ACHIEVING NET ZERO EMISSIONS

The inspiration behind renewable energy company Caplor was an epiphany which came about when a global challenge became deeply personal. Farmer Gareth Williams returned from a trip to Africa to find the UK in the throes
of a very wet summer.

The year was 2007, unprecedented rainfall together with flooding was experienced in regions including Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Whilst the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was raising awareness of the global climate crisis.

For Gareth, whose family had farmed in Fownhope, Hereford since 1923, preserving the environment for his young family and subsequent generations was imperative. A global and personal challenge coalesced and galvanised personal action.In looking for sustainable solutions for the farm, Gareth soon became aware of the benefit and opportunity of renewable energy and founded Caplor Energy.

An environmentally friendly company offering environmental products, system installation, services and advice, Caplor focuses on commercial, community and residential clients. A decade later, the science of climate change is widely accepted and renewable energy, once a niche area, is tested and mainstream. Caplor now operates all over the country. In the intervening years, the 2008 Climate Change Act and various Government led incentives paved the way for a low carbon economy. Whilst, the UK’s Committee on Climate Change emphasised the major role businesses play in achieving net zero emissions, following the international Paris commitment in 2015.

“We are all responsible for the environment and collectively need to take a more active role in protecting it and
our future,” explains Gareth.

Ultimately, businesses are led by people and it is people that have plundered the earth’s resources to such an extent we find ourselves amid a climate crisis.

Accepted science estimates we have  just 12 years to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, but the good news  is we can take actions that are good for our environment and our bottom lines.There are simple, straightforward steps businesses can take to cut their carbon footprint, like changing light bulbs for LED versions and improving insulation. Even the time at which your staff travel or how you make deliveries can make significant savings and improve productivity.

Consider longer term goals and benefits too, like the amount you’ll spend on electricity over the coming years, versus investing in renewable energy, like
solar panels and batteries to store the generated energy. Investing in renewable energy is far more advantageous as illustrated by the BNP Paribas report, businesses become more sustainable, power loads are shifted to when they’re needed, you’re protected from rising energy costs and benefit from a good long term economic return.

Embracing renewable energy and becoming more energy efficient has great benefits. The Carbon Trust recently highlighted that a 20% cut in energy costs represents the same bottom line benefit as a 5% increase in sales in many businesses. It’s about managing businesses differently. Reducing carbon emissions by utilising renewable energy, supports greater productivity and business growth. Any saving on energy costs is money that will remain in the business and the region. Green investment represents a huge opportunity, both in terms of greater efficiency and in offering commercial opportunities. Advice is available from sources including the Low Carbon Opportunities Programme and the Business Energy Efficiency Programme. An energy audit is a good place to start and these are often offered for free, with grants available  in some instances to implement the recommendations.

Renewable energy has evolved enormously over the last decade, from energy-capturing technology like solar PV to the ability to store it with advanced battery technology, from the use of solar thermal for hot water to rapidly evolving solutions like renewable heating. The latter involves heat pumps that take heat out of the atmosphere, working with temperatures as low as minus – 20°C, then circulating it within a property, providing up to 300% efficient and clean heating. We hope to see it integrated mandatorily into new-build homes and retrofits.

At Caplor, we’re committed to a renewable future and practice what we preach, with a lot of renewable energy sources installed on the farm. We’re happy to arrange visits so people can see the technology in action and discuss what they could do to start or develop their sustainable journey.

Download the PDF of the article here or view it on the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce website.

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