It has been an extraordinary year. 2013 will be remembered as a time when saving energy took centre stage in business and at home.
The need to cut consumption of energy and water shifted from a green focus, reducing carbon emissions, to one driven by painful price rises announced by the Big Six energy companies.
It’s our job to help people save money and cut carbon and we have seen an enormous increase in interest and commitment from both consumers and business this year.
But we are increasingly concerned that the onus is on individual companies and consumers at a time when the conditions demand a coherent, effective Government response.
We have argued consistently for a national programme to Cut Consumption, Cut Bills, Cut Carbon and we’re seeing this message reflected across a range of influential media yet the the response from Government has been, quite frankly, limp.
The Chancellor’s £50 commitment this month to energy bill reduction is being paid for by the shift in delivery times for the Government’s ECO deal, which was devised to help households and businesses implement energy-saving solution.
Ally this to the Green Deal fail, changes to building regulations, the worldwide arguments over carbon reduction and the impending demise of the Code for Sustainable Homes and we see a new, small, defensive policy environment that provides cold comfort for businesses and consumers in the UK.
For many businesses in particular, the energy terrain has shifted more radically. From this October, publicly-quoted companies have to report fully on their carbon emissions. This element of Corporate Social Responsibility is a new fact of life that needs expert guidance.
All this is against a backdrop of increased demand for energy in 2013, which comes at a time when the productive capacity in the UK has been much-reduced, through EU-led decommissioning of plants and a hiatus in investment.
We hope not, but all the signs are that rolling blackouts and power cuts will be a fact of life for businesses and consumers in the UK within the next 12-18 months. We reported on this in October and the warnings continue to come.
This does not help the increasing numbers of people in the UK who are in fuel poverty and those who are falling under the energy company strategies to introduce metering. Whether this form of engaged monitoring of utilities will help households and businesses to cut consumption and costs is moot.
Early indications are that costs rise but recent reports advise that metering is seen by consumers as a welcome move. Time will tell.
But the positive news that we shared at the start of 2013 is even stronger at year’s end and is being welcomed by households and companies who increasingly come to us for advice on how to cut their energy and water bills.
We hope that the simple steps to saving money and cutting carbon we’ve shared this year will help many more companies and consumers to take control of spiralling utility costs in 2014.
We know that households can cut consumption and carbon footprint by fitting LED lighting and installing EcoSmart eco shower heads, eco taps and tap aerators. A typical home in the UK should save around £650 a year.
We have partnered with a range of hotel groups this year to deliver massive savings through LED lighting retrofits, smart heating and ventilation (HVAC) contols and water-saving solutions.
The 21 hotels in the Puma Hotels Collection group have seen water-savings of more than £100,000 in just eight months, through a fully-managed installation of EcoSmart shower heads, taps and tap aerators.
Global hotel group Carlson Rezidor reports that our partnership with them to provide full LED lighting retrofit across their UK properties – Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson – will save more than £250,000 over the next year.
And we have worked with the Radisson Blu Hotel Cardiff to deliver a smart HVAC solution that will reduce guest-room heating costs by up to 45% over the next 12 months.
We also hope that our work with the Carbon Trust, Green Tourism, Considerate Hoteliers and the European Hoteliers Association will continue to ensure our partners and customers achieve their cost-cutting, carbon-reducing goals in 2014.
If you want expert advice on the best ways to cut energy and water bills, at home or in business, call us on 0845 123 5464 or email us.