I’ve been deep in analysis of comments from SMEs on the topic of energy recently and came across a comment that made me think. The comment stated that an enterprise tended to focus on actions that bring about productivity rather than energy savings. This got me thinking – do energy saving actions increase productivity in the workplace? And perhaps the core of this question is – what is productivity?


Putting aside that productivity is more than likely filled with meaning dependent on the type of organisation, the person doing the defining etc. A generalised definition that is useful as a working definition could be thought of as ‘the rate of output related to the unit of input’. Energy could be conceptualised as an input – although maybe not an input that is as expensive as others. Nonetheless, it is hard not to include energy for consideration in the wider thoughts on productivity.
This brings me to another question – how do owners of SMEs conceptualise energy? Or perhaps the question might be – do owners of SMEs think about energy, and if so, how?


In analysing the responses in a recent survey on SMEs and energy I have developed a schema of various ways in which SME owners think about energy – this is still draft at the moment and am happy to receive comments! Most of the responses sit in the top two quadrants – “frugal” and “do more with less,” meaning that the relationship between the enterprise and the energy that it uses is not part of the key thinking around productivity in that business. With all of the various happenings in running an enterprise I can fully understand this position. However, in the long term, it is not without ramification.

Post a comment below, I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Dr Sara Walton