Your customers expect to see that your business is taking steps towards sustainability. Improving the energy efficiency of your business is the best place to start. Take these steps to begin your energy efficiency journey.
Step 1. Understand your energy use
If you are a business starting out on your energy efficiency journey, your first step is to understand your energy use and what actions can help to increase energy efficiency. Becoming familiar with how and where you use energy in your business, and the sustainable energy efficient alternatives, will allow you to make more informed investment decisions.
Investing time in learning about energy efficiency will help you to:
- approach energy efficiency confidently, with an understanding of some of the key terms and technologies on the market
- identify simple no-cost and low-cost solutions to energy efficiency for your business
- develop a robust business case to allocate resources to energy efficiency measures and invest in renewable technologies
SEAI Energy Academy
Sign up for our free online learning resource, the SEAI Energy Academy, to start learning about energy use and energy efficiency for businesses.Learn about the SEAI Energy Academy
Step 2. Create an energy action plan
All businesses can improve their energy performance by following some basic energy management techniques and steps. Energy management is a proactive, systematic approach to managing energy use in an organisation or building.
To understand energy management and how it can benefit your business, sign up to attend one of SEAI's free energy management workshops. These sessions, run by experienced trainers, take you through the steps needed to create an energy action plan for your business.
Energy management training will help you:
- Understand energy management. Good energy management starts with assessing your current energy management situation
- Commit to energy management. Identify an energy coordinator within your business and others who will be involved
- Identify the significant energy users and opportunities for change
- Create an energy action plan outlining your business's energy targets
- Take action and start reducing your energy use
- Review your performance and results
Carbon footprinting with the Climate Toolkit 4 Business
This new tool is designed to help SMEs reduce their emissions by providing them with an estimated carbon footprint and a personalised action plan encompassing energy, water and waste. Learn more here.
Workshop: Introduction to Energy Management
SEAI's free online workshop for businesses who want to understand energy management and create an energy action plan.Energy Management Training
Step 3. Complete an energy audit
Once your business has implemented basic energy management and an energy action plan, the next step is to carry out out an energy audit. An energy audit is most beneficial for businesses spending at least €10,000 on energy per year; if you spend less than that then the energy action plan will probably be all you need.
A high quality energy audit involves an on-site inspection by a professional Registered Energy Auditor. The Energy Auditor will provide you with a detailed report of your energy use in relation to your buildings, processes, and systems. The report includes:
- a detailed analysis of your energy use (for example heating fuels, electricity and transport)
- where you use the most energy in your business (for example lighting, space heating, manufacturing process, etc)
- a list of opportunities for reducing your energy use, including no or low cost changes, investment in renewables and other technologies
Energy audits ensure that you are taking informed steps towards energy efficiency and energy use reduction, especially where investments or upgrades are involved.
Support Scheme for Energy Audits
SEAI’s Support Scheme for Energy Audits offers a €2,000 voucher towards the cost of a high quality energy audit for qualifying businesses with an annual energy spend of over €10,000.About the Support Scheme for Energy Audits
Step 4. Invest in energy efficiency upgrades and renewables
Once you have good energy management practices embedded within your organisation you can think about investing in energy efficiency upgrades and renewable sources of energy.
Your energy action plan or energy audit should have highlighted your significant energy users and opportunities for upgrades or investment. Opportunities may include:
- changing your lighting to LEDs
- investing in a renewable source of heat such as a heat pump
- installing solar panels
- purchasing an electric vehicle for your business
Always get advice from a registered professional. Before you commit to purchasing and installing upgrades or investments, check if there is an SEAI grant available.View SEAI grants
Step 5. Monitor, track and report
Energy efficiency works best when it is implemented into your business's long term strategy. To understand the impact of the actions you have taken, ensure you continue to:
- monitor your energy use regularly using your bills or meters
- track improvements to understand which actions are the most effective
- consider reporting and documenting the improvements to understand the benefits over the longer term.
Your energy use will change over time as your business grows and as you implement changes to your energy use practises. Continue to engage in energy management and energy efficiency supports to help you stay on track.
Further recognition and supports
SEAI Energy Awards
The SEAI Energy Awards recognise and reward excellence in all aspects of energy efficiency and renewable energy. If your business has made significant steps in energy efficiency consider submitting an application.SEAI Energy Awards
SEAI Large Industry Energy Network
If your business spends at least €1 million on energy annually, or are certified to or pursuing ISO 50001 certification - consider joining the SEAI Large Industry Energy Network (LIEN).Large Industry Energy Network
Energy Management Guide and Workbook
The guide and the workbook helps you assess your current energy use and the practices you can put in place to save energy. Use the workbook to kick start your own energy management programme. The completed sample workbook serves as a reference as you make your way through the process.