EA claims CRC will change the look of the high street

An optimistic Environment Agency believes that a piece of legislation that will name and shame businesses that are wasting energy could change the face of our town centres.

The agency believes that the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) and Energy Efficiency Scheme – which will require companies to record and report their energy use – could ‘spell the end for all-night lights and dazzling window displays’.

Businesses using more than 6000MWh electricity per year, equivalent to an energy bill of around £500,000, must register for the CRC between April and September this year.

From 2011 the Environment Agency will publish an annual league table of the best and worst performers in the CRC – with the top performers getting financial rewards, and poor performers being penalised.

Household name supermarkets, clothes shops and fast food chains are among the top sectors affected by the CRC – and the EA believes they are likely to be challenging their staff to reduce energy use.

“The days of leaving doors open to encourage customers in and leaving lights on 24 hours a day will be left behind as high street retailers look for the quick wins in the race to cut carbon emissions,” said a statement from the agency.

Tony Grayling, head of climate change and sustainable development at the Environment Agency said: “The CRC is an opportunity for large businesses and public sector organisations to play their part in reducing dangerous carbon emissions.

“But for businesses the main motivation to cut their energy use will be their bottom line. By cutting energy use businesses stand to benefit from lower energy bills, and could be financially rewarded through the CRC if they perform well in the energy efficiency stakes.”

In an age of increasingly eco-aware consumers, poor green performance could be damaging for a business’s reputation.

Mr Grayling, said: “Carbon reduction needn’t be complicated or expensive, in most cases better management of heating, air conditioning and lighting will deliver immediate energy and cost savings.”

Sam Bond

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie