Companies operating on very tight margins should look towards reducing their energy costs and inject the savings into critical operational areas. That was the clear message emanating from an energy forum organised by Shannon Chamber in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland and Clare Energy at Shannon Airport.
The forum, which drew a large attendance from companies throughout the area, also highlighted the fact that, after salaries, energy is a company’s highest expense. However, through careful examination of their energy footprint, companies can initiate savings of the order of forty per cent.
Encouraging companies to appoint energy champions and to ensure that each employee buys into the concept of energy conservation, keynote speaker Kathleen O’Rourke from Enterprise Ireland stressed the importance of companies looking towards green competitiveness and improving their environmental management programmes.
Explaining that Enterprise Ireland has a number of programmes to enable companies attain green competitiveness, Ms O’Rourke highlighted the benefits accruing to changing internal practices: “One engineering company saved over €20,000 on its energy bill, and another, €19,000 on water, transport and energy costs through initiating Enterprise Ireland’s GreenStart project, which supports companies towards the costs of hiring an external consultant to assist in the preparation of a basic environmental management system. A food company saved over €400,000 as a result of achieving ISO 50001 and a construction company saved over €30,000 (25% on water, 23% on fuel, 33% on electricity and 50% on waste) and was successful in two large tenders as a result of achieving ISO 14001.”
Commenting on the outcome of the Energy Forum, Shannon Chamber’s chief executive Helen Downes said: “It was a very effective way of bringing a mix of large and small companies together to discuss an issue that so impinges on operating costs. We hope that an increasing number of companies will link with Enterprise Ireland and Clare Energy and avail of a level and type of support best suited to their particular energy reduction needs.”