UK companies are investing more in energy efficiency projects, according to new report

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Bloomberg and EEVSs September Energy Efficiency Trends report is live. The results indicate a positive upward trajectory for the energy efficiency sector, as well as an interesting shift in technologies being specified.

Change for good

The report’s authors feel the outlook for energy efficiency is good; confidence has returned to suppliers and buyers, and the value of orders is on the up.

There has been a firm uptick in the projects commissioned by customers in 2018; a very positive shift given the previous 5 quarters of below average investment.

Suppliers also reported an expectation of more of the same next quarter, in what’s described as a rebound in overall market confidence.

And, change is also coming to the type of energy efficient technologies being specified. Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) are now being commissioned by more than 60% of active consumer respondents.

Indeed, the growth in BEMS uptake this quarter sustains the gains of the previous quarter and, were this

trend to continue into the next quarter, BEMS could potentially overtake lighting as the number one technology choice.

“We’ve seen BEMS rival the long standing market leader, LED lighting, for the top spot in the technologies listing. It’s possible that the next set of results could show a new market leader!” write the authors.

The big payback

Crucially, customers seeking new energy efficient kit now typically expect financial returns from their investments within 4 years.

This was something of an unexpected result, given the commissioning of larger scale projects that tend to have longer associated payback.

Intriguingly, ESOS reporting phases also run in 4 yearly periods. This could be a complete coincidence, or alternatively the report might be showing that the original ESOS Phase 1 and hastening Phase 2 deadlines have woken the sector up to the advantages of kit that swiftly adds value on the bottom line.

Where’s it all happening?

Some 27% of energy efficiency is being installed in offices, according to the report. Leisure centres and public buildings each make 9% of commissioned installations respectively, while hospitals cover 6 per cent.

It is interesting that warehousing and retail combined make up only 10%, more or less a third of the investment going into offices, yet warehousing and retail infrastructure can be huge, with vast associated opportunities for improving energy efficiency.

It may be investment remains slow given dwindling high street confidence, which might be limiting additional available spend in these sectors.

Government on the go

Nearly 50% of the report’s interviewees consider government policy to be ineffective on energy efficiency, and less than 20% think the government is managing the economy effectively.

But it does appear that the BEIS consultation; ‘Building a market for energy efficiency: call for evidence,’ has gone down well, pointing to a desire for regular feedback and focus sessions and a hope that business truly has government’s ear.

Efficiency for the future

All in all, the report’s dataset points to a positive sense on energy efficiency among the UK corporate sector today.

Some 72% of the businesses the authors spoke with had over 1000 employees, which suggests the scaling up of energy efficiency in the UK can be done in a meaningful way.