Businesses urged to step up to the 2015 Business Energy Challenge
The Business Energy Challenge awards, now in their second year, celebrate private sector businesses who have made the biggest difference to their energy consumption by switching to cleaner, energy efficient technologies and slashed their energy bills in the process. Last year 58 businesses entered with reductions achieved through a range of innovative methods, providing previously uncollected data on energy consumption for over 1000 locations in London. When added together, the 27 award winners achieved an 18 per cent reduction in carbon emissions, and used 181,892 megawatt hours less energy. The energy saved would be enough to power 10,700 UK households for a year, and equates to a staggering £12.5 million in energy bills avoided.
58 businesses took up last year’s challenge, including household names such as Boots, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Marks and Spencer. Global law firm Linklaters, one of last year’s gold award winners, reduced emissions from electricity and gas use by 27 per cent and 51 per cent respectively through a range of measures including using their office space more effectively, the installation of sensors for lighting and air conditioning and investments in more energy-efficient IT.
The challenge was so successful that this year a new category of award will be added for small and micro businesses which employ fewer than 50 people, to recognise the hard work many of these companies are doing in reducing energy use.
Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy Matthew Pencharz said: “London businesses have a real leadership role to play in the bigger battle to reduce the city’s emissions. But they also have a lot to gain from making an effort to green their energy use, including slashing their energy costs. Last year’s Business Energy Challenge produced some fantastic results, not just for the winners, but for our environment. I encourage any business that has a good story to tell to enter this year’s awards in order to get the recognition they deserve, and build on last year’s significant achievements for our city.”
Around 75 per cent of London’s carbon dioxide emissions come from buildings, and 43 per cent come from workplaces. The Business Energy Challenge was conceived with the global cities organisation C40 as a way of encouraging the city’s corporate sector to step up to the challenge and do their part in achieving the Mayor’s overall targets for emissions reduction of 60% by 2025. The data collected from last year’s award entries has been used by University College London to inform the development of London specific and more up to date energy benchmarks for office and retail buildings.
Businesses submit energy usage data and are assessed on the carbon intensity per square metre of their properties, so both medium and large businesses are put on an equal footing. Gold, silver and bronze awards are distributed to the businesses who are most successful in reducing their carbon intensity.
The Business Energy Challenge is just part of the Mayor’s wider initiative to reduce London’s emissions. His RE:FIT scheme has seen over 260 public buildings in London retrofitted to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, saving over 29,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum. His RE:NEW scheme for residential public sector buildings has also helped to improve over 111,500 London homes, saving around 30,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.