Apple energy goes 100% green

Apple has just announced that in a concerted effort to combat climate change, all of its retail stores, data centres and corporate offices in 43 countries (including the US, the UK, China and India) now run on 100 per cent clean energy. Apple uses a variety of clean energy sources, such as solar technology, wind farms and new concepts like biogas fuel cells and micro-hydro generation systems for generating electricity.

This is huge inspiration for Apple supporters, particularly businesses that use Apple products as well as those that supply Apple. In fact, to date there are 23 Apple suppliers that have pledged to power their Apple production with 100 per cent clean energy.

Thus far, clean energy from supplier projects helped avoid over 1.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from being emitted in 2017, the equivalent of taking more than 300,000 cars off the road. In addition, over 85 suppliers have registered for Apple’s Clean Energy Portal, an online platform that Apple developed to help suppliers identify commercially viable renewable energy solutions in regions around the world.

In a statement about the energy milestone, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “We’re going to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible with the materials in our products, the way we recycle them, our facilities and our work with suppliers to establish new creative and forward-looking sources of renewable energy because we know the future depends on it.”

Whilst sustainability is said to be a priority for many companies, as the saying goes: actions speak louder than words. Well done Apple!

For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Source: Apple.com – “Apple now powered by 100 percent renewable energy”

Ten ways to help your business reduce its carbon footprint

The bigger the business, the bigger the carbon footprint – and the harder you’ll have to work to do your part help reduce global carbon emissions. The good news (for everyone) is that an increasing number of businesses are committed to 100 per cent renewable energy! Here are some practical steps your business (small or large) can take to shrink its footprint:

  1. Proper insulating. Poorly insulated premises require large quantities of energy to heat.
  2. Recycle.
  3. Support businesses (through business deals, purchases etc.) committed to reducing their impact on the climate.
  4. Buy gas and electricity from retailers who sell renewable power – this will grow companies, who can then offer competitive rates.
  5. Drive less. Walking or riding a bike releases far fewer carbon emissions into the atmosphere than driving a car.
  6. Reduce your water usage – encourage employees to take shorter showers, install low flush toilets, be sure to turn off the taps properly.
  7. Air travel is usually the largest component of the carbon footprint of frequent flyers – find an alternative mode of transport (trains?) or not take as many flights.
  8. Replace old gas and oil boilers, which can be wasteful. By replacing your old boiler with a new one (even if the old one is working well), your fuel use could fall by a third or more.
  9. Avoid energy-sapping halogen lights and go with LEDs (light-emitting diodes) where possible.
  10. Consume less. Invest in fewer and better things for your business.

For more ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint, read “How to reduce your carbon footprint” and “Easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint“.

For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

The effect of Bank Holidays on business revenue

Bank Holidays are a wonderful opportunity for respite in a busy work schedule – whether you’re spending time with family or taking time out for yourself. And yet interestingly, research suggests that bank holidays (although there are only eight of them in the UK) can cost small businesses thousands in revenue.

According to a report by Yell Business, UK small businesses could potentially lose £2,250 each if they opt to close on every bank holiday. In spite of this potential for loss, just 26 per cent of businesses open their doors on bank holidays – despite 86 per cent of the public saying they specifically use the day to shop around (making it worth a business’s while to stay open!).

Of course, the effect of a bank holiday on a business depends largely on the type of business in question. For example, just 42 per cent of retail, catering and leisure businesses operate as normal – though it’s suggested many more should consider opening too.

Essentially, knowing your business and your customer base will help you determine whether it’s in your best interest to stay open on a bank holiday. Also have a look at your sales data and make an informed decision. And if you decide to close you business; plan for it – let your employees know whether they are working or not and log opening and closing hours on your business website.

As for the team at CH Systems – we’re always available to look after your heating and plumbing needs. For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Sources: Britishgas.co.uk and Is4profit.com

Why your business could benefit from a smart meter

The benefits of smart meters have been a source of scepticism, with some businesses not at all keen on having one installed. Some of the rumours going around are that: smart meters cause cancer, that your smart meter spies on you and that your data isn’t safe, and that the device doesn’t actually save you money.

So, is any of this true?

A blog published by British Gas busts all the aforementioned myths’ – in a nutshell, smart meters have to pass safety tests, information can’t be passed to anyone without your permission and as for money saving: smart meters might not directly save your business money but the data supplied by the device will help you to better understand your company’s energy use, which can result in money saving if you alter your energy strategy to be the most cost efficient possible.

