Green for go: Making sustainability work for business

 

As a market leader and one of the largest commercial LED Lighting manufacturers and suppliers in Europe, Verde Energy Group is best known for offering a wide range of lighting solutions using premium LED chip technology primarily for commercial purposes. 

Having re-branded from its previous name as Verde, the company - in line with Government commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 - will steer clients towards a carbon neutral facility, while generating cash savings, through its diversified service and product offering, which includes EV chargers, solar PV and its Enware Sustainability SaaS platform. 

It will fund installations which include a combination of the three technologies over a three to five-year period, seeing clients pay a monthly fee rather than paying upfront, bringing substantial savings. 

“Creating cost-saving, energy-efficient solutions is the way towards a more accessible and greener Ireland,” said chief operating officer Paul Martin, explaining the rationale behind the diversification and the €20m Green Fund.

“The new fund offers a real win-win option for clients who wish to upgrade to energy saving solutions without bearing the full costs of upfront payments, with the added benefit of improving their carbon footprint.” 

An additional benefit will accrue due to investment being off clients’ balance sheets: “Essentially, it is energy as a service in that whatever technology you want to put into your business it will be provided as a finance service.” 

He adds that the adoption of electric vehicles in Ireland is accelerating, with the Climate Action Plan commits to a target of 936,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads by 2030. “Undoubtedly meeting this figure will be a challenge, but once it becomes a conventional change it will happen very quickly toward the end of the decade.” 

Paul says that the availability of a greater range of vehicles will also speed up the process. “Ensuring there is the necessary infrastructure in place to support this step up is crucial. For businesses, providing a more EV friendly environment for employees and customers is a big opportunity to become cleaner, more sustainable and more efficient," he says.

"Most companies offering EV charging are currently doing so on a ‘plug and play’ basis, meaning there is no cost to the employee.” 

Good roof space provided by commercial properties such as manufacturing, distribution and pharmaceutical facilities make Solar PV a sound investment for them. “Solar PV systems transform the energy from the sun into electricity, which then powers a building’s energy requirements.” 

Depending on the size of the installation, Verde aims to cover the base load of a facility to minimise wastage, generating 30-50% electricity requirements from PV.

In response to a growing need for energy efficient solutions for business, the company was established in 2010 by John Keohane and Paul Martin.

“The company is on a mission to help organisations save energy and become more sustainable and has grown to a scale where we are now saving our customers more than €20m annually. We partner with organisations to remove the barriers and pain that prevent them achieving their goals by letting us deliver successful energy reduction projects whilst they focus on their core business.” 

For those looking to reduce their carbon footprint and reap the environmental benefits of retrofitting, Verde Energy Group is a one-stop-shop, with the added incentive of processing funding supports such as SEAI Grants, on the client’s behalf. 

In addition, the Accelerated Capital Allowance Tax Incentive promotes the investment in energy saving products, and businesses can avail of the ACA tax incentive if they are in possession of any qualifying energy efficient equipment, such as EV chargers or Solar PV. 

"Effectively what we are about is generating energy savings without up front costs, and taking the headaches away from clients. The considerable administration, application and submission work associated with getting these grants is done by Verde, and then deliver that grant to the client.”

The company operates in a range of sectors including industrial, education, pharmaceutical, sports, healthcare and retail, delivering financed solutions through ‘Energy as a Service’," Paul says.

In addition to delivering solutions across lighting, solar and vehicle charging, the group has developed Enware, an energy saving education application. 

This represents a significant Corporate Social Responsibility initiative for all participants. Enware is being rolled out to clients to help build a culture of energy frugality across the members of organisations and their wider families and groups.

Enware helps establish and maintain a community of sustainability in organisations.

“The Enware approach unites your team behind the common goal of sustainability, within and around your organisation. By adopting the Enware platform, you help make sustainability a way of life and benefit from our experience and learnings across numerous organisations," Paul explains.

For every ton of CO₂ it helps offset, Verde plants a tree. “We are passionate about our planet and delivering significant CO₂ emission reductions, while also recycling old or used product in an environmentally friendly manner.” That equates to over 3700 trees planted since 2018. 

The company’s Green Fund reinforces its reputation for devising sustainable solutions - while the diversification in the business will also create an additional 30 jobs over the next two years - the largest recruitment drive since its inception in 2010.

In a year where the increasing effects of climate change in the form of fires, floods and general weather mayhem across the globe have affected every continent, the need for environmental re-engineering has never been greater. 

"Even climate change’s biggest critics in the past must now acknowledge that this is real. It is there to be seen globally as well as here on our own doorstep in Ireland in the form of changed weather patterns and severe temperature fluctuations.

"It is now up to ourselves to create that platform and manage the environment for future generations. That is what the whole business of sustainability is about.”