Why should you be avoiding fossil fuels?
The reasons you should be avoiding using energy suppliers who use fossil fuel can be divided into three categories: Business, Human and Environmental.
From a business perspective, fossil fuel is inherently difficult to access and finite. In comparison, renewable energy supplies are much more accessible and infinite, meaning that while the energy their carbon-emitting counterparts generate already costs more, their price is only set to rise.
Likewise, as previously mentioned, society has collectively woken up to the perils of our carbon emissions. So, not only does your business stand to benefit financially from avoiding fossil fuel, but it will also gain an improved reputation as a consequence.
From a human perspective, we should be avoiding the use of fossil fuels because it's now widely believed that if we continue to burn these carbon-rich fuel sources, the exponential rise in global temperatures will most likely lead us through several irreturnable doors.
It's thought that the collapse of food supplies, loss of land and the unpredictable nature of the climate will combine to bring about a mass, human migration event and eventually, our demise.
Finally, from an environmental standing, the carbon emissions released since the Industrial Revolution have currently put us on track to bring about the sixth mass extinction of over 1 million species.
This human-induced or Anthropogenic extinction event not only stands to threaten human life in turn but also calls into question our collective morality. We have the technology and ability to save said species (and ourselves) so morally, can we afford to do nothing about it?
Are there any drawbacks to green business energy?
There are few drawbacks to switching to a green business energy supplier, however, it's worth noting that initially, the switch might appear to cost more than staying with your current, carbon-emitting provider.
Crucially, though, this is a false economy and you are guaranteed to make your money back over time should you make the switch.
Pertinently, however, it can take several years for your renewable energy source to recoup your initial outlay. As such, before you commit to changing your energy provider, it's recommended that you either own your business premises or have a long-term lease.
But, without further ado, let's take a look at the costs, payback periods and pros/cons of the most popular green energy systems:
Cost: a small-scale system of solar panels will cost between £5000 - £10,000 and will take a maximum of 10 years to earn your money back.
Pros: the most logistically and financially accessible green energy.
Cons: the erection of solar farms on the ground can disturb wildlife habitats. So, it's best to opt for roof-top panels where possible.
Cost: a system of microturbines (2.5 - 6kW) will set your company back £10,000 while larger turbines (20 - 50kW) can cost up to £3,000,000. Thereafter, the microturbine system will repay you within 15 years, while the larger wind turbines will do so within 5 years and under.
Pros: currently the most efficient green method of generating power.
Cons: large-scale wind farms can be an issue for bats and migrating birds. So it's worth utilising an environmental consultant when considering your wind business electricity source.
Geothermal/Ground Source Heat Pumps
Cost: between £11,000 - £15,000. An outlay you'll recover within 15 years.
Pros: Reliability. Geothermal energy can be generated 24/7 as it isn't climate dependant. Similarly, geothermal activity inherently generates its own heat, so it's incredibly efficient.
Cons: geothermal energy is location-specific and so is only an option if your business is located near a hotspot. Similarly, the process of drilling involved can release hitherto trapped greenhouse gases and encourage increased tectonic activity.
Cost: £4000 - £8000 per kW. You'll earn your money back in just over a year for each kW of power generated.
Pros: Another reliable source of clean energy, hydroelectricity harnesses the flow of the water cycle. Therein, even minute turbines can be used to power individual buildings and homes.
Cons: hydroelectricity is, perhaps, the most controversial of the "Big Four" renewable energy sources. The construction of large-scale hydroelectric dams have negative ecological and human impacts both up and downstream, so tapping into a pre-established hydroelectric source is best.