Senior executives should be forced to sign off energy audits for their companies to raise awareness about energy efficiency.
That’s the conclusion of new research which looks at how to persuade more businesses to boost the energy efficiency of their buildings.
It points to the need for senior execs to “buy-in” to energy saving in light of an EU directive demanding all large firms get an energy audit.
In a foreword to the ‘Building Efficiency’ report launched yesterday afternoon, its co-chairs Lord Whitty and MP Oliver Colvile write: “We believe this is the only way to stimulate the kind of behaviour change needed throughout an organisation to ensure that a culture of energy efficiency is embedded, embraced and understood.”
The report points out UK businesses could be missing out on saving £1.6 billion by investing in energy efficiency. It also refers to statistics which show commercial sector buildings are responsible for 10% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The WSBF and Carbon Connect who put together the report after a six month inquiry suggest the Government should compile a comprehensive database of UK commercial buildings based on their energy efficiency.
This could be used to provide a performance benchmark and “foster a culture of awareness and competition”, finds the report.
One “barrier” for many SMEs and micro-businesses, a lack of available upfront capital to plunge into energy efficiency, should be broken down suggests the research.
It calls on the UK Green Investment Bank to offer low interest loans to SMEs to stimulate the market for energy efficiency, by funding a non-domestic branch of The Green Deal Finance Company.
Lord Whitty said: “This report shows clearly a worrying lack of understanding across the UK commercial sector of both the benefits of improved energy efficiency and the ways in which companies can finance and engage in improvements.
“The Government needs to be clearer about all of the non-domestic energy efficiency programmes available to the commercial sector and an energy efficiency ‘hub’ website must be created to guide senior executives through investment in energy efficiency.”
Civil servants are currently mulling over a new Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) to fall in line with the EU Energy Efficiency Directive.