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FEATURE: BUSINESS & THE ENVIRONMENT


Low carbon collaboration


KEITH BUDDEN, E.ON strategic partnership manager, explains how he is leading E.ON’s work with organisations across Birmingham to change the city’s relationship with energy – both how it is generated and how it is used.


reduction plan for the future. From a business point of view there is enormous pressure for business to implement efficiency measures and minimise energy consumption in order to reduce overall operational costs. However, businesses often perceive ‘going green’ as being difficult to achieve, and are cautious of shouldering the risk sometimes associated with efficiency projects and sustainable energy technologies, particularly in a challenging economic environment. As a Midlands-based company E.ON has been working closely with city


T


he city of Birmingham faces a huge challenge if it is to meet its ambitious environmental targets – to cut carbon pollution by 60 per cent in the next 15 years. The business community in Birmingham especially has a major role to play in developing a strategic carbon


‘A lot of what we’re doing starts with simple energy efficiency measures, helping people use less and hopefully therefore spend less’


councils in Birmingham and the Black Country, Stoke-on-Trent and Coventry County over recent years on a number of wide ranging projects and initiatives to help deliver the skills, knowledge and investment needed to make truly low carbon cities. Key programmes under development in Birmingham include a major whole house energy efficiency refurbishment programme and a partnership project to train unemployed people and employ them as energy assessors. A lot of what we’re doing starts with simple energy efficiency measures, helping people use less and hopefully therefore spend less on their energy bills. We call it being energy fit. But if we’re to meet those 2026 targets we can’t do it alone and we can’t do it just from home. The entire community needs to work in collaboration. Together, working with business, the public sector and communities in Birmingham, E.ON’s Sustainable Energy business can help make cost savings and carbon targets a reality. The key to success in all this is collaboration; we can no longer just think in old terms about suppliers and customers or businesses and homes. Our work as part of the CABLED electric and low-emissions vehicle trial – alongside Birmingham and Coventry city councils and a number of other industry partners - found that motorists reduced their driving CO2 emissions by one third and reduced fuel costs by over 70%. The


30 CHAMBERLINK DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011/12


Keith Budden, E.ON’s stategic partnership manager


convenience of city centre charging points has also provided real cash savings which could easily be transferred into a benefit for business’s bottom line. But there’s also the bigger environmental picture, investigating the


potential for solar energy providing electricity for the grid, air source heat pumps to provide renewable heating and a district heating system to make the most efficient use of the city’s existing infrastructure such as anaerobic digestion and combined heat and power plants. We are keen to work with local businesses big and small to help them


become more energy efficient and install renewable energy systems on their buildings. We have the opportunity in Birmingham to build energy efficiency from


the ground up; making sure our built environment is energy fit, taking a holistic approach to planning our energy needs with lower cost and carbon in mind, and educating our communities about their energy use. For me, the key is in demonstrating real value to businesses and


communities; we can prove the benefits in terms of saving energy costs and reducing energy waste, but we can also lay the foundations for a city that is fit for a sustainable future.


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