Vodafone saves £10m in energy costs over three-year period

Vodafone has worked with facilities management firm Mitie to reduce its UK carbon footprint by 25,000 tonnes over a three-year period, with improvements to building-based energy use saving the technology firm around £10m.

Vodafone saves £10m in energy costs over three-year period

Vodafone has outlined specific regional pathways towards achieving net-zero operations.

By working with Mitie, Vodafone UK has saved 100GW of energy over the three-year period which is equivalent to powering the homes of 65,000 people for a year. The organisation has also saved around £10m in energy-related costs as a result.

Savings have been achieved by optimising cooling and heating systems in offices, which have been validated by third-party energy auditor EEVS. Dynamic controls for air conditioning in offices and call centres also mean that temperatures can be managed remotely and changed based on weather conditions. Additionally, during the coronavirus lockdown, all but essential technical staff were switched to home working, which enables more buildings to be hibernated.

Scott Petty, Vodafone UK’s chief technology officer Scott Petty said: “Not everything we’ve done here is revolutionary; we’ve achieved these staggering savings by doing the basics well and making energy reduction something we think about each and every day.

“Combined with our commitment to power our network with 100% renewable electricity by 2021 – and help our customers reduce their own carbon footprints with our connectivity and Internet of Things technology – this will ensure we are helping to build a more sustainable future.”

Vodafone has vowed to power its European network – spanning 11 national markets – with 100% renewable electricity by the end of July 2021. After joining the Climate Group’s RE100 initiative in 2018 and pledging to source 100% renewable electricity for its global operations by 2025, Vodafone revealed that it is on track to reach the 100% milestone in Europe within 12 months.

Around four-fifths of the energy used by Vodafone’s networks by July 2021 sourced through power purchase agreements (PPAs) and renewable tariffs. The majority of the remaining fifth will be covered by renewable energy guarantees of origin (REGO) certificates, as it is supplied to facilities let by landlords. A minority of the remaining fifth will be sourced from onsite generation arrays, predominantly solar.

Plan Zero

As for Mitie, which has worked with Vodafone UK for 10 years, the company has set a net-zero carbon target for 2025. The commitment, set in February and called Plan Zero, features a three-pillar decarbonisation plan centred around power and transport; waste; and the energy efficiency of buildings.

The power proportion of the overall plan, called Plan Zero, binds Mitie to source 100% renewable electricity for operations through subsidy-free Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and to switch to low-carbon heating systems before offsetting any residual emissions from heat.

On transport, Mitie has pledged to reduce business travel “to a minimum” by investing in technologies that enable videoconferencing and teleconferencing and to develop procedures that ensure all remaining business trips are made using low-emission or zero-emission modes of transport. It has also pledged to switch 100% of its fleet with pure electric vehicles (EVs), up from the current proportion of 20%. Mitie claims that 90% of its carbon footprint in 2018 could be attributed to transport.

Three months on from the announcement, Mitie became the first facilities management firm to sign up to all three of the Climate Group’s initiatives, after committing to source 100% renewables as part of the RE100 platform and having already signed up to the EV100 and EP100 initiatives.

Mitie’s managing director of sustainability and energy services Pradyumna Pandit said: “This landmark energy-saving – and staggering 25,000-tonne reduction in CO2 emissions – was made possible thanks to the collaboration between Mitie and Vodafone UK teams. Thank you to our energy managers, sustainability experts, and colleagues on the frontline, who have all contributed to this achievement.

“We’re proud to be helping UK businesses achieve ambitious environmental targets and look forward to continuing our work with Vodafone UK to help it meet its next energy reduction goal.”

Matt Mace

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