The government is saddling businesses with higher than necessary energy bills through its failing energy efficiency strategy for the commercial sector, a new TUC report argues today.

Efforts by government to boost commercial energy efficiency are not working, and end up costing UK businesses millions of pounds every year, says the TUC.

The average rate of improvement to UK commercial energy efficiency has stagnated since 2007, with the Committee on Climate Change confirming there has been “little progress” in the sector.

The TUC report Money to Burn details the need to improve energy efficiency in offices, supermarkets, hotels and other commercial businesses. The report makes a number of recommendations for UK commercial energy efficiency policy, with reference to best practice examples from Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and the US.

To improve non-domestic energy efficiency in the UK the report says that policy must focus on five different areas: regulation, tax incentives, access to finance, information gathering and dissemination, and ‘greening the workplace’ – with staff, unions and management working together.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Clamping down on the ‘Great British Energy Waste’ is a win-win for businesses, the government and the environment. Even small businesses can save far more from energy efficiency measures than switching suppliers.

“Better energy regulations backed by access to finance, a one-stop shop for energy advice, and encouraging green workplaces would all help tackle this pointless and expensive frittering away of energy.”

Writing on the TUC’s Touchstone blog today, in support of the Money to Burn launch, Allen Creedy, honorary Chair of the ‘Energy, Water and Environment Policy Unit’ for the Federation of Small Businesses said:

“Hitting our carbon emissions targets and keeping UK businesses profitable means recognising that reducing consumption is as important as energy price. Government and regulation is too focussed on switching, and the current Competition and Markets Authority investigation into the market is only looking at the market for the sale of energy.

“It’s important to remember that switching will save the average small and micro business only £50-£100 a year. So it’s a travesty, when energy efficiency can save a typical business £400-£800 in the first year just by behavioural change.”

Title image courtesy of Brian Robert Marshall via geograph.org.uk