Sometimes, the first step is the hardest. In 2019, Hull City Council declared a Climate Emergency and set a target for our city to become carbon neutral by 2030. For our city to become carbon neutral, we need to reduce greenhouse gases – mainly carbon dioxide – by adopting a low carbon economy and removing any remaining carbon emissions; eventually leading to a zero carbon economy.

To help achieve this, the Council has produced a Carbon Neutral Strategy, which sets out how we can all work together to achieve this. That’s where the Hull Business Energy Efficiency Scheme comes in. This scheme offers a whole host of measures that will assist businesses to reduce their energy costs, whilst also reducing their contribution to greenhouse gases to start paving the way to achieve a carbon neutral city.

HBEES is part-funded by the 2014 – 2020 European Regional Development Fund Programme and consists of specialist support provided by the Council. This includes the installation of new technologies – such as heating and LED lighting systems, solar panels and personal wind turbines – access to expertise and advice, as well as opportunities for grant funding up to £10,000 in order for Hull SMEs to invest in energy-saving equipment on their premises.

If you’re a small or medium-sized enterprise with fewer than 250 employees within construction, manufacturing, food and retail sectors, then you may be eligible for the scheme. Once registered, you will have an energy assessment visit and report at zero cost to you. The report will outline the potential improvements that can be made, showing how any investments made now, will benefit not only each individual business, but help save money and enable you to access the grants if you implement one of the recommendations. Most importantly, this will facilitate Hull’s future as a greener city.

Getting a HBEES report and thinking about a grant are the first steps you can take to make your business more energy efficient, but have you thought about any other environmental impacts of your business?

From the products you use, to how staff travel and the amount of waste you produce, small changes can make huge differences. An Environmental Management System can help you take a look at these other impacts and support you to reduce your wider environmental impact. Curious? Visit www.iie.gov.uk or email BusinessEnergyEfficiencyScheme@hullcc.gov.uk.

Do you have an electric vehicle or customers who need somewhere to charge up their vehicle? Hull City Council has also installed 12 public charging stations which are available at Osborne Street multi-storey car park, Lowgate and Worship St car parks in the city centre. If you find a charge station is not working or if you have any ideas as to where else they should be installed, email electric.chargepoint@hullcc.co.uk.

Businesses also interested in the Hull Business Energy Efficiency Scheme can find out more or register by visiting www.hullbees.co.uk.