Enviro

The more we understand about the environment the more we can do to help with global concerns from plastic pollution in our seas to increasing temperatures and water shortages. In the UK there have been many schemes implemented over the years to engage people across all sectors highlighting the importance of data collection, efficiency in process, domestic efficiencies, water conservation, generation projects and all with the same priority which is to reduce carbon emissions. Our first involvement with efficiency schemes was learning about EU ETS which is the European Union Energy Trading Scheme introduced in 2005. Since 2005 we have managed the carbon reduction commitment, ESOS (Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme) and more recently SECR (Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting) although there are many more. The principle of these schemes is to target large organisations which account for over 50% of the energy consumption in the UK. With the government setting high targets to reduce emissions across the country then they need everyone to act from the highest level and for energy efficiency to be placed higher on the agenda. The education aspect is so important not only to those who are delivering change now however to pass on this knowledge and care for our planet to our children and their children to ensure that as time moves on and technology improves that we are doing all we can to help. Find out more about ESOS and SECR
When in business, image can be extremely important when attracting new clients, customers, and investors. A commitment to the environment can boost your image by sharing your success through reducing landfill waste, investing in water conservation innovations, and reducing your carbon emissions via efficiency projects. New partnerships will be interested to understand the steps you have taken to ensure that the products and services have been delivered through sustainable measures. Large organisations will need to comply with UK & European legislations including schemes such as ESOS and SECR which are mandatory for large companies who meet the criteria. These schemes are there to encourage a proactive approach to efficiency however also involve a level of investment through consultancy fees. These schemes will add value and highlight opportunities to change your business model with a focus more on the environment. In the food and drinks industry for example there is a requirement to manage your HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) obligations where temperatures are required to be taken 3 times a day within food, refrigeration and freezing equipment and not to forget to mention legionella which is a further environmental condition that may impact a business. Energy costs are only secondary to staffing costs therefore how you source your energy can also be extremely important. Brokering the correct contract to meet your needs will allow you to budget, understanding your costs and identifying measures to be more efficient in process. There are many companies now securing energy contracts from green sources which help to strengthen the energy that is generated from renewables. Generating your own energy can also be extremely important to a business. There are funding models readily available to help companies install renewable projects from solar panel installations to CHP plants which can generate power, heat and help the national grid through peak times of the day. Do environmental factors affect business, I would say yes.
The environment around us is invisible until we start to measure the energy we use and the conditions in which we operate. The requirement for environmental monitoring can vary depending on your sector however in simple terms monitoring energy (electricity & gas) and temperatures can be a great way to start understanding your existing patterns of use across the business. Taking a temperature sensor and placing this within an office, distribution centre, distillery, factory or retail unit will allow us to see when the heating comes on and off, external temperature impact, help with staff welfare providing a comfortable working environment and also protecting your product, machinery and building envelope. This is a lot of information from one sensor. The next steps may be to monitor the energy & water consumption which can explain anomalies in increased consumption, changes in shifts or identify leaks which can have an impact to your business and budgets. Breaking down your site can help to understand which areas are more energy-intensive and help to build a business case to improve a particular area or help identify where additional training may be required to meet with your parameters for efficiency. There are many monitoring platforms available to help you understand business as usual and to identify opportunities for change. The carbon trust say that a 12% saving can be achieved by installing a monitoring platform and with further resource this can be tailored to achieve higher savings. Find out more about our recent work with Glenmorangie
No. DB Enviro will provide your organisation with an energy & environmental survey FREE of charge. The survey will not be to an investment grade however will provide a detailed list of opportunities that will enhance and strengthen your existing sustainability strategies. The process is relatively simple with the following a guideline as to the process: • Initial off-site review to understand your organisation further prior to the visit and to complete a fact find reviewing the output they you are looking to achieve from the survey • On-site survey completed by our Head of Environmental. • The surveys will include sections on water conservation, renewables, load based efficiencies, metering/sub-metering, MID metering, Automatic monitoring & targeting, Health & Safety measures, Critical Monitoring (HACCP & Legionella), tenant recharging etc. • Reporting period will commence following the visit where we will review, recommend, and prepare cost analysis, ROI figures and highlight projects with no investment, low cost solutions and those which may require major investment and longer-term opportunities. We will also highlight projects that have access to local grants and funding models to help achieve your environmental goals. • The Report will be reviewed either on-site or off-site via Teams or Zoom to understand which projects have more appetite than others. • Following the report review we will then focus on the projects which you felt would add value and begin to bring together a strategy for change. Additional surveys may be completed to provide a more bespoke solution. The surveys will focus on projects that will add value to your existing infrastructure will a real opportunity to implement with no cost
