Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency

For buildings:

Insulate and prevent heat loss.

This can significantly reduce your energy bills and can be achieved by:

  • Loft insulation or insulation boards below a flat roof
  • Cavity wall insulation or external cladding
  • Double or triple glazing
  • Insulation below floorboards
  • Draft proofing

All are more easily fitted during construction work or during a refurbishment. If you are planning refurbishment or improvements in a listed building, or if you are in a conservation area, certain methods may not be allowed. Check with your local council when you draw up plans.

Northern Ireland Housing Executive: Energy saving advice

Resource Efficient Scotland: Simple steps to start saving energy

Carbon Trust: Buildings energy efficiency

Use low energy fittings and appliances.

Most new electrical appliances are now required to have an energy rating - use this to choose A rated or above.

GOV.UK: Energy efficient products

Lights – consider LED lighting and for areas that are not in constant use fit PIR sensors or daylight sensors that automatically switch off lights when no-one is around or when light levels are already high.

Choose low carbon heating.

Select heating that does not involve fossil fuels if possible .

Options include:

  • Electric heating – low carbon if you generate your own electricity or if you buy electricity from a company that sells 100% from renewables.
  • Use solar gain – south facing windows can supply a significant amount of heat to a building
  • Fit solar panels to the roof – either connect to the mains and gain feed in tariffs or connect to batteries to provide constant power
  • Small scale hydro. If you have a suitable location this provides constant power. You may need a licence depending on the site.
  • Ground or air source heat pumps. These need an electricity supply but return around 3 times the energy that they consume.
  • Wind turbines. Location is important but if a suitable site is found this can be very cost effective.
  • Biomass boilers – suitable if a supply of wood fuel can be sourced locally.

Consider a combination of the above technologies.

See the section on funding and support at the start of this guideline.

If you are a business then you can use the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme which allows you to offset the cost of energy efficient equipment against tax. The scheme only applies to equipment that has been approved and shown to be low energy.

GOV.UK: Enhanced Capital Allowances – How to apply

GOV.UK: Energy Technology List for ECA

Zero Waste 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.

ZWS: Green Champions Training


NetRegs: Energy efficiency

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