The Carbon Trust is to help thousands of small and medium sized businesses drive down their costs by as much as £40m through a new programme - The Big Business Refit – set to launch in September this year, it was announced today.
The Big Business Refit will offer SMEs expert advice and financial support to slash their energy costs by scrapping old inefficient equipment and replacing it with new energy efficient models.
It follows a recession-driven surge in demand for the Carbon Trust’s interest-free business loans. In the first six months of 2009, hundreds of SMEs from bakeries to plastics factories have been given loans at zero-interest to equip their businesses with the latest energy-saving technology. As a result, they are saving an average of £14,000 each on their annual energy bills – a collective total of almost £6m a year.
Tom Delay, chief executive, the Carbon Trust, said: “Business owners are realising that for every month they ‘make do and mend’ with old inefficient equipment, they are wasting more cash on unnecessarily high energy bills.”
“With credit all but dried up elsewhere, the Big Business Refit breaks the deadlock by helping SMEs to buy the equipment that will both slash their costs and often transform their businesses.”
SMEs that want to take part in the Big Business Refit can get expert advice from the Carbon Trust by calling 01865 885879.
SMEs can also benefit from free energy saving assessments from a Carbon Trust expert and a tailored action plan that identifies the savings that could be made by replacing energy-guzzling equipment.
The Carbon Trust’s unsecured, interest-free loans can be used for equipment replacements costing between £3,000 and £400,000. The loans are designed to pay for themselves through direct energy savings, so that once the loan is repaid, savings go straight to bottom line. With a total of £100m in loans available, the Big Business Refit is expected to help up to 3,000 UK SMEs save a total of £40m off their annual energy costs.
The top choices among the small and medium businesses that have taken a Carbon Trust loan in the first six months of 2009 are:
New energy efficient lighting and lighting controls, a key way for any business to save money, provided annual savings of nearly £1m for the companies we have helped. Replacement air compressors, used for powering pneumatic tools, provided annual energy savings of £400,000.
Mechanised materials handling equipment, such as cranes, which are used to load heavy equipment, provided annual savings of £400,000.
David Caro, FSB Energy & Environment Chairman, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: “The Carbon Trust’s interest-free energy efficiency loans offer SMEs a chance to improve their bottom line as well as proving their green credentials. These loans will help small businesses significantly cut their costs over the long term as well as helping them to play their part in moving towards a low carbon economy.”
Tom Delay added: “Businesses which replace old equipment now will be in a far better position come the end of the recession. Their cost base will be lower than their competitors and, with brand new equipment in place, they’ll be more efficient.”
Ipswich-based aluminium foundry, Hadleigh Castings Ltd, is one of the hundreds of businesses that have recently improved their business with a Carbon Trust loan. It replaced its largest air compressor at a cost of £30,000. Installed at the end of 2008, the new compressor is on target to save the company over £11,000 every year on its energy bill and around 80 tonnes of CO2 a year.
Neville Warnes, Managing Director, Hadleigh Castings Ltd, said, “The Carbon Trust was very easy and helpful to work with. The loan is zero-interest, so you don’t need to worry about rates increasing before you’ve paid it back. And you get the feeling they genuinely want you to receive the loan and get the work done.”