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Blog Post 13 July 2022

Driving infrastructure, supporting businesses

Having the right infrastructure in place is paramount if we’re to equip businesses to help themselves and their customers make better choices in order to save energy and money.

With sights set on the phase-out of new diesel and petrol vehicles by 2030, two major programmes drive our current transport infrastructure strategy.

Our On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) began life with £2.5m of Department for Transport funding as a way to support local authorities to install electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints for early adopters of EVs. Fast forward five years and the ORCS pot has expanded to £20m – testament to the growing number of EVs on our streets and the need for related EV infrastructure, as well as our own deepening experience of managing funds in this crucial area.

Working in tandem with the Local Government Support Programme our ORCS team helps councils develop applications which are ambitious, data-led, and fit for purpose – bids which have, in other words, the best chance of acceptance by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV).

Senior programme manager transport Nick Harvey says: “The ORCS application support we offer not only accelerates applications, it also brings bids from local authorities that don’t necessarily have the in-house knowledge to bring an application together. Our success rate for OZEV submissions is running at 98%.”

Building on our ORCS track record, we tendered successfully in January with partners Cenex and PA Consulting to administer the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) scheme, a key grant programme identified in the government’s flagship Transport Decarbonisation Plan. Initially a £10m pilot, the result of this will build the business case to unlock the full £400m fund.

Elsewhere, our important fleet electrification work is ongoing. Insight managers conduct deep dive analysis of public and commercial fleets before proposing a costed transition strategy with the data required to drive the switch at boardroom level. Our freight portal, a one-stop decarbonisation shop for heavy goods vehicles, points the way to an area where we envisage big wins tomorrow.

Meanwhile our Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA) dealer accreditation scheme sets the standard for point of sale advice. With top brands opting to pay market rate for our audits, building on the success of the accreditation, this year we are bringing EVA to the second-hand forecourt, garages, and auctions, ensuring consistent and high quality EV advice is available to all customers.

Increasing our impact through business relationships

Although our core services focus on domestic advice for consumers, we increasingly work closely with businesses to enable more informed choices when it comes to saving energy.

Group head of business development Inga Jirgensone says: “By helping bigger brands in particular to see how their mission might look or evolve, we also move closer to consumers.” A virtuous circle is in play here. “As customers ask more of business,” says Inga, “business asks more of itself.”

Over the past year, our digital tools and services have helped to deepen relationships with major lenders, Lloyds Banking Group and Santander, among other financial sector brands. A digital tool developed for Danske Bank in Northern Ireland, the first in the territory, represents a major milestone.

Elsewhere, our reach has broadened to take in estate agents, energy suppliers and retailers. Senior business development manager Jamie Browne says: “Our tools and services support businesses across all sectors, regardless of where they are on their journey to net zero.”

Part of Energy Saving Trust’s role is to upskill partner personnel in order to provide better advice to customers and to support sustainability goals internally.

Our Measure Plan Act service helps businesses by measuring their entire carbon emissions while planning to shrink them over time. Once we have calculated all emissions from data collected across a business we help clients draw up a plan based on scientific targets for net zero. During the ‘act’ stage of the cycle our support is directed at implementing the plan to cut emissions over time.

Jamie says: “We’re seeing interest in ‘selling on’ our tool, particularly from banks with commercial portfolios and mortgage books. The potential is there to increase our impact dramatically.”

Meanwhile our energy efficiency advice tool, which promotes low or no cost behavioural actions, is used by energy suppliers as part of smart meter installations and by distribution network operators bringing energy to the door, as well as by local authorities keen to support residents. A web version of the mobile app will extend our reach, as will our new Smarter Homes digital tool, out this year.

Last updated: 13 July 2022