A survey conducted by Germany’s KfW Development Bank shows that German SMEs invested more in energy efficiency between 2014 and 2016 than the previous three years. The survey, which was conducted in September 2017 among 2100 companies, found that 37% of German SMEs implemented measures to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy costs in the survey period. This corresponds to 1.4 million companies and an increase of 4% on the last survey. A further 7% were planning to undertake measures. The increase is mainly due to a stronger commitment among small companies with fewer than 10 full-time equivalent employees (+5%).
SMEs offering “other services” (e.g. health care and social services, education and training, gastronomy and hoteliers or culture and sport) were the most dynamic in terms of measures implemented with an increase of 12% on the last period.
The survey also reveals that companies were increasingly implementing capital-intensive measures, for instance in the energy efficiency of vehicles and logistics (+16%) and energy efficient production plants and equipment (+11%). Again, these developments were mainly driven by the smaller companies. Larger SMEs on the other hand increased noticeably their commitment to the introduction of energy management systems (+12%).
Dr. Jörg Zeuner, Chief Economist of the KfW, comments that efficient energy management is becoming increasingly important for small and medium-sized enterprises. “We see this as evidence of changing awareness among SMEs. Indeed, there is urgency in accelerating the pace in improving energy efficiency in the business sector, not just with a view to achieving the federal government's energy targets, but also to secure the competitiveness of the enterprises themselves.”