Procurement · 4 January 2017

Energy efficient small firms are key to closing Britain’s carbon gap

Energy efficiency
Over half of small business owners have made efforts to improve energy efficiency

Small businesses are crucial in making the UK more energy efficient, according to new research, but a lack of financial incentive has prevented almost half of small business owners from making changes to their company’s carbon footprint.

In its new “The Price of Power” report, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has pushed for greater incentives for small business owners to invest in renewable energy and adopt green practices.

According to the report, just 12 per cent of small business owners are currently using methods such as solar panels to generate energy for their business.

In the past year, the government has made cuts to two flagship renewable energy subsidies for small firms – the Feed in Tariff (FiT) and Renewable Heat Incentives (RHI).

Commenting on the shortage of financial incentives for business owners, FSB chairman Mike Cherry stated the need for a “strategic overhaul” of the UK’s subsidising infrastructure.

The report aimed to put pressure on government to include a specific carbon energy plan into any industrial strategy and to look to the small business community to achieve its targets.

Cherry underlined the “critical role” that smaller companies are able to play in making the UK more energy efficient.

“Many small businesses are willing and capable of becoming more energy efficient, and even generating energy,” Cherry concluded.

According to the report, over half of small business owners have worked to improve energy efficiency in their business, and there are ways in which firms of all sizes can make changes.

How small firms can become more energy efficient

Solar power

It has been reported that by generating energy on-site, businesses can typically save £4,000 on energy bills.

“Security of supply” was found to be the primary concern for 60 per cent of small business owners in the FSB study, and by investing in self-sufficient energy a company can protect itself from local power outage and remain active.

Energy efficient products

If large-scale changes are unrealistic, business owners can start by introducing energy efficient light bulbs and biodegradable cleaning products into the workplace.

Energy efficient light bulbs, such as halogen and LED, are believed to use 25 to 85 per cent less energy than traditional bulbs, and can last up to 25 times longer.

Heating and water

Ensuring that boilers are switched off over periods of inactivity can introduce surprising savings to a business. Another way to cut costs is to ensure water clock settings are changed alongside daylight-saving hours. 

Flexible working

Allowing employees to work from outside of the office can provide a number of benefits to a company. Less energy will be used within the workplace – saving on bills – and employees may respond well to the flexibility.

Read on to find out how your business can make the most of water deregulation.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is a reporter for Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and previously worked as a content editor in the ecommerce industry.

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