What are the 5 Best Air Source Heat Pumps?

Air source heat pumps allow you to heat your home with just electricity.  That’s right; no more gas or oil, and you could even use 100% renewable electricity to power the system.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about air-to-water heat pumps, commonly known as air source heat pumps. We will share our recommendations of which ones are the best, and will tell you how to get started in getting one installed.

Why get an air-to-water heat pump?

Air-to-water heat pumps are the renewable heating solution for most urban home owners.  Rural home-owners may also consider ground or water source heat pumps – learn more here.  But why get a heat pump?

  1. Low-cost heating; installation costs are a lot more than traditional boilers, but running costs are much lower.  Heat pumps deliver 3-4 kilowatts of heat energy for every 1 kilowatt of electricity used, making them super-efficient.  If you heat your home using off-peak electricity you can cut bills by 40%.
  2. Longer lasting; many have 25-year warranties.  This means they have double the life of your traditional boiler.  
  3. Cooling and heating capabilities; as well as heating these units can be used to extract heat.  During a hot summer that can be very helpful!
  4. Government incentives; the government helps fund the installation cost of heat pumps through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).  This grant is paid out over 7 years and allows you to recoup your installation cost.
  5. Cut carbon emissions; 15% of an average person’s carbon emissions come from heating their home.  Use 100% renewable energy to power your heat pump and you could slash your carbon footprint!

How does an air-to-water heat pump work?

Heat pumps transfer heat by circulating a substance called a refrigerant, as used in our fridges.  Air from outside your property is sucked up and pressurized, and is used to heat a refrigerant, which then heats water, which can be used in the house.  Hence air-to-water heat pumps.

The heat from ambient air, close to the house, is essentially condensed using electricity.  These systems therefore deliver three times as much heat energy as the electricity used, known as the Coefficient of performance (COP).  This is why you would use a heat pump instead of other electric heating solutions, and why heat pumps can still deliver effective heating with external temperatures of -25°C.  Thermal stores are used within these systems to ensure no loss of heat, but also to increase the heat of hot water used in the property through exchange units.

How does a heat pump affect existing heating infrastructure?

There are two components of the system.  A fan to pull in the air and heat the refrigerant and a thermal store.  The fan sits outside, and does create a little noise, but most with a well performing heat pump do not have sound issues.  The thermal store can become another floor standing kitchen unit, may be placed in a cupboard (to replace a water tank) or some manufacturers provide a unit the same size as a combi boiler to put on the wall.

You can get monobloc systems that heat water on demand, resulting in only a larger fan unit being used outside (and no thermal store), but these are best used for very efficient homes.   Low and high temperature systems can also be selected.  Low temperature systems deliver heat at around 55°C, and are largely more efficient, but are likely to need replacement of radiators, which need a larger surface area.  High temperature systems can deliver at 80°C, requiring no radiator replacement.

Heat pumps require a fairly energy efficient home without too much heat loss.  If your home has an energy efficiency rating below C, it’s likely to be better to improve energy efficiency first.  Learn more here.

Best air-to-water heat pumps?

We have read blogs, looked at reviews and have had our community comment on the heat pumps they’ve used.  This has helped us arrive at the best air source (air-to-water) heat pumps to recommend.

Alongside the manufacturer finding the right installer is incredibly important.  We have found across the board that poorly installed products perform very badly and attract incredibly bad reviews.  So take some tips on choosing the right installer below.

1. Mitsubishi Ecodan

Purchase price: £5,000 – £7,000
Benefits: Sound, reliability, maintenance, aesthetic, controls, range.
Downfalls: Internal thermal store size, reviews.

They’ve been delivering electrical devices for over a century, so they know what they’re doing.  This is why they are beating many on cost and have developed some very nice looking products, with good reliability and low cost maintenance, for all sizes of property.  What we particularly like are the advanced control systems that allow you to connect to solar panels, whilst optimising heat pump usage during low cost energy tariffs.  

The only downfall we can see is the lack of a wall mounted thermal store and that there isn’t a high temperature system, with all heat pumps delivering water at 55°C.  There have also been a few rough reviews online, which we attribute mainly to poor installation.

2. Samsung EHS

Purchase price: £3,000 – £6,000
Benefits: Size, cost, reliability, controls, range
Downfalls: Aesthetic, limited range.

