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Think tank highlights business benefits of energy efficiency

Think tank highlights business benefits of energy efficiency

Think tank highlights business benefits of energy efficiency

Targeted measures to improve energy efficiency could deliver a £1.3 billion reduction in energy bills for British businesses, according to research from the right-leaning think tank Policy Exchange.

The report noted that energy efficiency initiatives that reduce the burden of bills "have the potential to drive profitability", helping UK companies to stay internationally competitive.

Policy Exchange recommended a number of specific actions in its 'Clean Growth' study, one of which is the development of an Energy Efficiency Delivery Unit. The purpose of this body would be to "bridge the gap between viable projects and available capital", providing public and private institutions with guidance and finance for project development.

Government intervention should focus on landlords rather than tenants, according to the think tank. By linking Energy Performance Certificates to business rates, for example, policymakers could incentivise commercial property owners to invest in energy efficiency.

A combination of fiscal incentives and tighter regulations could be the key to progress on this front.

The report also called for the Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme to be extended to cover parts of the public sector where there is clear potential for efficiency gains, such as the NHS, defence and education.

Joshua Burke, energy and environment research fellow at Policy Exchange and author of the report, pointed out that businesses and public institutions spend £22 billion - the equivalent of nearly five per cent of GDP - on energy every year.

He said improving energy efficiency is one of the "easiest and cheapest ways to decarbonise our energy system", but "too many organisations still aren't investing enough in energy efficiency".

"Public sector leadership on energy efficiency could save the taxpayer billions, while the private sector should focus on funding energy efficiency projects, particularly those that have longer payback periods," Mr Burke continued.

"What will ultimately drive energy efficiency projects are the perceived strategic and productivity benefits rather than energy and carbon savings, and this is how it should be framed and communicated to ensure traction across all management levels of businesses."

The research was supported by Centrica, the parent company of British Gas. Nick Park, the group's head of energy policy development, stressed that gaining a clearer understanding of energy consumption can help businesses of all sizes to "save money, improve operational performance and become more resilient".

He added: "Improving energy efficiency provides a golden opportunity for businesses and the public sector to improve productivity and unlock future growth opportunities."

Even the smallest firms can take positive steps towards limiting their impact on the environment and reducing their bills by enhancing energy efficiency.

If your business uses vehicles, make sure they are fuel-efficient models and offer training to drivers on techniques that could help them to reduce fuel consumption.

In the workplace, simple changes like replacing fluorescent tube lights with LED lighting can make a big difference.

It's also important to make sure any service suppliers you choose to work with have strong green credentials of their own.

 

Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of iStock/WhyFrameStudio