Carbon Trust awards first £500k loan, and calls for more applications
The Carbon Trust today announced that it has awarded its first interest-free loan of £500,000, the maximum amount that can be offered under the government-backed company’s Big Business Refit energy efficiency loan scheme.
The loan was provided to Bedford-based IT support company Blue Chip and has allowed the firm to install energy efficient evaporative cooling technology at its new five-acre datacentre site.
Brian Meredith, managing director at the company, said the cooling technology would cut indirect electricity use within the datacentre by 60 per cent, saving it £100,000 a year and allowing it to repay the loan within four years.
“The decision to take out the maximum loan amount was a no-brainer for us,” he said, adding that the application process had been straightforward, with the loan being processed and approved within two weeks.
The news came as the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) launched a campaign designed to encourage its members to take advantage of the Carbon Trust loan scheme.
Under the scheme, any small and medium-sized business that either has a turnover of less than £50m, or spends less than £500,000 a year on electricity and as a result is not eligible for the government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment scheme, can qualify for interest-free loans of between £3,000 and £500,000.
The unsecured loans have to be invested in energy efficient equipment that has been approved by the Carbon Trust and must be repaid over four years.
“By replacing old, inefficient equipment, firms can dramatically cut costs and in many cases, improve productivity by between 20 and 30 per cent,” said David Frost, BCC director general. “For businesses that rely on energy-intensive equipment, borrowing big from the Carbon Trust to refit with energy-saving equipment can really pay off.”
The loans are also supported by a free energy efficiency assessment from the Carbon Trust, designed to help companies work out the areas where they can achieve the greatest savings. “We calculate how much a company will save from making the investment in new equipment, so they can make an informed investment choice based on realistic, projected savings,” explained Carbon Trust chief executive Tom Delay.
Alan Beresford, managing director of EcoCooling, which provided cooling technology to Blue Chip, said that IT companies in particular should take advantage of the Carbon Trust scheme. “Overcooling is one of the main causes of energy wastage in datacentres, server rooms and IT equipment,” he said. “The Carbon Trust’s interest-free loan scheme is an obvious way for many organisations to fund the installation of evaporative cooling.”
According to the Carbon Trust, more than 1,000 firms have borrowed £46m since the scheme was launched last April, delivering annual cost and carbon savings of £17.2m and 100,000 tonnes respectively. It said that companies taking out loans typically cut energy bills by between £14,000 and £130,000 a year.
source- Business Green..http://www.businessgreen.com/