With economic conditions clearly tightening over Brexit and global trade tensions saving money and cutting costs ought to be on high on the agenda for most businesses and most households.

The issue is the focus of a two-day SEAI Energy Show at the RDS in Dublin.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) says the small and medium enterprises where 90% of us work spend €2 billion annually on energy.

It says they could easily save at least 10% of that, more than €200 million, by better managing their lighting, heating and air conditioning practices.

Switching energy provider is another easy way in which businesses tend to save on energy costs, according to a survey conducted by the SEAI.

The survey also found that the majority of small and medium businesses believe they do have a role in tackling climate change but that a lack of time and funding are the biggest obstacles preventing them from taking more action.

Only one in five businesses believe they have already done all they can to reduce energy consumption.
 

However, Chief Executive of the SEAI Jim Gannon said energy efficiency is perhaps understandably low on the priority list, with businesses more concerned about attracting customers, their competitors, and cash-flow in a challenging environment.

But he pointed out that energy efficiency and the resulting energy savings go straight to the company's bottom line and can often be achieved more easily than growing revenue.

It is worrying, he said, that up to a quarter of survey respondents say they are simply not interested in, or have not investigated in, the opportunities to be more energy efficient.

The SEAI survey found that almost 40% of organisations intend to take actions to be more energy efficient and reduce energy costs.

Nevertheless it also found that at 3%, energy and fuel costs are low on the list of issues facing businesses today relative to Brexit (10%), getting paid (8%), funding/credit (6%), competition (5%), lack of customers (5%) and cash flow (4%).