As for the practicalities…

Smart meters are free. It takes about 60-90 minutes to install a smart meter and you’ll have to switch your electricity off while the engineer installs the meter. You won’t have to manually send your meter readings any more, which saves time and effort.

One of the reasons that many businesses have chosen to install a smart meter is that bills are more accurate as your company will only be charged for the energy it has actually used.

The best advice if you’re thinking about a smart meter is to do your research and when in doubt, as a professional!

(And in case you’re not in the loop: a smart meter is a gas or electricity device that works by sending meter readings to us via a SIM card in the meter, just like a mobile phone. With your smart readings your bills will be more accurate as you’ll only be charged for the energy you’ve used.)

For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

What is Climate Change Levy and how will due increase affect your business?

In response to global warming, the UK government (along with many other countries in Europe) prescribed various environmental taxes and relief schemes in an effort to encourage businesses to reduce their carbon footprint. The Climate Change Levy (CCL) is one of these measures.

The CCL is an environmental tax charged on the energy used by businesses, and applies to the industrial, commercial and agricultural sectors as well as public services. The tax is charged on ‘taxable commodities’ for heating, lighting and power purposes.

Virtually every business in the UK has to pay the CCL but there are a few exceptions: very small businesses, charitable businesses engaged in non-commercial activities, businesses generating electricity from a renewable source and using it exclusively on-site, and businesses investing in Combined Heat and Power (CHP).

If you’ve been in business since 2001 (when the CCL was introduced), likely you’re already aware of all of the above but what you may not know is that rates are set to increase more than ever before! The reason for the increase is to limit the effects of climate change and pollution, which really are negatively impacting our planet.

Typically, the CCL has risen by 3 per cent each year but April 2019 will see a drastic rise in rates, with a 45 per cent CCL increase on electricity and 67 percent increase on gas and other fuel.

This could affect your business’s bottom line – especially if you’re a small to medium-size enterprise! But there are a couple of things that you can do to mitigate the impact of the CCL increase, namely: invest in small scale energy generation or simply reduce energy consumption! Non-intensive, large energy users such as hospitals, supermarkets, and office blocks may see and overall reduction if savings from the abolition of the Carbon Reduction Comittment (as of April 2019) offsets the rise in CCL rates. Businesses (of all sizes) may also need to re-strategise their finances with the inclusion of a bigger levy budget to cover the spike in rates.

For further details on the CCL increase, visit Touchstoneservices.co.uk or Britishgas.co.uk.

For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Four ways to cut energy costs and grow your business

Following a survey of over 1,000 energy decision-makers around the world, new research by Centrica Business Solutions has found that, more and more, organisations are starting to take control of their energy. Data shows that:

  • 1 in 3 businesses are exploring how energy can contribute to growth, greater efficiencies and reduced business risk.
  • Organisations with a well documented energy strategy are 2.5x more likely to be efficient, well run and financially robust.
  • 40 per cent of companies have significantly reduced energy costs after investing in advanced energy solutions.

In response to this information, Centrica has highlighted four proven opportunities that can be woven into business strategy in an effort to transform energy performance:

  1. Energy Insight – using energy data to create deeper insights and improve operational efficiency. By monitoring equipment with low-cost, wireless sensors, customers can quickly gain deep and insightful energy analytics, enabling them to pinpoint where energy waste is occurring and spots potential equipment failures before they happen.
  2. Energy Efficiency – reduce energy costs with innovative technology and solutions. An example of this is: replacing traditional light fittings with LED lighting, which is 90 per cent more efficient!
  3. Reduce your reliance on the grid with Combined Heat and Power (CHP). Using CHP on-site generation can reduce energy costs by up to 40 per cent, and unlock greater sustainability benefits by using renewable methane rich bio-gas to fuel the CHP process. By providing a stable, secure energy supply your site resilience is enhanced, protecting you from energy supply disruption.
  4. Improve sustainability with Solar and strengthen your brand reputation. Solar energy is one of the most cost effective methods of improving both financial and environmental performance.

Lastly, here’s a nifty little stat to cajole you onto the road of energy transformation: if you cut your energy costs by 20 per cent, you can gain the same bottom-line benefit as a 5 per cent rise in sales.

To find out more about how to implement any of the above energy opportunities, read: “Rethinking energy for better business performance” on Centricabusinesssolutions.com.

For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Top tips to helping your business reduce its carbon footprint

In a landmark report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – published in October 2018 – the world’s leading climate scientists warned that there are only 12 or so years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people – as reported by Theguardian.com.