Samsung has extremely compact outdoor units, that claim to be 40% smaller than competitors, and they major on a unique refrigerant that is super environmentally friendly and efficient.  On top of all of this they provide a low cost solution, but do have a limited range of external products with only 16kw output and no low noise solutions.  Connectivity on their products is great though, so you can control them remotely, can optimise upon energy tariffs and sync with solar solutions.

We feel the big downfall of this product is the way it looks.  It does have nice internal units though and one good wall mounted one.  It also has very few negative reviews we can find, with only positive ones relating to suppliers.

3. Nibe F2040

Purchase price: £6,000 – £8,500
Benefits: Reliability, efficiency, controls, range, maintenance, aesthetic.
Downfalls: Cost, flexibility of internal units.

Nibe is a lesser known brand, which has built it’s reputation in Poland, Czech Republic and Scandinavia.  Their products are some of the most energy-efficient on the market and they have a great range, which variable outputs of heat up to 65°C, allowing a smaller demand on replacing radiators.  They have great controls, including an app that flags issues, and like most Scandanavian products are well made and require little maintenance.

Our only criticism is the lack of a wall mounted internal unit, and potentially the high initial outlay.  They do have some negative reviews but they are mostly installer related and are countered by may positives.

4. Viessman

Purchase price: £5,500 – £9,000
Benefits: Reliability, efficiency, range, aesthetics, maintenance.
Downfalls: Cost

Viessman is a German manufacturer that focuses on delivering efficiency in its range, which is extensive.  Delivering heat up to 65°C makes this again a super deliverer.  Internal units are also flexible and extensive.  Not much is posted on the controls of their units, but there is a flexible range of thermal stores.  We think their range is pretty aesthetically appealing as well.

5. Daikin Altherma

Purchase price: £6,000 – £8,000
Benefits: Heat output, range, maintenance.
Downfalls: Aesthetic, reviews.

Daikin, a Japenese firm, is a leading global supplier of air conditioning units.  It has a long history of providing climate control technology.  They are the only unit we can find that delivers heat at 80°C in their High Temperature heat pump, meaning these units can be installed in less efficient houses, using existing heating infrastructure.  They have a very good range and espouse low maintenance requirements.

The aesthetics of their units we don’t find that attractive, and unfortunately we’ve found some very negative reviews of their product support.  Saying this they are recommended time and time again from blogs from leading review sites in the heating world.

Finding a good installer

You can choose to either follow a manufacturer when you are sourcing an installer or seek the installer first.  The analysis of our reviews finds that manufacturers don’t necessarily screen their installers sufficiently, so when seeking a quote through that channel do also check on reviews of particular installers. 

You can also simply choose an installer.  We have a list on our renewable heating page, which have all been recommended by our community. 

Join our community and get more support 🙂

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10 New Year’s Resolutions to Live More Sustainability in 2021

Our community has done so many things to live more sustainably, we thought we’d share 10 to inspire you for your New Year’s Resolutions in 2021.  And what better resolutions could there be than to be healthy, save money and the environment at the same time?  With some of these you can do all three!

Go back to work on a bike

You may have loved cycling during lockdown, now take it on your commute!  If you pledge to cycle to work you get health benefits but there are also incredible benefits to the environment.  Daily personal travel is 17% of your carbon footprint if you drive. 2021 could be the year that you prove your commitment to tackling climate change by getting out of the car and on the bike!

You can go electric with your choice of bike or just peddle every step of the way – check the links to get some great advice!

Start ethically investing

It’s all the rage.  Environmental, social and governance investments have shot through the roof in 2021 to over 1 trillion dollars.  The time is now to move your money to where your mouth is.  Afterall around 30% emissions are related to infrastructure and companies which only your money can affect.

Why not start by setting up an ethical ISA with Abundance or energize Africa through an investment with Ethex.  You could also move your pension to Impax or get advice from financial advisors that specialise in this space such as John Ditchfield or Hugo Sparks, members of Better Century.

Reduce consumption of meat/dairy 

Reducing meat and dairy are sure ways to cut your carbon footprint by a quarter, whilst also reducing the amount of growing space to feed you.  This environment win-win-win, which also reduces water consumption and tackles biodiversity loss, is heralded as one simple way is which everyone can help.

You needn’t be a vegetarian or vegan, you can just eat less meat and dairy.  That’s a habit but is massively affected by purchasing choices.  A good way to start is to pledge to cut meat out of a number of meals.  Think about getting a veg box and learn new recipes.  

