THE UK government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) wants to know why businesses don’t buy into energy efficiency.
Recently The Green Building Council’s Business Case for Green Buildings publication outlined how a conscientiously designed and maintained property can improve productivity. This is an example of the kind of message currently being communicated to UK businesses. Energy efficiency should be part of an overall efficiency and mindfulness that will improve a business.
Why does the government care about businesses’ high energy bills?
There is a context, or reason, or whichever word you choose. The UK government has agreed to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% by 2050. Refurbishment is the method they have decided most likely to let them achieve this, and they have devised a piece of legislation called the Green Deal for the purpose.
The Green Deal is a finance package delivering home improvements that will reduce your energy bills. From the subsequent savings, the initial loan is repaid. The debt is set against the property, not the individual.
The Green Deal has been designed to be attractive, specifically to the domestic market. There are some issues over interest rates. But where the Green Deal is potentially an inviting prospect to the domestic market and maybe landlords, what about businesses?
An era of energy efficient legislation
In the past the government has tried giving away insulation for free (CERT). The results were not as impressive as hoped. A separate initiative was the feed-in tariff for solar PV, which due to mismanagement and erratic rate-changing both made and broke the UK solar industry. UK solar is recovering. It should live but the whole episode has arguably scarred energy efficiency initiatives across the board, not just solar.
What government wants is to be able to introduce ideas that are embraced by the people. This happens rarely because it’s hard to please everyone. People act based on their personal circumstances, and based on what’s going on with their business. Even if a decision can improve those circumstances, there are many barriers that can obstruct a good decision being made.
DECC has commissioned a Carbon Trust report into the barriers preventing businesses from taking up energy efficiency measures. It has a really long title: Exploring the Design of Policies to Increase the Efficiency of Electricity Use Within Industrial and Commercial Sectors.
Generally, the smaller companies don’t have the capital or the time to prioritise energy efficiency. Larger businesses have the resources but their internal decision making process is not geared for long term investments, and they worry about the disruption to their business. As for landlords, the complications are often more to do with landlord-tenant complications, and regulations to do with listed properties.
The full report is worth reading for any business anywhere that for some reason is not engaging directly with energy efficiency. The report charts its statistical findings and provides case studies and personal accounts. It is likely that any company will be able to relate to the findings in some way.
About the author
I write about business news and the equipment that organisations use to become more efficient. I co-run www.expertmarket.co.uk and you can speak to me @expertmarket
(image found on Flickr: thanks to ilovebutter)