Building an energy-saving community together

How actors are trained to become Trusted Partners at GEAR@SME – First training launched in Italy

Energy efficiency actions offer SMEs a number of advantages. And they are a key tool to reduce CO2 emissions as well as contributing to an effective ecological and energy transition of SMEs. SMEs and Europe have a high potential for energy savings, but often operate alone and are confronted with high barriers on their way to energy efficiency.

The GEAR@SME training course “Building the community – working together to save energy” provided trade associations in Italia tools for building a SME network to promote the exchange of experiences, good practices and facilitate the path towards energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy. The event was part of the “Roveri Energy Days” and organised by ENEA and Certimac in the framework of GEAR@SME.

“Currently, SMEs are asking a lot of questions with respect to energy supply contracts”, summarizes Francesco Baldi of GEAR@SME partner ENEA, “the reason is the higher cost of energy.” However, most SMEs do not want to invest in energy efficiency and often they have their own “good reason” not to invest, says Baldi. According to him, there are few public incentives in Italia for investing in energy efficiency and they should be communicated better by public authorities.

The discussions within the GEAR@SME training confirmed, that until now energy costs have had a limited influence on SMEs’ overall expenses, which gave them little motive to act. But due to the currently rising energy prices this is changing.

Baldi explains that there are also conflicts among SMEs due to the different quality of services received, for example energy audits. If there were standardised contracts, they could better understand and verify the quality of the services they receive.

A positive outcome of the training is that there is definitely room for testing a collective approach. If SMEs know what benefits they can expect you have a great motivation to participate.