Net Zero, in the context of this article, is when the net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from an organization’s activities are equal to zero. To achieve Net Zero, it is important to measure emissions, reduce and eliminate emissions as much as possible through activities such as energy-efficiency or renewable energy, and to counterbalance remaining emissions with carbon offsets.
The benefits of Net Zero extend beyond energy cost savings. Developing an effective plan to manage and reduce your energy consumption and emissions can help improve your bottom line while simultaneously achieving your sustainability goals. But how do you get your business on a path to achieving Net Zero emissions?
First, it is important to understand the different scopes of emissions to measure per standard reporting practices, like the Greenhouse Gas Protocol:
Scope 1: Focuses on all direct GHG emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by your organization (e.g., company vehicles, on-site co-generation)
Scope 2: Focuses on indirect GHG emissions from consumption of purchased electricity, heat or steam (e.g., purchased electricity for own use)
Scope 3: Focuses on all other indirect emissions not covered under Scope 2 that are a consequence of the activities of the reporting company, but occur at sources owned or controlled by another entity (e.g., employee commuting, business travel and purchased goods)
There are several short- and long-term energy solutions to help your organization reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in each scope. The difference between short- or long-term solutions is implementation time.
Scope 1: Reduce or eliminate all direct GHG emissions from sources owned or controlled by your organization in the short-term by purchasing carbon offsets and investing in efficient fleet vehicles. On-site renewables, energy efficiency improvements to facilities, co-generation and fuel cells are some long-term solution options.
Scope 2: Reduce or eliminate indirect GHG emissions from consumption in the short term through Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and off-site renewable alternatives. On-site renewables, energy efficiency improvements to facilities, co-generation and fuel cells are some long-term solution options.
Scope 3: Reduce or eliminate all other indirect emissions not covered under Scope 2 in the short term through the purchase of carbon offsets. Another suggestion is “greening” conferences to counterbalance the environmental impact of events.
The path to achieving Net Zero is an evolutionary one and includes energy efficiency, renewable energy and carbon offsets. Your customer type, the type of building you occupy, whether you are in a regulated or non-regulated market, the types of emissions and the percent of emissions in each scope will determine your path towards achieving Net Zero.
Find out more about how WGL Energy Systems and Services, Inc. can help you create a path to achieve Net Zero by contacting Richard Walsh via email or phone at 917-310-1610.
About Greenhouse Gas Protocol
GHG Protocol establishes comprehensive global standardized frameworks to measure and manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from private- and public-sector operations, value chains and mitigation actions. http://www.ghgprotocol.org/