The Clean Technology Centre has developed an online resource efficiency tool for businesses, with support from the EPA.
It is very challenging to convert interest on the part of micro and small businesses into active participation with regard to improved environmental performance. Timing, staff availability, financial support – these are all limiters to action. And, since the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, the active visiting of companies by consultants and advisors is limited, which means that the companies themselves have to measure their impacts themselves.
The EPA TREE Tool for Resource Efficiency facilities such an environmental self-assessment. The data the companies enter into the TREE is private and use of the tool is free. The TREE can get to a wide audience at low cost and can be completed quickly by the companies. This raises awareness of the issues of concern. The TREE is especially useful since the Green Business Programme ended.
The tool was developed for the purpose of providing remote assistance to small and medium sized businesses. In recent years, CTC has assisted local business groups to review resource efficiency/environmental management in clusters in Irish towns including Kenmare, Cashel, Drogheda and Belturbet.
The TREE asks a number of questions of companies about their environmental impact while at the same time forcing them to examine their actions and impacts relating to Energy, Water, Waste and Environmental Management.
Businesses who complete the tool receive a resource efficiency score and an Action Plan sent by email. This score is further broken down into scores for Energy, Water, Waste and Environmental Management. The score can be used as environmental metrics for the business at the start of a process of improvement. This step can be repeated at the end of the actions to allow for a comparison of scores pre and post project.
The TREE identifies areas which are of most concern to the business and recommends potential opportunities.