DB Group have made a commitment to our staff, clients, and partners by securing an internationally recognised set of standards ensuring our quality, environment and OH&S are managed and actioned annually. We have successfully been awarded the following standards: ISO 9001 – Quality Management ISO 14001 – Environmental Management ISO 18001 – Occupational Health & Safety Management
Road transport is the largest source of emissions in the United Kingdom. In April 2020, the government announced that full electric company vehicle drivers will pay £0 benefit in kind tax. This is a great example of the commitment undertaken to decarbonise meet carbon zero targets. Company cars and charging points are more readily available, affordable, and manageable with many variations available to suit your driving needs. To further enhance the savings through your own tax relief, chargers and vehicles also benefit employers who will benefit further from not paying corporation tax through the enhanced capital allowance scheme. In addition to this the office of low emission vehicles and the Energy Saving Trust offer further support and grants for those looking to install charging points at your home and office. Take advantage of government support and reduce our emissions on the roads.
A commitment to energy and the environment does not always have to involve capital and investment. There are many schemes available to help companies introduce themselves to generation projects with no upfront costs required and tax breaks for projects which do require a level of investment. Power purchase agreements are most commonly associated with solar panels. Where internal funding is limited then a FREE solar solution can be exactly what your looking for which will help to raise your profile and reduce your reliance on grid energy. Solar is a low maintenance project with a visual presence and can offset your consumption through high charging peak periods. For companies who pay corporation tax then a scheme call “enhanced Capital Allowance” will help where you have invested in LED lighting, boiler replacement, water conservation and variable speed drives for example. The value of these projects are 100% corporation tax deductible. This is a great opportunity to engage your financial director in efficiency projects that may not have progressed in the past due to financial restrictions. LED lighting can now be leased so rather than upfront costs for an LED project the costs can be spread across a period always in a cash positive way so from the start of the project you are benefitting immediately. Electric vehicle charging points can also be funded up to 100% depending on your business case, location and commitment. Have you thought about companies sponsoring the EV charging points which can generate further income and allow EV charging to be cost neutral? I would note that funding models are beginning to be phased out. The feed in tariff for solar has been removed, RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) will be removed in the next year or so and the enhanced capital allowance scheme has recently been extended by a further year. With government targets increasing, I am confident that more funding models will become available to help incentivise a commitment to efficiency.
World environmental day is celebrated on the 5th June each year. The focus of this day is to raise global awareness highlighting the topics that impact in our local environment and beyond. The aim being to protect our beautiful planet and help slow down climate change. The theme for environmental day changes annually to allow us to share our experiences and knowledge of these subjects which in turn will help to educate and communicate the projects that we are involved in and showing our passion for change. In recent years environmental day has covered areas including biodiversity, air pollution, plastic pollution, deforestation and water shortages. DB Group have participated in world environmental day by raising awareness and involving our amazing team who have alongside their children helped to clean up beaches from plastic pollution, handed out free re-usable water bottles and working with clients to reduce energy consumption, reduce water wastage and educating the next generation of environmentalists by posting our experiences through social media. DB Group will continue to support world environmental day by striving to educating our teams internally and leading by example to be more environmentally aware.
Most organisations have a Christmas shutdown. What we have found historically is that although the buildings may be closed, the building management system operates the building as if it is in full occupancy. There are some very simple techniques that you can undertake leading up to the shutdown: •Check your control panels – ensure all switches are in the “auto” setting. A setting left in the “hand” position will mean that the item of equipment is on 24/7 and wasting energy unnecessarily. •Review your BeMS platform adjust your setpoints, on/off timings and check that your protections are in place. •Ensure you have remote access to your BeMS so that should you need to make an adjustment you can do so from the comfort of your home •Walk round your site and complete the final checks by switching off non-essential items such as PC Monitors, Printers, photocopiers, Empty fridges, Microwaves, Drinks Vending Machines and Lighting. By following these simple steps you can make significant savings but remember to revert back to standard operational parameters on return. Should you have a BeMS platform then another option can be to create seasonal settings so that when you get closer to Christmas you can choose the Christmas setting and all the setpoints and timings will change automatically.
