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Date: February 26th, 2011
Publication: The Kingston Whig-Standard, page 34
Author: Kevin Shipley

Phrases like “climate change,” “carbon footprint,” and “greenhouse gas” have been in common use for a while now, but what do they really mean to the average business or institution in Ontario? Scientific studies have shown that releases to the atmosphere of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are contributing to climate change. Burning of fossil fuels such as gasoline, natural gas and coal is a major source of greenhouse gases. There a number of measures that organizations can take to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and help fight climate change.

While regulatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions is not yet required in Ontario, it is expected that this will become mandatory in the coming years. In the meantime, many organizations are taking a proactive approach to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions or, in other words, working towards a smaller carbon footprint. Organizations that do this will be well ahead of the game once greenhouse gas reporting regulations come into effect. In many cases this will give them a competitive advantage over organizations that follow a more “reactive” approach and do nothing until forced to do so by the regulations.

Taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is not only good for the environment, in can also lead to substantial cost savings. There are many cases in which businesses have experienced substantial annual energy cost reductions by making capital improvements such as installing higher efficiency heating systems or improving insulation. In many cases the payback periods for improvements like theseare five years or less.

XCG Consultants Ltd. is a Kingston environmental consulting firm that has made a pledge to combat climate change by becoming a carbon neutral organization by 2019. The process started with a baseline greenhouse gas inventory followed by the development of a greenhouse gas emission reduction strategy. The strategy includes a combination of changes in work and purchasing practices, energy efficient retrofits, increasing the use of technology to enable less business travel, purchases of green energy and hybrid vehicles and investment in renewable energy.

In addition to carrying out this process internally, as an environmental consulting firm XCG can assist other organizations to do the same thing. XCG conducts greenhouse gas inventories, develops greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies, and provides a wide range of other related services.

It is never too early to start saving money, and implementing a greenhouse gas emission strategy is one way that organizations can not only reduce energy costs, but also help the enviroment and improve their image at the same time.