Zero Carbon Forum: onus on operators to cut carbon

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Zero Carbon Forum: Mark Chapman says firms can cut carbon and save money on energy bills
Zero Carbon Forum: Mark Chapman says firms can cut carbon and save money on energy bills

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Not-for-profit eco-friendly group Zero Carbon Forum has argued the onus is on sector operators to cut their carbon footprints but they can also save on energy costs at the same time.

The business, founded by Mark Chapman, is also giving the use of its ‘Save While You Sleep’ initiative to hospitality businesses for free during the energy crisis.

Chapman said: “We’ve got an opportunity in the sector to really engage and motivate our ops teams to be less wasteful in their day-to-day practices and be part of tackling carbon and costs.

“We are now asking what are the low carbon technologies we can implement in our pubs, restaurants and hotels, and what’s the cost of those? We’ve engaged with the Government to ask how it can provide us financial support to make that investment to a low carbon, low carbon technologies that will also cut energy bills or energy consumption as a result.

“The answers lie across our own operations, maintenance and equipment, but from Government, we need some answers on long-term energy supplies.

“The three keys to cutting carbon are to be more efficient, grow sales from following consumer trends with more plant-based diets and de-risk and decarbonise your supply chain by using a seasonal menu.”

Free use for operators

Last week, Zero Carbon Forum made the move to offer free energy-saving resources for operators during energy crisis in the form of its ‘Save While You Sleep’ programme to help operators to reduce their power usage overnight to cut costs and carbon.

The programme was officially launched in July following member trials, which have realised energy savings per outlet worth £6,000 per annum (at 2021 market rates). It works by combining energy and carbon analytics with operational training and ongoing coaching. Existing energy smart meter data is run through Zero Carbon Services’ proprietary intelligence platform, to identify energy wastage every day and night.

As UK consumers are having to make forced changes to the way they consume energy by cutting down on usage, the forum’s Save While You Sleep initiative provides operators with advice and guidance on implementing simple but impactful processes to save on energy, via a two -stage ‘10-minute’ shutdown process. Already on board with the Save While You Sleep​ plan are Stonegate, Young’s and McMullen.

Chapman said: “What we're doing is systematically reducing energy waste by getting an ops team to consistently turn all the right equipment off overnight. It’s a lot more than just turning the lights off – there’s about 50 pieces of kit that could be using energy and drawing power.”

There are three key aspects to how the system works. Chapman explained: “Firstly is engagement collateral training for teams, secondly is analytics. We take smart meter data that a lot of operators have already got installed, we pull it into our hospitality specific analytics platform and it will then track on a daily basis across your estate where energy waste is occurring, and what are some of the causes of it.

“It compares their daily shutdowns to their best ever shutdown then highlights what the carbon cost savings would be if they did their best ever every night. There’s other metrics the analytics does because it’s hospitality specific. So we look at things like post-lunch usage as well and prep times, etc.”

Pays for itself quickly

He continued: “The final part of it is carbon coaching. We have a team of carbon coaches that will then be engaging with the pubs and restaurants to work out what's stopping you achieving the best results.

“The first part of that we can offer free of charge while the other two parts have a cost but, as you might imagine, with current prices, it pays for itself very quickly.

“On average, some of our clients have been seeing up to £6,000 pounds per outlet saved and that’s 10 tonnes of carbon as well from overnight energy. This is based on a price of 18p per kilowatt. Currently, operators are now paying up to a pound so you can multiply your savings by four times.”

Zero Carbon Forum is also set to launch a scheme to help operators buy energy more cost effectively through its Our collaborative ‘Power Purchase Agreement (CPPA)’, which allows sector businesses the chance to secure power supply at fixed, long-term pricing below day-ahead market pricing as well as creating new renewable capacity in the UK. 

The business expects to announce the first operators that are moving forward with the CPPA in the coming weeks.

Chapman concluded: “We want to provide all our knowledge and insight to try help every operator in the industry during this crisis. By sharing the data and analysis gleaned from our members’ overnight energy usage made into a range of accessible resources, including engagement training and checklists, operators can engage their teams quickly to reduce energy waste and save on costs and carbon.”

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