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National Schemes for Energy Efficiency in SMEs
Improving energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to reduce energy-related emissions, improve economic competitiveness and increase energy security. In the European Union, several pieces of legislation aimed at guiding states and companies, regardless of their size, on ways to improve their energy efficiency: one of them is the Energy Efficiency Directive, establishing a common framework of measures and requirements with the goal to remove market barriers and promote a more efficient use of energy in supply and demand. Article 8 of the Directive offers ways to achieve this, requiring Member States to promote and facilitate the implementation of energy audits and energy management systems. The audits are compulsory for large companies and recommended for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). National authorities should encourage both to implement the resulting recommendations.
Conducting energy audits and implementing energy management systems can be a source of multiple benefits for companies if they tap into their wide potential: reduced operating costs, increased productivity, improved working environment and much more.
Member States have all chosen different approaches to transpose the requirements into national laws and to support companies (trainings, websites, helplines and funding support schemes). SMEs have less workforce, technical and financial capacity to perform energy audits, and therefore rarely do so: making them aware of the multiple benefits that can derive from improving their energy efficiency and accompany them in the energy transition, with knowledge and funding from both the public and private sectors, is key. That is what DEESME, a Horizon 2020-funded project (September 2020 – September 2023), aims at.
DEESME enables companies, especially SMEs to manage the energy transition by taking profit of multiple benefits from energy management and audit approaches and provides national authorities with guidelines and recommendations to empower their schemes under article 8, using the multiple benefits’ approach.
The project identifies and shares good practices from national schemes, EU projects, and other initiatives with national authorities and support them in developing more effective schemes dealing with energy audits and energy management systems. It assists SMEs to develop and test the technical DEESME solutions by organizing information and training initiatives, realising energy audits, and implementing energy management systems starting from international standard and adding the multiple benefits energy efficiency approach.
The project is built on a very strong consortium of academics, research organisations, consultancies and government offices from Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland.