Election 2017: What are the main parties promising on energy efficiency, low carbon and environment?

June’s vote offers an opportunity for the Conservatives and Labour to fundamentally develop and support low carbon, energy efficient UK business. What choices are corporate leaders being offered at Election 2017? Here’s the Energys Group lowdown on what both of the main parties are promising.

The Conservative manifesto

On energy and efficiency…

Theresa May’s manifesto ambition is that the UK should have the lowest energy costs in Europe, both for households and businesses. ‘As we upgrade our energy infrastructure, we will do it in an affordable way, consistent with that ambition,’ reads the Tory agenda.

‘And because for British companies, an energy efficient business is a more competitive business, we will establish an industrial energy efficiency scheme to help large companies install measures to cut their energy use and their bills.

‘After we have left the European Union, we will form our energy policy based not on the way energy is generated but on the ends we desire – reliable and affordable energy, seizing the industrial opportunity that new technology presents and meeting our global commitments on climate change.’

The Conservatives also want a wide range of sources for Britain’s energy production, saying, ‘A diverse energy economy is the best way to stimulate innovation.’

Low carbon…

Isn’t mentioned in the Conservative manifesto.


Doesn’t gain a mention in an environmental context, though NHS Sustainability and Transformation plans are noted, along with the long term sustainability of the Scottish economy.

The Labour manifesto

On energy and efficiency…

Page 20 of the Labour manifesto is entitled ‘Sustainable energy.’ It says Labour policy seeks:

To ensure security of energy supply and ‘keep the lights on.’
To ensure energy costs are affordable for consumers and businesses.
To ensure we meet our climate change targets and transition to a ‘low-carbon economy,’ a phrase the Conservatives don’t mention.

According to Labour, today’s energy system is outdated, expensive and polluting. The party wants to, ‘Take energy back into public ownership to deliver renewable energy, affordability for consumers, and democratic control.’

Energy efficiency doesn’t gain a mention in the Labour manifesto.


This is mentioned in the context of the NHS, but not the environment. Labour does say it is committed to ensuring environmental sustainability in the operations of British businesses around the world.

What does it all actually mean?

EDIE writes; ‘The official Labour Party manifesto has been broadly praised by green groups for including a raft of bold pledges to ramp up renewable energy generation, tackle air quality and embed the Sustainable Development Goals into central government.’

On the Conservative document, Environment Analyst writes: ‘The manifesto, and its pledge to, “leave the UK’s environment in a better shape than it was found,” is almost completely devoid of commitments or ambition to continually improve the UK’s natural environment.’

Describing the environment as ‘found’ is an interesting choice of words, normally used to describe policies inherited from an opposition. This hints Theresa May wants this election to separate her position and policy from the previous Tory administration.

EDIE says: ‘The Conservatives have pledged to maintain the UK’s climate change commitments through enhanced clean technology and energy efficiency funding, but the Party’s manifesto also proposes continued support for the North Sea oil and gas industry and an additional focus on fracking.’

Reading between the lines

On balance, Labour’s manifesto gives environment more space than that of the Conservatives. Then again, the Tory’s paper contains promises, although uncosted, on energy efficiency, and hints that an energy efficient private sector is a priority – which is a very welcome move if it materialises.

For a party sitting in power, who chose an election, the decision to release a manifesto without any detailed costings, given that such figures should easily be to hand, is strange.

It could reflect a certainty that victory is around the corner. Either way, by failing to monetise her promises, Theresa May is asking the corporate electorate to take her on trust.

Her promise on energy efficiency, for example, could be crucial. But it contains no detail on the level of financial support it will offer. More stringent numbers would have done much to further her cause in the low carbon sector.

Polling and the race to the post

Recent polls put the Conservatives ahead. If they triumph at the ballot box, the low carbon sector will have to wait and see what true costings on green policy emerge.

Either way, unfortunately, environment and low carbon remain low priorities across the UK political landscape and until these topics become vote winners (or losers) they will remain well down the agenda.

The Conservative manifesto: click here

The Labour manifesto: click here 

New report says energy efficiency is not just needed; it’s essential

A new report from the Royal Academy of Engineering says, ‘Improving energy efficiency and resource productivity needs to be a priority.’ The paper definitively reveals just how key efficiency is for a resilient, effective UK.

The report, a collaboration of 38 organisations, forms the engineering profession’s collective response to the government’s green paper on industrial strategy. It has benefited from an unprecedented level of engagement by the engineering community; vital to creating its meaningful, focused lobbying position on efficiency.

