DMU research helps more EU businesses hit energy-efficiency targets

Researchers at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have helped companies across Europe celebrate their successes in introducing more environmentally-friendly working practices.

Steep logo

A team from DMU’s acclaimed Institute of  Energy and Sustainable Development assessed the efforts of 600 small and medium-seized businesses to save energy and cut their bills.

The project, called STEEEP (Support and Training for an Excellent Energy Performance), involved 36 Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCIs) across 10 European countries and was led by Eurochambres – the European association of chambers of commerce and industry.

The EU-funded programme aimed to help EU member states to hit tough energy efficiency targets by highlighting best practice by SMEs and suggesting innovations. DMU’s analysis – carried out by Professor Paul Fleming, Professor of Energy Management, and Neil Brown, senior lecturer - was able to highlight successful case studies across Europe.

IESD analysis also fed into recommendations to encourage more SMEs to meet EU energy reduction targets through support and training involving CCIs.

Companies in Spain, Romania, Hungary, France, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia and Italy took part in the scheme. Each business was given a dedicated energy representative from one of 36 CCIs who worked with the firms to measure current energy use and see how it might be reduced.

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SMEs identified ways they could less fuel and save money on bills. In many cases, the majority of actions the companies came up with involved behavioural changes rather than financial cost.

Prof Fleming said: “The project was well received by EU officials, members of European parliament and EU energy experts. It was highlighted as a good demonstration of partnership between the chambers and a university.

"Small businesses are a very difficult sector to address. Large businesses tend to employ their own experts, SMEs, can’t afford this. CCIs can help provide support to this key area.  The DMU analysis approach  can help the EU better understand how its policy is being implemented."

STEEEP highlighted that more needed to be done in those countries to develop programmes encouraging SMEs to check energy use as well as offering grants for sustainable processes.  
The project was funded by the EU’s Intelligent Energy Europe, set up to help EU member states achieve environmental targets.

Posted on Friday 24th March 2017

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