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Do businesses and Government need to be more ambitious on energy efficiency?

Do businesses and Government need to be more ambitious on energy efficiency?

Do businesses and Government need to be more ambitious on energy efficiency?

Energy efficiency is something all businesses need to be aware of these days, not only for the sake of the environment, but also to ensure that the organisation is making the best use of its resources and not paying for energy it doesn't need or use.

Recent research has suggested that this is an area where the government and the private sector could be taking a bolder approach.

Is more ambition needed?
A recent survey by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in association with the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), sought the views of suppliers and consumers in the energy efficiency sector on various current issues and topics.

One part of the study focused on the industry's reaction to the government's recently announced clean growth strategy, looking specifically at whether these plans go far enough.

In his introduction to the findings, Matthew Farrow, executive director of the EIC, noted that energy efficiency is often described as "the Cinderella of energy policy, and not without good reason".

"While the ugly sisters of nuclear power and shale gas and the prince charming of renewables dominate the headlines and ministers' attention, energy efficiency policy in recent years has been left on the side-lines, with a collection of general promises of simplification but no sense of direction or momentum," he explained.

"Recently, however, energy efficiency has once again been pulled towards the limelight as the clean growth strategy sets store in what it can achieve."

As policymakers reset their focus on this issue, respondents to the survey were asked if they thought the target of cutting business spend on energy by 20 per cent by 2030 is ambitious enough.

Nearly six out of ten respondents (59 per cent) said it isn't, with 14 per cent saying the goal is either 'not ambitious at all' or 'not very ambitious'.

A large majority (88 per cent) of the energy efficiency suppliers and consumers surveyed said the target for 'as many homes as possible' to have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of C or above by 2035 should be extended to commercial buildings.

On the subject of government policies to encourage energy efficiency, the report showed that tax incentives to drive adoption was the most popular suggestion, followed by action to make EPCs reflect real-world performance.

Making changes to boost energy efficiency
For those businesses that are willing to make a commitment to maximising their energy efficiency, there are changes of varying levels of ambition that can be made in the following areas:

• Lighting - Switch to energy efficient bulbs, make sure lights are turned off when they are not required and, in locations where it's feasible, use low-level lighting.

• Heating - Remember basic practices such as keeping outer doors and windows closed during periods of cold weather. Set your heating systems to make sure they are switched off or on a low setting when the workplace is empty.

• Staff behaviour - Simple measures such as training people on energy-efficient use of equipment and appointing a workforce 'energy champion' can make a valuable difference to power consumption, helping to improve environmental performance and reduce costs.

 

Posted by Frances Singer

Image courtesy of iStock/whyframestudio