New research from Siemens suggests the UK’s manufacturing sector is rapidly turning to energy efficiency technologies to reduce costs and cut emissions, with 79% reporting energy as a business critical issue in the year ahead.

The marked change in approach is reinforced by investment sentiment with more than two thirds (68%) planning to increase their investment in energy management during the next 12 months, particularly in renewable and self-generation technologies.

According to the report: The Future of Energy: the UK Manufacturing Opportunity, the sector is making tangible progress in managing its energy consumption, with almost three quarters (72%) reporting a beneficial impact on the bottom line as a result of their efforts.

Siemens canvassed the views of board directors, senior management and energy managers from 600 UK manufacturers operating across all major sectors, revealing that energy management is now being discussed at board level in the vast majority (89%) of businesses.

The primary driver behind such activities is to achieve a competitive advantage, with the majority of manufacturers measuring the success of an energy management project against these criteria. However, some businesses still fail to recognise the financial benefits that an energy management strategy can deliver.

Commenting on the findings, Steve Barker, Head of Energy Efficiency and Environmental Care at Siemens Industry, said: ‘A significant minority of manufacturers are still struggling to recognise the benefits of a strategic approach to energy management, but often the perceived barriers to investment can be easily overcome with the right information and flexible financial support.

‘For UK industry, the challenges around managing energy consumption will only intensify in the years to come and doing nothing is not an option for businesses that want to thrive.’