There’s been a burst of press coverage recently about the achievements of Google and Apple and the way in which they have moved towards carbon neutrality for their major facilities
through a variety of techniques including, in Apple’s case, rafts of solar panels installed in all facilities.
This sounds like the sort of big corporate greening activity which generates headlines, but it doesn’t have to be just huge businesses which tackle such things.
Smart Brown Dog manages to operate from a carbon neutral facility as well, through a mix of informed purchasing, solar installations and old fashioned heating. We’ve done this partly out of a conviction that it’s the right thing to do, from a desire to participate in the post-carbon economy but also as a consequence of location.
We have the privilege of operating from a rural location; we don’t have a gas supply, we don’t have oil tanks, but we do have an uprated electrical supply which, although occasionally unreliable, is effective. We also have a good supply of wood grown and harvested locally and a large solar array installed in 2016.
Our set up is a mix of burning sustainably grown wood from local sources (as in, we can pretty much see the fields and woods they come from) for space heating and hot water. We have solar providing hot water, even making a contribution in the grey British winter. And we have electricity.
Our power provider sources all their electricity from wind and solar generation which means, in effect, we’re operating in a carbon neutral system. We’ve been doing this for years, and rejoice in being customer number 7! With the current fluctuations in oil price, it is hard to judge if we are cheaper or more expensive than running on oil or gas, but our general feeling (particularly with the addition of solar) is that we’re doing OK, particularly if oil spikes again.
We’re not complacent. Consumption could be managed differently, and our mix of space usage leads to inefficiencies here and there. However, it’s a good first step in the direction of sustainability.
It’s not an instant thing, and takes some planning and forethought to get right. But I hope we’ve shown that it is possible, and is something many businesses could aspire to.