Emerald Green Environmental Management Services (EGEMS) is a northwest-based micro consultancy founded in 2019. We provide bespoke environmental management and sustainability services to SME and Corporate clients. Most of our service is delivered digitally and remotely, so our office’s energy consumption comprises 22.5% of our Scope 1 and 2 carbon footprint.
EGEMS became signatories to the Pledge in early 2020. This case study focuses particularly on saving carbon from reducing the room temperature, with EGEMS saving 17% off their annual gas use by turning down the thermostat by just 1.5C.
What did we do and what has been the carbon impact?
Since our office space is gas-heated, we wanted to reduce our heating requirements. We decided that starting with the simplest course of action would be best. In 2021, we lowered our primary thermostat from 19.5 to 19 degrees. The perceptual difference was negligible. Then in 2022, we decided to go further and lowered our daytime heating temperature to 18 degrees. During cooler winter months, we did notice the building was cooler, but we opted to wear an additional layer of clothing (a sweater) instead. The resulting consumption data is striking. The first 0.5-degree reduction resulted in a 7.5% reduction in gas use over 2021. For the second 1-degree reduction, as of August 2022, we estimate this will result in an additional 8.7% reduction in our gas consumption, compared to 2021. In summary, a 1.5-degree heating reduction over a 2-year period has reduced our gas consumption by 16.8% against our 2020 baseline.
What are the key lessons you've taken from the process?
• It was remarkably easy. Just set the new temperature on the thermostat and forget about it.
• Try an incremental approach. The first half a degree reduction was barely perceptible but still resulted in significant reduction. And while the second year’s full degree reduction did result in a noticeably cooler building in winter, we rapidly acclimatised.
• Insulate the individual rather than heating the whole building. We found this actually felt cosier, made us feel more alert during the day and involved almost no additional outlay.
• Move frequently. Heating is often used to compensate for sedentarism, which is also very unhealthy. We found by setting our FitBits to encourage us to move every hour, this was a great opportunity to warm up too!
• Don’t be mean. The thermostat can always be temporarily boosted if things get seriously uncomfortable – just try not to do it too often!
• Think laterally. Hot water bottles and even small heated electric pads can also be used to heat individuals.
• Share the good news data. This reminds your colleagues of the big difference one small sacrifice is making to your business’ energy overheads and carbon emissions.
Would you recommend this to others?
Yes. We think that this tip works especially well for SMEs, particularly for those in smaller properties. Correctly implemented, it is an initiative that requires everyone’s buy-in and their personal adaptations can help every individual feel like they’re directly contributing to the carbon saving efforts. Larger organisations may find it more difficult, particularly those with large open-plan offices which can experience larger spatial variations in air temperature. Also, encouraging hundreds of employees to get involved, especially if it results in pushback from unions, HR and H&S departments could also be challenging.
Consultant Director, EGEMS
Contact for more information
Rick Sykes – firstname.lastname@example.org
What is your number 1 recommendation for others?
Reducing your energy dependency for your heating is easy. Not only is it an effective way to reduce your Scope 1 carbon emission, it is also a significant cost saving opportunity, especially during the current energy crisis.