Big businesses 'could save £250 million per year' with 1% energy cut

Big businesses 'could save £250 million per year' with 1% energy cut

Big businesses 'could save £250 million per year' with 1% energy cut

With just days to go before the first deadline in a mandatory new energy assessment scheme for big businesses, the UK government has published fresh data on the potential economic impact of a greener Britain.

According to a press release from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, issued on November 26th, a one per cent reduction in energy consumption nationwide could save the country's biggest employers as much as £250 million on their bills per year.

What's more, this represents just a fragment of the cash that UK enterprises currently waste through inefficient premises, processes and transport, which the government estimates at £2.8 billion annually - almost as much as the output of five power stations.

In order to drive down this figure, ministers are introducing the Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). This compulsory programme, set to come into effect on Friday (December 5th), will require that big businesses - defined as those with workforces of above 250 employees, or else a turnover of £40 million and balance sheet of £34 million - carry out detailed energy audits once every four years and identify practicable, cost-effective avenues to improve efficiency.

Meeting with more than a hundred representatives of businesses, charities and universities last week, energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey expressed hopes that ESOS will help organisations across the country to "seize the opportunity ... to save energy, save money and save the environment".

"If you act and invest, you will save – and that's the bottom line," he added.

Regulation 'completely necessary' for a greener Britain

Mr Davey also spoke to sustainability journal edie.net at the summit, fending off accusations that the introduction of a mandatory scheme shows the government overstepping its mark in the drive to create a greener Britain.

He told the publication that regulation was "completely necessary" to clamp down on energy inefficiencies among the UK's biggest businesses, arguing that the scheme - which is partially an implementation of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive of 2012 - will have an "important impact" on the country's green credentials.

"There's definitely a role for regulation around energy efficiency and I think the ESOS regulation is very sensible," Mr Davey commented. "The way to regulate smartly is to engage with businesses as you design it and we have done that."

As evidence of this, he pointed to the fact that ESOS does not set out specific requirements vis a vis energy saving measures: it leaves the onus with organisations to decide whether they will pursue particular goals, or else choose not to implement changes.

"It's much better to allow businesses to make the decision about how they implement the results of their audits than trying to prescribe it from central government, which I think would be costly and complicated," the Lib Dem MP said.

Separate research from the government published earlier this year estimated that even if only six per cent of energy saving opportunities identified through ESOS between 2015 and 2030 are acted on, the UK could still save as much as £1.9 billion.

A further analysis from the Carbon Trust suggested that the final figure might be far higher, with the company having found that four in ten of its simple energy saving recommendations to British businesses are acted upon.


Posted by William Rodriguez


Image courtesy of Thinkstock/iStock