Most companies have yet to implement power reduction plans
Despite the fast-looming April 1 deadline for the Government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme, many firms are confused about what the legislation means and how it applies to their business.
Simon Wheeldon, CEO of CloudApps, which develops software to monitor firms’ carbon footprint, said that despite the April 1 start date, many firms had yet to implement plans. “This is a recent piece of legislation and a lot of organisations are quite confused about what they should be doing or whether they need to participate,” said Wheeldon.
One area of confusion is over the scope of the legislation. Some firms found that they needed to monitor far more than they anticipated, because the legislation covered not only buildings they were using, but also offices that they may have sublet to other businesses.
The CRC scheme is designed to encourage UK organisations to reduce their power usage through financial carrots and sticks. Initially, it is expected to affect 5,000 public and private-sector organisations which consumed more than 6,000MWh of electricity in 2008, whose electriciy use is metered by the half hour. Recent reports by the Financial Times, however, suggested that the real number of UK companies impacted by the legislation could be closer to 30,000.
Another frustration from CloudApps’ point of view is the failure of The Environment Agency to set up an accreditation scheme for software suppliers, like CloudApps, so that customers know who to trust with their environemental initiatives.
CBR had already reported other possible problem areas: for example, companies may choose to set up data centres abroad to keep their UK power use lower. The legislation also does not distinguish the source of power, making no distinction between those firms that use renewable energy sources, such as wind turbines, and those using regular power supplies.
Despite the confusion, Wheeldon said that the CRC’s legislation would do much to accelerate power reduction in UK firms. “If you approach this legislation positively, then there can be many potential benefits, including reducing operational costs and helping with branding. Some people think that this is just an annoying piece of legislation, however.”
While data centres are an obvious hotspot where power reductions can be made, companies can gain useful insight by comparing the outputs different buildings or divisions in their company. For example, a retailer could find that two outlets have very different power use, which could be down to something as simple as people having the windows open and the air conditioning on at the same time. This highlights the need for education of staff, partners and customers, said Wheeldon.