A waste management firm in London has seen major benefits from a solar panel installation

A waste management firm in London has seen major benefits from a solar panel installation

London firm shows what can be achieved with solar power

Businesses of all sizes looking for ways to lower their energy bills and reduce their carbon emissions could take inspiration from a waste management firm based in east London.

Bywaters, the capital's largest undercover waste management company, announced that it had reduced its CO2 output by 361 tonnes in only nine months, after installing a 1,000-kilowatt solar panel array on the roof of its main facility in Bow. It's the largest solar photovoltaic system ever fitted to an existing London building.

The carbon emissions reduction is already 40 tonnes more than was predicted for the full year and equates to the saving of 9,246 new trees.

This solar power initiative highlights some of the biggest benefits businesses can gain from investing in renewable energy. While measures like solar panels could be a big financial commitment initially, they could pay for themselves within a few years.

Bywaters said the installation is on track to deliver a return on investment within six years and makes the company almost self-sufficient, meaning much lower energy bills. The photovoltaic panels have generated 700 megawatt hours of electricity, nearly enough to cover all of the power required at the firm's materials recovery facility.

Solar power can deliver these benefits for UK organisations despite the fact that the country is not known for hot and sunny weather. 

John Glover, managing director of Bywaters, said: "Feasibility studies convinced us of the validity of using solar panels in the UK and we are already saving more carbon than anticipated.

"As well as reduced energy costs, the solar panels are enabling us to operate more sustainably. We have taken a number of decisive actions to clean up the capital's air and believe in setting the benchmark for how businesses can carry out core processes without causing damage to the environment through harmful emissions."

The firm called on other businesses to "step up and start to take action to minimise their carbon footprint".

Figures from the Carbon Trust show that, for many organisations, reducing energy costs by 20 percent will deliver the same benefit to the bottom line as a five percent increase in sales.

Bywaters also pointed out that air quality is an "increasing concern" in London, with many people viewing it as one of the biggest health threats facing people living and working in the city. Companies therefore have a responsibility to reduce harmful emissions in any way they can.

There are various actions all organisations - from the smallest start-ups to large corporations - can take to reduce their impact on the environment and enhance their energy efficiency.

As well as significant commitments such as investing in renewable energy, businesses can make small changes such as encouraging their employees to use public transport or, if possible, walk to work.

It can also prove beneficial for office-based firms to ensure that any outside partners or service suppliers they work with have strong green credentials.


Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of iStock/VioNet