We all have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint and waste where possible. From individuals, to SMEs, to corporations, there are actions we can take at every level to minimise our environmental impact.
This blog looks at actions those in the construction industry, which is responsible for 10% of all carbon dioxide emissions in the UK, and those in all workplaces can take to reduce their workplace carbon footprint.
In the Construction Industry
1. Minimise the carbon impact of construction processes and activities
Examining the processes and activities that make up construction work can help you to minimise the carbon impact of these actions. Potential ways to reduce your carbon output on site include:
- Reducing transportation emissions by sourcing local materials
- Planning the use of machinery efficiently
- Recycling and reusing material where possible
- Considering installing renewable energy on site
2. Incorporate a low carbon approach when designing work
When planning work, designers should take a fully integrated Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach to design decisions – this includes a low carbon approach to designing along with considering material, water and energy needs across the entire lifecycle of the project.
3. Select suppliers and partners based on their sustainability policies
When choosing your suppliers and partners, investigate their sustainability and environmental policies and practices to reduce the environmental impact of your projects.
4. Choose energy efficient, electric equipment where possible
Depending on your access to power on site, try to purchase and use rechargeable electric equipment over those that require fossil fuels to run.
5. Plan for the implementation of hydrogen fuel
As heavy construction plant equipment is hard to electrify, hydrogen fuel is likely on the horizon as a replacement to fossil fuels.
Therefore, businesses should prepare to implement hydrogen and plan for this moving forward.
In All Workplaces
6. Encourage greener commutes
Even a small change to your workforce’s commuting habits can make a big difference to your business’ carbon emissions.
As an employer, you can promote a greener commute by setting up Cycle To Work or Electric Car Schemes, offering subsidised public transport, and helping to organise carpooling.
7. Reduce paper waste
and takLimiting paper usage in the workplace is a fairly simple step to take – you can start small, by taking actions such as limiting printing materials and only allowing printing if a document has been thoroughly spell-checked and is printed double-sided.
Longer-term solutions include implementing cloud-based filing systems and online forms, and introducing a paper-saving office policy.
8. Utilise online meetings and online events
Transport makes up around one-fifth of global CO2 emissions. Consider whether business meetings or corporate events that have long travel distances need to be in person, or if this could be hosted online instead.
Virtual meetings are now much more commonplace and well-understood, and have the capacity to reduce commuting times, travel expenses, and transport emissions.
9. Support recycling
Increasing the amount that your workplace recycles can help to offset your carbon emissions.
Make sure that recycling stations are accessible and clearly labelled, and that instructions for where different materials should be disposed of are outlined – this can help take the mental load off of employees and help encourage them to recycle more.
10. Invest in reusable items
Single-use items produce unnecessary waste and increase carbon emissions through the constant manufacturing required to create them.
Look into simple swaps in your workplace to reduce single-use waste, such as cloth towels instead of paper, sugar jars instead of sachets, and metal cutlery instead of plastic.
Environmental Awareness and Resource Efficiency courses can help your workforce gain an understanding of how they can reduce their environmental impact. Make sure you don’t miss out on our 10% off deal on these courses, available until the end of June. Simply enter the code ‘carbon10’ at checkout to save!
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