UK business wastes energy £billions
UK businesses are wasting billions of pounds every year. These are the findings from a Carbon Trust report published this week. The report, The Business of Energy Efficiency, by the Carbon Trust’s Advisory Service says that finance directors in large businesses are undervaluing the financial returns from energy saving by over a half.
Energy saving measures, such as upgrades to heating and lighting, energy policies and staff training could be saving businesses at least £1.6bn every year. I’ll just repeat that last bit, it’s important … Every Year.
Energy efficiency may not be sexy, but with projected increases in energy prices can big business really continue to overlook such substantial savings? After all, energy efficiency is where the jobs are.
Energy projects deliver, on average, a return on investment of 48%, four times the minimum level demanded by most senior finance officers and have a pay back of less than three years. According to the report, that satisfies the investment requirements of eight out of ten finance directors.
Of course none of this is news to the TUC Green Workplaces projects around the UK where businesses and organisations are working in partnership with trade unions to improve energy efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of the workplace. Our joint publication with the then BERR and the CBI from last year highlights one such green workplace, the British Museum, where our union green reps have helped make substantial financial savings.
Some employers are waking up to the benefits to be had from working with the recognised unions in their workplaces to ensure that financial savings from resource and energy efficiency ease the pressure on other costs and saves jobs.
But, if these findings from the Carbon Trust are anything to go by we need a UK wide network of green workplaces that can have a national impact on energy costs and carbon emissions. Our projects have shown that union involvement can lead to business benefits through improved environmental performance. How much longer do we have to keep screaming this from the rooftops before business sits up and takes notice and government gives our union green reps statutory time off to help employers engage with their staff and make a success of their green projects.
Meanwhile, the government is proposing to exempt nearly 12,000 information declarers from the much maligned Carbon Reduction Energy Efficiency Scheme. Under the scheme’s current rules, in addition to the 3000 businesses fully participating in the CRC, around 11,500 UK organisations and businesses have registered to make an information disclosure under the scheme. It seems that smaller businesses and organisations may also be given the go ahead to continue overlooking the savings that can be made from basic energy management.
It was only last year that President Obama took a ribbing at home for proclaiming that energy efficiency was sexy. His words were “ Here’s what’s sexy about it – saving money”. It’s hard to disagree.