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Carbon psychology could save businesses £600m

A new report has detailed how businesses could significantly improve their energy management by embedding ‘carbon psychology’ in staff behaviour.

A new report has detailed how businesses could significantly improve energy management by embedding ‘carbon psychology’ in staff behaviour.

The report from npower Business Solutions and The Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), examines the positive impact that behavioural change could have on businesses through energy savings.

Performance gap

It concludes that limited action to date means that only 18 per cent of expected energy savings in UK industry will come from behaviour change by 2020 - far lower than what is actually achievable.

Although the UK is relatively energy efficient compared to other countries, it appears to have performed more strongly in raising energy efficiency amongst households in comparison to industry, which has slowed since 2007.

According to the report, a central estimate of just over £600 million of potential savings could be achieved by businesses actively fostering behavioural change amongst their employees. Over half of this could be achieved by SMEs. 

The greatest scope for savings lie in wholesale and retail (£120 million), manufacturing (£64 million), administrative and support services (£69 million) and professional, scientific and technical (£55 million).

Beyond technology investment

The report notes that the most successful strategies to promote energy efficiency go further than simply investing in new technologies, through measures such as increasing the visibility of energy consumption amongst employees, providing tangible evidence of company commitments to improve performance, and encouraging staff to take ownership of energy management.

Importantly, the report suggests that targeting energy efficiency as a strategic objective in an organisation often makes it easier to access finance for improvements. 

‘Clear benefits’

Speaking at an event to launch the report, Phil Griffiths, in-house carbon psychologist at npower Business Solutions, said: “The benefits of behavioural change on the bottom line are clear. Energy efficiency improvements result in a more motivated workforce, a positive impact on the UK balance of payments and significant emissions reductions.”

“You can install sub-metering technology to identify inefficiencies, but machines won’t optimise themselves, processes won’t change themselves, and people won’t manage themselves. You need people to guide those changes.”

A government-backed guide to help SMEs improve energy efficiency is available here.