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1. Energy

Did you know businesses were responsible for 17% of the UK's C02 emissions in 2019? (Source: Gov.uk)

Reducing energy consumption

There are lots of ways to reduce energy consumption in the workplace, which can reduce costs as well as benefitting the environment. Here are 5 tips:

  1. Switch off - Most office equipment can be set to power off automatically, and PIR sensors can be fitted in rooms to turn lights off automatically – but training your staff to be more aware can work too.
  2. LED lights - Replace any old incandescent or halogen bulbs with LED, which are much more energy efficient and will save money in the long term.
  3. Draught-proofing - Some simple DIY draft-proofing around doors, windows and loft-hatches can help reduce heat loss, which will help to bring down those heating bills.
  4. Insulation - If the cost of heating is a big problem, an investment in insulation may pay for itself quickly – as much as 40% of heat is lost through the roof, so consider ceiling insulation.
  5. Smart energy - Smart meters can help you check the accuracy of your bills and manage your energy usage more efficiently.

Support schemes for energy

The Government has set a target for the UK to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, they and others have a number of schemes to support you on this journey. Some current schemes available to businesses are:

  • Low Carbon South East (LoCASE) - Surrey County Council are running a scheme that provides grants for businesses of up to £10,000 (40% of the project costs) for SMEs. Energy efficiency measures and business development are eligible. Register interest (SCC website) or for further details (LoCASE website).
  • Workplace Charging Scheme to provide electric vehicle charging points in your car park, funding is available for part of the cost. The contribution is limited to the 75% of purchase and installation costs, up to a maximum of £350 for each socket, up to a maximum of 40 across all sites for each applicant.
  • Community Solar Accelerator from Brighton Energy Cooperative - £25,000 off the cost of solar PV or solar PV plus electric vehicle charging points. SMEs predominantly in the Coast to Capital region and the fund will pay up to 40% of the total project cost.
  • Industrial Energy Transformation Fund  from BEIS - For larger business with high energy use. Grants above £100,000 for energy efficiency and deep decarbonisation. Above £30,000 for feasibility studies. £220 million in funding between Autumn 2021 and 2025. Types of technologies include industrial carbon capture, fuel switches to low carbon fuels including electrification, hydrogen, and biomass.
  • Feed-in Tariff – receiving payments from electricity suppliers for any electricity you generate from a renewable source.
  • Green Deal – a way to finance work that will make your business more energy efficient.

OFGEM, the government department for gas and electricity, has a list of available schemes.

On-site renewable energy generation

You may be able to invest in generating renewable energy or renewable heat for your business. This could include solar panels, wind turbines, air or ground source heat pumps, solar heating and a whole range of other technologies. Some of the schemes mentioned above could help finance this. To find out more, Energy UK has some good advice.

Renewable energy suppliers

Not everyone can generate their own renewable energy, but you could opt for an energy supplier that will provide a green tariff. The national grid’s renewable energy mix will change throughout the year, but the annual average is gradually increasing. While you can’t choose what mix of energy that arrives at your business, you can choose an energy company that buys their energy from renewable sources, which helps to move the UK make the shift to cleaner energy for all.

For more information on switching supplier, you can look at the Energy Saving Trust’s advice here. Then, when you’re ready to switch supplier, you can visit the ‘Big Clean Switch’ which will help you compare suppliers and look at savings you might make.

SME Climate Hub

The government is partnering with business owners and climate groups to encourage commitment to halve carbon emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050, by encouraging SMEs to sign a Climate Commitment. More information can be found on the UK Business Climate Hub.