Striving for Carbon Neutral

on October 31, 2012 by Blog

- A Perfect Match for CMMS

Events like super storm Sandy remind us that tempests wreak havoc for all -- on businesses, individuals, governments and utilities. Irrespective to whether you believe human-induced greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change and impact extreme weather, most scientists do believe that our climate is changing. They may not agree on the causes for that change, but most concur that global warming is real. Essentially too much heat remains in the earth’s atmosphere.

The main culprit for that heat retention is carbon dioxide, a byproduct of combustion. Methane and nitrous oxide are other gases associated with the greenhouse effect as well. Of course, we have consumed fuel, manufactured products, and used goods for millennium. What makes our actions different now is the magnitude of our emissions and their cumulative effect on our atmosphere.

Carbon neutral is the term coined to rebalance our consumption of energy. Over the last decade, many companies have recognized that adopting sustainable business strategies present enormous opportunities, not only to target greenhouse gas emissions, but also, more notably, to increase operating efficiencies and grow their competitive edge in the marketplace.

To create Carbon Neutral Protocol, you must start with a baseline to measure against. Managers can use CMMS software to set parameters and analyze progress.

Nearly all aspects of business operations impact its carbon footprint - its energy use, waste generated, materials used, company inventory, and transportation systems - all contribute to how much energy is produced (and emitted) into the atmosphere. Likewise each of these factors break into other key performance indicators. It doesn’t take long to realize the complexity of monitoring each variable and component. CMMS software dovetails seamlessly into managing a company’s carbon neutral strategy by tracking and analyzing these numerous and interlocking components.

To create Carbon Neutral Protocol, you must start with a baseline to measure against. Here too, computerized maintenance management systems can provide an invaluable service. Managers can use CMMS software to set parameters and analyze progress. And as government policies roll out that require companies to purchase credits to offset their carbon emissions, having a tool like CMMS provides a one-stop information resource.

Monitoring key environmental indicators can keep your business nimble in our ever-changing and increasingly, carbon-constrained marketplace. Take a relatively simple “to do” like replacing light bulbs. According to the US Department of Energy the yearly output of greenhouse gas emissions from one incandescent bulb is about 500 kg CO2; in contrast a low energy bulb generates roughly 90 kg CO2 per year. True, not all fixtures will simply take a new bulb, however, using CMMS software you can identify the locations where this switch is possible.

While a corporate carbon neutral strategy will not influence the immediate state of our weather systems, it does open enormous opportunities for a business to track it’s own carbon impact. The more we work to adopt and introduce innovative ways to produce goods, consume energy, and manage operations with an eye toward the environment, the more competitive - and sustainable - our business becomes. Perhaps then, we can weather anything.

In a coming series of posts we will examine the nexus between business and the environment. We’ll look at how government cap-and-trade programs are impacting industry and environmental initiatives companies have launched to maximize their profit.