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Low carbon campaign welcomed by small business

A new drive to encourage organisations to take action to cut their carbon footprint has been welcomed by small businesses.

Nyree Connell, from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said the 100 Days of Carbon Clean Up Campaign launched by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) tackled an increasingly important issue for firms.

The campaign – which won an H&V News Award earlier this year - highlights the potential energy savings that can be made and challenges UK organisations to pledge 100 hours of staff time to commit to carbon reduction activities.

At the launch Ms Connell said: “Small businesses traditionally receive poor press when it comes to their views and actions toward the environment.

“They have been perceived in the past as disinterested at worst and apathetic at best about the environment.

“In the FSB’s view the key problem for many small businesses has not been apathy but lack of awareness of what they can and should be doing to seek effective environmental solutions.”

This is the third successive year CIBSE has run the campaign and this year it will be providing further help to those signing up by offering guidance on cutting the cost of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and Display Energy Certificates (DECs).

It will also be offering learning activities, themed events and eco-freebies to keep participants motivated. There will also be training in motivational techniques for those designated as low carbon champions within their organisation.

Jacqueline Balian, CIBSE director of information, said: “Low carbon champions will get a whole raft of information from us on how to make carbon saving fun, exciting and easy to do.

“We want low carbon champions to be seen as fun rather than finger waggers.”

Last year’s campaign saw 700 organisations sign up to cut carbon emissions from their buildings, with organisations such as Bolton Wanderers Football Club, the Natural History Museum, BBC Wales and Transport for London all taking part.

CIBSE President Professor John Swaffield said: “The previous two campaigns have proved the enthusiasm of UK organisations to get involved and cut carbon emissions from their buildings.

“This time we want to encourage even more firms to sign up and pledge their commitment, and to show that you just need to spend a little time to make a lot of difference.”

Activities and progress can be logged on a personalised Time Card via the 100 hours website

Energy efficiency is a key issue for companies and the Federation for Small Businesses (FSB) has welcomed CIBSE’s 100 Days of Carbon Clean Up Campaign.
But, is the Government doing enough? Nyree Connell, from FSB, argues it could do more:
“Recent research by the FSB showed that small businesses are beginning to take a more proactive approach to environmental issues, particularly in relation to energy efficiency.

“In the survey, 70% of businesses that gave information on energy efficiency said that they were utilising low energy light bulbs, investing in low energy lighting, turning of PCs/lights etc, changing heating systems, minimising electrical usage

and reducing temperatures in their business premises.

“These are important steps, but in general small businesses are applying these measures in an adhoc manner and would benefit from a more structured approach.

“Lack of resources and awareness remains a barrier to small businesses exploring ways to mitigate rising energy costs. They know they have to do something but are unclear about the next steps.

“The FSB has found that the absence of clear advice and information together with the constraints faced by small businesses has prevented many from taking steps to improve energy efficiency.

“For small companies, technical problems and the cost of changing production processes are barriers to increasing efficiency but so too is a lack of quality information and advice.

“Reaching out to small businesses on these issues is notoriously difficult but that’s no reason not to try. It is also clear that because energy usage among small businesses is low compared to large businesses there seems to be little effort put in to supporting them in energy management.

“The FSB would like to see the government together with energy suppliers mount a comprehensive and targeted campaign to promote energy efficiency measures that small businesses can easily apply to their businesses.

“This should be developed in tandem with practical support and clear examples of how small businesses can maintain and improve profitability through energy savings in the current climate.

“For too long, there has been a one size fits all approach to these issues which presents many barriers for small businesses in their efforts to seek effective environmental solutions.
“Finally, more Government investment in technical innovation and in financial incentives on energy efficiency for small businesses would go a long way to improving the small business experience in the energy market.”