UK businesses of all sizes are starting to realise the power of clean energy. Not only does investment in this area boost green credentials and reduce operational costs, it also helps to future-proof companies in ultra-competitive markets, the Daily Telegraph recently discussed.

While senior vice-president of energy solutions at the Green Investment Group, Richard Braakenburg, notes that “the smart revolution” can be viewed as a corporate buzzword, that shouldn’t take away from its importance.

Energy consumption by British businesses has risen by nearly a third during the last 40 years. Braakenburg noted: “Heating in buildings and industry now makes up 32% of the UK’s total carbon emissions.

“The money spent on industrial energy consumption in the UK remains among the highest in the group of 26 countries that make up the International Energy Agency’s membership.”

In 2015, the UK spent £22.5bn on energy consumption. This represents a 49% increase since 1996.

However, an attitudinal shift is starting to occur amongst industry leaders and SMEs, with action being taken and energy strategies being reviewed.

Gatwick Airport, the UK’s second-largest airport, is now a member of RE100. This global collaborative initiative of organisations is committed to 100% renewable energy, and includes Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Ikea, AstraZeneca and BT.

Last year, Gatwick became one of the world’s first airports to achieve 100% carbon neutrality. Its target for renewable energy was 25% by 2020 but, as electricity accounts for 75% of the airport’s ground operations’ carbon emissions, it has already hit its target.

Meanwhile, Northumbrian Water announced in April plans to power all of its 1,858 sites with renewable energy for the next four years. One of the company’s waste water treatment plants on Teesside saved £12,500 last year thanks to on-site solar panels.

But, as Braakenburg highlights, “you don’t have to be a corporate giant to source low-cost green power or implement smarter energy systems.”

“A recent PwC survey of industrial companies in the UK found that 17% plan to generate a significant proportion of their own electricity within five years. A further 45% want to reduce their dependence on the grid by producing power on site,” he added.

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