New AIB Outlook Report on Energy Efficiency in association with IGBC reveals huge potential for savings and growth in the economy
AIB is to make €100 million available for lending to enable Irish SMEs to radically lower their energy bills – and the bank will take into account the projected savings from energy efficiency projects when calculating the borrower’s repayment capacity. Qualifying customers can avail of discounted funding supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB).
The announcement today (Mon, Dec 9th) was made alongside publication of an AIB sponsored Amarach Research Report on the level of energy efficiency in businesses. The research, conducted among 451 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in partnership with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and the Irish Green Building Council, found that achieving energy efficiencies is high on the agenda of manufacturers, retailers and other business sectors.
The research shows that energy accounts for approximately 9% of operating costs in most of the businesses surveyed, with SMEs in the manufacturing area spending, on average, €114,000 on energy bills per annum; retailers spend €50,000 and other businesses spend €70,000. More than 54% of respondents expect those energy costs to rise over the next three years but there is little clarity on how they will respond. Over half the buildings SMEs operate in are 10-50 years old which generally are not energy efficient.
Chairman of the Irish Green Building Council, Prof Owen Lewis said: “AIB’s announcement of a €100 million energy efficiency fund will be a huge boost to the industry, a great help for businesses that wish to drive down their costs and will help stimulate job creation in this sector. The Irish Green Building Council aims to help promote energy efficiency uptake within Ireland and ensure that we have the skills in place to safely deliver the potential savings.”
AIB has invested in upskilling its staff in lending to the energy sector. AIB’s Energy Sector Team established earlier this year serves as a resource to which branches can refer when dealing with more complex lending proposals. Already, the bank has also rolled out detailed sector guides for branch staff to familiarise them with the issues on lending to the energy sector.