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Energy advice for businesses

Sustainable business support

The Low Carbon Workspaces grant programme is currently working with the Council’s economic development team to promote grants of up to £5,000 that are available to small and medium-sized businesses to help them improve their energy efficiency by funding the purchase of equipment upgrades such as LED lights, solar panels, boilers etc.

Bedfordshire Green Business Network helps businesses in Bedfordshire and neighbouring counties to reduce their impact on the environment by offering advice, seminars, workshops, training, online and on-site support, and, most importantly, the opportunity to share best practice with like-minded companies.

Our green office guide for business (PDF) is to help reduce our own emissions. We have made it available to local businesses and householders to help them be more sustainable and reduce energy consumption. Businesses can use the guide as a template or can follow the tips to help them reduce their emissions and costs.

Our Sustainable Transport Team can provide guidance in relation to many areas of business/workplace travel planning. Travel planning represents the best practice in transport demand management and focus on changing travel behaviour, moving away from single occupancy car use and moving more towards sustainable travel alternatives: car sharing, walking, cycling, public transport, smarter working practices.

All businesses are required by law to ‘dispose of their waste properly'. Business Rates do not cover the removal of waste from business premises. We can help you meet your obligations and provide a full range of commercial waste collection services.

GOV.UK's SME energy efficiency guide sets out low-cost measures and steps that small and medium sized business (SMEs) can take to start saving energy and money on their bills.

Environmental taxes, reliefs and schemes for businesses encourage businesses to operate in a more environmentally friendly way. There are different taxes and schemes designed for different kinds and size of business. You may be able to get reliefs or be exempt from some taxes. For example:

  • if you need to use a lot of energy because of the nature of your business
  • if you’re a small business that doesn’t use much energy
  • if you buy energy-efficient technology for your business

Carbon Trust online support and resources for small and medium-sized organisations, together with practical advice and solutions to help SMEs identify and implement actions to reduce their energy overheads and improve their bottom line.

Carbon Trust green business fund is the energy efficiency support service for small and medium-sized companies in England, Wales and Scotland. It provides direct funded support through energy assessments, training workshops, equipment procurement support and up to £5,000 capital contribution per company towards your energy saving equipment purchase.

Waterwise has a guide to help businesses save water. In addition to helping reduce costs, decreasing water consumption can help your business comply with current and future environmental legislation, reduce its carbon footprint, improve your company’s environmental performance and generate positive PR.

Grants4Growth is funded by the European Union in the East of England. SMEs (businesses with fewer than 250 employees) in Bedford Borough can apply for a grant towards capital investment in equipment or processes that reduce fuel or energy costs. 

Weathering the Storm (PDF) is a guide to support SMEs in the East of England to consider the business risks and opportunities that extreme weather and climate change present. The guide helps businesses understand how they can examine their process, their operations and their assets so as to uncover the nature and size of the risks they may face.

Landlord energy efficiency standards

There is a minimum energy efficiency standard at 'E', for all privately rented properties. It is illegal to rent out a property unless it is 'E' or the landlord has carried out the maximum package of measures available through funding options (even if this does not get them above 'F'). From April 2020 this restriction on landlord letting out below an 'E' rated property is extended to cover all existing tenancies for properties.

Rented properties energy efficiency

Energy efficiency factsheets:

Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS)

ESOS is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for organisations in the UK that meet the qualification criteria. The Environment Agency is the UK scheme administrator.

Organisations that qualify for ESOS must carry out ESOS assessments every four years. These assessments are audits of the energy used by their buildings, industrial processes and transport to identify cost-effective energy saving measures. Organisations must notify the Environment Agency by a set deadline that they have complied with their ESOS obligations.

Mitigating the impacts of climate change for your business

Within this century average summer temperatures in the UK are expected to rise between 3 and 4°C. The UK faces hotter, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters as a result of climate change. heatwaves, torrential rain and floods are likely to become more common, summers will get drier and winters wetter.

As a business, you should manage climate risk in the same way you manage other risks to your business. You should identify parts of your operations that may be vulnerable to a changing climate and take action to mitigate the risks.

If your business has been affected by changes in weather patterns or an extreme weather event, you know how expensive and disruptive recovery can be. Being prepared for future changes in the climate is an important part of business planning, whether that be building climate resilience into your business practices or making the most of business opportunities. As the climate changes in the UK, businesses may also be in a position to exploit commercial opportunities. Businesses that can respond to the changing demand for certain products and services will benefit.

Opportunities include:

  • longer growing seasons for the agriculture and food sector
  • retrofit of buildings and infrastructure to make sure it is climate resilient
  • greater demand for domestic tourism 

Business resilience health check

An online self-assessment health check has been revamped for businesses to understand and address the risks they face now and in the future. The health check, helps to identify areas of a business that are vulnerable to severe weather and climate related risks, offers advice about how to improve resilience, and provides each business with a bespoke report outlining actions it can take.

More information on mitigating the impact of climate change on your business is available here (PDF).

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