The UK Government should “re-launch” the Green Deal for the non-domestic sector and help small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) access cheap loans for energy efficiency improvements.
That’s according to a new report which claims a “lack of available upfront capital” is one of the barriers for many SMEs, especially micro-businesses and suggests a re-launch would “rekindle the interest” of potential customers.
The report recommends conducting a ‘street-by-street’ roll-out and also setting up a ‘hub’ website hosted by DECC that provides guidance on all non-domestic efficiency schemes as well as a database for the energy performance of UK commercial buildings.
Published jointly by the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum and Carbon Connect, it argues that significant benefits – including reduced energy bills, increased competitiveness and improved worker productivity – are being missed by UK companies unable to undertake efficiency improvements. It also warns of a “widespread lack of understanding” of the advantages of energy efficiency at senior management level across the UK.
The report is calling for greater investment in the commercial energy efficiency sector and for the Government to use the Green Investment Bank to fund a commercial subsidiary of The Green Deal Finance Company to offer low interest loans to SMEs.
Oliver Colvile MP, Inquiry co-chair said: “The need to increase the resilience of our businesses against the threat of climate change and energy price volatility could not be greater. The obvious cost savings, coupled with improved productivity that can be realised from energy efficiency, makes it quite clear that now is the time to invest on a large scale.
“To do that requires government intervention – to raise awareness, guarantee low cost loans, stimulate the market and incentivise the landlords.”
A DECC spokesperson said: “We value the work done on this report and the contribution it makes to the debate on energy efficiency.”
Commercial sector buildings are responsible for 10% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.