Evaluation of energy consulting for SMEs

Evaluation of the ‘middle class energy consultation’ funding scheme


Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

Duration January 2014 bis October 2014


The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs has been supporting energy consulting for SMEs since 2008, initially through the ‘Special fund for SME energy efficiency’, and, since 2012, through the ‘Energy consulting for SMEs’ programme. In 2010 IREES worked with Fraunhofer ISI on an evaluation of the special fund. In 2014 the institutes were commissioned to evaluate the follow-on programme.

The programme funds qualified independent energy consultants to overcome information deficits in SMEs and to identify energy efficiency potential. Initial and detailed consultations were funded until the end of 2014. Until then, the programme was carried out by KfW, which also provided interested companies with an online Consultancy Fair which continued until mid-2015. In January 2015 the programme was taken over by the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control.

Project goals and results

The aim of the evaluation was to monitor the success of the programme run by KfW until the end of 2014, including the achievement of targets, its impact and its cost effectiveness. The results were used as input for specific recommendations for action. The evaluation was carried out from the point of view of the funded enterprises, the regional partners, the energy efficiency consultants and a control group.

Tasks of IREES

  • Besides an evaluation of the application data of the funded enterprises, 100 initial and detailed consulting reports were analysed, covering quality criteria, proposed measures and their cost effectiveness. An online survey was carried out among regional partners, energy efficiency consultants and funded enterprises, as well as a control group of enterprises not in receipt of funding. Energy savings from measures implemented were recorded from the statements of the funded enterprises interviewed and the consultation reports and compared to the statements of the control group. The results were projected onto the whole target group reached by the programme, enabling statements to be made on the impact of the funding and the cost effectiveness of the programme in terms of energy savings, CO2 emissions avoided and investments initiated. Recommendations for action relate to the development of the content and instruments of the programme, taking current EU requirements for energy audits as per EED Article 8 and Annex VI into account.

Project partner

  • Fraunhofer ISI


Dr. Jan Steinbach
Dr. Jan Steinbach