That’s according to latest figures from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), which found its Large Industry Energy Network – made up of 190 companies with annual energy bills of €1 million (£0.85m) or more – collectively avoided 327GWh of energy consumption during that period.
Its Network includes food and drink companies like Diageo and the Kerry Group, pharmachem firms like Astellas Ireland, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer as well as technology companies like Google and Microsoft.
They implemented a total of 247 energy saving projects in 2018, which helped save 65,800 tonnes of carbon emissions – equivalent to taking more than 23,000 petrol or diesel cars off the roads.
They collectively employ around 134,000 people and account for one fifth of the total primary energy use in the country.
SEAI’s annual review showed “continued improvement” in energy performance against a backdrop of business growth.
PharmaChem companies saw a 15% improvement in energy efficiency in 2018 compared to the year before while the electronics sector recorded an overall energy efficiency improvement of more than 2.7%.
More than 40% of the network members are certified to the international energy management standard, ISO 50001 and in total have achieved average annual energy performance gains of 1.8% over the last five years, delivering further savings and reductions in emissions.
Fergus Sharkey, Head of Business and Public Sector, said: “The results of this review are further evidence that investing in energy efficiency is as much a good businesses decision as it is a socially responsible one. As large energy users, the members of our network are achieving significant, long-term savings through an enhanced understanding and management of their energy needs. These businesses have an imperative to grow, so is very positive to see a decoupling of productivity and energy consumption in some sectors.
“Many of our network members have been leading the energy transformation of Irish industry for decades and are seeing the dividends of their investment in energy efficiency appear on their bottom line. This leadership provides clear case studies for other businesses to follow and has also built a hugely experienced and valuable Irish supply chain that can help execute these projects.”