By Marcus Leach

New research has shown over half of small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have no measures in place to monitor energy efficiency, despite many of them seeking ways to manage the bottom line in tough economic conditions.

The findings from the latest npower Business Energy Index (nBEI) show that
53% of the 4.8 million SMEs in the UK have no methods in place to manage
business energy efficiency, and nearly one in five (18%) didn’t know if
they had reduced their energy consumption over the past 12 months.

This is despite figures from the report showing that where energy efficiency
is being measured, 50% of SMEs reported savings of up to 10%, showing there
is huge scope to make significant business savings, while also reducing
carbon emissions.

Statistics from the Carbon Trust also highlight the potential for SMEs to
reduce emissions further. The Trust found that SMEs have a potential energy
saving opportunity of up to 20%, compared to 8% for large businesses.

"This year's npower Business Energy Index found that for SMEs, the greatest driver for increasing energy efficiency is cost, rather than the environment," Patrick Harvey, head of customer loyalty at npower, said.

"This is why it is surprising that so many are still not measuring the positive
impact that implementing energy efficiency measures can have on their

"The results of the research show the huge untapped potential for SMEs to
both reduce emissions and increase savings."

However, encouragingly, overall the nBEI found that the importance SMEs
place on energy management and efficiency is at its highest level since
2005. When asked to rate the significance of energy management to their
business out of 10, SMEs gave an average score of 6.7, which is up from just
over 5 when the Index began.

Coupled with this, many reported to be proactively measuring their energy
usage and recognising the payback of low-cost, quick-win measures such as
turning equipment off, which was ranked as the most popular action over the
past six months. This was followed by regularly monitoring consumption and
reducing heat loss.

"It is really encouraging that energy efficiency is working its way up the business agenda but there’s still a long way to go," Patrick Harvey continued.

"More businesses need to realise that through simple to implement and low or
no cost measures, they can lower their bills by around 10%. In today’s
tough operating environment this is a saving that SMEs can’t afford to
over overlook."

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