Energy efficiency in SMEs: overcoming the communication barrier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article discusses ineffective knowledge and information communication as an important barrier to improving energy efficiency in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and considers how to make functional communication an enabler of future SME energy-efficiency programmes. Energy audits – important tools when addressing energy efficiency in companies – are often performed by professionals with an engineering background, which does not reflect the backgrounds of those receiving the audit, inhibiting the interpretation of those audits. SMEs must actively process the information, and their employees must be able to connect the information to existing knowledge. We analysed two methods used by Swedish municipal energy-efficiency programmes to improve energy efficiency in SMEs. The results indicate that in the programme providing SMEs with third-party information, but without any possibility to process the information, the energy-efficiency results were poor, while in the programme in which SMEs were actively engaged in all stages and could discuss problems and results with peers, the energy-efficiency results were better. In implementing SME energy-efficiency programmes, municipalities should avoid simply offering audits. Instead, they should find methods that facilitate knowledge creation among the participants, allowing the participating SMEs to share experience and knowledge with one another and with experts, and to take home ideas, testing them in their own contexts, and communicating their experiences. This would be a way to make communication an enabler rather than a barrier.


External organisations
  • Linköping University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Computer and Information Science


  • Barriers, Communication, Energy-efficiency programme, Knowledge creation, SME
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy Efficiency
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 15
Publication categoryResearch