Corporate Responsibility is an integral part of any business. When it comes to energy and the growing issues surrounding climate change, it’s important all of us, business or otherwise, to consider whether we are using our energy responsibly. The UK has a legally binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80% by 2020, and business activities account for roughly half of all emissions.
What is the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme?
The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) is a mandatory and comprehensive review and assessment of the energy consumption of UK businesses. If your business qualifies for compliance, you must appoint an ESOS lead energy assessor to conduct a review. This review will produce a report measuring the total energy consumption of your business. This includes buildings, industrial processes and transport.
The assessor will then recommend some energy-efficiency measures to you, and places where you can cut wastage. They will also flag up any compliance issues with the Environment Agency.
ESOS regulations apply to any UK business that has over 250 employees, and has a turnover of at least £38,937,777. While most public-sector bodies are excluded from this, many universities do qualify.
However, there is very little ESOS can do to enforce their recommendations. It’s up to business owners and their energy partners to take action.
Using Renewable Energy
When you compare business energy
deals, you may want to consider each provider’s energy sources- choosing renewable energy could benefit for your business. Switching to using renewable electricity is a surefire way to ensure your business is looking after their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Responsible and sustainable energy usage can strengthen your brand. Low Costa Mill, whom operate holiday cottages in the Yorkshire Moors, run their cottages on both self-generated and renewable electricity through Haven Power. As a result, they’ve been awarded Gold Eco Leader status on TripAdvisor, boosting their profile and driving eco-concerned customers in their direction.
If you are a commercial landlord, a key piece of legislation is the Energy Efficiency Regulations 2015. The aim of these measures is to improve the energy efficiency of rented properties in England and Wales. These regulations cover domestic and non-domestic rented property.
All privately rented properties, including office space, must have a minimum energy performance certificate of band E (which is the national average). Landlords are not allowed to take on any new tenants without making these changes. Also, all buildings requiring an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) have to comply.
Vehicles and Emissions
All businesses that are listed on the LSE’s Main Market have to report their greenhouse gas emissions in their annual Director report, according to Climate Change Act requirements. This includes employee travel.
It’s easy to calculate your business’ greenhouse gas emissions through business travel, owned or controlled vehicles, or staff commuting. You can do so using the formula ‘data x emission factor = greenhouse gas emissions’.
You can do this by using the greenhouse gas conversion factors and spreadsheets of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The Carbon Trust also has a carbon calculator tool on its website, which uses the same conversion factors.
Go Ultra Low Scheme
The Go Ultra Low scheme is a campaign run by both the government and industry, which aims to help drivers and fleets to understand the benefits of using electric vehicles (EVs)
To cut down your business’ vehicle emissions, you may want to consider switching to EVs. Sixty five organisations have already pledged to increase the number of EVs in their fleets by 5% by 2020. The scheme incorporates any vehicle that’s eligible for its plug-in grant scheme, which provides grants towards the cost of various EVs.
Opting into a scheme like this can help improve your brand’s reputation, and help you to save money on fuel. Electric vehicles are cheaper to run than their petrol or diesel counterparts, and also benefit from tax breaks. Go Ultra Low reports that businesses already using EVs are saving £1,250 a year per vehicle.