Grant Funding for Energy Efficiency Measures
A key requirement of ISO 50001 is commitment from top management to support and resource the Energy Management System (EnMS), to achieve its objectives and drive continual improvement.
After employee time, money is typically the resource in greatest demand, leading to the successful implementation of an EnMS often competing with other areas of the business for budget.
An Energy Manager must therefore be able to present the business case for investment in energy efficiency initiatives, outlining both financial and wider business benefits.
While it may seem a distraction from the day job, knowledge of government and other financial support can be the difference in a project gaining management support or not.
Where to look?
For starters, good places to find out about funding include:
- The Gov.uk website, which includes a searchable list of many local and national grant schemes and business support programmes.
- Your local business growth hub, who should have information and contact details for funding schemes in your area.
- Your accountant, who should be able to help with tax relief opportunities such as Enhanced Capital Allowances, available on expenditure on energy (or water) efficient equipment.
Low Carbon Workspaces
One grant scheme that’s received particular interest from businesses implementing ISO 50001 (as well as ISO 14001) is Low Carbon Workspaces.
Principally working with organisations in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and the Black Country, it offers grant funding of between £1,000 and £5,000 to cover up to a third of the cost of installing energy efficiency measures.
LED lighting and heating system upgrades have proved the most popular projects to date. At businesses without significant machinery usage, they typically offer the best return on investment in respect to both energy and costs savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
In common with other projects funded by the European Regional Development Fund, grants are available to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), defined in general as organisations with fewer than 250 employees and a turnover not exceeding €50 million.
The scheme is first-come-first-served, with applications reviewed by a grant panel to ensure that quotations are competitive and that the technologies to be installed are appropriate for the applicant’s premises and operations.
Cost Savings & Wider Business Benefits
In addition to cost savings, energy efficiency projects often provide wider business benefits, for example quality control improvements and risk reduction.
A workwear and safety equipment distributor that applied to the Low Carbon Workspaces programme recognised how their LED lighting upgrade would help meet ISO 9001 and OHSAS 18001 targets.
While financially the £17,000 project will pay for itself in energy costs savings in less than 2.5 years (or 1.6 years after their £5,000 grant), the new lamps also provide a brighter working environment and reduced maintenance requirements, including changing bulbs at height. Annually the company will reduce their scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 23 tonnes CO2e.
A successful project always helps gain management buy-in for further initiatives, especially if someone else has helped pay for it!
Putting time aside to investigating what grant funding is available when setting management system targets and planning which measures to implement is certainly worthwhile.
And make sure to agree with management that financial savings can be ring-fenced for reinvestment in new energy saving projects!
Author: Rowan Wallis, Low Carbon Workspaces Project Officer & Energy Adviser
Low Carbon Workspaces offers grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 to cover up to a third of the cost of installing energy efficiency measures. To find out more please call 01494 927131 or visit their website.