The Low Emission zones are areas where the most polluting vehicles are not allowed access. Vehicles that do not meet the standards will not be able to enter the zone and penalties will be charged for non-compliance.
Low emission zone entry will be based on the Euro emission engine classification standards – the proposed minimum criteria is: • Euro 6/VI for diesel vehicles (any new car sold after Sep 2015) • Euro 4/IV for petrol vehicles (Any new car sold after 2006) • Euro VI for heavy diesel vehicles (including older vehicles retrofitted to operate as Euro VI)
The Scottish Government believes that there will be three main benefits to this scheme: 1. Health: Improved air quality can increase health and life expectancy 2. Environment: It will encourage the uptake of lower emission vehicles 3. Economy: It will make towns and cities more attractive places for people to live, work in and visit.
There is a £2500 cash grant available for micro-businesses to remove a non-compliant vehicle and replace it with a compliant vehicle or alternative modes of transport. There is also a retrofit fund that will provide micro-business who operate within an LEZ zone up to 80% of the cost to make their existing vehicle complaint through technologies. We can assist in any funding applications available specific to the LEZs as well as assessing the transport needs of your business. We can also provide Electronic Vehicle charging infrastructure and take advantage of the relevant schemes and grants available for this as well as looking at other ways to decarbonise your transport and wider business needs.
Achieving ‘Net Zero’ is when any Greenhouse gases that you produce are monitored and an equivalent amount is removed from the atmosphere to offset this. This may be within one site, across the entire company or throughout the whole value chain of the business. The concept of ‘Net Zero’ is gaining traction with many industries and businesses from all different sectors. This is being driven by the UK and Scottish government targets for Net Zero by 2045 and 2050. There are many different definitions of what ‘Net Zero’ entails and exactly what it means. Ultimately DB Group believes that achieving net zero as a business means that any greenhouse gases that you create are balanced out by your removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Some organisations may reference a net-zero carbon target, but this only commits to the balancing of carbon dioxide emissions and not any other Greenhouse Gases, which is not enough on its own to meet government targets. Furthermore, The UK government targets only require net-zero to be achieved within the borders of the UK. This means you may meet their definition of ‘Net Zero’ yet your business may cause the emission of Greenhouse Gases in other nations. However, whilst a goal to be fully net-zero across your whole value chain is admirable and to many might be an achievable aim it is important to be realistic with any targets that are set and the timescales that these can be achieved in. It may be more beneficial, and achievable, to start focussing on net-zero within individual sectors of your business or only emissions created domestically, and then this can be expanded upon in the future.

Energy

We work with what was known as the Big 6 Energy Suppliers (British Gas, SSE, Scottish Power, EDF, E.ON & nPower) as well as many other suppliers (such as Gazprom, Total Gas & Power, Haven Power, Utilita, Smartest Energy, Corona, CNG ltd etc.) as well as many others, and over time have compared them based on price and customer service. Every supplier differs where they are more competitive, be that business electricity or business gas prices, smaller/larger sites, multi-sites etc. and we must understand that the cheapest energy supplier is not always the best energy supplier. Likewise, some energy brokers like to deal with certain suppliers and vice versa depending on the relationship. So, there is never a consistent ‘best’ or ‘cheapest’ energy supplier, and it always worth comparing the results of any pricing before you contemplate switching or staying with a certain supplier.
