The number of small businesses investing in energy efficiency measures has almost doubled in the past two years, new research by npower has revealed.

More than 40% of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are now reaping the rewards of reducing their energy use, such as reduced overheads and the ability to invest in improvements, staff and new equipment, the survey of 500 SMEs, including convenience stores, revealed.

This is a substantial increase on 2011, when only 24% of businesses saw the commercial benefits of saving energy.

Nearly half (44%) of SMEs said they had reduced their overall energy consumption by 5-10% in the last year, while 59% said they were planning to increase energy efficiency initiatives, despite the current challenging economic climate. 

Many of those who had reduced their energy consumption had employed straightforward and simple measures such as turning off unnecessary or unused equipment (59%), monitoring consumption regularly (55%), educating staff (49%) and undertaking an energy review (49%).

In addition, 55% have installed new light fixtures and fittings, 45% have had their boiler serviced and 21% have considered loft insulation.

Phil Scholes, npower SME markets director, said the trend was encouraging, but the report also identified a need for greater support.

More than 40% also said they wanted more external advice or support to make informed decisions, with the same number (43%) saying they did not feel that the government offered useful advice in this area.

 “We need to make sure plans and initiatives are in place so SMEs can fully realise the growth opportunities provided by energy efficiency. The survey shows many SMEs often aren’t able to achieve their full energy saving potential without some support, whether that is financial or general advice. This is where we believe energy suppliers, together with government, can really help,” he added.

Achieve savings of your own with a free energy audit

As part of npower’s involvement in Convenience Store’s Pay Less, Use Less campaign, the energy company is offering six readers their very own energy audit. Plus, one lucky store will be selected to benefit from recommended energy-saving measures and see the savings add up for their business.

To enter, contact Gaelle Walker at Convenience Store with details about your story, including your annual gas and electricity usage. Email her at, or write to her at Convenience Store, William Reed Business Media, Broadfield Park, Crawley, West Sussex.