The Commercial Sector accounts for 7% of the total energy demand nationally, and 9.7% across the 3 Counties. This equates to 4.9% of the total carbon emissions across the 3 Counties (2017). The present policies established by government in the Climate Action Plan 2019 outline specific actions to target emissions from space and water heating in commercial buildings, aimed at a fabric first approach. Once energy consumption is minimised, energy can be generated using renewable technologies. The Climate Action Plan also states that companies must act to reduce energy and decarbonise across all activities, to reduce the risk of becoming uncompetitive.
In the 3 counties region of Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford the total number of commercial businesses in 2017 was 32,609, consuming 1,014GWh of energy. To achieve the 2030 Climate Action Plan across the 3 counties this consumption needs to reduce by 30% to 720GWh. This will result in an annual cost saving of over €17million across the businesses. This is an average of €521 per company. The SEAI state that ‘for a company with a 5% profit margin over 3 years, a €500-a-year saving from energy efficiency makes the same profit as €30,000 of extra sales’ (SEAI SME Guide to Energy Efficiency).
Commercial Grants and Supports
Reducing energy consumption and spend can make a significant difference to SME’s and businesses. Commercial Businesses and SME’s can reduce energy consumption by firstly evaluating where energy is being used – without knowing where your company uses its energy you cannot know how to start saving energy.
An energy bill review and energy audit should be completed, which will outline the current status of your energy consumption, your electrical and mechanical equipment & possible energy savings projects that can be completed, along with estimated savings and benefits of each measure.
There are also a number of grants available to SME’s and commercial businesses to assist in completing these projects. in addition to this, the Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA) regime can also be utilised to promote business investment in energy efficient equipment.
3cea has worked with over 70 commercial entities since 2013 to complete energy audits and apply for grants to SEAI and project managed the delivery of energy savings projects. These projects resulted in savings of over €1.5million off commercial energy bills annually. A capital investment across all projects after grants was €5.1m, giving a simple pay back of 3.4 years.