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Economy

7,000 businesses compelled to report energy use and potential energy saving strategies

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Cutting energy consumption is clearly concentrating government minds, as more than 7,000 businesses will soon be compelled to produce detailed reports on energy use or face fines.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is finalising the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) to be announced in next couple of weeks.

Add to this the coalition’s very public promotion and support for energy savings strategies in the public sector, together with the Energy Act’s impending energy efficiency imperatives, and the sustainability agenda moves even further to centre stage.

All these reinforce the reasons why SaveMoneyCutCarbon is here, growing and delivering sustainable energy saving strategies across the widest range of businesses. It should be crystal clear now that better energy-use management makes compelling business sense.

ESOS is the UK’s response to a new energy efficiency directive from the European Union. The aim is to help the EU meet its target of reducing energy consumption by 20% by 2020. Currently, the EU as a whole is ahead of carbon emissions reductions targets, unlike Britain so the country needs to shift up a couple of gears pronto – and six years is no time at all.

Companies with more than 250 employees, a turnover of more than £41.5m or an annual balance sheet total of more than £35m will now be affected, that’s around 10 times more than previously.

DECC is announcing the details sometime in June but, in outline, businesses will have to provide:

– A review of the total energy use and energy efficiency
– Energy use per employee, focusing on key buildings, industrial operations and transport activities
– Clear information on potential savings, identifying and quantifying cost effective energy savings opportunities
– Wherever practical these should be based on life cycle assessment not simple payback periods
– Identification of an approved ESOS assessor (either an in-house expert or an external consultant) to conduct the assessment

ESOS could deliver energy savings of nearly £2 billion from 2015, which is why the scheme is being seen in a more positive, financially-driven light than the current frameworks such as the Carbon Reduction Commitment, Mandatory Carbon Reporting rules and Climate Change Levy.

DECC advises that compliance with the rules will cost just a fraction of the energy savings on offer. The estimated £19m cost to businesses would be balanced by overall savings of £1.9 billion between next year and 2030.

Running the numbers, we think the potential savings should be much larger. DECC has taken a conservative approach in its calculations, which is understandable, given the record of not achieving energy saving, carbon reduction targets. DECC estimates that only 6% of energy saving recommendations identified by companies will be picked up and turned into real action.

In our experience, companies that are shown substantial savings that are sustainable over the longer period grab the opportunity with both hands so the savings could easily be three times the government figure.

DECC is expected to unveil a list of approved ESOS assessors to be managed by the Environment Agency – a flood of applicants is expected (sorry!).

But the good news is that companies which have an energy manager would not need to hire external auditors if they can prove that they have completed the job in-house. That will be a wake-up call for those companies frozen in the glare of complex sustainability strategies, or simply not that bothered.

It also seems certain that DECC will accept other forms of certification such as the Carbon Trust Standard and ISO 50001 energy management standard, as long as these cover 90 per cent of the business operations as required by the legislation.

The Carbon Trust estimates that around 500 Carbon Trust Standard bearers will be large companies that would be caught up by ESOS, while CRC data suggests that 4,400 to 6,400 large enterprises are already reporting on their energy use, meaning the new ESOS regulations will not represent a huge step up in compliance requirements for those firms that are already taking steps to manage energy use.

And Jon Williams, head of CSR and sustainability at Achilles, the organisation which operates the Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme, advised SME Web, “The ESOS scheme is already being seen by businesses as a real ‘double-edged sword’. Many businesses don’t measure and record their energy use and face a big administrative burden unless they get external support.

However, for those not already focused on carbon reduction and energy efficiency, ESOS compliance represents short-term pain for long-term gain. Ultimately, this is a fantastic opportunity for companies to save thousands of pounds on their energy bills while communicating positive messages on their achievements.”

We’d go further – beyond rapid payback timescales to whole lifecycle perspectives – and say that companies which grasp the commercial benefits of going green by cutting energy and water consumption will be the ones most likely to survive and thrive in the long-term.

Mark Sait is managing director of energy efficiency specialists SaveMoneyCutCarbon.

