Over half of all Irish companies have taken action to improve their energy efficiency in the last three years and only one third of these actions have involved a capital spend, according to a new survey from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Details of the survey reveal that reducing energy costs is a key priority for Irish business and where energy efficiency initiatives were implemented, most businesses achieved average energy cost savings of 12%.
The survey of 1,000 large, medium and small businesses across the country also showed that over 45% of medium and large companies now have a dedicated employee or group of employees managing energy consumption and running initiatives in businesses to increase energy efficiency. This demonstrates the rise in energy awareness amongst business in recent years and the potential for employment in this area as more companies invest in dedicated resources for energy management.
According to Brian Motherway, chief operations officer of SEAI: “More businesses are actively seeking to reduce their energy costs. Businesses participating in our programmes have reduced their costs by an average of 10%-20%. However, it is also evident that many companies are not taking the necessary action despite the opportunity for economic gains. A further €300 million of energy savings can be achieved if all of Ireland’s small to medium sized enterprises start to better manage their energy use.”
SEAI through its small business assessment service has supported over 2,000 businesses in the last three years. Companies can apply for a free energy assessment to review their energy use and a specialist energy advisor is appointed to help them assess their energy use and identify opportunities for savings. Experience shows that there are always savings opportunities, often at little or no investment required.
For example, a shopping centre management company in Tuam reduced its energy use by almost 30% after installing timers and controls for its heating systems, upgrading the lighting system and installing power factor correction equipment. A golf club in Kildare saved over 10% on its energy costs in just three months of contacting SEAI by making adjustments to its heating system and installing lighting controls and sensors. Savings of almost 18% were achieved by a children’s montessori in Galway after changing to a more competitive electricity tariff, running an energy awareness programme for staff and upgrading the lights. For more information visit www.seai.ie/business.