Opportunities for SMEs

Energy has a key role in the financial and economic development of any company. The efficient and rational use of energy allows SMEs to save money, strengthen their productive processes, and have a positive impact on the environment.

Energy efficiency is one of the most important and profitable tools in allowing SMEs to remain competitive in the market. However, for SMEs to be able to implement best energy efficiency practices, they must keep abreast of the latest energy efficiency technologies and the other means of reducing their energy consumption.

There is a wide range of possible ways to improve energy efficiency. Some examples are:

Technological changes

  • Switch to more efficient lighting (CFL, LED)
  • Use more efficient appliances (heating and air conditioning), and purchase more energy efficient equipment (servers, computers, printers, among others)
  • Install efficient electric pumps and motors
  • Enact regulations that favor energy efficient facilities and buildings
  • Promote industrial heat recovery
  • Install low-loss, energy-efficient transformers
  • Optimize heating/cooling systems
  • Generate electricity through photovoltaic solar systems

Changes in the energy conservation behavior;

  • Turn off lights and equipment when not being used
  • Draft sustainable mobility plans for employees (carpooling)
  • Adjust thermostats to reduce air conditioning and heating usage
  • Promote an intelligent energy culture at the company (for example, use of lighter clothing during summer months)

These actions, both individually or collectively, can have a considerable impact on reducing energy consumption at SMEs without hurting profits.

Examples and points to consider:

  • A compact florescent lamp uses two-thirds less energy than incandescent lamps to generate the same intensity of lighting but lasts six to ten times longer.
  • Energy efficiency projects are generally short, lasting 2 to 3 years.
  • Energy efficiency as an economic factor: it is the most affordable source of energy.
  • Energy efficiency projects are low risk, since the equipment is well established and has a solid track record.
  • Energy efficient installations generally do not significantly interrupt plant operations.

Energy efficiency is one of the most important and profitable tools in helping SMEs achieve their objectives, while at the same time promoting economic growth and protecting the environment, both locally and regionally.

It must be added that SMEs can benefit indirectly by improving their energy efficiency processes and products and by showing that they are socially and environmentally responsible. This can be achieved, inter alia, through environmental certification and seals of energy efficiency, awards, logos, and communications campaigns.

Energy efficiency services available in the market

Energy audit:
The first step to increase the efficiency of your company often entails performing an energy audit. This involves the analysis of energy flows to identify opportunities to be more energy efficient at facilities or in production processes or systems. The process identifies and subsequently reduces the system’s energy inputs, without affecting its performance. This tool can help to assess the amount of energy used by a company and identify measures needed to improve its energy efficiency. It should be noted that an audit alone does not save energy, as the recommended measures must also be implemented.

Projects with energy services companies:
An energy services company is one that develops, designs, and arranges financing for energy efficiency projects. It installs and maintains energy efficient equipment; measures, oversees, and verifies the energy savings resulting from the projects; and takes responsibility for ensuring the project achieves the guaranteed amount of energy savings. These services are directly included in the project cost and are paid for through the energy savings.

Projects with energy services companies are comprehensive projects in the sense that the services company implements a wide range of profitable measures to save energy (high-efficiency lighting, heating, and air conditioning; efficient, adjustable speed engines and drives; and centralized energy management systems).

Energy management:
A method used to maximize the energy efficiency of systems, processes, and technologies by integrating software and hardware into the energy management system. It enables the prediction and oversight of energy consumption. The aim is to improve the energy efficiency of a system or production process without having a negative impact on its performance.