Companies that take energy efficiency seriously save up to three times the energy of those that don't. That's a finding of ClimateWorks Australia’s ‘Special report on factors influencing large industrial energy efficiency’. In this third and final article on the reports, we look at the special report, a snapshot of 47 large energy users on what motivates them to take up energy efficiency activities – and what holds them back.

Energy, sustainability and site managers were interviewed on their company’s energy priorities and policies and asked what led to those business decisions.

Companies report greater energy savings depending on the energy efficiency initiative used Companies report greater energy savings depending on the energy efficiency initiative used

Rising energy prices were the main incentive for energy efficiency uptake. 87 per cent of companies reported it as the main driver. Another important motivator was internal energy management practices, including good data management systems, internal business reporting practices and having the staff to manage energy use.

Another issue which came out in interviews was the priority some corporations place in managing energy-related risks and the positive perception of energy efficiency.

91 per cent of respondents said lack of internal capital was the main reason their company did not implement energy efficiency projects. They listed other major inhibiting factors as payback period, the actual cost of the opportunity and the risks associated with implementing the opportunity.

When it comes to payback periods, two years or under was the critical threshold. Also critical according to the companies was an internal culture that supports energy efficiency uptake: companies with a medium to high profitability and strong internal focus on saving energy, reported 300 per cent more energy savings than those without a culture of support for energy efficiency.

Larger energy users clearly articulated the energy efficiency practices that worked for them:

  • regular analysis of energy data as the primary driver for internal energy savings, perhaps because they could take their projects to the boss with a strong evidence base to support them
  • including energy in operational guides, templates, meetings agendas and policies, which keep energy savings front of mind for everyone, from the operations team, to the finance team and
  • having a senior executive who drives the energy management agenda from the top.

Rising energy prices have proved a highly motivating force for many large energy users. Since 2007–08 industry has implemented almostthree times more energy efficiency improvements each year.

At the same time, companies reported there were various reasons for not adopting almost two-thirds of the energy efficiency opportunities they identified through the Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) program.

For more information on the Tracking Progress research or to see the reports please go to the ClimateWorks Australia website.