Energig was an energy efficiency network project, ran for four years in the Gävleborg region, supporting 44 local SMEs to improve energy efficiency.
Research shows, SMEs do not implement energy efficiency measures to the extent, which is desired. Further, public authorities have a weak link to support SMEs in energy efficiency. Therefore, a project grouping SMEs in 5 to 15 SMEs per group were piloted. The SMEs were trained and received support on how to carry out energy management at their companies, e.g. conduct an energy audit and implement the energy-saving measures. Networks met 3-4 times per year. Network meetings included round-table presentations about monitoring, implementation of measures, lectures on energy use for end-using processes. In Sweden, on average 3-9% energy saving is achieved after energy audits are performed. We knew from the research that this is more difficult to achieve in SMEs compared to larger companies without support. However, ENERGIG-project underlined that SMEs will implement more saving measures together in groups on average 16% than a stand-alone energy audit policy program (3-9%) without the network support.
In addition to this, SMEs gained non-energy benefits such as e.g. increased lifetime of equipment, less maintenance, improved company image and new contacts.
Stakeholders: Region of Gävleborg, Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, 44 local SMEs, Regional Energy Agency, University of Gävle.
6.3 million SEK of which 50 per cent was co-funded from the ERF.
Human resources needed to manage the network
1. Skilled energy auditors (consultant and University of Gävle personnel)
2. Skilled energy experts (University of Gävle)
3. Skilled network coordinators (University of Gävle)
Evidence of success
The project suppressed 3-9% energy savings. The participating local SMEs achieved an average of 16% energy saving within the energy efficiency network program, higher than expected.
In addition, non-energy benefits of the energy efficiency measures were monitored. This tool motivated the regional authority to provide further support for SMEs, and SMEs are more willing to participate in similar programs if they know they gain further benefits apart from smaller utility bills to pay.
Engaging local SMEs was a challenge.
Potential for learning or transfer
The pilot project was a success in the region. The regional public authority agreed on the continuation of the project in Gävlborg region. The project called ENERLEAN, which is the same concept as the network pilot but with applied improvements results gained from Energig.
The project showed that SMEs working in a network with a help of skilled energy audits and energy experts can yield the results of capitalised energy savings and showed to stakeholders that public money is better used this way than simply co-financing energy audits for SMEs.
Dutch, Spanish and Romanian SMEPlus partners already showed interest in taking inspirational aspects of the Swedish good practice in their region. The good practice has three elements, the network itself, the energy audit and the energy efficiency measures software. These elements can be transplanted individually too.
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