Making the most of SECR in 2020

Carbon compliance is fast climbing the list of priorities for business leaders, SECR included. However, there are many benefits to this piece of legislation aside from avoiding a visit from the auditors. EIC outlines a few of these less obvious advantages.

Unused data

If your organisation falls within the scope of SECR (Streamlined Energy Carbon Reporting) then your energy and carbon reports are no doubt on their way to delivery. However, the data you’ve collected can be put to other uses as well.

By taking a holistic view of energy and carbon savings, you can use this data to identify areas of waste or inefficiency within your business. The findings from such analysis can then underpin future strategy and possible architectural or behavioural adjustments to improve your carbon profile.

If your organisation makes use of smart meters and sub-metering solutions, you could even pinpoint which individual sites or site areas are underperforming.

SECR is vital, but its uses extend beyond the obvious

SECR as a rally cry

Climate change is a global challenge that requires innovation across every industry. When it comes to an organisation, no matter the size, there must be a shift towards sustainability not only at a leadership level but embedded in the corporate identity as a whole.

Your SECR process will require detailed data gathering from all elements of your organisation. A common theme is to delegate to site managers and then department managers. Once this is complete, foster open communications between these individuals to form a more cohesive SECR team.

SECR compliance spans across areas like energy management, sustainability, and financial reporting. As such, you have a strong opportunity to encourage greater co-operation across different parts of your business. In the case of organisations with road vehicles, they should make their fleet leaders a part of this conversation too.

Adjusting your scope

Currently you are mandated to report only on emissions from Scopes 1 and 2. These cover your direct emissions and those you buy and use respectively. However, that still leaves Scope 3 emissions – those that come from sources connected to but separate from your organisation.

It’s a long road to net zero, and these emissions will likely become a part of mandatory reporting before 2050. You can get ahead of the game by preparing for this now.

In addition, volunteering for this extra responsibility will further reinforce the culture of sustainability within your organisation. Why not demonstrate to your team that you don’t need a mandate to take the initiative on carbon reporting?

At EIC, we provide regular guidance to businesses in all aspects of carbon compliance including CCA and ESOS as well as SECR. Our dedicated carbon consultants have supported over 300 organisations through these processes and can do the same for you. If you are seeking insight on how best to utilise the findings from your SECR reporting or need to begin the reporting process to avoid fines, contact us here.

 

Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme: Time running out

The launch of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme last week presents an opportunity for public sector organisations to reduce their emissions using government funding. Organisations should begin formulating applications now to have the best chance of being funded.

Subsidising Energy Efficiency

Salix Finance is backing the scheme and it combines two major funds. First, the Capital Grant Scheme (CGS) aims to support heat and electricity decarbonisation efforts in certain public sector buildings. The second will help create thousands of jobs within the green development sector.

Under the CGS, public sector bodies can apply for financing for up to 100% of the costs of capital energy-saving projects fitting certain criteria. The criteria are split into four categories, which, in tandem, take a holistic view of decarbonising building heating.

This scheme will act as a non-domestic version of the Green Homes Grant, helping to address the carbon footprint of heating in UK commerce and public bodies.

Since applications to the fund will be subject to Salix’ discretion, organisations must have a robust understanding of their current energy expenses as well as accurate means to estimate the savings they stand to make.

The technologies supported by CGS are all focused on driving down the CO2 emitted in building heating. Naturally, low-carbon heating solutions like heat pumps and heat networks are deemed eligible.

Technology able to reduce heat demand or offset energy from the National grid also qualifies. Solar PV, battery storage, and metering systems fall under this category.

Window closing fast

Organisations can use this fund to subsidise the cost of external support for decarbonisation projects in a variety of ways. This includes the employment of technical expertise in putting together applications for the fund, support for project delivery, and guidance on creating a long-term decarbonisation plan.

However, applications must be submitted by the 11th of January and any planned projects delivered by the end of March 2021. Organisations should take this timeline into account when considering the scale of any project they wish to undertake.

Four months is a considerably small window for an infrastructural overhaul. That means organisations with a decarbonisation framework already in place will have a head start over those that don’t.

However, that is all moot unless applications are in before the deadline in just over ten weeks’ time. It is important to note that the scheme has been open since September 30th and that there is no ceiling on how much of the fund individual projects can apply for.

£1bn might sound like a lot, but it is still finite and approvals are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Organisations are already in a race against time and will want to start approaching sustainability specialists as soon as possible.

At EIC, our 360° Strategic Review offers a variety of channels through which you can boost your decarbonisation efforts. Key amongst these is a focus on implementing appropriate infrastructure for your organisation. A comprehensive solution that includes sub-metering, lighting solutions, on-site solar generation and CHP.

For further information on how we can support your decarbonisation journey, contact us.