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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 June 2006, 04:09 GMT 05:09 UK
Firms 'to waste 500m of energy'
By Mark Kinver
Science and nature reporter, BBC News

Fan in a restaurant (Image: BBC)
The sheer scale of the energy wasted is staggering and something that businesses can no longer afford to ignore
Tom Delay, Carbon Trust
UK businesses will waste more than 500m worth of energy over the summer months, a report has said.

The study for the Carbon Trust says the "staggering" 570m wastage will result in more than eight million tonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere.

Firms could cut their emissions and bills by 15% if they used energy more wisely, the trust suggests.

The report coincides with the launch of a 4m campaign to encourage businesses to become more energy efficient.

Cutting costs

The Cost of Carbon report warns that soaring energy prices could damage the UK's competitiveness and hamper efforts to cut the nation's greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon Trust chief executive Tom Delay said: "The sheer scale of the energy wasted is staggering and something that businesses can no longer afford to ignore.

"What's more, consumers and shareholders alike are becoming more aware of a company's environmental record and this trend is only going to grow," he says.

On Tuesday, higher gas and electricity bills were blamed for pushing UK inflation up to 2.2% in May, from 2% the month before.

The research, carried out by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), found the manufacturing sector's annual energy bill of 1.8bn could be cut by 12% if it introduced efficiency measures, while the service sector could make a 19% saving on its yearly expenditure of 1.6bn.

UK Environment Minister Ian Pearson welcomed the report, saying it highlighted the cost of carbon emissions to business.

Business has helped deliver the bulk of savings to date in the UK, but more can still be done
Michael Roberts, CBI
"By working with the Carbon Trust, we can fully engage the power of business to help us tackle climate change," he said.

The study said the eight million tonnes of CO2 emitted from energy that was expected to being wasted by businesses over the summer was equivalent to the annual carbon emissions from the UK's second largest city, Birmingham.

CBI director of business environment policy Michael Roberts said firms were aware of the need to cut emissions.

"Business has helped deliver the bulk of savings to date in the UK, but more can still be done to cut energy use by all sectors and all sizes of company," he said.

On Thursday, the Carbon Trust will launch a multi-million pound advertising campaign to highlight measures businesses can introduce to cut energy bills by becoming more energy efficient.


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