Coordinated by ENEA, LEAP4SME aims to support Member States in establishing or improving effective policies for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to undergo energy audits and implement cost-effective, recommended energy-saving measures through identifying the barriers for unlocking energy efficiency measures, mobilising private stakeholders, and proposing effective solutions to realise both energy and non-energy benefits.

The challenge

SMEs are the backbone of Europe’s economy and play a fundamental role in world economies. Their energy consumption, although relatively low at individual level, is high when considered collectively.

According to IEA analysis, SMEs account for at least 13% of global final energy consumption annually (74 EJ) – about one third of the industry and services energy demand.

The unlocked energy savings that could be achieved in SMEs with existing best available technologies and practices is up to 30%.

Energy efficiency actions lead to energy savings that have a positive economic impact on the SMEs and a series of indirect benefits such as reduction of waste generation, water consumption, GHG emissions and an improvement of the working environment.

The barriers

The lack of expertise, time and resources, together with a shortage of specific and tailor-made energy efficiency policy targeting SMEs, often prevents them from carrying out proper energy audits and adopting energy conservation measures.

In addition, where policies do exist, there are difficulties in reaching SMEs due to their high heterogeneity both in size and sector (about 25 million SMEs in Europe), or there is a lack of awareness of the investment opportunities for SMEs.

Our approach

LEAP4SME aims to support policy makers build the effective policies necessary to facilitate energy efficiency in SMEs.


Through the assessment and development of proper schemes for energy audits. By understanding the key energy needs of SMEs and the existing barriers that block the path to energy efficiency, LEAP4SME will provide effective, relevant advice to national bodies.

The result?

Energy audit policies that are good for the environment and great for business.


  • Identify main barriers for unlocking the potential of energy efficiency measures through energy audit recommendations.
  • Propose solutions for policy makers for energy efficiency schemes with energy and non-energy benefits.
  • Mobilise and inform private stakeholders of existing opportunities, facilitating discourse with policy makers.
  • Research, analyse and involve stakeholders in the current debate for a new definition for SMEs within Article 8 of the Energy Efficiency Directive.

More about LEAP4SME