Low-emission machinery: reducing carbon in the hire industry

James Scully
April 15, 2024

“Our industry is not moving fast enough” according to the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC).  According to their roadmap tracking progress on net zero objectives, the “shortfall is equivalent to taking 6.5 million cars or 1 in every 6 cars off the road.”  This means enormous pressure on anyone working in the built environment sector. Although it’s obviously essential to respond to a rapidly evolving regulatory landscape, the attitude of business leaders to these changes now will make a real difference to a company’s ability to thrive in the future.  

Some will view it as green-washing or a box-ticking exercise, others as a matter of corporate social responsibility. However, viewed strategically, a move towards green energy solutions can help your company get ahead of a marked shift in market demand and allow you to help your customers reach their own sustainability goals. 

What are customers looking for?

The push towards greener rental equipment isn’t just happening in the UK, it’s global, and so understanding what customers need and answering those requirements can provide opportunities for expansion. It’s the perfect moment to rethink your equipment strategies and lifecycle management.

Whether they are looking for power, equipment or welfare units, customers are searching for partners who can offer positive solutions to some of the challenges they face.  So what are the common problems that they need solving?  They may typically be looking for alternative machinery that:

  • Operates at lower noise levels
  • Releases less pollution 
  • Helps reduce their carbon footprint
  • Delivers fuel economy
  • Has a reduced run time
  • Run on green energy
  • Offer hybrid power capacity
  • Battery storage technology

So it’s essential to ensure that you have a well-defined sustainability strategy and that you have the equipment and explanations ready to satisfy these problems.  It is also important to make your environmental credentials clear to prospects and existing customers, so make them shine on your website and marketing.  

Embracing new technologies for competitive advantage

Staying at the cutting edge of innovation is crucial for staying competitive in the hire industry. Not only does investing in new technologies cater to a growing segment of environmentally conscious clients, but it will allow you to control your own business better. 

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to dedicate substantial resources to the development and acquisition of electric, hybrid, and alternative fuel machinery. Investing in state-of-the-art green rental equipment will reinforce your position as leaders in the industry and help to future-proof your business.  

Customers aiming to satisfy a specific problem appreciate suppliers who understand their goals and can offer solutions.  For instance, where excavators are required they might need an alternative to traditional diesel options with no emissions and reduced noise levels.  A clued up supplier can provide not only a suitable electric excavator but a portable solar energy generator to recharge it as well.  Knowing that you understand and anticipate their needs places your relationship with customers on a much stronger footing.

It is also essential that your team is aware of some of the additional benefits of the new technology so that they can pass this knowledge on to customers:  

Reduced running costs: 

Electric and low-emission machinery often has lower operating costs, mainly due to reduced expenditures on fuel and maintenance. 

Fewer repair needs:

Electric vehicles typically have fewer moving parts than their diesel equivalents, leading to less wear and tear and consequently lower repair bills over the machine's lifetime.

Improved health and safety:

Since electric machines are typically much quieter, communication is much simpler, without the need for hand signals, radios and turning machines on and off to hear what colleagues are saying.   Of course, they are also working in a more pleasant environment without the constant smell of diesel exhaust fumes.

When doing your research, don’t forget to look at best practice options for running your own business as well.  The use of smart technologies - such as BigChange’s job management software -  in conjunction with green machinery, is propelling the industry towards a more efficient future. Since the software creates paperless working, you also cut down on the time and energy used in moving paperwork around your business, whilst allowing the instant transfer of documents and images.  

Cultivating partnerships and expanding offerings

To rapidly scale your range of eco-friendly offerings, establishing partnerships with eco-friendly manufacturers is another option worth serious consideration. Joint efforts can lead to bespoke solutions for specific environmental and operational needs and allows for a faster transition to cleaner technologies. It also mitigates risks and allows the sharing of development costs.

You might also consider expanding into training.  Many customers are unaware of the impact that specific options can make or don’t have the training to optimise the use of eco-friendly equipment. Training clients on best practices and efficient operations can solidify long-term relationships.

A New Era of Responsibility and Opportunity

Whether it's through reducing noise pollution, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, or promoting the use of renewable energy, the equipment hire industry is in a prime position to lead the charge toward a more sustainable future.

For hire companies, the shift towards sustainability is not just about compliance or public relations; it’s a way of guaranteeing long-term viability and success. Sustainability should be at the heart of your strategy to build a resilient and dynamic business capable of thriving and you need to make sure that you are using the best tools to do that. 

Are you ready to find out how hire software can help you achieve your green goals?  Talk to one of our experts today to find out more.

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