A spike in people working from home has meant huge savings on building costs for many businesses. However, new calls for carbon reporting to account for the increase in domestic emissions could catch business leaders by surprise.

Public cost, private loss

Due to new and continued lockdown restrictions, 60% of the UK workforce is now performing their roles from home. As a result, commercial enterprises are making significant savings in building utility usage, especially on heating, cooling, and lighting.

Unfortunately, the flip side of that coin is that their employees are now footing larger bills at home. In fact, due to a combination of increased home occupation, and dropping temperatures, energy bills across the country are expected to rise dramatically this winter.

“Energyhelpline.com has predicted a full-time working household will spend an extra £107 on energy due to increased working from home, so it’s important that consumers are on the lowest energy tariff before the cold weather starts to bite.”

Victoria Arrington, spokesperson for Energy Helpline

A recent Carbon Trust report shows that more than 70% of businesses believe that the coronavirus pandemic will lead to a greater emphasis on sustainability initiatives. While corporate social responsibility is clearly increasing, the effect of lockdown on carbon emissions is unprecedented and therefore raises some questions.

As Rishi Sunak’s Green Homes Grant has demonstrated, the energy efficiency of UK housing is sorely lacking. However, there have been new calls for corporate carbon reporting that accounts for the emissions of those working at home. This could force businesses to pick up the tab.

“The coronavirus changes the way we work, so naturally it changes the way companies impact the climate… Firms across the UK must now adjust to this, and we must change the rules on how we report company emissions.”

-Amit Gudka, Bulb

Carbon reporting: Over or under

Bulb released a warning to businesses back in June, stating that nearly half a million tonnes of CO2 equivalent may go unreported due to employees working from home.

Ecoact has released a free-source white paper containing formulae for calculating the relative carbon emissions of homeworking. However, this is based on the average expense calculation from Ofgem findings over the past two years.

The problem is that they do not account for the wild variations between corporate and domestic building energy efficiency. As such, they  provide an incomplete picture of actual commercial energy usage. The danger is that they may misplace responsibility for some of its costs.

Since the conditions of lockdown are so novel, legislation governing these missing carbon emissions has yet emerge. Will the Climate Change Levy (CCL) take notice for example?

The answer, for now, is unclear. What is obvious though is that commercial firms are on borrowed time to establish a clear data set that can protect them from overpaying for inefficiency that isn’t their responsibility.

The combination of smart metres and a comprehensive invoicing history would be one way to ensure such security. Equipped with this data, businesses could calculate the relative difference in energy consumption pre and post lockdown conditions.

Once a record is established, businesses can then make a case for not paying beyond their normal emissions costs.

 

Carbon reporting with EIC

EIC provides a comprehensive energy management service that includes Metering and Invoice Validation solutions. Our sub-metering technology allows you to create dynamic and comprehensive reports of your current consumption patterns.

These reports provide a comparative baseline to measure your historic consumption against. Our team can then analyse and validate your records, carrying out over 200 energy checks to guarantee accuracy.

A final word on the CCL, while mandates surrounding work from home emissions remain vague, the CCA still presents an opportunity to save on your own emissions. However, the deadline for new applications is closing fast, and some trade associations require submissions up to four weeks in advance.

Fortunately, EIC also specialises in climate legislation like the CCA and can provide end-to-end guidance and support from the initial submission to evidence collection.

To find out which of these services you can benefit from, get in touch.

 


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