Cut out single use plastic

With gyres collecting mile wide Islands of plastic waste in the ocean and with marine life being severely affected by plastic particulate in digestive systems, it’s time to cut down on single use plastic.  It was a hugely popular movement after Blue Planet so 2021 could be the time to reinvigorate change by making simple resolutions – to cut out single use plastics.

The key ways our members have found to cut out single use plastics is to use new providers; like Milk and More who deliver milk and veg,  The Funky Soap Shop that provides awesome soaps, shampoos and conditioners, or Green People, who do all types of beauty products and reusable cups and the suchlike.  Why not pledge to reduce your single use plastic through our community pledge and get inspiration from dozens of others doing the same!

Switch energy supplier

Switching energy suppliers can (debatably) make a difference.  Around 10% of your carbon footprint comes from electricity usage – so if you move to 100% renewable then you can make that reduction?  Yes – if you pick the right supplier you are helping build renewable energy and are decarbonising our economy.

View our pages on renewable energy supply and learn about suppliers here.  There are also some great initiatives like Ripple Energy which allow you to invest in a wind farm and pay much reduced rates for energy, or Octopus Energy where you maximise upon flexible rate renewable energy tariffs – slashing bills to those with electric vehicles or heat pumps.

Decarbonise your home

Heating your home is 15% of the average carbon footprint.  Insulate it properly in the roof and put in some draught proofing, and you’ll save hundreds a year.  Go further and insulate walls and hot water systems, upgrade windows, and install thermostatic radiator valves, and you’ll save 40% on bills and footprint.  If you want to go the ‘whole hog’, then install a heat pump, and use just renewable electricity to heat your home, making it arguably zero carbon.

Whilst the Green Homes Grant will pay for two thirds of the bill of these measures, then it makes sense in 2021 to make this resolution.  To learn more about energy efficiency and renewable heating, click on the links!

Buy eco clothing

Sustainable fashion is becoming very fashionable!  It’s because of the incredible environmental impact fashion has through sourcing, processing and disposing of clothes.  An average pair of jeans uses 7,000 litres of water in production, 60% of clothes are made from synthetic materials and the majority of clothes get thrown away with an average use of 5 wears.

If you buy eco clothing, it’s cool, it lasts and it is made from recycled or renewable sources.  Why not just buy sustainable clothes in 2021!  Check out Vivobarefoot for shoes, Bamboo clothing or Lofte Sustainable Luxury Clothing.  There are loads of other community recommendations through our sustainable fashion tag.

Buy an electric car

Well, it’s the time isn’t it?  New Diesel and Petrol car sales will be banned by 2030, you don’t want to be behind the curve.  It’s time to trend set and buy a car that can dramatically reduce expenditure on motoring, whilst reducing carbon emissions.  If you’re an average driver you’ll save around £1,000 a year moving to electric, and if you drive a lot more, then that number just keeps on going up.

With loads of options for financing and leasing electric vehicles, and with such dramatic savings, 2021 could be the year it makes sense for you.  Read all you need to know on our eco resource, and find yourself a great vehicle for 2021!

Holiday without flying

Hopefully when we’ve all been vaccinated, we can move around freely once again.  Instead of joining all the holiday makers abroad why not continue to enjoy your country in 2021 or go to Europe in an electric vehicle?  There’s so many options available to you.

Check out EcoBnb for sustainable locations for staying in 2021, get a log cabin in the Cotswolds next to a lake, or check out Darwin Escapes across the UK.

Make your garden nature friendly

We’ve all loved our gardens during lockdown, now’s the time to make nature also love your garden, and for you to be surrounded by abundance of life!  Whatever size your garden you can encourage nature to come there, by taking some simple steps; growing pollinator friendly plants, putting up a bird feeder, composing, making a hole in the fence for hedgehogs or making a small water source.

Make a resolution to bring wildlife to your garden this year by doing something.  Here’s a great guide of things you can do to make your garden nature friendly!

How to Apply for the Green Homes Grant – All you need to know in six steps

This time-restricted grant scheme slashes the cost of installing measures that will save hundreds in bills every year.  Learn what you need to do in some simple steps to maximise upon this grant scheme.

Every homeowner or landlord is eligible to receive up to £5,000 to install insulation or a new heating system..  A third of the bill has to be covered by the owner, meaning you will receive £7,500 worth of improvements for a £2,500 spend.  

