Last month the Government in conjunction with New Economy launched the ecoSMARTER campaign, a unique programme designed to help businesses slash their energy bills by up to 16%. The new ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) backed scheme will provide up to £500,000 in funding as part of a £1m regional programme. The scheme is aimed at tackling rising business energy costs by supplying independent advice to SME’s and providing them with a free ‘green’ makeover to help cut business costs and reduce carbon emissions.

In a press release the scheme’s organisers stated: “Businesses that sign-up to the scheme will have a free electricity monitor installed which lets them monitor energy consumption online. They will also receive environmental support from a sustainability expert to help reduce carbon emissions.” The scheme runs on similar lines to many of those already operated by utility companies; electricity suppliers, such as npower, already run a number of ‘energy audit’ programmes designed to help smaller companies reduce their business energy costs through the use of independent advice and energy meters.

According to the government’s trial run of the programme, businesses will be able to save roughly around 16% on their gas and electricity prices, by acting on advice and monitoring their energy use. With the economy still struggling to grow, cutting business costs for SME’s is now more important than ever. Sir Howard Bernstein, vice chair of the Northwest European Regional Development Fund Local Management Committee, said: “By reducing energy usage and bills for small businesses this project can deliver key positive impacts on two fronts. Business support of this type will help to boost local economies while also protecting the environment.”

The participants of the locally run scheme will also receive a Carbon Smart Certificate, a nationally recognised award that denotes their green credentials. According to the organisers this certificate can then be used by companies to market themselves as a successful and environmentally responsible organisation. For more information on the New Economy ecoSMARTER scheme see the government’s PDF statement or send enquiries to ecosmarter@carbonsmart.co.uk