Carbon Monitoring Vendor Speaks Out Against CRC

While activity around CRC is increasing, businesses are in the dark about achieving compliance, according to CloudApps chief executive

The amount of public and media interest in the government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme is mounting, as registration opens on 1 April for the first ever UK greenhouse emission regulation.

Simon Wheeldon, chief executive of CloudApps – a software firm that develops systems for businesses to track, monitor and report on their carbon footprints – has told eWEEK Europe that businesses too have begun to think seriously about compliance, but are faced with a confused situation.

“We already work with 20 to 30 percent of the top 100 companies in the UK on CRC and have already had a couple of releases of our software. But we’ve noticed a dramatic increase in activity over the last couple of months, particularly as the deadline looms,” he said. “But we’ve found confusion over the levels of participation in the scheme and what businesses are supposed to be including.”

Unexpected costs

He said some customers, for example, have found their estate, according to the guidelines is almost twice the size than they thought, because they include not only the buildings they occupy, but ones they might sublet as well.

Recent reports by the Financial Times have highlighted this confusion, where the original regulations were only meant to apply to about 5,000 to 6,000 companies in the commercial sector. But the numbers of companies whose electricity is metered by the half hour and whose total electricity consumption exceeded 6,000 megawatt-hours in 2008 will require them to monitor and report their electricity use under the scheme. This has made the scheme’s remit far broader and could apply to as many as 30,000 UK businesses.

Wheeldon added that finalising the scheme’s legislation and guidelines has been slow and that his own firm’s attempts to find out how to get its software accredited have been rebuffed by the regulation’s enforcer. “It’s silly really because we are in a good position to work a little more closely with The Environment Agency.”

Enterprises duly warning

The Environment Agency has previously stated that, in the last 12 months it had sent letters to around 20,000 organisations with half hourly electricity meters in both May and November 2009 among a number of initiatives to raise CRC awareness.

“Given these efforts, coupled with information distributed by the government, the Carbon Trust and other third parties such as energy companies and consultants, we are confident that as much as possible has been done to notify organisations of their obligations,” the agency said in a statement. “These efforts will continue throughout and beyond the registration period to ensure that all eligible organisations register before the deadline of 30 September 2010 and that they are given ample support thereafter.”

In the meantime, he said CloudApps software was still able to stay up-to-date with the regulation because it is developed in Salesforce.com’s cloud platform, Force.com.

“It allows us to be very agile and react quickly to policy changes, while we’re finding there are two pieces to its development: finding out what targets to reduce, which has a transactional element that requires the software to process large volumes of data from different sources and feeds and can support analysis,” he said.

The other advantage, he added was to exploit the new social networking capabilities of the development environment to influence positive social change within the workforce.

The Environment Agency had not responded to eWEEK Europe’s request for comment at the time of writing.

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