The Green Business Fund may be an option for SMEs as demand for energy has been steadily increasing since the industrial revolution but, in the 21st century, continued growth is not sustainable.
There are very real fears that the UK may struggle to meet energy demands this winter and that greenhouse gases are contributing to climate change.
While one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors is in renewable energies and alternative sources of energy, there are opportunities for everyone to become more energy efficient, both in the home and in business.
There are financial incentives available too. The new ECO solar fund incentive has been brought forward and SME’s have access to grants up to a maximum of £10,000.
Ross Smith, Operations Director at Bosci explains more about the Green Business Fund:
“The UK recognises the impact the increased demand on energy resources is having on both our planet and the economy. SMEs are now able to claim capital grants of up to 30 per cent of the cost of energy saving equipment through the Carbon Trust’s £7 million Green Business Fund. Up to 30% of project value to a maximum of £10,000
“This has increased since the fund was initially launched in April 2016 offering up to 15 per cent of costs, up to a maximum of £10,000.”
According to a Carbon Trust survey of senior decision makers in SMEs, nearly half are concerned about the amount they currently spend on energy. Lack of money to invest in new equipment and lack of affordable options ranked as the largest perceived barriers in making improvements.
Applicants must have less than 250 employees to be eligible, and funding is currently limited to projects that pay back on initial investment in less than five years.
The capital contribution available to SMEs has now been doubled to 30 per cent in order to support even more businesses investing in new and more efficient equipment. The £10,000 maximum contribution still stands.
The fund is available on a first come first served basis and can be used to purchase a range of equipment, including lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and energy efficient controls.
It is expected to support up to 2,000 SMEs across England, Scotland and Wales and leverage £55 million of investment in energy saving technologies. Around £130 million in lifetime energy savings are expected to be delivered.
Ross continues: “This is a chance for companies to become more energy efficient, to save money and contribute to ticking the box of their environmental policies.
“We visit many businesses to provide free advice on energy savings; unless the buildings are very newly constructed, we generally are able to identify money and energy saving opportunities.
“As up to 30% of capital costs can be reclaimed, companies can very soon start seeing a return on their outlay. I would everyone to make use of the grants and funding available.
Efficient energy use, sometimes simply called energy efficiency, is the goal to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services. For example, insulating a home allows a building to use less heating and cooling energy to achieve and maintain a comfortable temperature. LED lights or natural skylights reduces the amount of energy required to attain the same level of illumination compared with using traditional incandescent light bulbs.
There are many motivations to improve energy efficiency. Reducing energy use reduces energy costs and may result in a financial cost saving to consumers if the energy savings offset any additional costs of implementing an energy efficient technology. Reducing energy use is also seen as a solution to the problem of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. According to the International Energy Agency, improved energy efficiency in buildings, industrial processes and transportation could reduce the world’s energy needs in 2050 by one third, and help control global emissions of greenhouse gases.
Energy efficiency and renewable energy are said to be the twin pillars of sustainable energy policy and are high priorities in the sustainable energy hierarchy. In many countries energy efficiency is also seen to have a national security benefit because it can be used to reduce the level of energy imports from foreign countries and may slow down the rate at which domestic energy resources are depleted.
For more information visit the Carbon Trust