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£8.8m offered to cut SME energy use

A new government initiative has provided funding for nine project ideas aimed at helping SMEs in the hospitality, retail and education sectors to slash energy use through the use of smart meters.

A new government initiative has provided funding for nine project ideas aimed at helping SMEs in the hospitality, retail and education sectors to slash energy use through the use of smart meters.

Over 11 million smart meters are now in operation in homes and small businesses but there is currently a lack of products available to help SMEs use them to the best of their potential.

The winners of the competition, who range from small energy management companies to tech giants Samsung and Toshiba, have designed smart information systems that will give SMEs real-time, tailored data on their energy use to encourage more efficiency.

Innovative solutions

The innovative products to be developed include an energy management system that will create a visual representation of energy usage for a business site, set energy budgets for individual machines and schedule workloads.

There will also be an app tailored for SMEs in hospitality such as cafes, hotels and restaurants, which will identify trends, make quick win recommendations and track their impact.

Other products will include tools such as access to a tailored marketplace for energy saving solutions, demand-side response (DSR) facilitation, staff behaviour advice and engagement tools for students in schools.

‘Rewriting the rules’

Claire Perry, minister for energy and clean growth, said: “Energy costs for businesses can be one of the hardest things to understand and control, but these projects can change that, as well as help educate the next generation in our schools on the importance of controlling our energy consumption.

“Smart meters are an opportunity for us to rewrite the rules on how we engage with the energy market and these winners will ensure that the benefits can be felt by businesses and schools as well as homes.”