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Utility Aid: What net zero means for us and our customers

Ahead of SFHA’s Annual Conference on 14 and 15 June, Emily Berry, Partnerships Manager at Utility Aid, shares what net zero means to her organisation. Utility Aid is sponsoring the event’s carbon consultancy.

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By Emily Berry, Partnerships Manager at Utility Aid

Linking Purchasing and Sustainability.

In early 2020, Utility Aid wanted to find out what net zero would mean for our customers and develop insight into how organisations could achieve this ambitious sustainably target. We needed to consider a future environment where we use 60–80% less energy across our business, and the energy we purchased was from local renewable resource.

As an ethical broker, Utility Aid felt compelled to take the challenge of net zero very seriously and commit to reducing our own environmental impact. We decided sustainability, for us, meant, energy security, reduced costs and zero waste. We developed a simple sustainability policy to limit the harm our activities cause to our environment, wherever possible. We considered a policy where our activities caused no harm to our environment but quickly realised this wasn’t achievable. It was then that we realised net zero and sustainability needed to be a journey.

The first thing we did was allocate resources and pledged to reduce our carbon footprint. What we thought would be a simple task turned out to be complicated, and we were asked to consider the current, and future, elements of our business.

  • Where would we need energy?
  • What would the energy be used for.
  • What time of day would we use the energy?
  • How would the energy be produced and by whom?
  • Did we have control over the carbon content?
  • Where we didn’t, what could we do?
  • Where did we need better data?

All these questions became important answers and allowed Utility Aid to make informed decisions on a range of business areas, including the property types we occupy, the vehicles we drive, and the technology we use. By understanding our energy needs, we could better control our energy use, and easily identify opportunities for reducing energy through an initial investment or a future purchasing policy.

In August 2020, Utility Aid launched the Net Zero and Energy Management department, with the aim of identifying the risks and benefits of reducing energy consumption through education, analysis, and reporting.

The Utility Aid approach is called MARA, and it allows organisations to take a step-by-step approach to net zero, spreading the cost of starting your journey right through to completion.  The organisations we have worked with, to date, have taken control of their energy use, been able to make informed decisions on where to invest and the type of funding that might be available to them.

The first step is to pledge to allocate resource and cut carbon, and to do that you need to measure, you cannot cut what you have not measured. Utility Aid can calculate your current impact and provide advice on what to do from there.

Utility Aid packages start from £99+ VAT per building.

You can read Utility Aid’s sustainability policy here.

SFHA Annual Conference

14 and 15 June 2022, Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow

Utility Aid is sponsoring the carbon consultancy at this year's Annual Conference on 14 and 15 June. 

Click here to book

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