It is hard to predict what wholesale market prices will do in the future, but there are certain factors that influence the market more than others. We understand how vital it is to choose the correct timing to sign your energy contract as wholesale rates change every day. This is especially true if you have a fixed contract as it is like putting all your eggs in one basket. We were able to save an education academy around £12,000 by delaying just 24 hours as forecast prices would drop the next day and requested suppliers refresh their prices accordingly. If you would like to take advantage of our experience in the markets and experience in choosing the right time to buy get in touch! We even offer a free daily energy industry report to help you make informed decisions, which you can sign up here
We often get asked “What energy supplier am I with?” and can understand where the confusion comes from. Your energy supplier will be the company who send you utility invoices; you may be with either the same supplier for both business electricity and business gas, however, the supplier for each can be different. It is possible that you have signed up or switched energy supplier or even inherited one when you moved into a property. We can help you identify your supplier as well as letting you know if the rates you are on are competitive or too high. There are also companies to contact if you have a power cut (Distribution Network Operator) or if you smell or believe there is a gas leak (Network Operator).
We have been passed this explanation from an energy supplier regarding their ‘Off gas’ procedure: If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak in your property you should evacuate your property/business immediately. If you can open windows and doors as you leave, then do so. Once in the fresh air call the National Gas Emergency on 0800 111 999 and inform them that you have a suspected gas or carbon monoxide leak. Under no circumstances should you return to the property until you are told it is safe to do so. Some steps if it is safe to do so:  Turn off the gas at the Emergency Control Valve usually situated next to your meter  If possible, turn off all appliances and do not turn them back on until told it is safe to do so  If you can open all windows and doors then do so, this will improve ventilation  Seek medical attention and advice if you believe your symptoms relate to carbon monoxide poisoning
Whereas a Fixed energy supply contract has all the chargeable elements ‘fixed’ for the length of the contract, so you always know what you are paying, a Flexible supply contract allows you to track markets and take advantage of both falling and rising prices. A good example is to think of mortgages: a fixed mortgage means the rates you sign up to are what you will pay until that deal runs out, even if interest rates drop. A fixed energy contract means the same, even if wholesale energy prices come down you pay what you have signed up to. A tracker or ‘flexible’ mortgage follows the Bank of England interest rate to gauge its price level, and a flexible energy contract means you can follow the energy markets and chose the best time to buy – whether that’s just the day ahead, a month ahead or you think it’s a good time to lock your whole contract in. You may find both our information page and blog on these contracts useful: Flexible Contracts BLOG: Is a Flexible Supply Contract for you?
Initially Pass Through contracts look very appealing, as the rates will appear lower than usual Fixed or Flexible contracts as the ‘non-commodity cost’ elements are not yet factored in. The Non-Commodity Cost (NCC), also known as Third Party Charges are those rates that are applied to contracts that make up everything apart from the actual energy. These can split into two, Transportation charges and Environmental Levies. Transportation charges consider the network and infrastructure needed to get the electricity from the power station of wind farm to your house, and Environmental levies are those set by government or the regulator to fund sustainable initiatives. These NCCs make up more than 60% of the unit rate for electricity tariffs and over 50% for business gas. As per our more in-depth page here: Pass Through some of these charges are not known at the time of signing a contract, therefore, by opting to have these passed through when they are known you could be caught out with higher charges than anticipated.
As both a utilities consultant and telecoms supplier, we are signed up to the Ombudsman Services: Energy If you have an unresolved complaint about communication or energy product or service, we may be able to help and can raise a case for you with the Ombudsman. There are certain parameters to meet to be able to have the Ombudsman investigate your issue, but please get in touch to see if we can help at all. Even if you do not meet the criteria our relations with suppliers can help, as can advanced dispute resolution techniques.
A Half Hourly (HH) meter is an electricity meter that’s specifically designed for larger energy consumers (100kWh p/a +). The meter sends your supplier readings every half hour – which is where it takes its name. This prevents the need for you to submit regular meter reads and also avoids the chances of receiving an unexpectedly high bill due to issues with meter reads and estimates.
A meter operator (MOP) agreement should be in place so that data can be sent from the meter to your supplier. By sending readings to a supplier every half hour, a Half hourly meter is able to give a clear view of how much energy is being used over any given period of time, reviewed in half hourly blocks across each day. As these blocks are priced at different rates - reducing consumption over peak periods will help to reduce the tariffs which suppliers are prepared to offer your business. This also allows the distributor to balance the network, helping prevent power cuts.