It’s thus more imperative than ever that businesses do their utmost to improve their green credentials (whilst also saving money on energy overheads). Here some small but significant ideas:

Use Renewable Energy: Fossil fuels — coal, petroleum, and natural gas — are the main source of energy, producing the vast majority of fuel, electricity, and heat used by people across the globe. It’s these fossil fuels that are the primary contributors to the global warming epidemic. Renewable energy is one of the most important solutions to global warming. You might not be able to build an entire solar field (like Google) but you can ensure that your energy company has you enrolled in the ‘greenest’ programme possible.

Go Paperless – large-scale deforestation is also one of the major contributors to global warming, so why not go paperless (wherever possible)? We have the technology to run businesses on as little paper as possible; embrace this with e-receipts, digital job applications, e-signatures etc!

Recycle and USE Recycled Products – most businesses are on top of recycling, with plastic, cans and paper slotted into the appropriate bins…but what about buying post-consumer recycled products (boxes, cups, packaging, paper etc.) for business use?

Reduce Energy Use – use LED bulbs instead of light bulbs, upgrade appliances to ones that have an Energy Star rating, switch off systems at close-of-day and use a programmable thermostat to keep the office temperature steady – for example. The little things have a cumulative effect and can make a big difference.

It will take everyone doing their bit to combat global warming! Lead the way by reducing the environmental footprint of your business.

For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Sources: “How to improve your green energy credentials” – Britishgas.co.uk; Renewable Energy Is Critical To Stopping Global Warming” – Cleantechnica.com; Energy and Global Warming – Biologicaldiversity.org

Below ground gas work – Royal Chelsea Hospital

Following on from the enabling and installation work successfully carried out at the Royal Chelsea Hospital, the team at CH Systems proceeded to tackle the final part of the project: below ground gas pipework.

There were a number of irrigation pipes that crossed the tech and made the installation of a 125mm PE pipe quite awkward. To make it work, we had to squeeze off the existing below ground gas pipework on both sides of the site, which was followed by a tightness test on the entire gas carcass. The sheer size of the gas system as well as a lack of valves on location meant that we had to cut into the pipework. (See the below images for how it went down…)

Ultimately, the work was a success. The 200meters of pipe and multiple fittings we used on the job was supplied by Smith Brothers Stores, and went together without a hitch, making for a tidy installation.

Overall the client is very pleased with the work, as are we.

Optimise your business’s energy use with Panoramic Power

All businesses hope to operate as efficiently and cost effectively as possible – to maximise revenue and profit. One of many variables in the process of ‘successful business operation’ is optimising energy use; turning energy from a commodity cost to a value-adding resource could give you the edge over your competition – at least, that’s what Panoramic Power promises.

As an energy insight solution, Panoramic Power allows you see exactly how your business uses energy. It’s comprised of self-powered, wireless sensors that transmit real-time data from your energy-using equipment to a cloud-based analytics platform, PowerRadar. The point of the data is to help your business optimise performance, and also deal with potential equipment failures before they happen as well as reduce energy inefficiencies.

With the exact knowledge of how your energy is spent (per device!) you’ll be able to predict potential equipment failures before they happen as well as curtail business risk by making changes to reduce, if not eliminate, energy waste. This will not only improve operational efficiency but reduce energy bills and enable managers to direct budget.

Panoramic power is an interesting concept and is currently operational in 30 countries, including the UK. It’s ideal for any business looking to gain insights into energy consumption with minimum disruption and maximum cost-effectiveness. For more information, check out Centricabusinesssolutions.com.

For all your energy related question, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Gas fired Warm Air Unit – global internet retailer

The life expectancy of a boiler depends very much upon the type of boiler in question but, on average, a traditional gas boiler should last between 10 and 15 years. When it comes to the end if its serviceable life, it’ll need to be replaced – as was the case when we were called to check out some issues a client (global internet retailer) was having with their current heating system at a warehouse in Croydon.

The team at CH Systems discovered that the older gas fired Reznor units had fulfilled their life expectancy and a decision was made to replace the current units with 6no new Reznor UDSA-100 units.

With the roof of the warehouse being 13 meters off the slab, the work had to be carried out on Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) – this was no problem as all of our engineers hold current IPAF Certified Training For Working Height certificates, which enabled us to carry out the work in a much more timely fashion (saving the time and effort of scaffold towers etc). See pics below: