Energy Efficiency in SMEs



Start date 2012-01-01

End date 2020-02-29

Recent developments

Annex XVI was granted a continuation in May 2017 by the ExCo and started two new Tasks in January 2018. One article – Designing Policies and Programmes for Improved Energy Efficiency in Industrial SMEshas been published and is available by open access at MDPI. Another paper – A review of energy efficiency policies for manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises from around the World – was presented at the recent ACEEE Conference 2019 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry.

This Annex started in 2012 and the first four Tasks were concluded in 2015. Four articles were published and are available together with more information about the initial scope.

Annex Members

  • Sweden
  • Colombia (sponsor)
  • Norway
  • Germany
  • Ireland (sponsor)
  • Italy (sponsor)
  • Japan (sponsor)

Annex Manager

Professor Patrik Thollander, Division of Energy Systems, Linköping University, Sweden

Task Managers

Task 1: Clemens Rohde

Task 2: Osamu Kimura


Much attention, both research and policy-wise, has been raised towards energy-intensive industries, while non-energy-intensive and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have received less despite the larger relative energy efficiency potential spotted compared to the energy-intensive sector. There is a great need to conduct research and development on non-energy-intensive and SME industry, in particular on design and adoption of energy policies and implementation of energy efficiency studies.

As regards the definition of energy intensity it will be defined as a company with energy costs in relation to the added value of more than three percent. The whole Annex may be seen as an extension of a previous Annex where comparative studies of energy end-use, energy efficiency measures and its potentials, policies, methods and tools for e.g. energy auditing and energy management, as well as and energy services, were studied.

The current Annex aims to continue the previous Annex with major emphasis on one of the major energy efficiency improvement methods for industrial SMEs, energy efficiency networks, and focus on scientific publications.

The definition of an SME

This Annex will be using the common definition of an SME in accordance with the EU Commission s definition:

Enterprise that employ fewer than 250 persons and have an annual turnover not exceeding 50 million, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding 43 million

This study however makes the following exceptions from the EU definition:
  • Only SMEs with more than 10 employees are included
  • Only industrial manufacturing SMEs are included

Objectives and scope

The objective of this Annex is to enhance practical and scientific knowledge of improved energy end-use in industrial SMEs, through specific studies of:

  • Energy end-use efficiency policies with emphasis on energy efficiency networks towards industrial SMEs
  • Review of scientific publications towards industrial SMEs

This Annex will strongly facilitate international cooperation and networking within this field. The scope is energy end-use efficiency improvement in industrial SMEs, using the previously outlined definition of industrial SMEs. Energy efficiency and, energy efficiency improvements are defined as (COM, 2006):

  • Energy efficiency as: A ratio between an output of performance, service, goods or energy, and an input of energy
  • Energy efficiency improvements as: An increase in energy end-use efficiency as a result of technological, behavioral and/or economic Changes

Current Tasks

The objectives shall be achieved by performing two Tasks. The Task structure forms a common path for the Annex participants. Each Task will build on national projects that are brought together to a collaborative work which forms the total Annex scope.

Task V: Energy end-use efficiency policies towards industrial SMEs with emphasis on energy efficiency networks

  • Overview of energy end-use policies and programs in the participating country including subsidies, administrative polices, energy audit checks, investment funds, networks, general information campaigns including self-scanning, and benchmarking methods, i.e. possibility for SMEs to compare their energy use
  • Feedback and outcomes. Overview of the experience, e.g. difficulties met during implementation of the program/policy with major emphasis on energy efficiency networks.

Task VI: Review of scientific publication on energy end-use efficiency and industrial SMEs

  • Literature review of policy programs and industrial SMEs
  • Literature review of barriers to and drivers for energy efficiency and SMEs


The deliverables in the project will be the following:

  1. Policy recommendations and how countries should approach and work with industrial SMEs in regard to improving energy efficiency, including an overview of policies and programs, and the outcome of these policies and programs.
    Deadline June 30st, 2018, February 27st, 2019
  2. Major conclusions on successful SME policies and programs (delivered via Scientific publication on policies)
    Deadline Feb 27st, 2019
  3. Major conclusions on major barriers towards energy efficiency in SME (delivered via Scientific publication on barriers and drivers)
    Deadline Feb 27st, 2019
  4. Summary and major findings of the Annex results to be freely disseminated including recommendation for future research and developments.
    Deadline August 31st, 2019
  5. Proceedings/summaries of workshops.
  6. Executive project summaries presented to the IEA IETS Executive Committee.
  7. Newsletters presented at the IEA IETS homepage.

Previous description and work


Task 1

Task 2

Task 3

Task 4

Information about the initial scope and outcome of this Annex