Energy saving potential in the small business service sector: case study Telheiras neighborhood, Portugal

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Studies on the service sector in the European Union have identified an economic saving potential between 20 and 30% of current energy consumption, which remains mostly untapped. Although the topic of energy efficiency has been explored in depth before, there is little organized information about service activities and especially about small business, despite its importance in energy consumption. In Portugal, the service sector is responsible for 12% of final energy and 35% of electricity consumption, half of which by small and medium enterprises. This research explores the energy saving potential in the small business service sector at the local scale. The selected case study was Telheiras, a neighborhood of Lisbon, where 47 establishments, out of a universe of 107, were subject to energy audits. The following activities were covered: retail, food services, health and beauty, print shops, and associations. The energy audits indicated an average savings potential of 27% of current energy consumption, with payback time under 3 years, at the cost of 13 €/MWh saved; and a savings potential of 32% of consumption, with payback under 6 years, at 19 €/MWh saved (far below market electricity prices). The main driver for action is the need to cut costs. Main barriers are insufficient knowledge, low priority given to energy, and funding difficulties. The approach to a whole neighborhood proved effective in promoting dialogue with business managers. The introduction of an energy audit program operating at the local scale could provide the needed support for the adoption of energy efficiency measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-569
Number of pages19
JournalEnergy Efficiency
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • Drivers and barriers
  • Energy efficiency
  • Local case study
  • Service and commerce sector
  • Small and medium enterprises


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