The business benefits of generating your own power

By rotide
Created 13/08/2012 - 09:30

Energy costs are a significant factor in any business, yet many companies underestimate just how much they could save by switching to more efficient equipment or even generating their own power. Last year, the Carbon Trust carried out a study revealing that even straightforward energy efficiency projects, such as upgrading heating and lighting, training staff to use less power and implementing energy saving policies, would deliver an internal rate of return of 20 per cent for the average company.


One of the first steps to reducing a business' energy usage is to measure it. Smart meters give live readings that instantly show how much energy a building is using, allowing businesses to gauge how effective their savings are day by day. Business Link estimates the over the next ten years, all businesses and homes in the UK will have a smart meter installed.


A bigger - but potentially much more lucrative - step for businesses is to generate their own renewable energy through wind and solar installations, such as those provided by EvoEnergy [1]. By adding solar panels to the roof of a building, a company can reduce its dependence on energy companies, meaning it pays less in bills and can plan its costs more effectively - not to mention being free from the danger of fluctuating energy costs.


Additionally, generating power allows a business to take part in the government's Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme, meaning it can sell excess energy back to the National Grid. Businesses can apply for interest-free grants and loans from the Carbon Trust [2] to assist with the installation costs of making the switch to renewable energy. While the returns from the FiT scheme are lower now than they were at its launch in April 2010, they still represent an attractive incentive - the Energy Saving Trust [3] estimates that a typical domestic solar energy system will save £670 a year overall.


There are also indirect business benefits of transitioning to clean power. The environment has never been higher on the media agenda, and firms that can clearly demonstrate that they have taken steps to go green have a powerful marketing tool at their disposal. Suppliers, clients and customers alike will be more motivated to choose a company with a strong environmental ethos. There are plenty of businesses out there that claim to have stringent environmental policies in place - make sure your business can prove it!

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