Describing the paper, the Energyst writes that, ‘The UK’s main engineering bodies have urged government to provide energy efficiency payments or tax breaks to businesses, communities and households that can demonstrate proven reductions in demand.

‘The engineers also urged government to give teeth to existing energy efficiency regulations. Focusing on energy efficiency and productivity will be the cheapest way of decarbonising the economy and increasing UK competitiveness.’

Energy efficiency’s vital role; the Royal Academy paper in depth

The Academy is unequivocal; energy efficiency is essential, and it’s needed sooner rather than later.

It writes; ‘Energy efficiency is often overlooked, but a unit of energy saved is usually much cheaper than all production options. Reducing demand has a double benefit: it benefits the user by reducing their costs and it benefits the system by reducing the amount of generation required.’

The Academy argues that incentives and regulation should go hand-in hand with reporting against energy efficiency benchmarks of performance standards, which many in the professional engineering community would view as a reasonable requirement.

Plenty in the wider sector agree. “Improving energy efficiency and resource productivity needs to be a priority, particularly in buildings, and a systems-thinking approach is required to deliver this in all sectors,” Ant Wilson, Director and AECOM Fellow, Sustainability and Advanced Design Building Engineering, told The Academy.

What comes next?

“Papers like these go a long way towards proving what we at Energys know; how vital energy efficiency is to a resilient and productive UK,” says Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys.

“Here, we are keen to work with all stakeholders, including the government, to establish and deliver the best systems for promoting efficient growth and sustainable UK businesses.”

The Academy’s paper concludes that in order to achieve the goal of secure, stable and affordable energy supply, the government needs to base its policymaking around multi-vector, system-wide solutions that build on end-use energy efficiency measures.

Such work could do much to put the UK on the path to the overarching sustainability so badly needed, not only for business profit, but for CO2 remediation and more secure, longer term power.

“As such, papers like these are essential to helping raise the level of the debate, in advance of the energy efficient futures we all predict will soon be here,” concludes Cox.

The Energys guide to lighting for leisure centres: increase efficiency and improve customer experience

Leisure centres can save serious money, and serious amounts of CO2, simply by delivering on energy efficiency potential.

‘Just by making a 10% improvement in the management of energy use, UK leisure facilities could save up to £70 million each year and reduce carbon emissions by hundreds of thousands of tonnes,’ explains the Carbon Trust.

‘In a typical sports centre, energy costs are second only to labour costs, accounting for as much as 30% of total running costs, a higher figure than in most other sectors.’

The Trust says heating can account for 60% of total energy costs, but managers can reduce these by up to a third through efficiency. And on average, 25% of an organisation’s electricity costs come from lighting, which can again be cut by a third.

Once you’ve established the savings, look to add value

Given the figures above, it’s a certainty that energy efficient lighting upgrades will save leisure centres money. However, they can also add value to the centre’s operations and add quality to the experience of using the facilities.

When looking at lighting upgrades, additional measures can and should be built in, which offer a much more sophisticated and user friendly experience to the customer.

When that’s the upgrade path chosen, it’s no longer just about saving money. Happier, more comfortable customers will stay customers longer, and report positively on the experience your leisure centre provides.

Daylight harvesting

Daylight harvesting is a technology whereby lighting is adjusted automatically according to natural lighting levels. A photosensor detects the amount of daylight in the room and adapts artificial levels to suit.

“If it’s a bright day outside, the system automatically compensates,” says Energys Managing Director Kevin Cox. “It’s essential that staff can see within sports facilities clearly. And that customers themselves can see comfortably. Daylighting matches internal and external light to achieve this. And it saves energy.”

Scene setting for different sports

Another superbly adaptable upgrade involves scene setting. “Different activities require differing levels of light,” says Cox. “A rapid game of badminton demands almost the opposite ambience compared with yoga sessions for example.

“Using a tablet that can be pre-programmed to suit requirements for different sports, staff can easily achieve the perfect light balance to keep customers happy and comply with Sport England criteria. And staff simply dial up the setting they require in moments.”

LED choices

LED products from the Energys Group can light an entire facility; LED tubes, panels, downlights, hi-bay units with intelligent multi-sensors, wall lights, SON replacement lamps and floodlights all feature in our far reaching projects.

“The right specification of intelligent auto-sensing lights in sports halls and indoor track spaces will also provide additional savings when unoccupied,” comments Cox.

“Our message is this; energy efficiency delivers massive savings at leisure facilities. But look at how the right LEDs and products improve the quality of your offering and day to day life at your centre too. That’s where the real value is found.”