When you can save up to £700 in energy bills every year this is a pretty great deal

1. Know what you need

Surveyors can tell you what you need to do in your home, but all are being inundated with requests and often place an initial charge on doing a survey.  If you know what you need it can endear professional support and save your money.  A simple way of doing this is to look at your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).  If you don’t want to dig through paperwork click here to use the government tool.  Check the video below to learn how to use it.  You may also want to check that your eligible for the grant – click this link and take the government test.

2. Choose insulation or heating system

To get the grant you have to install insulation or a new heating system (heat pump or solar thermal system).  If your EPC is below D a new heat pump will not be effective so you will need to insulate and/or install a solar thermal system to help heat hot water. If you are a C or above then getting a new heating system could be your best option, but will require some significant capital outlay.  Both of these options will add value to your property with measures that increase energy efficiency ratings improving property value by up to 10%.

3. Insulate and get the best bang for buck

Think top to bottom when you’re thinking about insulation – heat rises right!  Most houses need more insulation in the roof and draught proofing.  If you’ve got uninsulated cavity walls (many houses built 1945 – 1980), then go for bead blow insulation.   Pipes and hot water tanks, alongside heat control systems are next on the list.  If you need to upgrade windows get roof insulation and then double/triple glazing as a secondary measure.  You can go as far as external or internal wall insulation but that’s expensive.

Here’s come combinations to consider but do read more on energy efficiency here.

Primary MeasureSecondary MeasuresCost to youGrant PayoutAnnual Savings
Roof insulationPipe and water tank insulation, and draught proofing £650 £1,350£250
Roof and Cavity Wall InsulationPipe and water tank insulation, and draught proofing £1,000£2,000£700
Roof insulationUpgrade windows to double/triple glazing£2,500 £5,000£550
Roof and Underfloor insulationPipe and water tank insulation, and draught proofing £1,200£3,600£500
Solid Wall InsulationDraught Proofing£2,500 – £7,000£5,000£450
Learn more through this useful table of measures on our community site.

4. Get the right heating system for your home

A heat pump or solar thermal system can be installed under the grant scheme as a primary measure, but conditions need to be right for their installation.  Both of these systems are also eligible for another grant called the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which pays out over a 7 year period.

Solar thermal will heat your hot water, with a heat pump offering an alternative to combi boilers.  Both systems take heat from the external environment and condense it to heat your water internally.  Solar thermal will work on any house but you need to have room for an additional tank.  Heat pumps will function on well insulated houses.  To learn more read about Renewable Heating Systems on our Eco Resource.   

A solar thermal system will cost around £1,200 (£2,400 from grant), giving £200 saving a year as it heats about 60% of all your hot water.  An air source heat pump will cost around £2,500 (£5,000 from grant), with savings of around £400 a year and payment of £300 a year from RHI.

5. Find a supplier

Once you’ve chosen what you want to install then you need to source a supplier to deliver the measures.  Most by now will be registered with TrustMark (for energy efficiency measures) or will be registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) (heating systems).   Better Century lists recommended suppliers on our Energy Efficiency and Renewable Heating System pages – this is a great place to start!

You need quotes from these suppliers to claim the voucher for the grant, which will be time consuming.  Each will need to visit to give a quote and you will need a quote for each measure to claim your voucher.

6. Claiming the grant and commissioning the work

Pick one supplier for each of the measures you wish to have installed.  Then make an application for the voucher using this government application system with the quotes provided.  You will then receive the voucher by email, which has to be claimed in 3 months and can only be used with the suppliers selected, so make sure you make friends!

Once the work is complete to your satisfaction you need to redeem the voucher using this system.  The supplier is paid for their part directly from the government and you then need to pay the remainder of the invoice.  

You will now have a nice warm home, which will save you money year on year!

Need more help?

Check out community discussions on energy efficiency and renewable heating.

Contact Tom if you need practical support to identify measures and arrange suppliers by emailing tom@bettercentury.org.

How to raise the money to #BuildBackBetter

Fundraising is successful with clear messaging and confident asking.  It is about belief in your organisation, your values, your ability to deliver, but above all your donors willingness to connect with your mission.

To #BuildBackBetter charities need to restore their belief in what they can achieve, and now be prepared to go out and deliver big fundraising campaigns that can make a massive difference.  

2021 is going to be about restoring hope in the future.  Charities make that happen by giving a funnel by which people and organisations can make that happen, through an act of giving.

