When it comes to the energy we use, the balance is finally tipping in favor of green sources. The recently released Renewables Global Status Report shows that investment in green energy has now outstripped the money going into fossil fuels. Significantly, emerging markets are also now ploughing their money into renewables in big numbers too.
The BBC reported that more than eight million people are now working in renewable energy worldwide, helping to add about 147 gigawatts of capacity in 2015 – the equivalent of the generating capacity of Africa. That represented a $286 billion investment across the globe.
While people have long spoken about the need to be greener, it has taken a while for this to filter through into practical, deliverable solutions. Yet this is necessary for real change to occur. While investment and government policy are one thing, it’s on the coalface where it matters.
There has been big progress here too as businesses pioneer new practices and embrace new ways of working. It’s not easy being green – as the song goes – but it isn’t getting easier and more commonplace…
Saving energy, saving money
One of the biggest considerations for business is keeping costs down. But cutting costs and cutting emissions have gone hand in hand as businesses have found ways to be increasingly efficient when it comes to energy. Machinery and equipment that uses less fuel is much cheaper to run. In a nutshell: greener and leaner go hand in hand.
Innovation drives improvements
Low energy and low cost go hand in hand, but so do energy efficiency and safety. The drive to improve industrial processes to make them much safer for workers has helped to unearth practices that are greener too. Click here to see a way in which industrial blasting is now handled in a safe and energy efficient way, with surfaces prepared and covered with reusable media in a way that creates less issues for operators.
Hit the roof, solar panels
Soaking up the sunshine and using its power to produce energy has proven a popular way of generating renewable energy. Everyone from homeowners to big businesses can easily strap panels to their roof and reap the rewards. Germany, Japan and China are leading the way with this and, crucially, the creation of the panels needed for this has opened up an important opportunity for businesses. Renewables aren’t just an opportunity for businesses, they are a business opportunity.
Recycling and saving
Recycling has gone from being something that eco-conscious households did with their glass and paper to something that is natural for all businesses. Not just that, but so much of the operation of a modern business has been digitized. Technology has reduced the need for filing cabinets stuffed full of paper and helped facilitate conference calls and cut the need for travelling to meetings.
Speaking of which, the transport industry has also displayed great change. Vehicles now run with much lower emissions and, thanks to satellite navigation, can be tracked and guided along the quickest route to save fuel. Many businesses also encourage cycle to work or car share schemes, cutting the number of vehicles on the road where possible.
Transport, safer practices, efficient working, recycling, digitization and renewables are all part of the bigger picture and, put together, show how industries are changing to forge a greener future.