The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (formerly known as the Carbon Reduction Commitment) could cut over 50% more emissions than originally thought, according to the Environment Agency.
A new report from the agency says the CRC could reduce CO2 emissions by 11.6Mt by 2020 − 4.1Mt more than the 7.5Mt reduction that was forecast when the scheme was announced in 2006.
If this level of emissions reduction is reached, the economic benefits of carbon reduction could be far greater than the £1bn estimated by the government.
The organisations that will be eligible for the scheme currently emit around 57Mt of CO2, equivalent to 19.2M cars, according to the report. This is higher than the previous estimate of 52Mt.
The report also found that the service sector is the one with the biggest potential for increasing energy efficiency.
“Emissions from these organisations could be cut by around a fifth by 2020, at little or no overall cost to the participants.”
Lord Chris Smith, Environment Agency
Environment Agency chairman Lord Chris Smith said the CRC is an opportunity to reduce energy bills as well as emissions. “Our new study has found that emissions from these organisations could be cut by around a fifth by 2020, at little or no overall cost to the participants in the scheme,” he said.
“From April 2010, when organisations need to start registering for the CRC, carbon reduction will become as much a part of corporate culture as health and safety.”
“Carbon reduction needn’t be complicated or expensive − for most organisations the cost of energy saving measures will be more than offset by lower energy bills.”
The new estimate of an 11.6Mt CO2 reduction would be the equivalent of taking four million cars off the road. The figure represents the potential benefit if all cost effective measures are implemented.
CRC-eligible business First Direct bank has saved £200,000 per year on energy bills by installing hundreds of solar panels, while Kings College London has saved around £96,000 per year by using natural ventilation and adjustable shutters to control temperature and lighting.
The scheme will affect around 5,000 large organisations in the public and private sectors. Organisations which used more than 6000MWh of electricity in 2008 must register as a CRC participant between April and September 2010.