David Pratt writes on the Clean Energy News website about a recent survey that show Britain’s small and medium-sized companies are not taking energy efficiency seriously and that there is important energy savings potential that they should be giving priority to.
YouGov survey finds low SME interest in energy efficiency
A new survey has uncovered significant potential for small businesses to adopt increased energy efficiency measures after just one in ten UK SME business owners were found to believe they have decreased energy consumption over the last year.
The YouGov study also found that these firms could also stand to benefit from a new educational drive explaining the benefits of energy saying as 60% of the 1,000 UK SME business owners asked claimed they did not regard energy efficiency as a key priority.
In addition, more than half do not have any active measures in place to try to be ‘energy smarter’. This includes 50% of respondents that failed to have measures in place to encourage employees to switch off electrical equipment and lights at the end of the working day.
Worryingly, 90% said they did not perform an energy audit each year. Currently, only larger firms are required to carry out an energy audit and even then only every four years to fall in line with the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). ESOS does not apply to SMEs under a certain size.
The findings have been released by ScottishPower, which has announced a new partnership with the Carbon Trust to encourage businesses to make savings on their energy costs.
Mark Bowen, marketing director from ScottishPower, said: “Adopting simple energy efficient measures as a SME business owner may sound easy enough, but as the survey findings highlight the reality is very different.
“Many businesses we talk to admit they could be doing more, but are put off because they believe that steps to incorporate energy efficiency into their business will be time consuming and difficult. We’re keen to work together with businesses and the Carbon Trust as part of this innovative new partnership to understand how we can help break down some of these barriers.
“Making smarter energy choices makes perfect business sense and will help firms to become more sustainable and efficient, while reducing bills which could allow investment elsewhere.”
According to Carbon Trust, SMEs could save 20-30% on their energy costs through behavioural changes such as switching off equipment and closing windows at the end of the day, at the same time as implementing cost-effective technologies with short payback periods, for example LED lighting.
Richard Rugg, managing director of programmes at the Carbon Trust, said: “Energy saving is an easy win. Cutting money off the bottom line is a great way to increase profitability. But although there is often a considerable opportunity to reduce overheads, in most companies this often gets overlooked.
“We look forward to working alongside ScottishPower to help their customers understand how to better take advantage of energy efficiency and become more sustainable businesses.”
ScottishPower supplies gas and electricity to more than 250,000 businesses across the country and is inviting them to help develop online toolkit to be launched in 2017.