If you can look for your supplies MPAN number on a recent bill (This should be in a box that begins with a large S). If the number highlighted below is 00, then you have a HH meter.

Water

DB Group have working relationships with most water retailers across Scotland and England. We can provide a quick cost comparison across a variety of retailers or for larger volume users we can take them through or bespoke tender process. This tender process looks at areas such as staff competency, account management and each suppliers ability to manage the wholesaler as well as your business’s water requirements.
A water audit should comprise of an initial desktop review of all billed items and tariffs followed by a full review of all water consumed and discharged at your facility.
If you’ve received an abnormally high bill the first thing to check is the meter reads used for billing. If these have been estimates you can compare these with the actual read on site. In many instances this can be the cause of an unexpected high water bill and easily remedied with an actual meter read. If that doesn’t provide the necessary answers then a review of your site’s water infrastructure and meter will be necessary: Check all obvious points first for evidence of a leak and try taking meter reads when the site is quiet or closed – if your meter is showing a higher than usual consumption during low occupancy or usage periods then get in touch with DB Group and we can direct you to some further assistance.
The water market deregulated in Scotland in 2008 and in England in 2017. Creating a collective base of over 1.3million business water users.
If you are not sure where your water meter is check in a boiler room or cellar or, failing that, near the boundary or entrance to your site. If you still cant locate your meter, contact your water retailer or DB Group and we can help identify where the water retailer's records indicate your meter should be.
DB Group will usually be reimbursed via a commission agreed with our client and paid retrospectively by the retailer in line with our clients spend/consumption and billing pattern. We also work on a management fee basis for some clients who bundle DB Water with our other utilities services. If you would like a quote to see how DB Group could manage your business water requirements, click here to contact us.

Comms

As we move towards 2025, BT Openreach will be phasing out analogue and digital voice traffic, ahead of a full switch off in 2025, this means business using these services will need to begin transitioning towards Voice over IP (VoIP) by utilising SIP Trunking, Direct Routing, Cloud Voice or Virtual Meetings Why now, well as the UK increases its “superfast broadband” capabilities with many developments in towns and cities now being fitted with Fibre to the Premises (FTP) and many other locations gaining access to Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) Broadband, we have made it far easier for VoIP traffic to be supported by the wide availability of these next generation broadband connections. It’s likely from around 2023, that BT will put a freeze on Analogue and ISDN line orders, this will affect any new services or indeed increases to existing capacity. The best advice is not to leave it until the last minute, get in touch with your trusted telecoms partner and discuss your options, moving to some flavor of VoIP will not only future proof and protect your business but it will offer many more benefits. Please visit our UCaaS section on our website for more information.
When it comes to broadband there are two main types, either the broadband will be delivered to you premises over a copper phone line, or it will be delivered over a fibre cable. Until BT Openreach started building its own FTTP network, most of the Fibre Broadband in the UK was provided by Virgin Media. The broadband delivered over the copper telephone lines has evolved over the past 20 years from dial up internet from providers like AOL to where we are today with ADSL2+ which most of us would refer to as standard broadband and of course FTTC which most would refer to as Fibre Broadband. The key difference between FTTC and FFTP is that with FTTC part of the service is still delivered over a copper phone, which will slow down the speed of the service, still though with your FTTC Broadband you would be able to get headline download speeds of 80Mbps and upload speeds of 20Mbps – a far cry from our dial up of yesteryear. Please visit our Business Broadband section for more details about each of these solutions
When we are talking about a Leased Line, effectively what we are talking about is a piece of fibre installed directly into your premises, this piece of fibre will connect you directly back to your local internet exchange, because this is a dedicated service just for your organisation, you get a guaranteed synchronous bandwidth – 100% of the time. You select the bandwidth you want based on your requirements and only pay for the bandwidth you use, from 10Mbps to 10Gpbs. Not only can you choose a Leased Line bandwidth to suit any business, there are many other benefits, in terms of service levels - the uptime guarantee for your circuit is 99.99% but in the event of any outages we can guarantee a fix within 7 hours (24/7/365). We can also build resiliency into your solution by providing a broadband, ethernet or 4G back up with seamless failover. With a range of options be sure to check out our Leased Line section on our website.