Reduce, don’t just rely on renewable

On Monday, David Cameron warned that only the world’s greenest economies will be able to compete in the global economic race over the coming years. Cameron explained that the UK now has to prioritise investment into green energy and, crucially, energy efficiency.

Finally, reduction is gaining traction against the consistent demand for renewable energy. However the concern is that it is still only second choice in the government’s eyes.

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Undeniably, positive steps are being made to encourage the importance of energy efficiency. For example, the official launch of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) new Energy Efficiency Mission – a new programme designed to better promote the government’s wide range of energy efficiency policies, such as the Green Deal, the carbon floor price, Climate Change Agreements, Enhanced Capital Allowances and the Carbon Reduction Commitment. All of which are commendable schemes, but each has flaws.

Permeating through these schemes is the continual misconception that “going green” will ultimately result in reduced utility bills and cost savings for businesses – this is untrue. The national grid is currently at capacity and adding additional sources of energy to the grid – even if they are renewable – is still going to require investment in infrastructure, driving costs up rather than bringing them down.

The solution is therefore to reduce consumption.

It is little wonder that most organisations do not understand what therefore needs to be done to generate significant savings. Investing in renewable energy or in an energy efficient building is not enough. What is needed is an investment in people who will drive behavioural change. The onus must therefore fall to those involved in facilities and, perhaps surprisingly, accounts – after all, if the two departments work closer together, it is easier to understand where money is being spent, where it is wasted, and what improvements need to be made.

We have mentioned before how these departments are becoming more closely linked and with wholesale electricity prices on course to double from 6p to 12p per unit by 2020, businesses need to start putting in place a plan of action. And the first step is not letting yourself fall for the “security” of renewable energy and instead investing in a simple sure-fire solution – reduction!