Carbon Trust launches Green Business Fund to cut energy costs and boost efficiency

The Carbon Trust has launched a new fund providing vital capital for smaller businesses to replace old, energy-thirsty equipment, together with expert advice to boost the efficiency and productivity of businesses across England, Scotland and Wales.

The £7m fund has been made available to SMEs on a first come-first served basis, and will offer energy saving training, cost saving assessments, implementation advice, and capital support for the installation of energy efficiency equipment. Eligible companies can apply for a capital contribution to cover up to 15% of an energy efficiency project or equipment replacement cost, up to a maximum of £10,000.

The fund can also be used to purchase a range of equipment, including energy efficient lighting, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) and energy efficiency controls – vital equipment across a range of business sectors, including manufacturing, retail, and hospitality.

The scheme is expected to support 1000 to 2000 smaller businesses. It is expected to enable participating businesses to invest £55m in energy saving projects which would deliver them lifetime energy savings of almost £130m. The programme will focus on high quality implementation to ensure the best energy efficiency opportunities are fully realised.

Hugh Jones, Managing Director, Advisory, at the Carbon Trust says: “Our experience of working with thousands of companies across the UK indicates that year-on-year savings of 20% to 30% can be delivered through action on energy efficiency. We’d encourage smaller companies to apply to make the most of the fund on offer in order to realise significant savings on their bottom line.”

To accompany the announcement, new research of senior decision makers within SMEs found that almost half (46%) are concerned about the amount they currently spend on energy.

• 15% of businesses in the South West have been asked by customers (or users) to reduce the environmental impact of their operations and/or products. This is above the 12% national average.

• Lack of money to invest in new energy saving equipment and competing business priorities rank as the top barriers for businesses in the South West to improve their energy efficiency (21% for each).

To date, the Carbon Trust has saved British business £5.5bn and 55Mt CO2 through advice and financial support.

The Carbon Trust is holding a workshop in partnership with Bath & North East Somerset Council to enable small and medium sized businesses in South West England to learn more about the Green Business Fund, and how to identify opportunities to reduce energy costs.