How to fund sustainable technologies in your business: what you need to know and how to get started

Understanding sustainable technologies

Did you know that 80% of businesses worldwide now report on sustainability? Across industries, sustainable technologies are revolutionising the way that businesses operate and enabling positive change to occur quicker and more efficiently than ever before.

Understanding what sustainable technologies are is the first step in figuring out how you can start to incorporate them into your business and reap the rewards.

Sustainable technologies aims to reduce environmental and ecological risks whilst creating a sustainable product.

It is a term that covers commonly known renewable energy technologies such as wind power, solar power and biomass energy, as well as emerging digital solutions such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and supply chain tools such as Blockchain.

For industries such as construction, manufacturing and agriculture, sustainable technologies can have a wide range of benefits including:

  • Having a positive environmental impact and preserving natural resources
  • Reducing costs long term by increased efficiency and less wastage
  • Increasing use of renewable energies and lowering carbon emissions
  • Improving the health and wellbeing of both workers and customers

What you need to know about funding sustainable technologies

The investments that you make in funding sustainable technologies will add value way beyond the end of year financials. However, the cost of funding and installing these changes can be daunting, especially for small and medium sized businesses.

Fortunately, there are a number of options available to assist with financing these investments which include:

  • Specific Finance Products

Novuna Business Finance is dedicated to assisting companies in addressing environmental and sustainable challenges in order to contribute to the creation of a better future. We have provided over £5 billion in funding to UK companies, assisting thousands of SMEs across more than 50 industries in achieving their objectives and expanding their business.

Our straightforward, funding solutions has been created to accommodate a company’s sustainability requirements through asset finance. Simply start with a call with our team to determine whether you meet our eligibility criteria; we will then take you through each step of the process as we progress with your application.

  • Lenders looking to fund green businesses

It’s not just industries such as construction, manufacturing and agriculture that are finding ways to operate more sustainably, it spans across all businesses looking to take that step.

Lenders too are keen to show evidence of their Corporate Social Responsibility by funding sustainable technologies in businesses looking to implement them into their day-to-day operations.

  • Tax Rebates and Government Grants

With almost £5billion worth of funding available in the UK to help businesses reach the 2050 net zero emissions target, it is reassuring to know that financial help is at hand.

There is a regularly updated list of funding opportunities which can enable you to make use of new grants for businesses seeking to go greener. Your business may qualify for other government schemes such as Research and Development Tax Reliefs so it’s important to always consider all elements of the business and the work it does.

Getting Started

Getting started with funding sustainable technologies in your business involves figuring out costs and working out how to practically install the necessary equipment.

Let’s take a look at some of the sustainable technologies you might consider within the construction, agriculture or manufacturing industry.

1.    Electric Vehicle Charge Points

In 2021, 297.6 billion vehicle miles were driven on UK roads. With the trucks and lorries used in industries such as construction, agriculture and manufacturing often emitting more than the standard 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, switching to electric powered vehicles could make a huge difference.

Installing electric vehicle charge points at your central office, plant or factory could help to drive change and reduce costs long term. Reducing the need for fleets of expensive petrol or diesel fuelled cars could be a key saving for businesses and have a positive environmental impact.

It generally takes 2 hours to install 1 electric charge point and the standard cost is between £800-£1500 +VAT.

However, businesses could benefit hugely from schemes such as the Workplace Charging Scheme which offers up to £350 per charge point. The scheme also has a further infrastructure grant available.

2.    Heat Pumps

With the agriculture industry currently tackling how to feed a 2.2 billion rise in global population within 30 years, it’s no wonder that areas such as poultry farming have begun to use technological devices such as heat pumps to cool and warm spaces.

For manufacturers that have large sites, investing in on-site power generation (from heat pumps to solar panels) to fuel their facilities could also be an option that pays back in the long term.

Depending on the size and type of the heat pump, it generally takes between three to six days to install and usually has a warranty of up to ten years.

Standard costs vary between approximately £7000 for the lowest level air source heat pump, to £20,000 for a premium ground source design.

For small businesses, it can be beneficial to apply for a business rate exemption on a heat pump and it’s also worth looking at the Local Enterprise Partnership for advice and help.

3.    Solar Panels

With the construction industry currently accountable for 36% of energy usage worldwide, it’s clear that things need to change. The installation of solar panels on new homes and using solar power to fuel construction processes can help to lower carbon emissions and increase sustainability.

Solar panel installation usually takes around 2 days, depending on the size and layout of the roof or installation area. The price of a typical 4.2 kilowatt-peak solar panel system is approximately £6,500 however, depending on the size of the business and the power required, this can increase to between £15,000 and £20,000.

Businesses can consider initiatives such as The Smart Export Guarantee alongside government grants for using solar panels.

For larger businesses, integrating commercial solar panels with battery storage systems could also be a worthwhile investment.

Moving forwards with funding sustainable technologies in your business

Sustainability always relates to a long-term approach. Planning and monitoring is key in using sustainable technologies to drive positive change, increase customer satisfaction and enjoy financial gains.

By making full use of funding available to invest in equipment and technologies that will benefit your business long term, you can reduce upfront costs and relieve potential financial pressure on your business.

With the rise in popularity of green lending, a variety of government grants and specific finance products designed to help fund sustainable technologies in your business, it’s clear that help is available for businesses to take the leap.

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