ScottishPower helps firms switch to energy savings

PARTNERSHIP with Resource Efficient Scotland proves a natural fit for the utility company and its customers, writes Kirsty McLuckie.

Neil Clitheroe of ScottishPower, Kim McLean, of BCF Technology and Iain Gulland of Zero Waste Scotland. Picture: JEFF HOLMES/JSHPIX.CO

Most businesses want to do the right thing in terms of lowering their energy use, but the driving force to making changes to increase efficiency is always going to be cost.

Fortunately there is plenty of help in deciding which measures to implement but small and medium sized enterprises, (SMEs) don’t always know where to get their advice.

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Resource Efficient Scotland is a programme of Zero Waste Scotland, the Scottish Government funded body that aims to help businesses reduce costs by implementing resource efficiencies in energy, water raw materials and waste management.

It offers free advice, technical support, training and a number of efficiency tools. And thanks to a new collaboration between RES and ScottishPower, the message of how SMEs can start to make changes will now be reaching more and more of the decision makers in business.

ScottishPower has become a Pledge Ambassador for Resource Efficient Scotland; Pledge Ambassadors are recognised for their commitment to reducing resource use across their business network (for ScottishPower, its SME base) and to protecting Scotland’s environment and economy.

Neil Clitheroe of ScottishPower says the collaboration with Resource Efficient Scotland is a natural fit. “We have over 150,000 small business customers and the feedback that we have from them is that they would welcome help in reducing bills.”

He points out that energy efficiency advice for businesses is a lot more complicated than that offered to residential householders. “With homeowners, much of the advice will be the same from house to house, but small businesses vary so much in their needs – from a restaurant, retail unit, manufacturer – all will have completely different needs so it is important that the advice they get is tailored specifically.”

This ability to adapt to customer’s needs is a key reason why ScottishPower has chosen to collaborate with RES. “As a first point of contact, we recommend our customers go through to our website where they’ll find the first of the great resources from Resource Efficient Scotland; a web tool where you can choose from eight different business types, click on a sample room and start looking at efficiencies straight away.”

This tailored approach is taken further with field-based skills – Resource Efficient Scotland offers a free energy audit which will produce a report to target key areas in which businesses could save money and energy.  

Iain Gulland is chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland and as such heads up the Resource Efficient Scotland programme. He says: “The collaboration with ScottishPower means that its customers get simple access to the help and advice we can give them. We provide a one-stop shop to all the tools of resource efficiency, which is unavailable anywhere else in Europe.”

He says that such cost and energy cutting considerations are becoming more important to businesses: “It is no longer a question of individual departments trying to make savings but is seen as a crucial strategy for companies at boardroom level.”

The Resource Efficient Scotland programme aims to help businesses raise awareness and get staff involved to change rudimentary practices.

Gulland says: “Some companies will have done some of the work already; others will have specific waste or energy problems.  An audit can identify easy routes to cost savings and then the report will recommend wider improvements and investigate feasibility of each.

“Most companies will be keen to implement these but we can follow up to help companies compile a business case for their finance departments or to provide access and advice on funding for the changes.”

Clitheroe says that while the size of the company and the recommendations will vary, most will find efficiencies. “The key thing for small businesses, who might well be cash strapped, is the return they can make on any energy efficiency measures. The need to see any capital outlay produce a return and pay for itself. Many will look to about a 12 to 18-month time frame in which to do this.”

He says of the wider collaboration: “By becoming a Pledge Ambassador for Resource Efficient Scotland, ScottishPower is making it much easier for our customers to gain access to a unique set of tools for making positive changes.

“We spent around a year before deciding which organisation to work with and we are delighted to be promoting such an excellent, trusted and well regarded scheme. Focused in Scotland, the Resource Efficient Scotland programme really adds to the level of customer service we can offer.”