PINE: Promoting industrial energy efficiency in SMEs


PINE is a 3 year Intelligent Energy Europe funded project that started in March 2012. It provides funded professional energy audits to industrial manufacturing SMEs with the aim of implementing energy efficiency measures. 

Results and impacts

PINE’s expected results are:

  • 280 preliminary audits will be carried out during the scouting phase, leading to 140 full audits in the proper auditing phase. All will benefit from the guide on energy audits produced within the project partnership, presenting a common methodology and common tools to guide the work of auditors and scouts.
  • The uptake by SMEs of cost-effective measures, technologies and smart solutions and increased investments to purchase highly energy-efficient equipment and machinery.
  • Cumulative investments made by European industrial SMEs in energy efficient equipment and other energy savings devices are expected to reach € 700.000.
  • PINE’s actions will lead to 2.172 toe in energy savings in SMEs benefitting from PINE’s full audits, equivalent to 3.085 toe in primary energy savings and 7.682 t CO2e reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Aims and objectives of this sustainable energy action

PINE aims to increase energy efficiency in industrial SMEs by establishing a cross-sector, large-scale system that is based on auditing schemes and the subsequent provision of professional technical advice for the implementation of customised measures. The long-term goal is to create a self-sustaining model, capable of continuing and expanding project-specific measures beyond the project’s lifetime.

The project comprises 3 main stages:

1 - The Model

The project partners defined a common model for the preliminary audits and full audits. The model includes a set of benchmarks, calculation tools for operation units, industrial plants and pay-back period, checklists for scouts and auditors structured to be easily replicable also in countries which are not involved in the project.

The model respects standards such as the Energy Management Systems, the Energy Audit schemes in phase of standardisation from CEN and the other existing European standards on energy audits. In addition, the PINE model has been adapted to the economic and legal peculiarities of each country (mainly concerning local energy prices and public support to energy audit in SMEs). A guidebook and auditing tools have been developed to provide scouts and auditors with an extremely practical and focused tool kit for the implementation of energy audits.

2 - Scouting

Scouts will select 280 SMEs—40 enterprises in each European country are participating in the project—for the preliminary auditing phase. The preliminary audit phase will quantify the SMEs energy use, define areas of significant consumption, assign priorities and identify the SMEs that need a full energy audit. This first step audit will identify potential for action and willingness to implement the system on their premises.

3 - Auditing

Among the SMEs participating in the preliminary audit phase, 140 SMEs—20 enterprises per each European country participating in the project—will be selected to benefit from a full energy audit. The energy audit service will be conducted by professional technical experts to understand the energy consuming systems and gain an insight into short and long-term energy consumption patterns in processes and infrastructure. At the end of the audit, a technical report will be given to each enterprise including measures suitable for short-term implementation, low investments and those for medium-long term implementation with more substantial investments. Auditors will also support companies in overcoming technical, economical, organisational and legal issues that could impede the implementation of the measures suggested.

Technical and financial implementation

PINE is co-funded (75% contribution) by the IEE Programme and addresses the 10.1.2 SAVE – Industrial excellence in energy priority. No other financing support from public bodies was needed.

Lessons learnt

From the beginning PINE developed a common model for both the preliminary and the full audit. Project aims and opportunities will be disseminated amongst SMEs and 280 selected SMEs will benefit from a preliminary energy audit. During September 2013 the stakeholder partners implemented the scouting phase with the support of the technical partners. After this the most suitable SMEs will be selected—140 full energy audits will be implemented by the technical partners.

Some barriers were encountered during the SME selecting phase—Stakeholder partners met with some difficulties in recruiting the target number of SMEs because the current economic crisis made it difficult to investment and to access loans.

How this action could be replicated

PINE was designed to be easily replicated without public funding. In the later stages of the project, the partnership will use the experience accrued during the development of the model to outline a business plan. This will be used in the post-project period to establish a self-sustaining system based on a saving-sharing model—a system suitable for replication also in other countries—further multiplying PINE’s energy-saving impact in years to come.

Contact details

AREA Science Park, Trieste (Italy)

European coordinator


Phone: +39 040 375 5268