If you agree that this is the year you want to turn it around, here’s how we can help.

Strategic advice

Deciding on what the next campaign should be or the level of ambition, can be difficult.  Or you may simply have a great idea in mind but just don’t know how to deliver it.  We give strategic support for organisations in this place. 

Fundraising messaging

Need to condense your message into something wonderfully attractive to inspire belief?  We help distil thinking into something which your audience and everyone internally can get behind.  Get this right and you’ll raise the money if you ask enough.

Structured asking

A wonderful idea doesn’t get funded because it is inspirational.  It gets the money because the right people are asked in the right way.  We’ll write fundraising applications for you, will coach major donor fundraisers, and will create mass giving mechanisms to deliver million-pound campaigns.  Get us involved and worry not about hitting your target.

Our consultants have tripled income for organisations, have run million pound fundraising campaigns and support some of the best funding approaches to corporates, trusts, grants and individual major donors.  

Want to learn more – book a non-obligatory meeting with us to discuss. Email Tom on tom@bettercentury.org.

Tips on hosting an excellent digital event

Events have key components including presentations, panel sessions, Q&A, networking and sometimes workshops.  Digital events can replicate all of these very effectively if the right platform is chosen.  However, platforms do have a particular niche.  This blog will save you time by offering simple solutions tailored to your event needs, giving you cost-saving advice, whilst giving important insights on platforms that could be used.

If you like what you read and want some support Better Century helps organisations like Low Carbon Homes deliver amazing events.

Single Stage

Single stage events include presentations, panel sessions, Q&A and networking.   Other considerations should also be about branding and associated sponsorship. 

If you go with zoom (£32 a month for 100 attendees) you face problems around branding and live management of the event such as screen sharing, preparing panel sessions and muting, with there being very little opportunity for networking.  There are more professional platforms that alleviate these problems such as Hopin ($99 (£74) a month for 100 attendees) which offer branding, sponsorship space, networking, multiple rooms, speed networking and even support the use of recorded sessions.

An alternative is to stream your event.  This is done through OBS which allows for a technician to take zoom inputs and place them onto a branding background, and then control what is on screen.  You can even cast directly to a youtube channel or your own website and save money on zoom webinar.  

The Hopin Guide to Virtual Events | Hopin

More sophisticated platforms such as SwapCard, HeySummit, Crowdcomms and Brella use this type of technology alongside networking and Q&A integration.  As you can also stream recorded sessions, you therefore have a virtual green room through zoom, making this the gold standard for single stage events. 

Our recommendation is to properly plan your event and move away from zoom into either a streamed system onto a system like Hopin.  The investment of time will allow you to brand and take away glitches, giving better audience engagement.

Virtual Engagement Spaces

Having a virtual space can make people feel like they’re attending a real event.  Engagements can happen during an event and then you will be disrupted by an activity.  Breaking up presentations and panel sessions and allowing people to have a conversation with one another about the content is natural, and gives events a proper conferencing and networking opportunities in the context of the event topic.

There are platforms that support this type of virtual space whilst also giving a stage for engagement as well.  They all offer uploading of recorded content and the ability to manage speakers behind close doors.  Here’s two platforms which could help you:

Remo is a pricey option at $1,200 per annum but gives great table interactions alongside a good virtual stage and whiteboard function for joint working.  Branding and ability to tailor the platform is amazing, and it even can be integrated into our spaces.

How to use Remo Conference as an attendee - YouTube

Airmeet is an amazingly low priced option with there even being capacity to use the system for up to 100 attendees without payment, $99 a month is the next step up with up to 1,000 attendees.  We’ve looked into this system and it provides really cool virtual engagement and is very easy to manage, but isn’t quite as brandable.

The alternative to these systems is Zoom, through break-out rooms, but we feel these platforms really offer a step up in terms of engagement and branding.  For little or no additional money your organisation can get a great experience for users!

Need some help in setting up an amazing event?

Look no further – Better Century can help.  We’ve got a great team of consultants that can help you plan, market and deliver your event.  Get in touch with Tom through tom@bettercentury.org to set up a non obligatory meeting.

Three steps for a council to deliver its climate emergency quickly

Over 400 councils and local authorities have declared a climate (and ecological) emergency, but many are struggling to figure out how they enact that declaration.  That’s because it’s complex and it takes many different players to help enact it, but it’s also an enormous opportunity for the council to find new revenue sources, whilst tackling some of the biggest issues.  

