If you’re a business owner, you are probably gearing up for the changes in carbon emission allowances that are taking place in the UK. While new legislation is continually changing the rules on your company’s carbon footprint, we have all the info you’ll need to stay current. Just use this handy guide to business electricity to get started.

CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme: What is it?

The idea for this new law began with a white paper published in 2007. At the time, it was known as the Carbon Reduction Commitment, and it outlined how businesses outside the energy industry could achieve lower carbon emissions with environmentally-friendly practices. Put into action in April 2010, the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme was introduced in several phases. Just this year, businesses were required for the first time to monitor their carbon emissions and send an annual report to the government.

The next phase of the CRC Scheme will commence in 2012 when businesses will be required to retroactively buy emission allowances from the government when they report their usage for the past year.

Who does it affect?

If you are a business or organization that uses more than 6,000 MWh each year, you are a participant in this programme. Alternately, if your total business electricity bills throughout one year total around £500,000, you probably qualify for this programme.

How much will it cost?

During the first ever sale of carbon allowances, your business will likely pay at least £40,000, which is the minimum cost for companies and organizations that use 6,000 MWh. Subsequently, if you use more than this, you will have to purchase more carbon emission allowances.

What can I do to lower my carbon emissions?

One of the advantages of retroactively paying for carbon emissions is that it gives you the chance to take action now to reduce your carbon footprint. If you are one of the 5,000 businesses that has to participate in this new scheme, it is likely that your business is large enough to see a significant reduction, even with the smallest changes.

Try to reduce your business electricity usage with this simple tips:

● Use digital documents with electronic signatures. Encourage your employees not to print documents unless they absolutely have to. This will help you avoid paper waste and the electricity that it requires to run several printers or one large printer/copier.

● Use less heating. When the winter chill sets in, set the thermostat at one or two degrees lower than you normally would to save up to eight percent of your heating costs. This trick also works for air conditioning in warmer months.

● Make use of natural light. Move desks and work areas near windows so that employees can use sunlight instead of overhead lighting.

● Turn off computers and other equipment. Avoid wasting electricity on equipment and machinery in standby mode by making sure you unplug them or connect them to a power strip that can be shut off at the end of the work day.

Check back regularly at www.uswitchforbusiness.com for more information about energy efficiency policies and how to save on business electricity.

By Jasmina