Green business energy
Green business energy
Friday 8 July, 2011
By Garnet Roach - email@example.com
Find out your carbon footprint, become more efficient and sign-up to the latest green energy tariff to save money, do your bit for the planet and boost your green credentials
There are loads of ways for your business to become more environmentally friendly - something that has become increasingly important to customers, clients and consumers when they choose which companies they do business with.
Ian Gibson, director of delivery programmes at the Carbon Trust, says: “Businesses that do not embrace the green economy risk losing out. As larger firms look to reduce carbon in their supply chains, SMEs that don’t act now could get cut out in favour of greener competitors.”
Boosting your energy efficiency and going green will also help you to save cash while doing your bit for the environment - so everyone wins.
Your carbon footprint
“A ‘carbon footprint’ measures the total greenhouse gas emissions caused directly and indirectly by a person, organisation, event or product,” says the Carbon Trust.
When you measure your carbon footprint, all six of the Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gases will be considered; carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
The government has set a target to bring carbon emissions to 80% less than 1990 levels by 2050. To help meet this target, companies that consume a lot of energy have to purchase allowances to cover their emissions.
The government also plans to increase the amount of energy the UK gets from renewable sources to 15% by 2020 - up from 6.6% in 2010.
Do ‘green tariffs’ really make a difference?
Renewable electricity tariffs promise to deliver a certain percentage of your energy from renewable sources, with some also promising to match every unit of electricity you use with another renewable until fed back into the National Grid.
Although most business energy providers offer some sort of green tariff, government targets mean that suppliers must do this whether or not customers sign-up to any specific “environmentally friendly” deals.
This has led to concerns that some “green” tariffs simply advertise themselves as more environmentally friendly when they are simply meeting requirements already laid out for energy companies.
Installing your own solar panels, combined heat and power (CHP) boiler or even a wind turbine will allow your business to generate its own electricity from renewable sources.
In addition to saving you money by reducing the amount of electricity you need to buy, anything you generate but don’t use can be sold back to the National Grid on a feed-in tariff.
For example, “leaving a single computer and monitor switched ‘on’ for 24 hours-a-day will cost over £50 a year. Switching it off and using ‘stand-by’ features when you are not using it could reduce this to £15 a year,” says the Carbon Trust.
E.ON has identified six steps it says can help your company cut down on the amount of energy you use:
- Behaviour - Changing your behaviour is the first step to reducing energy use. Encourage your employees to think about energy saving
- Establish - Start measuring how much energy your company uses. An energy monitor can help you to work out where most of it goes
- Compare - Look at how your energy use has changed over time, and compare your energy consumption with similar companies
- Identify - Once you have found the areas where the most energy is wasted, make changes to start saving
- Plan - Develop a strategy to ensure you don’t slip back into old habits and keep energy consumption down going forward
- Monitor - Keep monitoring your progress to identify new ways to cut gas and electricity use and make even more savings
Energy fuel mix
All gas and electricity companies must now publish an energy “fuel mix” so you know exactly how much of the gas and electricity you use comes from fossil fuels, renewable energy or even nuclear power.
The table below gives a UK average breakdown of the sources used to provide your energy between 1 April 2009 and 1 March 2010.
|Energy Source||UK Average|
At 10% during this period, Scottish & Southern (www.sse.com), delivers the highest portion of its energy from renewable sources, while E.ON and Npower (www.npower.com)both deliver below the national average on 5.7% and 6% respectively.
Another fuel source that some people are concerned about is nuclear energy. Across the national grid, 18% of our energy comes from nuclear power.
EDF (www.edfenergy.com)is by far the biggest nuclear provider, delivering 64.5% of its energy this way. At the other end of the scale, Scottish & Southern gets just 2% of its energy from nuclear sources.
Choosing the right business energy tariff
Because there are a lot of things that you need to take into account when choosing your business energy provider and the only way to really find the cheapest deal is to compare tariffs online. This will take into account your company’s energy consumption, giving you a tailored quote.
Think about whether or not you want to sign-up to a green tariff, if you could benefit from a dual fuel deal and even the time of day you use most of your energy. You should also consider how you pay your bills. Paperless billing cuts down on waste, allowing you to manage your account online and can get you money off your bills, while opting for direct debit makes budgeting easier, will spread your payments over the year and usually entitles you to a discount.