Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
Buildings are responsible for around 40 per cent of the UK's carbon emissions, with business properties accounting for around half of that.
There are plenty of simple, low-cost measures you can take to cut energy use within your buildings and lower CO2 emissions. These include installing movement-sensitive light sensors in toilets and other little-used areas and turning down the thermostat by a couple of degrees.
There may be additional things you can do - such as installing double-glazing and improving roof insulation - to help make buildings more airtight.
You can consider installing Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems, particularly when a planned replacement of boilers or heating systems is due.
If you are having new premises built, or you are making structural changes to your existing premises, you must make sure they meet the requirements of:
All commercial buildings require an energy performance certificate (EPC) when they are bought, let or sold. An EPC indicates how energy efficient a building and its services are. An EPC also contains recommendations for cost-effective changes that can be made to improve the building's energy efficiency and cut carbon emissions.
You must make sure you comply with the requirements of the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. These include getting your air-conditioning systems regularly inspected and obtaining an energy performance certificate when you construct, sell or rent buildings.
In Scotland, owners of non-domestic buildings must assess the energy performance of their buildings and produce an action plan to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. This must be passed on to new owners if the building is sold. There are provisions that make clear when the improvements outlined in the action plan must be carried out.
You may be eligible for a number of tax breaks if you introduce energy efficiency measures. See the page in this guideline: Tax breaks to encourage energy efficiency
Resource Efficient Scotland has produced a series of free, online training modules for SMEs. The training will help develop the skills and knowledge needed to put in place effective resource efficiency measures in your business. They deal with energy, waste and water efficiency. You can work through them at your own speed, choosing the modules that are relevant to your business.
Department of Finance and Personnel
How to cut carbon emissions from business buildings
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