Around 10,000 companies in Switzerland are deemed to be major energy consumers, using more than 0.5 GWh of electricity or more than 5 GWh of thermal energy each year. For most of these company, energy efficiency is of no strategic importance. The way in which they manage their energy use also reflects this. Often, energy management is limited to analysing their own energy consumption and to calculating the costs and savings of any efficiency measures. It has little impact on investment decisions, however. Another factor is that those in charge of energy management often lack the resources to measure whether or not the projects that have been implemented actually generate the anticipated savings. So how can energy and climate policy help to ensure that top managers pay greater attention to energy efficiency? Firstly, in target agreements with businesses it can demand greater progress on efficiency as a condition for exemption from the CO2 levy. Secondly, it can back these agreements up with more information, more education and training, and more specialist advice, to raise awareness of energy management in business and to equip it with a better rationale and better tools. Thirdly, it can become actively involved in continuing an objective debate about higher energy-related taxes and further regulations, such as mandatory energy audits for major consumers.
What is the function and importance of energy management in companies which consume large amounts of energy? What drives this energy management system? What are the decision-making processes that lead to investments in energy efficiency? And what impact does energy management have on these processes? As part of National Research Programme NRP 71 INFRAS, the University of Neuchâtel and Impact Energy looked in to these issues, surveying more than 300 major energy-users and backing up their findings with more in-depth interviews (with 26 companies) and case studies (covering five companies). If you would like to know more, please visit the National Research Programme NRP 71 project website, or download the management summary and the main report here.