The energy sector is at the heart of several of the most important issues affecting humanity today. The increase in energy prices and cost of living crisis, combined with the ongoing climate emergency and the global response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has provoked a huge re-evaluation of our use of energy on both a political and individual level.
While cutting back on energy usage is fast becoming an unavoidable necessity, from a commercial perspective this can be a particularly complicated ask. Businesses operating large and often complex multi-site structures need to take a more holistic approach to managing the quantity and type of energy they use, and an increasing number are turning to energy management specialists for help.
The energy management sector as a whole is stable; a recent analysis by Plimsoll, assessing the financial health of over 700 companies operating within it, has rated over half as “strong” or “good”. The last few years have seen average values up by more than 4%. But a few key areas are seeing particular success. Companies specializing in the implementation of building energy management systems, for example, are thriving, with growth above 4% year on year and 13 firms growing by more than 10% over the latest financial year.
These figures are not all attributable to the events of the last months, however. The sector has long been anticipating the need for innovation and investing in new technology to help customers keep up with ambitious sustainability targets, particularly with regard to carbon management. Companies providing services in this area specifically saw an average growth of over 9% in the latest year.
The Covid-19 pandemic also had a lasting impact on energy management. Workplace hygiene and employee wellbeing have been brought to the forefront of public attention due to the events of the last two years, and an increasing number of businesses operating offices or other commercial spaces have been looking to take advantage of energy management systems that can integrate into heating, ventilation, lighting and even water safety devices.
We have already seen significant advances in building energy management systems, with the integration of specialized software allowing for fully integrated and smart solutions in both residential and commercial settings. This will likely be developed even further using data from smart systems to inform future building energy management projects aimed at reducing costs and optimizing sustainability.
Implementing systems and processes aimed at reducing carbon footprint has long been high on the agenda for many companies, with many already committed to “net-zero” targets and many others looking to follow suit in future. The UK has a leading number of certified B Corporations or “B Corps” – companies certified as having high social and environmental standards. In order to achieve this status, a complete and forward-thinking approach to energy management is essential, which is likely to pave the way for industries like energy consulting and building management systems to help firms understand and reach the necessary targets.
To incentivize energy efficiency, many countries – the UK included – have started to offer tax deductions or credits for the implementation of building improvements, the addition of renewable energy systems and investment in building management systems. This will undoubtedly provide a boost to the energy management sector and support a move towards more efficient energy usage in both homes and commercial settings. In order to make a lasting impact, such schemes must be able to reach as many businesses and communities as possible, especially those for whom the latest technology and energy management services may not have been previously accessible.
As well as increasing investment across the renewable energy sector, we may also see greater collaboration between key energy players. Strategic partnerships involving energy providers, engineers and software specialists could be a further driving force behind a move towards more sustainable energy use.
Between the drive towards net zero, geopolitical shifts and the strong potential for new energy efficiency legislation, there is plenty of new ground for energy consulting. The increased interest in energy management is likely to spur growth in the near future. But how the various areas of the sector manage to keep this up long-term remains to be seen. In some industries, we may start to see acquisitions as industry leaders fight to maintain their position; areas with a greater proportion of start-ups or privately-owned consultancies are likely to see the bulk of this activity. Plimsoll has attributed an “acquisition attractiveness” ranking to each company in their analysis: already 26 energy efficiency consultants and 19 carbon management specialists have been flagged as “highly attractive” for takeover.
With pressure on both corporations and individuals around the globe to optimize their energy usage increasing by the day, now more than ever is a good time to monitor financial health across the energy management sector and to keep an eye on what the industry leaders are doing to sustain their success.
Plimsoll’s detailed analysis of key areas of the industry, with a specific focus on Energy Management, Carbon Management, Building Energy Management Systems and Energy Saving Consultants is continuously updated so that you can be among the first to spot any important changes as they happen, as well as having the ability to monitor industry trends longer term.