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Firms want more financial support for energy efficiency measures

Firms want more financial support for energy efficiency measures

Firms want more financial support for energy efficiency measures

Many businesses are coming under increasing pressure to reduce their carbon footprint and enhance the efficiency of their operations.

While this might seem like a daunting task for some organisations - particularly those with limited resources - there are a number of simple steps you can take to improve environmental performance.

Using eco-friendly service providers and conducting staff training to ensure your employees know how they can contribute to efficiency are two such steps.

Another initiative that can deliver substantial gains in terms of energy consumption and sustainability is installing new efficiency measures.

This can be hugely beneficial, but the biggest issue holding many businesses back is cost.

In a survey of over 2,100 firms in England and Wales, more than a third (36 per cent) of respondents said offering grants to fund the installation of energy efficiency measures would be the most important thing the government could do for business.

The study by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and British Gas also revealed that over a quarter (27 per cent) of companies that rent or lease their premises feel they have no influence over energy efficiency improvements.

When asked what was preventing them from investing in measures to boost efficiency, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of the largest organisations - compared with 13 per cent overall - said other investments were taking priority.

Around one in seven respondents (15 per cent) thought the potential savings resulting from the measures would not be worth the cost of installation.

Only eight per cent of businesses felt that more information would help them make positive strides in energy efficiency and just four per cent felt financing options like lease agreements and low-cost loans would be beneficial.

Companies also appear to be unconvinced on smart meters, with only six per cent of those participating in the survey saying the wider use of these devices would be the most useful step for the government and suppliers to take.

The research also looked into general trends in energy costs for commercial enterprises, with 35 per cent of firms having seen prices rise in the last three years.

By comparison, just 13 per cent had experienced a fall in their energy bills and 37 per cent reported little or no change.

Mike Spicer, director of research and economics at the BCC, said getting the economics of investment right is "crucial" if the government wants companies to invest in energy efficiency.

"At a time when businesses face growing upfront cost pressures from other sources, grants and tax breaks have an important role to play in offsetting the cost of new energy efficiency measures. On its own, more information won't do the job," he said.

"Commercial landlords also need to do more, to support leaseholders and renters who are looking to save money and make their energy use work for them."

Gab Barbaro, managing director of British Gas Business, added: "It's clear from this research that businesses in rented and leased premises need more help from their commercial landlords, and new regulations to tackle the least energy-efficient premises can't come soon enough."

 

Posted by William Rodriguez

 

Image courtesy of iStock/ Enis Aksoy