As an action identified in the 2012 Energy Efficiency Strategy, DECC commissioned a small scale research project to better understand the barriers and drivers to energy efficiency faced by individual firms, particularly SMEs. This report is based on both qualitative and quantitative research and focuses on late stage barriers (where firms already have information on the type, costs and savings of the energy efficiency measures available to them).
The research illustrates the wide range of motivations and barriers cited by businesses but shows there are no simple explanations for businesses behaviour around take up of energy efficiency. While capital costs were cited as a major barrier, actual take up rates of energy efficiency measures remained low even when costs were zero or very low.
While interviews with businesses suggested that measures with low payback period made business sense and would be more likely to be implemented, low take up rates for these show that other factors are involved.
The research also identified differences between sectors, while cost savings and payback period were significant drivers for energy efficiency in manufacturing firms, non-manufacturing businesses cited less tangible factors like ambience and customer service. The evidence will feed into DECC’s work to look at how best to support SMEs.
Over January and February 2015 DECC will host workshops with SMEs with the aim of getting their views on what’s needed to help them become more energy efficient. More detail is available on DECC’s Linkedin page.