Green energy specialist urges UK small firms to take up new funding

Wirral based Stiebel Eltron says the Carbon Trust is set to relax its rules for loans on energy efficiency improvements and expand the funds available to help small firms struggling for resources because of the credit crunch.

The Carbon Trust is a Government funded body created to help businesses cut their carbon emissions. It will double the maximum size of its interest free energy efficiency loans to 200,000. It will also increase the overall loans pot by 45pc to 31m.  The interest free loans are unsecured and repayable over a period of up to four years.

Stiebel Eltrons UK managing director Mark McManus said the move is welcome and urged businesses to take advantage of it to help slash energy bills by going green. He said Stiebel Eltron will undertake a free energy efficiency report for any firm in  the UK.

This report will examine the heat loss and heat demands of the building and detail a set of recommendations, he said. Moreover we also offer a one stop shop advice service giving guidance on a range of issues from complying with legislation, to applying for green grants, to taking advantage of tax breaks to advice on installation of renewable energy products. But renewable energy products are very much the future and made more attractive by this increased funding. Our products, for example do not use oil, gas or coal and only take  a small amount of electricity from the national grid. The rest of the energy, to heat a building, is generated by the environment either from beneath the ground, from the air or through solar panels. This obviously costs nothing and does not emit Co2.  So in a climate of increased Government pressure and soaring gas bills renewable energy products are a cost saving, green-friendly alternative for firms.

Mr McManus said there is increased Government pressure on the private sector to meet green targets.

Understanding of green energy issues is limited and advice is desperately needed, he said. The introduction of Energy Performance Certificates this year is just the tip of the iceberg. There is more legislation looming with the Climate Change Bill and the Energy Bill which will ramp up the pressure to become more energy efficient.  Failure to have an EPC, for example, for a commercial property can result in a 5000 fine. But there is carrot as well as stick. VAT on renewable energy products is just 5pc and there is the Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme. Through this scheme businesses can write off the whole of the capital cost of their investment in green friendly technologies against their taxable profits.

Mr McManus also pointed to the Low Carbon Building Programme - a major Government grant programme. The programme provides grants for the installation of green friendly renewable energy products in businesses as well as public sector buildings and households.

We feel passionate about green energy but as a commercial business ourselves we understand the pressures businesses and the public sector are under, he said. It is not always easy to know where to start. Our advice service is practically based and we can give clear advice on exactly how to best install green technology and see the cost savings benefits.

Stiebel Eltron primarily manufacturers ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps. Ground source heat pumps transfers heat from the ground into a building to provide heating and hot water. Air source heat pumps absorb heat from outside to heat buildings and provide hot water. Neither pump uses oil or gas. 

Renewable energy background

In June this year the prime minister unveiled a 100bn renewable energy plan he described as a Green Revolution and the most dramatic change in energy policy since the advent of nuclear power. He said he wanted to reach the EU imposed target of producing 15pc of the countrys energy from renewable sources by 2020. This will require 100bn of private investment which the Government plans to encourage with grants and financial incentives. Mr Brown said that by 2020 renewable energy would account for 30pc of electricity supply, 14pc of heat supply and up to 10pc of transport fuel. Mr Brown estimated the renewables programme would generate 160,000 jobs.

About Stiebel Eltron

STIEBEL ELTRON provides convenient technical solutions for every aspect of renewable energies, hot water, air-conditioning and central heating. Founded in Germany in 1924 by Dr. Theodor Stiebel today it is one of the worlds leading specialists in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and systems technologies. It has a world-wide turnover of 400m Euros and employs 3000 staff.

Stiebel Eltron opened its new UK office on Wirral International Business Park on Merseyside in February 2008 having previously been based in Northampton.

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