Energy efficiency within companies

Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) – German Energy Agency helps companies to become more energy-efficient. A well-conceived energy management system, the use of modern technology and individual refurbishment roadmaps

for the company properties cut the costs and safeguard the long-term competitiveness of businesses.

Statistics & facts

Appr 36 %
of the energy consumption
in all buildings in Germany is caused by non-residential buildings.
44 %
is the share
of energy consumption in Germany accounted for by industry, trade, commerce and service.
By 30 %
of their energy consumption
can be saved by companies through the introduction of typical energy efficiency measures.
200 %
is the
rate at which energy costs have risen in the last 15 years.

Exploiting savings potential in businesses


Energy efficiency and climate policies are increasingly important issues for companies. dena develops strategies and initiates pilot projects to help companies systematically leverage their efficiency potentials and hence cut energy costs.

Industry and commerce, retail and services accounted for 44 percent of German energy consumption in 2014. This metric emphasises that the Federal Government’s energy transition cannot be achieved unless the industrial sector contributes. Large and small companies face numerous challenges. First, they are required to satisfy a variety of requirements based on statutory provisions. Secondly, they are compelled to act strategically in order to exploit the opportunities of the energy transition and its implications for the energy system. Last but not least it is also a question of remaining competitive and paying attention to current developments within digitalisation.

Energy efficiency is becoming an economic driver of competitiveness

Energy costs are an important factor: last year the prices of electricity, natural gas and heating oil rose by 160 to 490 percent in the industrial sector. Moreover, for instance, around 80 percent of retail buildings in Germany were built before 1978, therefore before the first structural specifications for thermal insulation were introduced. This means the majority of buildings are not state-of-the-art in terms of energy efficiency. It is therefore essential for companies to identify energy savings potential in their own organisations and to implement suitable efficiency measures accordingly. Reducing the internal costs for energy and resources in companies will become a key determinant of competitiveness in the years ahead. But despite ongoing efforts to increase energy efficiency, industry, trade and commerce in Germany are still neglecting to exploit the full potential. 

dena demonstrates the benefits of modern technologies

Small and medium-sized enterprises in particular shy away from these necessary investments, although they are generally recouped within just a few years. Moreover, these businesses frequently possess insufficient background knowledge on potential savings and how they can be exploited. This is why dena has developed pilot projects in which it cooperates with the companies to prepare strategies and concepts that could inspire other stakeholders in the respective industries to follow:“Energy-efficient tradefor businesses in the hotel industry” and“Check-in Energy Efficiencyfor Hotels and Hostels.” Companies looking to locate experts for energy efficiency who  perceive the building and its extensive technical facilities as a holistic system will find over 1,000 suitable candidates nationwide in the Database of Energy Efficiency Experts. Moreover, dena helps companies to present themselves as pioneers in the use of efficiency technology by rewarding their exemplary projects with the Energy Efficiency Award.

Potential savings for fuels and electricity applications

Fuel use offers companies the greatest potential to achieve savings. Through implementing energy efficiency measures that turn a profit in less than three years, it is possible to reduce final energy consumption for process heating by 42TWh by 2020. They include integral process and system optimisation, improved use of waste heat and reduction in thermal dissipation through better insulation on heating systems and processes. Installing more efficient heating systems, for instance condensing boilers, and more energy-efficient optimisation of building envelopes and technology can save another 11TWh in room heating and hot water. In total, roughly 25TWh can be reduced in electrical applications through the use of highly efficient motors and modern technologies for lighting and information and communications technology systems (ICT), as well as the energy-efficient optimisation of pneumatic equipment, pumps and ventilation systems.

Identifying and analysing individual needs

Companies looking to exploit the specific savings potential in their own organisations are advised to begin with an assessment of their current condition, an identification of requirements and an analysis of energy efficiency. There are purposeful organisational measures that can be implemented in this context, for instance an energy audit or involvement in an energy efficiency network. dena advises companies to focus their attention on specific areas:

energy management

Company energy management systematically records the energy consumption and costs within a company. Establishing this kind of management system helps to continuously improve energy performance at many levels of the company and hence to sustainable reduce the energy costs.

Process and room heat management

Non-residential buildings must be viewed as holistic energy-saving systems. The provision, distribution and use of heat in particular must be structured along energy-efficiency lines in order to leverage this savings potential. Indeed, substantial energy savings are possible by applying an integrated approach, for instance by modernising inefficient heat production units and exploiting waste heat.

Use of more energy-efficient technologies

Besides the machines and systems specifically needed in production, most companies will also operate a wide variety of other technologies. In many cases there is significant energy saving potential in cross-sector technologies in especially, which include motors and drive units, pneumatic systems, air conditioning systems and lighting systems. Frequently they can be exploited using inexpensive measures or investments that are recouped quickly.

Our projects

Flagships for waste heat

The project "Flagships of Energy-Efficient Waste Heat Use" intends to make visible the significant energy-efficiency potential through the avoidance and utilisation of waste heat — thereby motivating companies in all industries to tap into this potential.


  • Starting year of the project: 2016
  • Number of participants: dena will provide comprehensive assistance to up to 10 companies, which will be presented as flagship projects in public relations campaigns.
  • Duration of the project: 2 years
  • Objective: Process consulting and funding advice for 10 flagship projects for the energy-efficient use of waste heat; presentation in public relations campaigns