What is the Energy Bill Relief Scheme?
The UK government has discounted wholesale power prices for companies, charities, schools, and public sector organisations. These businesses will be supported for six months from 1 October to protect them from rising energy bills. The Energy Bill Relief Scheme gives business owners financial support, however, this is not a cap on prices.
Instead of capping rates, the strategy limits the wholesale price that suppliers pay for energy. The UK government will discount your gas and electricity prices. Your energy provider will automatically apply the reductions to businesses’ bills. The support will be automatically applied to all eligible bills. So, if you own a business or work for a public sector organisation, you do not have to apply for this yourself.
The government plans to publish a review of the scheme in a couple of months to inform decisions on future support after March 2023.
Other ways to improve the energy efficiency of your business
We were recently featured in an Insider article discussing this and alternative methods for businesses to save on their energy costs and emissions. Our CEO Austin Barcley was interviewed on keeping your business energy efficient. Austin highlights the importance of insulation, improving your building’s EPC rating, switching to LED lighting, and asking your local council if they offer any sustainable business growth grants.
In the same article, Insider speaks to sustainability director of Bruntwood, Alex Edwards. The Improveasy Group’s Altrincham office is based inside a Bruntwood building, Station House. Bruntwood have recently purchased a 42 per cent share in a wind farm based in Scotland. Now eighty per cent of their annual energy needs are going to be sourced renewably and directly from the wind farm.
After a brief discussion with our managing director of finance, Jeff Poole, he highlighted some other ways we are promoting energy efficiency within our office. He says “We have motion sensored lighting, and a monthly travel allowance for all employees to incentivise the use of public transport and car sharing”. The purpose behind this is to reduce the number of cars on the road. We also have flexi starting times to reduce pollution at rush hour.
Reduce energy use in your workplace
• Almost everyone in our office works from a laptop rather than a desktop computer, as computers use more energy
• Lower the brightness of your screens
• You can set your printer to automatically switch off when not in use
• Multiple desk fans are more expensive to run than efficient air conditioning or natural ventilation
• Read our guide to draught proofing your home here – which can also apply to your office!
Statistics on office energy usage
According to British Gas, asking staff to make sure their computers and monitors are off at night can save around £35 a year per deskHeating uses the most energy in offices, but the running of ICT equipment is a close second
Air conditioning left on all day makes up around 30% of your energy bill, and 1°C of overheating in winter increases the cost of your energy bill by 8%
Businesses make up more than half (56%) of the UK’s overall energy consumption
The benefits of energy efficient workplaces
Renewable energy will become cheaper than fossil fuels
Making the switch to renewable energy is actually more cost effective for businesses. Currently, oil prices are falling and rising, and renewable energy markets are less volatile. Professor Doyne Farmer, a Mathematics professor at Oxford University, published a study in September 2022 which found that a “rapid green energy transition will likely result in trillions of net savings”. He says “there is a pervasive misconception that switching to clean, green energy will be painful, costly and mean sacrifices for us all – but that’s just wrong… Renewable costs have been trending down for decades. They are already cheaper than fossil fuels in many situations, and our research shows they will become cheaper than fossil fuels across almost all applications in the years to come. And, if we accelerate the transition, they will become cheaper faster.”
Fossil fuels are gradually getting more expensive. Gas prices have rocketed during the current energy crisis. Solar power was found to be the cheapest energy source in history in 2021, followed by wind power.
It makes commercial sense
Switching to renewable energy is a sound business decision due to fossil fuel’s negative reputation and effects on the planet. Even making smaller energy efficiency changes within your workplace will elevate the social responsibility of your company. A company demonstrating its commitment to “going green” has the potential to widen its customer base and appeal to potential employees. The government is currently updating its net zero carbon emissions by 2050 strategy, and so soon new energy guidelines could come into place, so it is good to get ahead of these and promote good habits now.
It boosts office morale
The next generation of employees are the most environmentally conscious group by age demographic. In a study of all data on climate beliefs over the last 10 years, it was found that “People born more recently have higher agreement levels about the reality of climate change and its human causation than older people.” However, overall, the findings indicated that all public concern about climate change is increasing over time. With people becoming more and more concerned with sustainability, improving the energy efficiency of your workplace will certainly boost morale!