Understanding the importance that the energy sector plays in combating greenhouse gas emissions is a crucial matter as we continue to move into the 21st century. With millions of tons of carbon dioxide getting pumped into the atmosphere, many corporations don’t realize that with the proper knowledge, every player in the energy sector can see significant reductions in these emissions.
Here are some of the best suggestions in respect to this trend.
Energy Consumption Audits
In some companies, energy consumed through business operations generate more than 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and are one of the largest operating costs for energy companies. As such, performing a complete, business-wide energy audit of all assets, facilities, and productions sites is the first step to finding potential optimization options. Once problem areas are identified, measures can be taken to treat them.
Harvard University achieved a 24% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions despite adding over three million square feet of space in between 2006 and 2016. How did they do this? The opening move of their new environmental strategy was an energy consumption audit.
Transitioning to Carbon-Friendlier Sources
Besides zero-carbon energy alternatives such as wind and solar, natural gas is becoming a more attractive source of energy for both businesses and consumers alike. Emitting 60 percent less CO2 than coal in the process of creating electricity, the abundant supplies unearthed by the shale revolution in the US has led to a reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions unseen since the 1990’s.
In recent years, the US has achieved remarkable growth in its natural gas sector, and as it steps up to the international scene as a net exporter of the energy source, national companies that are willing to transition into this energy source can help reduce emissions on a global scale as well.
Implementing Cogeneration Efforts
Another way to improve efficiency is through cogeneration –the process of capturing heat generated from the production of energy for use elsewhere. When companies make use of this heat that would otherwise be lost, it’s not uncommon to see some facilities witness a shocking increase in efficiency.
In Exxon Mobiles case, a company-wide initiative featuring 100 cogeneration units at more than 30 different sites, each having a 5,500-megawatt capacity, allowed the company to save the equivalent wasted energy to power 2.5 million U.S. households.
Embracing Transparency, Competition, and a New Corporate Culture
Perhaps the best method of battling greenhouse emissions is internal – creating a corporate culture more amicable to carbon-reduction strategies. Perhaps the best way of achieving this is through transparency.
When Congress required U.S. companies to disclose how many pounds of toxic pollution they were responsible for each year on a factory-by-factory basis, executives were disgraced by the results. These corporate leaders immediately promised reductions, and this social pressure led to a remarkable 50 percent reduction in toxic pollution.
The same idea can be applied on a corporate level. Requiring each department, region, and facility to become transparent about the degree of greenhouse emissions they produce can, with proper incentives, create a competitive culture amongst business-units as they strive to outperform each other in this regard. Even better, this strategy can be implemented across all organizational levels, from regional operations all the way up to national departments.
There are many ways for companies to get started in combatting emissions and technologies available.