Small and medium-sized enterprises represent 99% of all EU companies, account for more than half of Europe’s GDP and play a key role in every economic sector. At the same time, however, they are among the most exposed to the current crisis and high energy prices.
On 21 October, an online event was held at which the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the European Commission intervened to discuss this topic. “One of the most effective ways to support SMEs in mitigating energy costs and supply risks is to help them reduce their energy consumption, both in the short and long term”, said Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson at the event.
The Agency and the EU Executive have come up with some suggestions to help SMEs reduce their business consumption and to show national governments where to take action to support them. The suggestions include:
- The use of smart meters and controllers: they can reduce business consumption by up to 40 per cent with little or no additional cost;
- Energy audits play a crucial role and have greater impact when they include a method to certify savings achieved: they provide an average potential saving of 18% of total energy consumption;
- Energy management systems that set achievable targets for energy consumption and action plans to reach these targets by measuring progress can lead to an average reduction in annual energy consumption of between 10% and 17%;
- Training and awareness-raising campaigns on energy use among employees, with the appointment of responsible officers and an energy team, produce almost 6% annual energy savings, which increases to 21% when combined with technological support and expertise;
- The replacement of inefficient equipment. For example, LED lights last up to five times longer than traditional bulbs and consume up to 90% less energy.