Legislation targeting business carbon emissions typically excludes the significant portion of the economy comprised of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As an alternative many governments have developed voluntary programs to assist SMEs to reduce emissions and increase their energy efficiency. To maximise benefits associated with such programs, this paper seeks to provide insights into key factors contributing to the design of successful voluntary energy efficiency programs for SMEs. This is achieved by comprehensively analysing the factors that impacted the uptake of energy savings measures by 202 SMEs which participated in the ClimateSmart Business Cluster Program (commencing in 2009). Expanding on previous research that has mostly focus on identifying inhibiting factors (barriers) to the uptake of energy savings measures, this paper offers a comprehensive assessment of barriers and motivating factors (motivators). A unique finding of this research is that SMEs experienced many different barriers and motivators while participating in the program, inferring great complexity to achieving the critical aim of reducing carbon emissions. Based on these findings, this paper argues that voluntary government energy efficiency programs should be flexibly designed and implemented to accommodate the many and various barriers. Motivating factors should be emphasised and barriers identified upfront so that the program can be tailored to the often idiosyncratic needs of SMEs.
- energy efficiency
- government program
- small and medium size enterprises, (SMEs)