Small and medium sized Irish businesses are aware they need to change their energy habits but do not have the funding or the expertise to do so, according to European research contributed to by Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT).
LIT, along with European project partners, has released a report into SME use of the SPEEDIER programme – which aims to deliver energy efficiency through deliver energy audits.
75% of Irish respondents to the research stated that they have not had an energy audit in the last 5 years.
55% of Irish SMEs stated that they do not have dedicated funds available to invest in energy efficiency improvements to their business, with over a third of respondents saying that a ‘lack of knowledge’ is their main barrier to implementing energy conversion measures.
Almost half of Irish respondents to SPEEDIER’s latest survey admitted that they didn’t know which energy conservation measures they should implement, with 35% citing a lack of time to implement them.
“The results of this survey, certainly from an Irish perspective, shows that SME’s need a service that can assist and guide them towards changing their energy habits for the better,” says Head of Development & Public Engagement at LIT, Seamus Hoyne.
“While more than half of Irish SME’s surveyed have told us that they don’t have dedicated funds for energy efficiency, it’s only a fifth that have said they can’t afford it full stop – meaning businesses now need to budget for their energy habits. Having said that, even with a budget, SME’s need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to be able to conserve their energy. Outsourcing energy management may well be the solution to these, with 60% of Irish SME’s surveyed happy to do so,” he added.
Other stakeholders outside of SME’s also noted a lack of local or national government support in delivering energy audits and other energy efficiency support services to businesses.
The majority of respondents to the survey in Ireland came from the manufacturing sector (55%), and services industry (25%). 85% of Irish SME’s surveyed by LIT cited lighting and heating as their main sources of energy use.
LIT and its European partners will continue work on the SPEEDIER project, which has an overall budget of over €2 million, until December 2021.
The next phase of the project will now focus on delivering training packages to SME’s in Ireland and across Europe to implement energy conservation measures.
SPEEDIER stands for SME Program for Energy Efficiency through Delivery and Implementation of Energy Audits.
SPEEDIER is a highly innovative solution that applies an integrated approach to energy management, providing information, advice, capacity building, energy auditing, financing, implementation of energy efficiency solutions and monitoring of impacts. SPEEDIER delivers a self-financing outsourced energy management service with much benefit to SMEs, enabling them to implement energy conservation measures and also obtain access to the energy services market. The service will be available via energy consultants, auditors and experts and will facilitate the uptake of energy audits, and the subsequent implementation of energy efficiency measures in SMEs.
Four European countries, Ireland, Italy, Romania and Spain, are involved in the pilot phase during which SMEs and energy experts will participate in the implementation of the outsourced SPEEDIER Service. In Spain, the project will engage with SMEs based at a single business park to demonstrate the advantages of clustering to benefit from economies of large-scale projects. In Ireland and Romania respectively, SPEEDIER will address SMEs in the manufacturing and hospitality sectors. In Italy, a more general approach of accessing SMEs from any sector via ESCOs will be tested.