The Business Village has been helping Barnsley businesses work towards net zero since October 2021. Through the Net Zero Accelerator, we’ve provided a range of workshops and 1-1 coaching for 36 fascinating businesses.
Developing collaboration with local businesses is important for The Business Village. So, working on our own net zero ambitions has been no different.
The Business Village’s net zero ambitions
In January 2021 we opened our new state of the art building with 25 offices and hybrid workspaces. Sustainability was built in from outset, with initiatives such as:
- VRF (variable refrigerant flow) air conditioning
- Electric vehicle charging points
- 50kW solar system on the roof
But we didn’t stop there. Once the new building opened, we looked at our existing buildings. With an ageing infrastructure, we began a programme of modernisation.
It’s included state of the art Photo Voltaic systems (PV) on four of our buildings’ roofs, improved insulation, and upgraded heating controls. These changes will update the energy saving potential of these older buildings. But they will also benefit our tenants.
Understanding our tenants’ needs has always been important. Lately they’ve requested more EV charging points so that’s what we’re working on.
We also have an active travel plan to encourage green travel. From this, we’ve created more cycle storage and incorporated shower facilities onsite.
The Net Zero Accelerator at The Business Village
The UK Government has a target to reduce emissions by 100% relative to 1990 levels by 2050. In doing so, the UK will be a net zero emitter.
Legislation was passed in June 2019. And three months later, Barnsley Council declared a climate emergency.
It led to the Community Renewal Fund which, in turn, helped fund the Net Zero Accelerator. The support offered through the Net Zero Accelerator means 36 Barnsley businesses have already begun reducing their carbon emissions.
We also arranged a series of roadshows to help us reach more people. Business Village tenant, Zoe Wadsworth of Ask Zoe was commissioned to project manage the events.
Zoe has a track record in project and event management. She’s also headed up innovation projects and won innovation awards for her business. So, with innovation being a key aspect of net zero, she was ideally placed to liaise with other businesses.
Speaking about the project, Zoe said “Net zero is all about innovation and the bigger picture. It’s not a single element. It’s not just reducing costs. It’s about making things better.”
Connecting the dots
One day, Zoe and Kevin Steel, Business Development Manager at The Business Village, were discussing cars. During the conversation, Zoe mentioned that one of her favourite cars was the Renault Zoe.
It had an extra special ring. She’s called Zoe, her business is Ask Zoe, and she liked the Renault Zoe.
The Renault Zoe is an electric vehicle with a range of approximately 238 miles. It has state of the art features such as rear parking sensor and electric power steering. Plus, wireless mobile phone charging.
Kevin connected the dots. He contacted local car dealerships to ask whether any would like to loan a Renault Zoe for the roadshows. Cars2 in Barnsley stepped up to the plate.
Barnsley Council had commissioned a video about the projects supported by the Community Renewal Fund. And when Deadline Digital arrived to film The Business Village, Zoe, from Ask Zoe, arrived in a Renault Zoe
After driving the car, Zoe was a firm convert. “I loved the car. When I first saw the Renault Zoe, I didn’t realise it was electric. But this has opened my mind up to an electric vehicle. It’s a much cheaper way to drive, especially in comparison to fuel. Being asked to drive the car for a day was a nice perk and I’d highly recommend test driving one.”
Small things lead to big changes
The government’s target for net zero is 2050. However, Barnsley Council’s plan is for the entire borough to be carbon neutral five years earlier.
The Net Zero Accelerator at The Business Village has firmly placed Barnsley at the forefront of this strategy. Participating businesses have made some huge strides towards net zero.
However, smaller businesses such as Ask Zoe can also play their part. Zoe told us that she is mindful about the environment and net zero. She reduces waste as much as possible, recycles and refills water bottles.
It may only seem like little steps. But as scientist Allen Hershkowitz says, “Small things lead to big changes.”
In conclusion, we’d like to thank Cars2 for jumping on board with our ideas. It helped to promote net zero, electric vehicles and the Renault Zoe. And that can only be a good thing.
Picture credits: Deadline Digital
Develop your green innovation strategy with help from The Business Village.
Read our previous Net Zero blog posts:
Funding for the Net Zero Accelerator at The Business Village comes from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund, South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority and Barnsley Metropolitan Council.