The majority of small and medium business believe they do have a role in tackling climate change with more organisations than ever before investigating energy efficiency options. That is according to research conducted by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), designed to inform how best to help the SME sector address the challenge of greater energy efficiency. The research was revealed today to mark the opening of The SEAI Energy Show 2019 which takes place in the RDS, Dublin, today and tomorrow (27 and 28 March). It also highlights the fact that businesses believe they can still do a lot more to help tackle climate change.

Among the most common actions currently being taken by businesses to reduce their energy costs are; to switch energy providers and, to install energy saving lighting. Only one in five organisations believe that they have already done all that they can do. For those who do consider their energy use, the biggest obstacles preventing them from acting are lack of time and lack of funding.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton T.D., commented;

“Sectors are going to have to transform themselves if they are to thrive in a decarbonised society. Early adopters will seize the enterprise opportunities in a low carbon economy, including the new circular and bio economies. We have seen some pioneers commit to 50% emissions savings. We need more sectors to take up the challenge, developing clusters promoting best practice in their sector.”

The SME sector spends more than €2billion annually on energy, of which 10% can be readily saved through good energy management practices. Lighting, heating and air conditioning are among the typical high energy users in businesses, and so are where the most immediate savings can be made.

Jim Gannon, CEO of SEAI, said:

“We know that it is always a challenging environment for small and medium enterprises. This research shows that energy is, perhaps understandably, low on the priority list, with businesses more concerned about attracting customers, their competitors and cash-flow.

Energy efficiency and the resulting energy savings go straight to the company’s bottom line and can often be achieved more easily than growing revenue. It is worrying, therefore, when up to a quarter of survey respondents say they are simply not interested in or have not investigated in the opportunities to be more energy efficient.”

Gannon continued:

“All businesses, large and small, have a role in decarbonising our expanding economy. To ensure that long-term reductions in operating costs are locked in, this means actually reducing energy consumption, rather than just switching energy providers for short term tariff savings. The SEAI Energy Show has a host of innovative and advanced energy solutions available to Irish business and industry.”

The SEAI Energy Show is a free business only event running from Wednesday, 27 March (10am-7pm) to Thursday, 28 March (9am-4pm) in the RDS, Dublin. Visitors can see the latest energy saving solutions for business, attend expert seminars, test drive the latest electric vehicles, network with professionals and see best practice demonstrations. Last year €90 million worth of business orders were made at the SEAI Energy Show.

For more visit www.seai.ie/energyshow

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