The cost of energy continues to be a major concern for Australian households. Electricity prices have increased substantially over the […]
What is the importance of energy efficiency for small businesses?
The answer to this question relates to a number of different factors, most importantly helping small businesses save money from the rising energy cost and utility bills.
Therefore, it is essential that the owners and staff of small businesses pay close attention to the programs that they implement.
From teaching every employee different ways to conserve energy in the workplace to looking for special grants to fund these initiatives, the importance of energy efficiency in small businesses is not only good for the environment but also good for the company’s bottom line.
This article will address the topics that explore the current plight of small companies as it relates to rising energy prices.
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According to information published on sites like the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), the price of energy is surging and is having a harsh financial impact on small businesses.
One of the industries that have been hit hardest is manufacturing, especially because it is an intensive energy sector that relies on high energy consumption to effectively operate .
This domino effect is also compounding cost issues due to country-wide labor shortages. Therefore, it is important for small business owners to pay close attention to the energy sector and how it is impacting their day-to-day operations.
This allows both owners and staff to identify the most effective means to adjust and manage costs, while at the same time identifying other viable solutions, including applying for energy efficiency grants to fund these initiatives.
As the cost of energy continues to rise, there are several challenges that a small business may eventually face. Here are just a few that tend to stand out immediately.
1. Lack of funding
Updating the energy efficiency of the business will often require upfront investments.
This can be a real challenge for small business owners that do not have the necessary funding, and might not be able to implement energy efficiency programs which could save them a lot of money in the long run.
2. Lack of awareness and education
Another big challenge that many small businesses usually encounter is the lack of implementing programs that properly educate their employees on the most effective ways to reduce the company’s energy costs.
This means the staff may or may not be aware of the most energy-efficient methods and measures to support their company’s day-to-day activities (ie. only buy recyclable office supplies for the administration).
3. Employees may be resistant to change
Since most people are resistant to change, it may be difficult to implement the new energy efficiency operational measures that are necessary for the business to sustain itself.
This is especially true when attempting to replace outdated processes with new energy-efficient procedures that may disrupt the operation for extended periods of time.
4. Technical barriers
When business owners do their research, they may find energy-saving technologies that can reduce the cost of operating the business. However, some of the latest technologies may be relevant only to certain buildings or systems.
Moreover, if the business does not have the skills and expertise to install or maintain these new technologies, they can miss major opportunities that will not only save money but also ensure employees’ comfort.
The Need for Energy Efficiency Grants in Australia
Funding is generally a huge barrier for small businesses, which is why the Australian government has proposed a number of grants that can help with the financing.
Since small businesses are the backbone of the economy, the government wants to help them thrive and grow.
These grants can help small businesses improve their energy efficiency standards and save money.
However, before the government approves the grants, the business must apply for the programs that they are eligible for. It is also important to note that the business must be able to prove that they meet certain requirements.
For example, if a small business would like to update its facility’s air conditioning system with a new energy-efficient model, this project would need to meet the energy efficiency program requirements.
So, it is very important that the business owners and their staff do their homework in advance before filling out the required paperwork.
To accommodate the needs of small business owners, there are different types of grants and incentives available. It is important that all business owners learn about the different types, including the requirements for each.
Here are 4 of the most beneficial types that owners may want to consider.
- Victorian business energy saving grants
- NSW business energy saving grants
- SA National business energy saving grants
- Business energy-saving grants
Eligibility Criteria for Grants
Before you apply for one or more of these grants, you need to know if your business is eligible for that specific program.
For example, here are 4 of the eligibility requirements that must be met to receive a grant:
- Businesses must have an ABN (Australian business number)
- Employee headcount must range from 1 to 199 employees for small to midsize business
- Employee headcount has to average these numbers for at least 12 months consecutively. The time period is from July 1, 2019
- Consent of the owner (locale for the project).
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Before applying for any grant, it is important to know what the objectives of the program are. Here are some of the objectives to consider:
- Helping with improving energy efficiency technologies
- Receiving required assistance for small to midsize companies to effectively manage costs and consumption
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
To receive one of these grants, there are also some specific eligibility requirements that a small business must meet. This means the small business owner will need to understand the eligibility details for the particular grant, before qualifying for the pool of applications.
For instance, some grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Apply on the Date that is mentioned on the website.
- Do not wait until the last minute to submit an application since there is a date beyond which applications will not be considered .
- Any and all other requirements can be found on the website for that specific program.
More details on the website.
How to Apply For The Grant
Applying for these grants is actually a straightforward process. To find the application process, you will need to go to the official site for the program that you are interested in and carefully review the details and requirements. .
How Energy Efficiency Grants Can Help Small Businesses
These grants are designed to help small businesses in a number of different ways. Here are 2 of the most beneficial:
- The first is by offering financial assistance to help businesses save money, which can be invested in business-relevant processes allowing further growth.
- Purchase Equipment and systems that are essential for the business’s continued and effective operation. If the company has outdated equipment that is draining the business’s energy, the grants can help them purchase newer equipment that will not only save on energy but reduce their expenses.
The main objective behind the grants is to help companies financially. Since some of these grants can range from $10,000 to $25,000, the grants can help businesses with the upfront money needed to update their equipment to new and energy-efficient models.
>> Related Reading: NSW Solar Rebate- Everything You Need To Know
Operational Improvements through Energy Efficiency
There are many different ways that energy efficiency can improve the operation of a small business. One of the most essential and vital is the reduction of energy costs.
The rising costs of energy make the savings from energy efficient systems more attractive and ensure more financing dedicated for the business’s growth and operational improvement.
>> Related Reading: 7 Ways to Make Your Home Energy Efficient
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