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Energy Efficiency: A Key Strategy for Business Resilience and Cost Reduction

Energy efficiency is the practice of using less energy to achieve the same or better outcomes. It can help businesses reduce their energy costs, improve their competitiveness, and enhance their resilience to external shocks such as the global energy crisis. Energy efficiency can also contribute to environmental sustainability by lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the demand for fossil fuels.

How to Turn Energy into Competitive Advantage: Lessons from Leading Businesses

Some businesses have successfully turned energy into a competitive advantage by implementing energy efficiency measures and investing in renewable energy sources. These businesses have not only reduced their energy bills, but also improved their productivity, innovation, customer satisfaction, and reputation. Some examples of leading businesses that have gained a competitive edge from energy efficiency are:

IKEA, the Swedish furniture retailer, has committed to becoming 100% powered by renewable energy by 2025. It has installed solar panels on its stores and warehouses, invested in wind farms, and encouraged its customers to adopt low-energy products such as LED bulbs and smart home devices.

Unilever, the British-Dutch consumer goods company, has achieved a 65% reduction in its energy consumption per tonne of production since 2008. It has implemented various energy efficiency measures such as optimising its heating and cooling systems, using natural lighting and ventilation, and switching to renewable energy sources.

Tesco, the British supermarket chain, has reduced its carbon footprint by 26% since 2006. It has adopted energy-efficient technologies such as LED lighting, refrigeration, and electric vehicles, and has sourced 100% of its electricity from renewable sources in the UK since 2017.

If you want to learn more about how to save energy and money in your business, you can visit, a website that provides information and advice on energy efficiency and renewable energy for businesses.

Coping with the Energy Crisis: How SMEs Can Save Energy and Boost Their Resilience

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Europe’s economy, but they are also vulnerable to the impact of the energy crisis. High energy prices and supply uncertainty can threaten their survival and growth. To cope with the crisis, SMEs can take some steps to save energy and boost their resilience, such as:

Conducting an energy audit to identify the sources and patterns of energy consumption and potential savings opportunities4.
Implementing low-cost or no-cost energy efficiency measures such as switching off unused equipment, adjusting thermostats, replacing old appliances with more efficient ones, and installing insulation and draught-proofing.
Investing in onsite power generation such as solar panels, wind turbines, or biomass boilers to reduce dependence on grid electricity and generate income from surplus power.
Applying for EU support measures such as grants, loans, guarantees, or tax incentives that can help SMEs finance their energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

The Benefits of Onsite Power Generation for Businesses Facing High Energy Prices and Supply Uncertainty

Onsite power generation is the production of electricity at or near the point of use. It can offer several benefits for businesses facing high energy prices and supply uncertainty, such as:

Cost savings: Onsite power generation can reduce or eliminate the need to purchase electricity from the grid, which can be expensive and volatile. It can also lower transmission and distribution losses, which account for about 8% of the electricity delivered in the UK.

Reliability: Onsite power generation can provide a backup source of power in case of grid outages or disruptions. It can also improve power quality by reducing fluctuations and disturbances that can damage sensitive equipment or cause downtime.

Sustainability: Onsite power generation can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution by using renewable or low-carbon fuels such as solar, wind, hydro, biomass, or natural gas. It can also support the integration of more renewable energy sources into the grid by providing flexibility and balancing services.

How Businesses Can Access EU Support Measures

The EU offers various support measures for businesses that want to improve their energy efficiency and use more renewable energy sources. These include:

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which provides funding for regional development projects that support innovation, competitiveness, and environmental protection.

The European Social Fund (ESF), which provides funding for employment and social inclusion projects that promote skills development, entrepreneurship, and social innovation.

The Cohesion Fund (CF), which provides funding for infrastructure projects that improve transport, energy, and environmental quality in less developed regions.

The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), which provides funding for rural development projects that enhance agricultural productivity, diversification, and sustainability.

The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), which provides funding for maritime and fisheries projects that foster blue growth, innovation, and environmental protection.

The Horizon Europe programme, which provides funding for research and innovation projects that address global challenges such as climate change, health, and digital transformation.

The LIFE programme, which provides funding for environmental and climate action projects that contribute to the EU’s green transition and the implementation of its policies and legislation.

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which provides funding for cross-border infrastructure projects that enhance the connectivity and interoperability of the energy, transport, and digital sectors.
To access these support measures, businesses need to:

Check the eligibility criteria and application procedures for each programme or fund.

  • Find suitable partners or consortia to collaborate with on joint projects.
  • Submit project proposals that demonstrate the relevance, impact, and feasibility of their ideas.
  • Follow the reporting and monitoring requirements for the implementation and evaluation of their projects.