Green thoughts and greenbacks

The Carbon Trust says it is offering ‘as close to free money as a business can get’ to help small and medium size businesses (SMEs) cut their energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint. It has relaxed the rules for interest-free, unsecured ‘green’ loans from its £100m fund; the minimum amount is down to £3,000 and the upper limit has been doubled to £400,000.

According to the Trust, this puts funding for energy-efficient equipment within the reach of  micro-businesses, while also helping larger companies, such as manufacturing firms, who may be using energy-intensive factory equipment.

If you’re an SME would you be tempted by the ‘free’ money, and are you keen to install new equipment? Maybe you could do some sensible housekeeping and encourage staff to think twice about their routine use of office machines, to reduce your energy bills.

  • Turn off equipment such as printers, computers, fax machines and coffee makers at night and when not in use. Set them to go into ‘sleep’ mode when not in use.


  • Do photocopying in batches, so that the machine doesn’t spend more time than necessary switching between high power and sleep modes.


  • Suggest people switch off the monitors when away from their desks.


  • Think about having a central power strip, which can be switched off, for staff to plug all mobiles, MP3 players and other gadgets that need charging.  These devices draw energy round the clock even when they’re switched off.


  • Do regular maintenance on machines, such as faxes and photocopiers. The same goes for any heating system – your costs can increase by a third if your boiler is not well maintained.


  • Try not to block radiators with desks or office furniture, as your heating will have to work even harder to warm up the room.


  • Lower the thermostat in unused areas, such as storerooms.

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