Drivers of Energy Efficiency in Small Companies
Thonipara, A. (2020). Drivers of Energy Efficiency in Small Companies. ifh Background Document (No. 1). Göttingen.
Despite the economic relevance of SMEs, which represent 99% of all companies in the European Union, only few studies have investigated the drivers of energy efficiency among them. While the focus of former studies lays on larger industrial SMEs with high turnovers and a high level of automation, this study focuses on the drivers of energy efficiency measures in smaller SMEs with comparatively low turnovers. Using in-depth interviews and a survey, I compare the importance of different drivers generally and to the results of former studies. The results suggest that management’s environmental sensitivity is a key driver for energy efficiency measures in small companies with low turnovers which is mainly due to missing in-house capacities. These missing in-house capacities are also one of the reasons for the low importance of financial support programs. Instead, proactive and firm-specific consultations by external consultants are important drivers for smaller companies with low turnovers at certain points in time. Larger companies, on the other hand, prefer acquiring general information from outside in order to build up their in-house capacities. In these companies, financial support programs play a more important role in energy efficiency investments. Overall, the results suggest that in order to reach small companies, policymakers should focus on information campaigns to initiate management’s own motivation. Furthermore, public financing programs should be customized according to the needs of these smaller companies by reducing the bureaucratic burden. In addition, offering firm-specific consultancy and close partnership should also be effective, whereas, for larger companies with high turnovers and high-cost investments, general information and support should be provided.