This headache can be turned into a stimulus.  It can revive an area to be one of the most thriving and forward-looking, providing more jobs, enabling stronger communities and becoming more financially stable.  The right people just need to be brought into the room to tackle the problem of the council for them.

There are three stages to delivering an emergency.

1. Determine Scope and Stakeholders

The council’s declarations often don’t consider the scope of being ‘carbon neutral’ by 2030.  Is this the entire council area and its inhabitants or the councils own buildings and fleet, does it include the contractors and supply chain?  These questions need to be considered before you get started and be within the plan of works.

The other area councils often don’t consider is who are the stakeholders who can help this emergency.  They put the ownership on themselves and feel the mountain is too high and steep to climb. 

Getting the right people to organise this work at the onset is paramount.

2. Stakeholder Policy Delivery

The right stakeholders need to come into a room to consider how the council may deliver its policy. Facilitation is needed to unearth opportunities for joint working and income generation. 

The meeting needs to consider the scale of the problem and the potential solutions.  By getting all the right people in the room, months of head-scratching and frustrating discussions can be saved.

The council needs to act as the facilitator and coordinator for developing the answers.  That way they are no longer the owner of the problem. Project teams are created with timelines and they’ll provide papers to the council for consideration. 

Imaginations across specialisms will be tapped into and exceptional ideas will be born, which will open up opportunities for investment in the area.

3. Change Management

Education will be critical for council staff and councillors about the ideas presented. The solution to these issues is often radical.  Most of the time having an outside body to support the provision of condensed material in the form of short papers and edited videos of workshops will help make this easier.

Ideas will come in the form of; regulation, taxation, organisation creation or policy creation.  Filtering these ideas to make a potential a road map for internal stakeholders to consider will help identify the types of resources needed to push forward with the project areas. 

Raising money through new investment sources such as Municipal Investment Bonds, or the creation of investable organisations owned by the council such as Development Corporations, needs to be part of the thinking to ensure money isn’t a barrier. Sometimes this will mean new organisations need creating.

Now is the time for councils to go about delivering on their climate and ecological emergency. Many are struggling to find the right people to support. Let them know Better Century is here to help – with all the experience needed!

How to Become a Carbon Neutral Organisation

This blog is for any organisation wishing to become carbon neutral or net zero. You may have made this commitment, now you wish to enact it. We tell you how here.

To become a carbon neutral organisation, the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted by the organisation needs to match the amount absorbed from the atmosphere through carbon sinks.  To achieve this an organisation needs to decide on the scope of GHGs included in the registry of emissions, assess the quantity produced from that scope and then calculate the amount absorbed from any carbon sinks.  

Once this data a trajectory to carbon neutrality needs establishing by considering how GHG emissions may be reduced or mitigated. This assessment and trajectory then needs to be communicated well.

Assessing Scope of Emissions Included

GHG emissions are broken into three scopes:

ScopeExample inclusions
Scope 1 – direct emissions from owned or controlled sourcesBuildings: Annual oil, gas and LPG for heating.Works: Annual oil, gas and LPG to deliver any other works.Transport: Fuel consumption of fleet vehicles
Scope 2 – indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling.Buildings: usually electricity usage.Transport: Electricity consumed by fleet vehicles.
Scope 3 – all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain.Company associated transport: Business mileage in cars (lease or staff owned), train, bus or flights.Commuting transport: Mileage for commuting staff & volunteersSupply chain: Products purchased, leased or franchised, carbon impact of sold products.Waste: Quantity of waste per year.

The only internationally recognised standard for carbon neutrality, from the Carbon Trust, sets a minimum requirement to assess Scope 1 and 2 emissions, with Scope 3 being encouraged.  To achieve ‘net zero’ scope 3 emissions needs to be included. 

Better Century recommends including scope 1 & 2 emissions, as well as scope 3 emissions where they are easily measurable.  Where possible avenues for gathering data around other scope 3 emissions become a means to communicate your commitment to suppliers, creating influence along the value change.  This will be important for consistency within your commitment and public relations.

Assessing Quantity of Emissions

DEFRA releases conversion factors to calculate emissions, and there are standards set for methods to calculate emissions from ISO14064.  Establishing a robust means to calculate emissions will ensure that when the organisation communicates its method to carbon neutral, it is robustly supported in methodology.

