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How smart technology can help more small businesses become energy efficient

New research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) suggests that an overwhelming majority of small firms want to be more energy efficient, but many still lack the ability and the know-how to do so. A recent FSB members survey found that 90% of small businesses want to cut their energy bills by boosting efficiency and 31% of respondents reported the cost of energy as being a barrier to growth. The rewards of investing in energy efficiency are persuasive. Research from the Department of Energy and Climate Change found that the average SME could save between 18 and 25% of their annual energy costs by making efficiency investments, with an average payback time of less than 1.5 years. Shorter payback times make it easier for small businesses to invest in energy, but many FSB members said that they still didn’t feel empowered to make changes. Citing a lack of information, support, motivation and cash available to small businesses, the FSB are calling for the government to do more to help boost energy efficiency.

The role of smart metering for small businesses

The FSB says that smart meters have a critical role to play in helping small firms take charge of their energy consumption. As the government sponsored smart meter rollout begins to pick up pace, businesses will be able to take control over their energy consumption. Estimated billing will become a thing of the past and businesses will gain new insights into the ways in which they consume energy and gain a deeper understanding of their energy costs. Just under half (45%) of FSB respondents highlighted a lack of awareness and concern about energy costs as one of the biggest barriers to investing in energy efficiency. Energy manager at Utility Helpline Richard Bonelle believes that smart meters help promote energy efficiency savings. He said: “The best thing about smart meters is that they help individuals and businesses realise the actual cost of energy. Imagine shopping at a supermarket that didn’t show any prices on the shelves. Under these conditions it would be very difficult to economise, but this is how a lot of small businesses still purchase energy. “Smart meters make it easier to make, and justify investment decisions. And if you use them correctly they are also great for eliminating waste.” To help businesses understand smart meter data and spot areas of waste Utility Helpline has produced a smart metering guide specifically designed for small and medium sized businesses.

Published by Utility Helpline on