Ask a small or medium-sized UK business about their contingency plans for Brexit and you’ll probably hear about controlling wage costs, a hiring freeze or even laying off staff as a cautionary measure. While wages are typically a significant proportion of overheads, such actions can easily lead to reduced sales, negating the cost savings achieved.
What a lot businesses overlook are energy saving measures, which can result in worthwhile reductions in operating costs, without damaging productivity. What’s more, upgrading a lighting or heating system for example, will often create a more comfortable working environment, which can lead to happier, more productive staff. Recent statistics also show that while wages are increasing an average 3.5% per year, electricity costs have risen by 9.8% and gas costs by 3.3%.
Replacing fluorescent lighting with LED lighting saves an average of 50% of lighting energy costs. Switching to an electric vehicle can save a business 80% of running costs, and so on. Switching providers also shouldn't be forgotten, especially as business supplies are not included in the Government’s new energy price cap.
Low Carbon Workspaces supports SMEs to implement both quick-win and long term energy efficiency measures through providing grant funding to reduce upfront capital costs. The Low Carbon Workspaces team can also help businesses identify which measures are most suitable for their premises and to monitor energy and cost savings following project installation.
Almost £900,000 has been awarded to date through the scheme, to around 300 businesses, which combined are expecting savings of almost £500,000 on their energy costs per year. The programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.