The UK government is committed to cutting emissions by 75% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, which should see the country achieve the 80% reduction by 2050 set out in the Climate Change Act (2008) fifteen years early. This will require a national shift to renewable energy sources, zero-emissions vehicles and better use of local goods and services.
At Greenham, we are committed to reducing our environmental impacts and monitor our carbon footprint to ensure we are being as efficient as possible. Across our 21 Service Centres, we work hard to promote responsible resource consumption wherever possible. In 2020, we saw a 17% fall in our Scope 1 and 2 emissions (2019-2020), partly due to the impact of COVID-19 on our ways of working but also due to improvements made to our fleet. As we update our fleet vehicles, we are investing in lower emissions technology and through our fleet management system, Verizon Connect, we are able to optimise our route planning to further reduce carbon emissions. We now have 6 vehicles fitted with solar film matting to provide auxiliary power to the tail lift, lights and in-cab comforts, which enables the driver the turn off the engine and save fuel while making a delivery.
We work hard to make sure that any new Greenham Service Centres make the most of natural lighting and meet higher energy efficiency standards as well as installing LEDs in our existing Service Centres, which reduces our electricity consumption by up to 50% per site. Since 2011, we have seen a 31.6% reduction in our gas and electric consumption, achieved through LED and motion sensor installations, awareness campaigns and other continuous improvements to our operating efficiency.
While we work to use fewer resources in our day-to-day operations and reduce our Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions, we also want to ensure that the resources we do use are responsibly managed. At the beginning of 2021, we chose to offset the 2101 tonnes of CO2e emissions we created in 2020 and we have been sourcing renewable electricity for our Service Centres since 2019.
Britain’s electricity mix has improved substantially over the last 5 years. In 2017, more than half of the electricity demand of the UK was supplied by renewable energy for the first time. In 2019, the country went 400 hours (16 days) without using coal to generate electricity in the period up to 3rd June. In 2020, we saw some of our longest ever coal-free periods with a record-breaking 67-day period between March and June and a 55-day period between June and August.
At Greenham, we are proud to be supporting the transition to renewable electricity by sourcing our electricity from a REGO (Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin) certified supplier. In 2020, they reported to have sourced 100% of the electricity supplied from renewable sources, using a mix of bioenergy, wind, solar and hydropower.
The majority of our electricity comes from Drax Power Station, the biggest renewable generator in the UK. The power station has upgraded half of its generation units to use compressed wood pellets (biomass) instead of coal and started Europe’s first bioenergy carbon capture, use and storage (BECCUS) project. If successful, this could make Drax Power Station the world’s first carbon negative power station.
In addition to this, our supplier sources around 8% of supplied electricity from hydropower. The energy is generated across Cruachan Power Station, which is one of only four pumped hydro storage stations in the UK and the Lanark and Galloway river-run-off hydro schemes. The rest (around 43%) comes from a mix of wind and solar farms.
Despite our choice to purchase electricity from a REGO supply, at Greenham, we recognise that the electricity we use is a reflection of the UK’s energy mix. Therefore, we continue to report on our Scope 2 emissions both in relation to the Fuel Mix Disclosure from our supplier (market-based) and the UK’s national average (location-based) in line with the government’s environmental reporting guidelines.
Altogether, this means that the electricity we buy is created without generating any carbon emissions and supports the growth of renewables in the UK’s energy mix. In 2019, coal-fired power represented just 2.1% of the UK’s electricity generation, whilst renewables have continued to grow and were able to supply 37% of electricity which is a trend that has continued into 2021.
Disclaimer: The information provided through Greenham Pulse is for general guidance only and is not legal advice. Greenham Pulse is not a substitute for Health and Safety consultancy. You should seek independent advice about any legal matter.