There is no such thing as a zero emission business, but that should not stop companies finding ways to reduce their energy use, according to the Carbon Trust, which advises organisations on cutting the use of fossil fuels.

Most office workers could make a significant reduction to their energy use without undermining their company’s performance, according to
Garry Felgate, a Carbon Trust director.

Moreover, the cost savings from turning off computers, photocopiers and other electrical equipment when they are
not in use will have an immediate impact on the bottom line.

“Sustainability is about full employment, it is about wealth and growth,” says Mr Felgate. “You can reduce emissions by shutting industry down, but that is not sustainable.”

The Carbon Trust halved its own lighting bill by switching off half the lights in the office. “A colleague turned off two lights in every bank of four and nobody noticed,” Mr Felgate recalls.

The average small and medium-sized company wastes about 20 per cent of its energy bill by leaving on electronic equipment when it is not in use, according to Mr Felgate.

The Carbon Trust offers interest-free loans of up to £100,000 to help SMEs buy less energy-hungry equipment.

Further information about the scheme can be found by calling the Carbon Trust helpline on 0800 0852005 or through the website at www.thecarbontrust.co.uk

Nick Matthews, principal fellow at the University of Warwick’s manufacturing group, applauds Goingreen for capitalising on the opportunity for electric cars created by the capital’s congestion charge.

“This sounds like a car that is designed to avoid the congestion charge,” he says.

“The problem with these green taxes is, if they work, the government collects no money, so they are almost designed to fail.”

Better regulation, rather than green taxes, are likely to create the biggest changes in the energy efficiency of cars, according to Mr Matthews.

“European legislation has been marvellous at encouraging a reduction in emissions. A basic Ford is unbelievably more energy efficient than it used to be.”

He adds that many low production vehicles create more carbon in their manufacture than mass-produced models from the big car companies.

This is significant since the production process accounts
for 10 per cent of the energy consumption in a car’s life.

“The G-Wiz might be green, but I do not believe these cars are any greener than a good diesel engine,” says Mr Matthews.

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