These days, reducing production costs to increase competitiveness is a must. In a report titled Climate Solutions, the World Wildlife Fund notes that the world could cut its energy consumption by 40% by 2050 just by improving energy efficiency and energy conservation. But when looking for alternatives that don’t sacrifice the quality of raw materials, not many entrepreneurs realize that a change in energy policy could save them a considerable amount on their energy bills.
We’ve identified the four main barriers to companies increasing their energy efficiency. They are: Lack of information, lack of technical know-how, lack of technology, and lack of financing.
For some, the solution has been capturing the heat that the machinery gives off; for others it has been replacing air conditioning equipment or even the televisions in a hotel. In the case of Javier Sancho, the manager of corporate banking with BAC Credomatic in Costa Rica, the solution was lighting in the bank branches.
After human resources costs, BAC Credomatic’s largest expense is from electricity, mainly for lighting and air conditioning. An energy audit recommended the regular lights be replaced with LEDs, which would reduce the electric bill by 40%.
“This is a tried and true mechanism for improving a company’s competitiveness. It enables the company to be sustainable in the long term, to the benefit of not only its owners but also the community it does business with and its employees,” Sancho said.
In order to guide and advise SMEs, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) provides free energy audits through its GREENPYME initiative. The diagnoses resulting from the audits identify the changes companies can make in their energy consumption to reduce costs and increase competitiveness through good practices and investment in more efficient equipment.
The exercise involves reviewing all the facilities and equipment that consume energy to determine what can be replaced with more efficient options. It is also important to look at how current equipment can be made to consume or waste less energy. In this way, small changes can result in monthly savings for the company.
So far, GREENPYME has completed 600 free diagnostics for companies in Central America and Bolivia. If you’re interested, see our web page for more information.