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UK SMEs are wasting over £82m on surplus energy, study finds

UK SMEs are wasting over £82m on surplus energy, study finds Green SME news – by GreenWise staff 14th October 2015 Small and medium-sized commercial office businesses in the UK are overspending by over £82 million per annum on their energy bills as a result of inefficient technology and old equipment, according to new analysis. The Energy Efficiency Financing (EEF) scheme, a joint initiative between the Carbon Trust and Siemens Financial, looked at the energy expenditure of selected key industries to estimate their annual energy overspend. It concluded potential energy savings of over £414 million could be achieved per year by the UK’s service sector SMEs (of which over £82 million is represented by small and medium-sized commercial office businesses), were they to invest in more energy-efficient equipment. The findings are based on proprietary data and official sources and looked at each sector’s use of lighting, heating and hot water, cooling and ventilation, and other areas of energy consumption.

The EEF scheme launched in 2011 to unlock business investment by providing finance for green technologies, such as low energy lighting, solar PV, energy-efficient motors, low carbon air conditioning or biomass heating. The scheme aims to make finance for the acquisition of energy efficient and renewable energy equipment more accessible and affordable for companies, in particular SMEs.

Myles McCarthy, managing director of Carbon Trust Implementation Services, said: “By investing in energy-efficient equipment as well as renewable energy technology, businesses can reap significant energy savings and cut down on their energy bills. Any sort of green investment is a step towards saving money, improving business competitiveness, and being a responsible citizen. Organisations that recognise the long-term benefits brought by energy efficiency will no doubt be better positioned than their competitors to grow their businesses more sustainably and profitably.”

Data from Bank of England shows the annual growth rate in the stock of SME lending to have shrunk since the second quarter of 2009. Although there are some recent signs that this trend may be turning the corner, the EEF scheme says business lending will take a long time to recover, and may not reach pre-financial-crisis levels because of stringent recent regulatory rules.

Richard Baker, sales manager, Energy Efficiency Financing scheme, commented: “Today’s tightened credit environment makes it increasingly difficult for SMEs to obtain affordable funding as traditional lenders have become more risk-adverse in their lending policy.”

LED Street Lighting

Cities urged to switch street lighting to energy efficient LED by 2025 Energy efficiency news – by Clickgreen 24th September 2015 The Climate Group, which is hosting its annual Climate Week NYC in New York, has called on every city and utility around the world to schedule the switch of their street lighting to LED by 2025. The move was announced as the campaign group launched its new major global campaign called ‘LED = Lower Emissions Delivered’ to encourage local governments, cities and utilities to embrace the carbon and cost benefits of switching to LED.

A new report, ‘Support The Big Switch’, published by The Climate Group today, reveals that major cities around the world want to upgrade to LED. Technological barriers for switching to LED have now been overcome. However, in the run-up to COP21, cities want more support from government and financial institutions to refine business models and financing options to help make the switch.

Trials show that those cities that have adopted LED street lighting achieved energy savings of between 50-70 per ent and these savings increase when combined with LED smart controls.

The findings are the result of a two-year consultation by The Climate Group with cities, following The Climate Group’s global LED street-lighting trials in 12 major cities including New York, London, Kolkata and Sydney. The consultations were conducted in cooperation with Philips Lighting.

“As an emissions-cutting and money-saving technology, LED street lighting is the big no-brainer. There is no longer any reason why the big switch shouldn’t start today, accelerating adoption in the US and around the world”, said Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group. “Our global trials and stakeholder consultations have shown that, when it comes to tackling climate change, LEDs are the lowest of the low hanging fruit and easiest to implement.

“It’s technically proven, commercially viable, and already resulting in major savings for cities around the world. With the number of street lights around the world likely to hit 350 million by 2025, local governments, utilities and financial institutions need to work together to ensure that all new and existing street lights are LED – or of equivalent energy efficiency – by 2025.”

“Here, in New York, the city is replacing 250,000 street lights with LED, this is the largest project of its kind in the US. By 2017, the city will be saving $14 million in energy and maintenance costs. If every outdoor light in the US was switched to LED, the nation would save $6 billion – and the carbon reductions would be the same as taking 8.5 million cars off the roads.”

In 2013, the city of Los Angeles started installing 140,000 LED street lights. It has already reported energy savings of 63% and cost savings around $8.7 million in 2014. Today, with the help of Philips Lighting, the city is upgrading to ‘Smart LEDs’, a system that uses mobile and cloud-based technologies, with potential energy savings of up to 80%. “The move to new LED and connected LED street lighting is encouraging,” said Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Government Affairs at Philips Lighting, “However, the current renovation rates of existing streetlights are too slow. We need to double the renovation rate so that we keep pace with the rising demand for energy. Renewing existing infrastructure with LEDs needs to be a priority if cities are to realize the benefits of saving in money and energy and better lit, safer streets.

Switching to LEDs is not only beneficial in terms of savings and emissions, according to The Climate Group’s report, which also highlights additional socio-economic benefits. Light quality improvements result in better visibility and reductions in road accidents. Cities upgrading to LED street lights have also reported opportunities for new commercial investment and enhancement of regions which benefit from the improved infrastructure.