A major drive is underway to help smaller Irish businesses become more energy aware and achieve savings by adopting greener practices.
The latest initiative comes from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which is to make a fund of €400,000 available to manufacturers, social enterprises and service providers under its Green Enterprise Programme.
Already businesses can avail of free events, guides, tools, consultancy services and other supports to help change energy consumption practices and cut their energy bills. However, the reality is that many businesses have not availed of these supports nor have they reviewed their environmental practices.
State agencies, industry groups and others are trying to get the message out that good environmental practices are good for business. The main benefits are:
- Achieving cost savings which flow through to the bottom line
- Increasing the appeal of a product or service to consumers
- Helping to achieve preferred supplier status with larger businesses
While such benefits may appear abstract, they become much more real when they can relate to actual benefits for individual businesses. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has compiled over 40 case studies on the application of green practices. Here are three examples:
- Sligo Park Hotel cut its energy bills by 11% through adoption of energy efficiency practices
- Athlone Extrusions reduced its energy bills by €88,000 annually by replacing boilers and other measures
- Abcon Abrasives in Cavan cut CO2 emissions through an energy management system project
SEAI has published a major policy document, Unlocking the Energy Efficiency Opportunity, which outlines a series of tangible economic benefits for Ireland if reliance on fossil fuels is reduced. Savings of €1.8 billion a year to consumers and businesses and the creation of an extra 2,000 job could flow if the policy climate is right between now and 2020.
Interested in learning how your business can go green? Here are the starting points:
- The SEAI’s support centre for SMEs
- The Green Business initiative, which provides free assessment services to businesses and which is funded by the EPA
- The Green Start programme operated by Enterprise Ireland which aims to help companies achieve competitive advantage through greater resource efficiency
June 2015 – image from Shutterstock