Cafe owner Adam Nicoletti does not sugarcoat how hard it can be to slash his business's emissions, even as he urges more companies to save money through a new Bendigo program.
"But it's not like it's time and money going into a hole. There are positive financial implications."
Mr Nicoletti has reflected on his learnings ahead of the launch of the "Beat the Power Bills Business Program", a new project targeting Bendigo businesses.
The program is being run by the Greater Bendigo Climate Collaboration and launches on Wednesday, November 15 and includes breakout sessions on roadmaps to zero emissions, fleets, freight and power purchases.
Mr Nicoletti's Spring Gully operation shows what is possible, and it's not only thanks to the many solar panels on site.
"We've got the gardens out the back with wicking beds, a 20,000 litre water tank, all our oil gets recycled, we give away our coffee grinds and customers come in to get our green waste and garden scraps," he said.
'Very doable': how businesses can lead the charge
Getting more Bendigo businesses to slash emissions cannot come soon enough for climate coalition co-ordinator Ian McBurney.
He said solar power alone now made up more than 10 per cent of all energy use, "which is great, but we should be aiming a lot higher".
Reaching 60 per cent renewables by 2030 could be "very doable" given the massive shifts away from coal power that Australia was expected to make in coming years, Mr McBurney said.
"We are about to have a very different energy system and businesses with their heads around how they are using energy, and how they could produce it, will be in a better position in five years' time," he said.
Mr McBurney had worked with businesses of all sizes including small ones, which might only have one very busy, cash-poor decision-maker juggling competing priorities.
"Generally, within one or two conversations, we can come up with a simple plan. Sometimes it can be on one page," he said.
"It might be 'we will investigate solar power this year, look at the efficiency of our fridges, change the hot water service over, get a hybrid car', or whatever."
To book a place or learn more about the Beat the Power Bills Business Program, click here.