Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) could save close to half of their utility costs if they use energy-efficient appliances, according to an audit commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
This was revealed during a presentation on the key findings of the audit at a training for MSMEs on energy and resource efficiency across six districts in Ghana. The audit approach involved a walk-through and patterns analyses of utility usage and waste generation by 15 selected businesses including manufacturing MSMEs and hotels across six selected districts.
The recommendations for the MSMEs include the need to install photo sensors to control compound lights, as almost all facilities audited have manually operated compound or outside lights which are kept on for several hours. Use of efficient water closet (WC) systems will also help the MSMEs reduce water utility costs.
For instance, the audit recommendations suggest the use of a WC system with at least six cisterns capacity. This is because, it was noted that most of the facilities use high water volume WC systems with high litre cistern capacities ranging from 22, 18, 16 to 12.
The energy and resource efficiency training falls under UNDP’s inclusive integrated MSMEs support programme for six districts, seeking to support the Government of Ghana’s Covid-19 recovery efforts. The programme, which is building on previous MSMEs interventions in the districts, is providing support in three specific areas. These involve business development services including good corporate governance, mentorship, and access to finance; increased citizens’ engagements to prevent radicalization; and the energy and resource efficiency capacity enhancement.
Speaking at the energy and resource efficiency training, Head of Environment and Climate at UNDP, Stephen Kansuk emphasised the importance of the integrated MSMEs support programme.
“The interventions are expected to facilitate skills upgrading, encourage innovation and targeted investments to create jobs, decent employment, and income. This is to unleash the potential of women and youth-led MSMEs to drive a sustained economic recovery that is greener and more inclusive”, noted Mr. Kansuk.
Mr Oscar Amonoo-Neizer, the Executive Secretary of the Energy Commission of Ghana encouraged MSMEs to ensure the prudent use of energy and resources in their establishments. He urged them to serve as energy and resource managers to conduct walk-through energy and resource audits on regular basis to conserve energy and save costs.
“Most small businesses and hotels for example spend about 60-70 percent of their operating costs on energy and resources. They need to adopt best energy and resource use practices to reduce costs, increase revenue generation, and the capacity to withstand future challenges,” he noted.
About 600 participants are benefiting from the energy and resource efficiency training. These are selected from the six targeted districts including Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Ketu South Municipal Assembly, Sefwi Wiawso Municipal Assembly, Jomoro Municipal Assembly, Sagnarigu District Assembly and Kassena–Nankana West District Assembly. The training is also being supported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Ghana.
“I didn’t know that I can reduce the amount of energy I use in my business but now I know. I will invest in energy-efficient appliances that will help me minimize my production cost”, noted Voicelyn Deladem Quao, CEO of Refined Reveal Enterprise, producers of cosmetic products in the Volta Region.
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