Clean Up and Clean Up

29 September 2009

Do you remember before last year’s banking crisis, when times were good? Cash was flowing, dealmakers were calculating their bonuses and the sun was shining. The sun was shining metaphorically speaking of course because the last time I remember actually wearing sunglasses in the UK was New Years Day 2005.

But that didn’t stop us all from worrying about the frightening onset of global warming and the imminent demise of polar bears and bumble bees. It was only when the fiscal poo hit the fan in 2008 that it didn’t actually seem to be quite as big a deal as it was before. I blame the media.

Suddenly it seemed that planting trees and not flushing the toilet had taken a back seat, as business owners fought hard to protect cash deposits, safeguard jobs and stave off liquidation.

And as if we didn’t have enough on our plate, the introduction of the Climate Change Bill last November applied a little more heat to business owners.

The government’s stated objective for the UK to cut CO2 emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 seems daunting if a little distant. But businesses are visibly in the spotlight. Owners are expected to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings, and sooner rather than later.

But there is a point to this. And in truth, by concentrating on green improvements, you can enhance your business’ image; increase your network, cut costs and source finance.

By making it known that your business considers environmental issues as important you will probably attract customers with environmental concerns and impress employees and investors.
You need to have a robust energy strategy and to focus on metering, monitoring and raising staff awareness. For instance the use of well timed meters and appropriate technology will reduce lighting costs and improve lighting quality.

And cost savings in heating are easily achievable by upgrading faltering boilers, improving insulation and formalising maintenance schedules.

In a campaign fronted by Dragon Theo Paphitis the Carbon Trust offers attractive terms for loans which allow companies to install renewable energy equipment, such as solar heating, biomass boilers or ground source heat pumps.

The Government's Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme is another programme which works to encourage businesses to invest in low-carbon, energy-saving equipment. Open to any company operating in the UK, the allowance lets the full cost of an energy-saving investment be written off against the taxable profits.

So even if you don’t really care that much about the Mexican long – nosed bat there are plenty of reasons to pretend you do.

And by the way, shame on you.

Stuart Wilkin writes for Insider

Posted  29 September 2009


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