Getting ideas about energy and water efficiency and generating low-carbon energy on-site through to businesses, whether small, large or in between, can often be a matter of laying out some hard figures.
It’s something that we’ve seen win over firms in our work with low-carbon transport options – the likes of our Plugged-in Fleets project, which has been proving the worth, in both hard cash and carbon terms, of phasing in electric vehicles into company fleets.
Green Deal is open to businesses as well as householders, but like the latter, business leaders will need a little persuading to take advantage of such an offer, or even invest their own reserves in a bit of ‘future-proofing’.
Finnish researchers have been looking at the picture across the board for business sustainability, and how this affects market value, specifically in the construction sector.
They found that company announcements on the likes of renewable power generation, workplace innovations and carbon auditing connected to an increase of 0.82% to market value of a company. A “statistically significant association”, they say.
Information, in this case, proves to be not just power but money, and what’s more, the Aalto University experts also suggest that providing quality information on sustainability practices is a key factor in investors getting on board. This echoes what we know from the domestic energy efficiency world: the facts, effectively delivered at the right time, are the key to getting people to act.
If you’re still not convinced that businesses ought to consider making some changes, how does a zero energy cost premises sound? The first ever business park in the UK offering just that has been opened in Wigan – a town with a more carbon-intensive industrial history, it’s fair to say.
At the Armstrong Point development, solar and wind provide electricity, solar thermal and heat pumps do the heating – and it’s attracting keen interest from firms already.
Eco Environments, the company behind the venture, which was supported by European funding, think this is the start of something. David Hunt, a director, says:
We are confident that this will be the first of many similar projects like this across the UK as organisations increasingly put renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives at the centre of their business strategy.”
The technology demonstration centre at the business park may help in spreading the word, but once again, it’s being faced with the benefits in the form of hard figures that will really set things moving apace. An online offering from the US Government looks like a good step in the right direction on this front.
Their application will allow anyone from business leaders to researchers to tailor corporate energy efficiency scenarios in a given organisation, and assess the carbon and cost savings to be made there. This looks like something the UK Government would be wise to follow closely. If the tool proves a success, influencing those at the top to go in for a little investment in using less, generating more, may be about to get easier.