These new figures are based on a survey of 1,167 small businesses across the UK. The results revealed that just 21% of firms made use of energy-efficient equipment. Meanwhile 81% had no energy monitor installed and 13% admitted to leaving the windows open while air-conditioning was in use.
The survey also highlighted that businesses in the finance and professional services sectors (which includes the majority of freelancers) were unaware of the savings they could make through simple measures, such as switching computers off rather than leaving them on standby.
Iain Walker, head of business sales at E.ON, commented: “Four out of five small businesses are not aware of the significant savings that can be made by becoming more energy efficient in the workplace.
“Introducing small changes in business behaviour, like installing energy-saving equipment, light sensors and smart meters, can have a significant financial impact on your energy bills.”
In May 2011 research carried out by the Carbon Trust found that UK small businesses could save on average £2,000 by taking carbon footprint reduction and certification measures. E.ON used this figure along with their own findings to conclude that UK small businesses collectively could make savings of up to £7.7 billion by becoming more energy efficient.
However, Paul McKinney, head of advice dissemination for the Carbon Trust, said E.ON’s calculations are not conclusive as the actual amount that any business can save depends on their size and energy spend. McKinney added: “On average we find that most small and medium-sized enterprises can save up to 20 per cent through cost-effective energy-efficiency measures.”