Is Innovation an enabler of Energy Efficiency?
An exploratory study of the foundry sector
Andres Ramirez-Portilla, Enrico Cagno, Andrea Trianni
The 6th International Conference on Applied Energy – ICAE2014
Using innovation such as new technologies, R&D, or new processes can support Energy Efficiency (EE). Building on this idea, this paper seeks to explore whether a novel approach to foster EE in Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) includes improving the overall innovation degree through the adoption of (OI) practices. To do this, a multiple case study with ten firms in Northern Italy operating in energy-intensive industries was conducted. The paper analyses the firm’s specific energy consumption, the adoption of energy-efficient technologies, the perception of barriers to EE, and their relation with the firms’ internal innovation and OI activities. Main results show that more innovative firms, in terms of internal and inbound innovation, have better EE indicators albeit a lower adoption of energy-efficient technologies or the challenge of economic and technology barriers. Equally, medium-large firms are more innovative and have better EE performance. This study offers preliminary evidence of a relation between certain innovation practices and the rise of EE in SMEs…