The common methods to assess carbon emissions are detailed in the below table, with grey areas showing the difficulty in calculating Scope 3 emissions, which may be addressed through surveys or policy requests, helping influence the supply chain.

SourceCommon Factors in Calculation
Buildings (Tier 1)Annual oil, gas and LPG to heat buildings
Buildings (Tier 2)Annual electricity usage
Transport (Tier 1)Fuel consumption of company fleet vehicles
Transport (Tier 2)Electricity consumed by company fleet vehicles
Transport (Tier 3)Business mileage in cars (lease or staff owned), train, bus or flights (from expense claims)Mileage for commuting to work (from survey)
Waste (Tier 3)KGs of waste per year (by type)
Supply Chain (Tier 3)Supplier mileage to deliver goodsCarbon emissions of products purchased, leased or franchisedCarbon impact of sold products
Investments (Tier 3)Estimate emissions from investments

Assessing Quantity of Emissions Sequestered

If an organisation owns land it may use standards set by ISO14064, to calculate emissions sequestered from that land holding.  The other means to sequester carbon are carbon offsetting schemes, which are controversial.  If carbon offsetting schemes, with natural sinks, were required by an organisation, we would recommend using gold or woodland carbon code standard.

To calculate emissions sequestered from land holdings, it is necessary to have data on the quantity of different habitats.  Academic data associated with specific habitats is then used to calculate carbon sequestering potential of those land holdings.

Reducing Emissions

The most significant sources of GHG emissions are likely from buildings and transport.  Below details possible mitigations for each of the common sources of carbon emissions.

Buildings (Tier 1)Insulation & draught proofingSource of heating fuelRenewable heating
Buildings (Tier 2)Electricity supplyElectricity production (e.g. Solar Panels)
Transport (Tier 1)Education on vehicle usageFleet moved to electric
Transport (Tier 2)Renewable electricity
Transport (Tier 3)New transport policiesHire electric cars for long distance travelNew commuting schemes
Waste (Tier 3)Waste reduction target
Supply Chain (Tier 3)Set new purchasing standards
Investments (Tier 3)Move to carbon neutral investments

Improvements on buildings may provide significant cost savings as well as carbon reductions, allowing for a solid financial case to be made for these improvements, which may well attract funding.  Transport may be achieved by moving slowly to electric and by setting policies and targets.

Establishing a trajectory of carbon emissions savings results in commitments to policy or expenditure.  The best method of creating a trajectory is to list possible mitigations and their emissions savings, assess the natural pathway to change (e.g. retiring of vehicle or boiler) and list the cost of the mitigation alongside annual savings, and payback periods.  

Once this business case has been done the organisation can choose when it will make these mitigations, allowing it to set a trajectory to emission reductions, and carbon neutrality.

Communicating Carbon Neutrality

The organisation needs to communicate three things:

  • Why the organisation believes achieving carbon neutrality is important
  • How it’s carbon footprint has been and will continue to be assessed
  • What it will do to achieve carbon neutrality in line with its commitment

It is common for an organisation to create a web page to explain this, so it may be referenced in other pieces of communication.  To offer assurances the organisation should opt to achieve high levels of transparency of scope, methods and results.

To maximise upon the PR benefits of carbon neutrality the organisation should also consider publishing data on its carbon footprint and mitigations put in place in a given year in it’s annual report, as well as celebrating ongoing changes through social media.

Accreditation for Carbon Neutrality is possible to offer alternative assurance, but this comes at considerable cost.  The Carbon Trust holds the only international standard for Carbon Neutrality, the PAS 2060.  They will review the data used for calculations and provide accreditation alongside use of logos, for the cost of £7,000+ (depending on the level of information assessed).

Better Century’s Help to Achieve Carbon Neutrality

Carbon neutrality needs to be in the DNA of the organisation, not an outsourced annoyance.  We therefore help to fill skills and resource gaps, with the aim of empowering internal resources to deliver this work. 

The services we offer are therefore flexible.  We provide the following method (from which organisation can pick and choose):

  • Initial consultation to determine scope of assessments and discuss methodology.
  • Data sheets for organisations to provide data necessary to deliver the assessment.
  • Surveys and questionnaires to engage staff, volunteers and suppliers.
  • Assessment of carbon footprint to ISO14064 standards, including quantity of emissions produced and sequestered.
  • Site visit to assess buildings energy efficiency and potential for different forms of heating.
  • Creation of mitigations sheet detailing business case for adoption, with recommendations for carbon neutral trajectory.
  • Work with external bodies to enable accreditation.
  • Written piece for website.
  • Training of staff and provision of spreadsheets to calculate ongoing carbon footprint.
  • Workshops with staff and other stakeholders to identify popular recommendations.

