The SPEEDIER team recently conducted an online survey of SMEs and key stakeholders in the energy value chain to understand what prevents SMEs from undertaking energy audits and implementing energy efficiency recommendations. In particular we wanted to understand what they need from the SPEEDIER Service and how we can make sure that our SPEEDIER Experts can help them to manage their energy consumption. We received responses from 84 SMEs and 91 stakeholder across all the four pilot regions we are working in (Ireland, Italy, Spain and Romania).
The majority of the SMEs confirmed that they had not had an energy audit in the last five years (64%), did not have an energy manager (75%), had not developed an energy policy (63%) and had not set any targets for reducing energy consumption (52)%. Whilst this is not altogether surprising, what is interesting is the reasons that SMEs gave to explain the lack of action on energy and the differences between the pilot regions as shown in the pie charts below. For Irish respondents the main challenge is their lack of knowledge on which measures are the most appropriate for their business and how to procure them. In contrast, for Romanian SMEs lack of finance is overwhelmingly considered to be the main barrier. In Spain and Italy, the responses are more evenly split between lack of finance, lack of knowledge, lack of time, the low priority of energy efficiency compared to other business needs and lack of control of the building premises. From this study we have learned that it is highly important to tailor the SPEEDIER Service to the requirements of each country.
What is the MAIN barrier to implementing energy conservation measures?
A further key finding from the surveys is that almost 70% of energy experts have not received any kind of local or national government support to support SMEs to deliver energy auditing or other kinds of energy efficiency support services. This indicates that although Member States are obligated to assist SMEs to undertake energy audits under Article 8 of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), such support schemes either do not exist, are ineffective or are not widely known about by energy experts. In time, the SPEEDIER Service could fill this gap and assist Member States to meet their objectives under Article 8 of the EED.
The results from the SME and stakeholder surveys are available to download in full on the SPEEDIER website here.