The Business Energy Efficiency Project (BEEP) supports County Durham SMEs that wish to reduce their energy usage and make financial savings through energy efficiency and energy generation.
With support from both Durham County Council and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), BEEP provides a fully funded and independent audit to identify where energy savings can be made.
The audits are designed to identify all areas where savings can be made in your business, by eliminating wasted energy. We understand that every business is different and the aim is to provide a customised audit for each SME.
BEEP can also offer grants to assist with financial support towards the purchase and installation of energy efficient equipment. The grant is available on a first come, first served basis and can only be accessed if the business has received a BEEP energy audit.
The grant does have limitations on how it can be used. For example it can be used to fund most energy efficient improvements to machinery, heating and lighting but can’t be used to improve the structure of a building.
The project has been running since 2016 and has worked with over 400 SMEs in County Durham saving around 2,500 tonnes of CO2e each year, and rising.
As a Council, we recognised we could reduce our own emissions but were not able to help companies across the County do the same. SMEs were identified as businesses who often did not have the manpower or expertise to assess and reduce their energy usage, and the project was born to assist with this.
Initially, many of those engaging with the project did so as reduced energy usage also provided reduced overheads, but more recently, businesses are considering the environmental impact far more and this is just as important as financial savings for many.
The project has been promoted via Council social media channels, local Area Action Partnerships, the Federation of Small Businesses and word of month from one business to another.
We feel the project works well and there are very few things we would change although we are currently restricted from funding insulation, which we would like to change in the future.
Amount of carbon emissions saved.