3.6 Catering

Catering is another area to focus on, especially if you are in the hospitality industry or have a canteen. If you use contract caterers, check that they have an incentive to save energy, as otherwise they won’t bother and will leave you to pick up the bill. For example, try asking the chef not to switch on all the cooker rings on their arrival at 8 a.m. when the first meals don’t need to be served until midday!

Most of the above measures can be taken in leased properties without the landlord’s permission. Some of the larger improvements to heating systems or insulation may need approval, but this should often be given willingly as it could add to the value of the property, with no outlay to the ultimate owner. It is also always worth checking if there are grants or tax relief (Enhanced Capital Allowances) for actions, for example under the government’s Energy Technology List.

Web-based resources

You may find some of the following resources useful.

  • British Gas’s interactive online Energy Savers Report for businesses.

  • Eon’s Energy Marshal website also includes tools for reducing non-domestic energy use, with a focus on the people side.

  • How Green IT saves money and energy, improves image and the environment (a 14-minute video).

  • A website explaining the UK government’s Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme, including the searchable Energy Technology List.

  • Szencorp’s headquarters at 40 Albert Road in Melbourne, Australia was once a typical energy and water-hungry building. Now it is one of Australia’s highest rated green buildings, saving 70% on its energy use.

Activity 4

This section was something of a list of possibilities. However, it cannot be exhaustive and there are often opportunities to be more innovative. The key constraint is usually the budget.

  • How easy will it be to convince your finance director of the benefits of saving carbon?

  • How much will he or she rely on strictly financial measures, such as payback or net present value?

  • Will externalities (hidden costs borne more broadly by society) be allowable?

3.5 Computers and office equipment

4 Taking action – transport and behavioural change