Pricing carbon drives small businesses to take on energy-saving measures, a social enterprise based in the Netherlands, carried out a unique carbon pricing pilot on small and medium Dutch enterprises a year ago. The participants  gained insight into their carbon footprint and in the amount of money that they would have to pay if carbon emissions were priced at €100,- per ton CO2. What energy-saving measures could this companies take to respond and keep their CO2 emissions at their lowest possible level?

For starters, the pilot led to increased carbon emission awareness by the participating organizations. What's the source of their CO2 emissions?, how can they be reduced and what does a price on CO2 means when it is time to choose energy-efficiency investments? Companies found answers to these questions by participating in this pilot. 

One year later we asked the participating companies what kind of energy-saving and CO2-reduction measures they took in response to participation in the pilot. As you can see below, participants took very different approaches:

  • Replaced remaining conventional lighting in warehouses with LED lighting.

  • Purchasing green electricity from wind energy.

  • Purchasing of electric company car for deliveries in the region.

  • Various company cars replaced by vehicles that are fuel efficient.

  • Standardization and uniformization of stocks (parts) in the buses. Partly because of this, the company can drive with smaller buses that consume less fuel because they have less air-resistance and are less heavily loaded.

  • Purchase of more than 360 solar panels, which will be placed in mid-July 2018 allowing the business to become energy self-sufficient. 

  • Purchase of a software program to regulate transport more efficiently. With this program the company can plan routes and drivers mechanics more efficiently and thereby save fuel.

  • Providing insight into the power consumption per department, which makes the company better able to implement energy-saving measures.

  • New energy efficient steam boiler with Economizer and O2 control

  • A forming station has been purchased so that so-called forming operations can be performed on this machine instead of on the tenter frame. The tenter must always remain warm, while this is not necessary for the machining. This saves on natural gas.

  • Transport savings through new calender (instead of external calendering)

  • Automate the burner settings during fixation processes. (The saving is based on 2.5% savings on the total consumption of the tension windows.)

  • The compressors suck air from outside. This air is heated up and discharged outside. Instead of draining off, the air can be used to heat the combustion air from the steam boiler and / or the adjacent paint preparation room. Only in the first case could the heat be usefully reused outside the heating season.

  • Some of newly purchased trucks now have a cooling engines that are powered by electricity, which saves diesel.

Because of these results, we hope we can expand this testcase as quickly as possible in the Netherlands or elsewhere in the world. For more information, please contact Rob van der Rijt at robvanderrijt (@)

About the author

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Rob van der Rijt is founder of the more than 750.000 times consulted Carbon Footprint Management platform for SMEs in the Netherlands: Klimaatplein offers a free 5-step roadmap to become a carbon neutral business by saving on energy expenses and increase the use of renewable energy. Rob is author of the book "In 5 steps towards a carbon neutral business" published by Kluwer Management. 

Klimaatplein was nominated as most sustainable national initiative in October 2013. Nominated for the national climate medal in June 2015. Listed in the top 100 most innovative SME's by Dutch Chamber of Commerce 2016. Finalist in MoMo4Climate contest december 2016. Initiator of the first testcase for carbon pricing for Dutch sme's in 2017.