Photo: Chris RubberDragon via Flickr

Further reading:

Green deal changes put pressure on carbon reduction

Commercial property sector faces £29bn green refurbishment bill

Pressure on energy bills rises as national renewable power policy gets a makeover

The real green deal: bringing energy, water and waste under control

Why energy saving, cutting bills and reducing carbon footprint will stay centre stage

Mark Sait is managing director of SaveMoneyCutCarbon, a uniquely positioned full-service efficiency partner to organisations and homes that want to reduce energy, water and carbon to improve sustainability. Clients include major hospitality groups, property ownership groups, distribution centres, theme parks and corporate offices as well as SMEs and private residences.

Economy

Report: Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Finance

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“The level of influence that ethical considerations have over consumer selection of financial services products and services is minimal, however, this is beginning to change. Younger consumers are more willing to pay extra for products provided by socially responsible companies.” Jessica Morley, Mintel’s Financial Services Analyst.

Consumer awareness of the impact consumerism has on society and the planet is increasing. In addition, the link between doing good and feeling good has never been clearer. Just 19% of people claim to not participate in any socially responsible activities.

As a result, the level of attention that people pay to the green and ethical claims made by products and providers is also increasing, meaning that such considerations play a greater role in the purchasing decision making process.

However, this is less true in the context of financial services, where people are much more concerned about the performance of a product rather than green and ethical factors. This is not to say, however, that they are not interested in the behaviour of financial service providers or in gaining more information about how firms behave responsibly.

This report focuses on why these consumer attitudes towards financial services providers exist and how they are changing. This includes examination of the wider economy and the current structure of the financial services sector.

Mintel’s exclusive consumer research looks at consumer participation in socially responsible activities, trust in the behaviour of financial services companies and attitudes towards green, ethical and socially responsible financial services products and providers. The report also considers consumer attitudes towards the social responsibilities of financial services firms and the green, ethical and socially responsible nature of new entrants.

There are some elements missing from this report, such as conducting socially responsible finance with OTC trading. We will cover these other topics in more detail in the future. You can research about Ameritrade if you want to know more ..

By this report today: call: 0203 416 4502 | email: iainooson[at]mintel.com

Report contents:

OVERVIEW
What you need to know
Report definition
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The market
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
The consumer
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Competition from technology companies
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
What we think
ISSUES AND INSIGHTS
Creating a more inclusive economy
The facts
The implications
Payments innovation helps fundraising go digital
The facts
The implications
The social debt of the financial crisis
The facts
The implications
THE MARKET – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
PUTTING FINANCIAL SERVICES IN AN ETHICAL CONTEXT
An ethical economy
An ethical financial sector
Ethical financial services providers
GREEN, ETHICAL AND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ISSUES IN FINANCIAL SERVICES
The role of investing
Divestment
The change potential of pensions
The role of trust
Greater transparency informs decisions
Learning from past mistakes
The role of innovation
Payments innovation: Improving financial inclusion
Competition from new entrants
The power of new money
The role of the consumer
Consumers empowered to make a change
Aligning products with self
THE CONSUMER – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
For financial products, performance is more important than ethics
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Competition from technology companies
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
Overall trust levels are high
THE ETHICAL CONSUMER – SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ACTIVITIES
Payments innovation can boost charitable donations
Consumer engagement in socially responsible activities is high
Healthier finances make it easier to go green
SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE COMPANIES
37% unable to identify socially responsible companies
Building societies seen to be more responsible than banks….
….whilst short-term loan companies are at the bottom of the pile
CONSUMER TRUST IN THE BEHAVIOUR OF FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPANIES
Overall trust levels are high
Tax avoidance remains a major concern
The divestment movement
Nationwide significantly more trusted
Trust levels remain high
CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS GREEN AND ETHICAL FINANCIAL PRODUCTS
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Socially conscious consumers are more concerned
CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS TRANSPARENCY
Strategy reports provide little insight for consumers
Lack of clarity regarding corporate culture causes concern
Consumers want more information
THE ROLE OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS IN SOCIETY
The social debt of the financial crisis
THE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS
For consumers, financial services firms play larger economic role
Promoting financial responsibility
CHALLENGER COMPANIES AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Consumer trust is built on evidence
The alternative opportunity
The target customer

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Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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