SEAI is helping transport businesses cut costs and grow

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“We realise that businesses are facing very significant challenges right now with many looking for ways to reduce their cost base. Reducing energy use can be a great place to start,” according to Fergus Sharkey, Head of Business and Public Sector with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

Today, businesses are facing unprecedented challenges which are reshaping their operations. Whether you operate a business fleet of one or 100 vehicles, opportunities to make small changes which can save money and support growth are more important than ever before for businesses to survive and thrive.

The Climate Challenge
With the increasing societal focus on climate change, and the launch of the Government’s Climate Action Plan, many businesses are seeking to play their part in reducing their climate impact. Transport is by far the largest source of energy related CO2 emissions in Ireland. In 2018 it was responsible for 40% of these emissions. It is also the sector where CO2 emissions have grown the most since the end of the last recession in 2012.

“Over the coming years, Ireland must use less energy, move to clean energy, and innovate to create new solutions to meet our energy needs. The good news is there is significant potential for businesses in the transport sector, and for those who own or manage a business fleet, to reduce their energy costs and influence Ireland’s sustainable energy future,” says Fergus Sharkey, Head of Business and Public Sector with SEAI, the national authority responsible for Ireland’s energy transition.

Where to Start
To help businesses get started on their energy saving journey, SEAI has developed a free online training resource. The SEAI Energy Academy can help business reduce their energy costs by as much as 10% or more by educating employees on changing their energy use behaviors and effective energy management. According to Sharkey;

“The SEAI Energy Academy is an ideal starting point and allows employees to upskill on energy efficiency and avail of tailored online training that can lead to important business cost savings. It offers sector specific training courses, for example we have a dedicated training course for business transport which launched only this month.”

The online modules are quick and easy to complete with each module taking between 15 to 20 minutes each. The transport course includes seven modules covering; Energy and Climate Change, Business Energy Efficiency, Eco-Driving, Transport and Deliveries, Electric Vehicles, EV Charging and Behavioral Change.

On completing the course, employees receive a Certificate of Completion from SEAI demonstrating their own and the company’s commitment to professional development and reducing their climate impact.

Make the Change to Electric
According to Fergus Sharkey the business case for changing to an electric vehicle is very clear. He says, “For many businesses and fleet managers rising fuel costs and the cost of vehicle maintenance are significant barriers to growing their business. Now there are electric vehicles that can compete in terms of range and have significantly lower running and maintenance costs than their petrol and diesel equivalents. If that’s not enough to make the business case for electric vehicles there is also the range of incentives that are available to businesses to help them make the change to an electric business fleet.”

Businesses and fleet managers can find out more about switching to electric vehicles in SEAI’s newly published Guide for businesses available on the Authority’s website. Information on electric vehicle grants and incentives for business are also available. For more information on how SEAI can assist your business in becoming more energy efficient and to sign up to the SEAI Energy Academy visit www.seai.ie/energyacademy or contact the Business Team on business@seai.ie.

The below energy efficiency tips may also be of use for your business:Key steps of energy efficiency:

• Setting energy goals. Start with a goal of between 10% and 15% reduction on your annual bill.
• Communicating energy saving tips. Tips on eco-driving and transport of deliveries may be relevant.
• Electing a member of staff to be your energy champion who encourages participation and keeps the morale high.
• Holding an energy saving competition in your business with a small reward, and making sure participation is acknowledged.

Key steps of energy efficiency:

• Setting energy goals. Start with a goal of between 10% and 15% reduction on your annual bill.
• Communicating energy saving tips. Tips on eco-driving and transport of deliveries may be relevant.
• Electing a member of staff to be your energy champion who encourages participation and keeps the morale high.
• Holding an energy saving competition in your business with a small reward, and making sure participation is acknowledged.