More than half (55%) of businesses would like the government to offer more financial aid and tax breaks for energy efficiency projects.
A new survey of more than 2,100 firms in England and Wales also found only a small percentage believe more information (8%) or financing options (4%) such as bank loans for measures like insulation, LED lighting and solar panels will help them manage and cut energy costs.
Around 36% of businesses said they would prefer if the government provided grants towards the cost of installing energy-saving measures while 19% believe tax breaks would be most effective.
The survey, published by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and British Gas also revealed those renting properties (27%) said a major barrier to action was feeling they have no influence over energy efficiency improvements on their sites.
Some of the other barriers cited were the “marginal level of savings” they might achieve (15%), other investments taking priority (13%) and a lack of available funds (13%).
While more than 70% said they spend less than a tenth of their operating budget on energy, only 13% of businesses suggested they saw a fall in energy costs in the last three years, 36% saw their costs rise and 37% reported little or no change.
Mike Spicer, Director of Research and Economics at BCC said: “These results demonstrate that getting the economics of investment right for energy efficiency is crucial to promoting take-up. At a time when businesses face growing upfront cost pressures from other sources, grants and tax breaks have an important role to play in offsetting the cost of new energy efficiency measures. On its own, more information won’t do the job.”
Only 6% of those surveyed believe smart meters for businesses should be the highest priority for government and suppliers.