Are you keen to make your small business greener, but are put off by uncertainty about how or where to make changes – and the initial outlay? Then lets look at the grants and support available to help you in your quest.

The Carbon Trust Green Business FundGrant for going green

The Carbon Trust Green Business Fund is a major provider of direct support to small and medium sized businesses in England, Scotland and Wales through energy assessments, training workshops, and equipment procurement support.

It also offers a capital contribution of up to £5,000 per company towards the purchase of energy saving equipment purchase.

This support is available for a limited period on a first come, first served basis, so if you think this could help your business, move on this quickly.

Free support:

–  Energy opportunity assessments: these help you identify energy saving opportunities and develop a robust business case for the purchase of the appropriate equipment. This support can be offered remotely via telephone and email, or on-site.

–  Virtual Energy Manager: Following an energy saving opportunity assessment, for those businesses wanting to improve their energy management practices, further support may be available through the Virtual Energy Manager scheme to help implement a range of energy management activities, from implementing an energy policy to identifying the best ways to engage employees.

This scheme is targeted at SMEs with an energy spend of over £50,000 and will be delivered remotely through a series of support modules delivered by a Carbon Trust expert.

–  Implementation advice: Implementation advice and equipment procurement support is available, including a feasibility check, writing performance specifications appropriate for your business and tendering support, including supplier identification and assessment of tenders.

The service can help you to find reputable suppliers who can provide detailed quotes and who have a proven track record for delivering energy saving projects in the past. Your business could receive up to 5 days of free support from a Carbon Trust consultant.

This scheme is designed to support businesses with a specific energy saving project in mind and is available to companies with up to 1,000 employees in England, Scotland or Wales. To find out more, read how implementation advice can help you.

If you think the Green Business Fund energy opportunity assessment, Virtual Energy Manager or implementation advice services could be of use to your business, register your interest. 

The Carbon Trust also offer:

–  Free workshops to help small businesses discover how best to identify energy saving opportunities, aimed at companies with fewer than 50 employees, so why not register for your nearest workshop?

–  Webinars – upcoming webinars can be found here and you can also catch up on previous webinars.

Grants

Grants are available for 15% of the price of energy saving equipment, up to a maximum of £5000.

The minimum total size of the project must be £5,000, and equipment should be purchased from a Green Business Directory supplier or a BESA Supplier, to ensure that your supplier is properly accredited.

You must apply for your Green Business Fund capital contribution and be in receipt of an offer before contracting a supplier to install the equipment, as the Carbon Trust can’t retrospectively fund energy efficiency projects that have already been contracted. If you’re interested, read more about how to apply for a capital contribution.

The Plug-in Grant

Want to go greener on your drive to work or with your business transport vehicles? The Plug-in Grant isn’t payable to you but to car dealerships and manufacturers, reducing the price you pay for brand new electric and hybrid vehicles, including cars, vans, mopeds, motorcycles and taxis.

The grant amount varies depending on the category (in the case of cars) or vehicle type but can be up to £4500 for a car purchase and £8000 for a van.

The dealer will include the value of the grant in the vehicle’s price, but not all electric vehicles are included –  check the grant page for the approved vehicle list before you rush off to the showroom.

Go local

Many areas have local green initiatives, some supported by local councils, that confer green grants. Here are a few examples:

The Low Carbon Workspaces scheme offers support and grants to eligible small and medium sized businesses in Hertfordshire and the Black Country (between £1,000 and £5,000) and Buckinghamshire (between £1,000 and £2,500), The grants are intended to cover up to a third of the cost of projects to reduce energy consumption, waste, water and vehicle fuel costs.

The Pebble Trust, Scotland supports projects in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland as defined by the Highlands and Island Enterprise area, and sometimes exceptional projects that reach outside the area or those that have an impact across the whole of Scotland. Grants of up to £5,000 are available for projects that contribute to reducing dependency on fossil fuels and finite resources.

The Green BELLE scheme, run by Leicester City Council, is available to SMEs (max 249 employees) trading business to business in Leicester or Leicestershire. The grant is for provides £1,000 to £10,000, to cover up to 50% of the cost of installing low carbon and energy efficient measures in your premises, such as heating, lighting, heating and lighting controls, insulation and renewable energy.

It can also provide advice on improving your energy efficiency, cutting your energy bills and other sources of funding and information.

The LCR Future Energy initiative provides grants of up to £7,500 to SMEs based in the Liverpool City regions of Halton, Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens or Wirral that wish to enter or grow in the renewable energy supply chain.

Ultimately, projects that help to save the planet can often save you money, too, so why not investigate these grants to see if your business could go greener and cut costs?