewable energy. If you feel they need to do more, hold your representatives accountable.

You can influence the future of energy

Even as it has become undeniable that human-driven climate change is happening and that sustainable energy is one of the most effective ways to slow or reverse those changes, it can be daunting to look at your operations and figure out how to transition them to sustainable power. Your choices can move the world’s energy supply in a more responsible, green direction, and it’s well worth your time to determine which options work for your business. The steps outlined here offer a path for shifting your business toward a more sustainable future, changing how you use energy, how those around you use it, and how those empowered to make changes on a larger scale treat the issue of sustainable energy.

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