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On behalf of Leichhardt Council, SBC performed 26 sustainability assessments for businesses in the Leichhardt LGA

excerpt LMC SMART report
Most people know that energy these days is not as cheap as it used to be. Lately, it has become a significant cost item for most businesses, which adds to the overhead and reduces the profit. Medium to large sized businesses find it easier to afford the services of a sustainability consultancy to help them with managing the rising energy costs. However, smaller businesses often struggle with scraping together the cash to get a proper energy audit with recommendations done that will keep a cap on the energy costs.

Businesses also get inundated with calls from solar PV providers wanting to get their gear installed with promises of financial returns that seem to good to be true. Business owners would like to be more sustainable, but it all seems too complex. This leads to business owners accepting the status quo and paying whatever they have to pay for their utilities. So much potential of being more sustainable and managing  resource consumption more efficiently just gets lost.

This is where Leichhardt Council stepped in. In 2012, Leichhardt Council started the SMART program which was aimed at improving the environmental performance of businesses in the Local Government area. Specifically, the program wanted to help businesses with:

  • Reducing water use
  • Reducing energy use
  • Reducing waste generated and waste going to landfill
  • Reducing operating costs

SBC was tasked with conducting sustainability assessments for the participating businesses. All up, we assessed 26 business across 35 resource areas (energy, water, waste). 20 out of 26 business owners indicated that energy was of the greatest interest and wanted the sustainability assessment to focus on this resource. Across all the organisations, our assessments identified the following resource and $ savings:

  • Total average annual $ savings per SMART business: $4,592
  • Total annual $ savings identified across all businesses: $119,394
  • Total annual electricity savings across all businesses: 372,912 kWh
  • Total annual water savings across all businesses: 1,169kL
  • Total annual cubic metres of waste diverted from landfill across all businesses: 473m3

This shows that by undertaking a proper sustainability assessment, the average SME can save $4,600 per year. If all recommendations to conserve energy were implemented, the emission of 358 tonnes of carbon emissions would be avoided. The total annual kL savings that were identified equal half the size of an Olympic swimming pool. These are great sustainability outcomes that help businesses save money and increase their bottom line.

SBC also evaluated the success of the SMART program. Comments about the assessments provided under the SMART program included:

  • “they were extremely beneficial in raising awareness about sustainability opportunities”
  • “they helped us understand where consumption occurred and where to prioritise efforts”
  • “the process was easy and reports very detailed and would like to recommend the program to other businesses they know who are interested”
  • “the assessment was the springboard to exploring other sustainability opportunities”

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