By Paul Sheffield, Chief Operating Officer at Haven Power
Last year, for the first time ever, a new record was set where over 50 per cent of the UK’s electricity demand was met by renewable sources. Use of renewable energy in the UK is slowly growing, now accounting for more than 20 per cent of the country’s electricity. This growth has been largely down to sustainability becoming a greater strategic focus for businesses – Haven Power’s own research revealed 80 per cent of businesses are placing increased value on where their energy comes from.
Social and environmental awareness is not just ‘on-trend’ but is fast becoming a cornerstone of mass tourism. Big brands such as Thomas Cook and Ryanair have recently announced ambitious new sustainability strategies, with Ryanair’s sights set on becoming the world’s greenest airline.
Similarly, Gatwick Airport recently became one of the world’s first airports to achieve carbon neutral status. Rachel Thompson, Sustainability Manager, at Gatwick Airport said: “Gatwick was among the first airports in the world to go for 100 per cent certified renewable electricity, helping to reduce UK carbon emissions. That’s credit to our Engineering (Utilities) and Procurement departments, for having the vision to choose renewable electricity and to Haven Power, for being able to provide it.”
It won’t be long until other businesses are judged by their commitments to bettering the environment and promoting sustainable practices. In fact as a recent study revealed 54 per cent of holidaymakers are more likely to book with operators with a social conscience.
But how can businesses that lack procurement and sustainability departments compete with bigger brands with access to this expertise? How can they unlock the potential created by being sustainable? Using renewable power is one option.
Switching to renewable electricity can be good for any business in terms of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), but there are often bigger priorities to worry about. However, switching to renewable energy or becoming a prosumer – by generating and selling your own electricity – can provide a lot of benefits to businesses.
A good example of this is Low Costa Mill, which operates a collection of seven holiday cottages in the Yorkshire Moors. The cottages run on a mix of self-generated energy and renewable electricity provided by Haven Power. This mix has enabled Low Costa Mill to be awarded Gold Eco Leader status on TripAdvisor, which has not only boosted their overall profile but has also driven more customers to stay and book holidays with them. Speaking to the owner, he made the point that being more energy efficient has let them enhance their offering while reducing the overall operational costs.
As part of its energy strategy, Low Costa Mill uses an automatic meter reading (AMR) device to keep track of the exact amount of usage. This allows them to understand exactly what it is they are paying for and stay in control of their bills. To measure the return on investment of the self-supply set up, the owners monitor their daily consumption (every 30 minutes). The investment they made in renewables, and generating their own energy, has resulted in lower energy bills and contributed to them doubling their occupancy rates.
We are experiencing a moment of unprecedented change within the energy market. With more providers, businesses and the government pledging to be more environmentally responsible, renewable electricity ought to be an important consideration for all businesses, in every sector. The travel industry is already seeing a shift in consumer behaviour in how they choose their operators and destinations, and this will have an impact on all operators big and small, so now is the time for savvy small business owners to get ahead of the charge and look at becoming more sustainable.
The end goal of becoming a lower carbon Britain with a growing, dynamic economy is not the only journey we’re on at Haven Power. We also want to help businesses to understand how they can be more energy efficient and help them regain control of their electricity spend.
Find transformative ideas for a new energy future at havenpower.com/change
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