Carbon Trust has launched a new fund designed to help small firms reduce their energy costs after a new survey found almost half of senior decision makers within SMEs worry over current energy spend.
The green consultancy firm has made the £7 million fund available to SMEs on a first come-first served basis. Grants will be provided to pay for small businesses to replace inefficient equipment while firms will also be offered energy saving training, cost saving assessments and implementation advice.
Carbon Trust will also host a series of workshops to help businesses identify energy saving options available to them.
Hugh Jones, managing director, advisory, at Carbon Trust said: “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.”
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. Funding is expected to be available for two years and is currently limited to projects with up to a five year payback, including renewables.
The scheme, launched today, is expected to support up to 2,000 businesses across England, Scotland and Wales. The Carbon Trust has estimated that participating businesses will be able to invest £55 million in energy saving projects, which could deliver lifetime energy savings of almost £130 million.
It follows new research by Carbon Trust of over 500 owners, managing directors and other direct-level personnel showing that 46% worry over how much is spent on energy. Almost as many (37%) claimed they would like to see more action taken to improve energy efficiency.
Most telling is the fact that lack of money to invest in new energy saving equipment and lack of affordable options to improve energy efficiency were ranked as the largest barriers for businesses to improve their energy efficiency (23% for each).