Outside of the Carbon Neutral activities, Better Century can also support the communications team in providing content to encourage organisations staff and customer base to make changes to reduce their own carbon emissions.

To learn more email tom@bettercentury.org or set up a meeting with him here.

#1EcoResource #EcoChallenge

Today we have launched the #1EcoResource, so you can save on money and environmental impact during lockdown!  Learn how to reduce your bills through energy efficiency measures, how to eat in a planet-friendly way or make more stable ethical investments.

On visiting our website you will not only get advice but will also receive recommendations of suppliers who can help you.  This resource is unparalleled online as it has been created from over 5,000 posts shared by our expert community of over 10,000 users.

We are truly proud to share this with you today and invite you to have a look.  And if you think you can make it better – then there’s a way for you to do that too!  

If you share ways to improve our website and what you share gains five likes, then you will receive £50 to spend with any recommended supplier or charity we have listed.

So take up our #EcoChallenge!

Step 1 – Explore the site

Look at any of the pages on our website. Start at the home page and then explore Better Homes and Buildings, Better Living, Better Transport, Better Money, Better Places.

Step 2 – Find something you want to add to a page

Whilst exploring the pages under Better Homes, Better Living, Better Transport, Better Money, Better Places you may discover you have something to add! At the bottom of the page you can click to make a recommended change to the site. On the right hand site you can click to offer an additional recommendations.

Step 3 – Join the community and provide your improvement

You’ll be prompted to do this when you attempt to reply to page text or when you want to provide a recommendation on the community site. Signing up is straight forward. If you’re having any trouble simply click ‘login’ on a mobile or ‘sign up’ on a desktop when you’re on the community site

Step 4 – Get the likes

Encourage your friends and family to join the community and give you likes or get the community to do that as well by starting another topic and pointing the community to your recommendation or by going up the trust levels of the community quickly and then PMing people.

Better Century announces partnership with Evergreen Insurance

Better Century have partnered with Eco Insurance provider Evergreen. Evergreen provide Business and Personal Insurance whilst donating up to 25% of their commission to charity projects supporting nature. In partnership, the two organisations aim to support their communities to make better choices in their loves and share knowledge and resources to help build a world that is kinder to nature.

Evergreen Director, David Gardiner said: “We are delighted to partner with Better Century and linking in with like minded people & organisations with a common goal on living more sustainably. I am sure our clients will be interested in these conversations for the greater good of our natural world”

Better Century Founder and Director, Tom Beckett, said: “We are very pleased to have Evergreen on board. Their knowledge of the insurance sector and exemplary business practices will be of great support to the Better Century community. We are very pleased to welcome their friends and customers”

To join the Better Century community click here.

Better Century announces partnership with EcoBeagle

Better Century are pleased to announce their latest partnership with ethical online shop, EcoBeagle.  EcoBeagle sniffs out and supplies a wide range of ethically sourced, manufactured and package products – from sunscreen to reusable teabags. Their partnership intends to support the Better Century community with more options when shopping ethically.

Better Century Founder and Director, Tom Beckett said: “Finding truly sustainable products is becoming more of a challenge in a time where there are more and more options and every company is claiming an eco status. EcoBeagle’s experience finding truly ethical products is so valuable. We look forward to having their customers and voice as part of the Better Century community”

The partnership intends to join the two organisations communities and encourage knowledge sharing between individuals on how to live more sustainably. 

EcoBeagle founder, Tracey Rawling Church, Commented: “I really hope our customers utilise the resources available on Better Century and share their experiences of EcoBeagle sources products. There are so many fantastic companies, products and ideas out there, we are excited to be part of a network pulling them all together.” 

To join the Better Century community click here.

More about partnering with Better Century

This partnership is one of many as Better Century grows its network. We are tackling critical issues for ordinary people who want to live sustainably by ensuring they are getting easy to access information as well as ready opportunities to make a difference.  By bringing together the communities of hundreds of organisations who are already providing parts of the solution we can create an unparalleled network of changemakers that can tackle the climate and ecological crisis.

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