Small businesses are an important part of our economy, yet are often overlooked by utilities for participation in energy efficiency programs. At EnergySavvy we’ve considered small-to-medium commercial and industrial utility customers to be the “forgotten middle.” According to E Source, they represent 90% of US businesses and consume about 20% of US energy, but they attract less than 4% of utility energy efficiency spending.
Small business owners often lack the time, resources, awareness, and money to participate in energy efficiency programs. Additionally, the SMB sector is extremely diverse with vast differences in industries, energy uses, savings opportunities, financial needs, languages spoken, building types, and cultures. Program managers have to take all of these variables in consideration when both marketing and designing programs to reach this audience.
According to ACEEE’s recent paper, Big Opportunities for Small Business, utilities need to develop a more personalized approach to effectively reach small to medium sized businesses. View some of the key recommendations in our infographic.
- Utilizing segmentation to tailor program offerings
- Offering zero or low interest financing for retrofits
- Offering a variety of eligible measures
- Designating a project manager for support
- Partnering with Chamber of Commerce and other local business groups