The implementation of energy efficiency improvements in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is lagging.
That’s according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), which believes that is due to lack of information, technical expertise and funding.
It estimates SMEs use more than 13% of global total final energy demand.
The IEA suggests national governments should “provide incentives and support to other stakeholders, such as industry associations, to work directly with SMEs”.
It adds looking at obstacles for SMEs “should be an integral part of energy efficiency programmes”.
It also advises providing incentives to other stakeholders such as business associations or corporations to work more actively with SME energy efficiency can enable governments to achieve significant results at low cost.
The report states: “Approaches and resources used in past or existing energy efficiency programmes targeting SMEs can be used or replicated in other programmes.
“Surveying current and historic domestic policies, as well as international experiences, can save time, effort and costs in the design of programmes for SMEs.”
There is a need to expand and scale-up SME programmes so the benefits of energy efficiency improvements can become more widespread, it adds, however it will require a greater understanding of the potential benefits, better programme evaluations and more skilled personnel to design them.
SMEs are said to employ almost 90 million people, generate around 1.1 million new jobs per year and contribute almost 30% of GDP, worth $5.5 trillion (£3.7tn).