Elmhurst proposes a better way to help SMEs

The government’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are seeking a call for evidence on an ‘energy efficiency scheme for small & medium sized businesses’. It is Elmhurst's opinion that some of the proposals are overly complex and destined to fail. Instead Elmhurst has asked government to improve on what we already have.

This ‘call for evidence’ reminds readers that the Clean Growth Strategy requires businesses to improve their energy efficiency by 20% by 2030, which government calculates will reduce energy costs across the business community by £6bn, of which £2.7bn will be saved by small and medium sized businesses.

The call for evidence focusses on building improvement and not processes, which it claims are helped by existing schemes such as the Industrial Heat Recovery Support Programme.

Elmhurst's Response 

As members have come to expect, Elmhurst has now submitted their response, which can be viewed here, a draft of which we shared with members in April.

A summary of Elmhurst's response: 

  • Government has already established many of the components for an effective energy efficiency scheme for small and medium sized business.
  • The energy assessment industry is well established and with over 10,000 qualified and accredited assessors, over 1,000 of which are specialists in the commercial buildings sector. These energy assessors need to be the first point of call for designing, promoting and delivering the energy efficiency scheme. Once engaged, these individuals whose passion is to save energy, will be excellent ambassadors for any scheme.
  • Energy Performance of Building Regulations (EPBR), if properly policed, is an effective way of raising awareness of energy efficiency and the opportunities that exist.
  • Many SME businesses occupy rented buildings and the roll out of Minimum Energy Efficiency Scheme (MEES) should be accelerated to ensure all buildings achieve a minimum standard.
  • Building occupiers should receive favourable consideration with business rates for making improvements to the buildings that they occupy.
  • Trained and competent energy assessors should be available to assess the needs of a building.
  • Each building should have an improvement plan that ensures the right measures are installed in the right sequence.
  • Installers would be independently certified so that the quality of work is assured.
  • ECO funding for residential dwellings should be extended to include interest free loans to businesses for the purpose of making energy improvements.

Finally, we need a stick, a carrot and some noise. A carrot to incentivise companies to move early, a stick to punish those that don’t, and lots of noise and publicity to make sure business knows about it.

How to respond to this consultation 

Elmhurst has submitted its views already but it is not too late to add your own as the closing date is not until Wednesday 8th May 2019. You can view the consultation here.

Thank you to members who read and comments on our draft response, and whose input has helped shape our final response. 

Article Published: 3rd May 2019

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