The Climate Change Committee recently announced that by 2035, the UK needs to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide by 78% compared to 1990. Previously a similar target had been set for 2050, so this is a call to halve the time taken. The global effort to reduce emissions has always been a two-pronged assault: to cut consumption through efficiency improvements and decarbonise by moving to renewable energy. However, renewables tend to hog the limelight because of the obvious hardware involved, e.g. solar panels, wind turbines, hydroelectric dams, etc., which can polarise opinion. Also, renewables have enjoyed stronger incentives until recently. Energy efficiency, meanwhile, is not seen as a technology – just that same old message about switching things off.
That is not entirely fair. Good control of the energy-consuming plant is certainly an important tool; but, like renewables, low-energy technology upgrades – replacing boilers, chillers, motors, lighting – can present valuable investment opportunities for any business, with proven benefits and therefore payback. Over the years, energy efficiency has been the target of incentives and legislation. The latest two are part carrot, part stick: The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS, mandatory for larger businesses) is a four-yearly requirement resulting in a fully costed audit of tailored potential projects, whereas Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR, affects many smaller businesses) has replaced the Carbon Reduction Commitment scheme and requires an annual declaration of energy and carbon totals.
While Phase 3 of ESOS is still two years away, it is still possible to arrange your energy audit and find out how much your organisation could save. In any case, whilst it may not capture the headlines in the same way as renewables, energy efficiency can represent a cost-effective way of identifying low-cost, high-impact ways of reducing your overall energy spend.
Find out how we can help you with all your energy needs by giving the team a call on 024 7669 6512.