The attention towards the topic of reducing the energy expenditures has dramatically grown in recent crisis times that have forced firms to reduce them. This reduction in energy expenditures of a firm can be pursued through a wise energy procurement (we can call it “administrative energy efficiency”), thus with a reduction in the specific cost of energy (both electricity and other energy sources). But, the highest effective saving — for the whole system — would come from a direct reduction of the consumption, thus increasing the so-called “operational energy efficiency”, the unique true energy efficiency, implying the effort of the whole firm, since it requires a lower and wiser use of energy, and new and more efficient technologies. It is quite diffused the perception that governments are now taking measures to reach a common and more efficient environmental and energetic policy, but the effort is still not sufficient. The attention has obviously been paid towards the industrial sector, that covers about 30% of the consumption, second just after transportation: since now several actions have been taken to achieve the energy performance of buildings, but very few in the operations. Furthermore, it should be clear that to be really effective in this field governments should focus their attention on Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs), usually less efficient than Large Enterprises (LEs), since SMEs represent the vast majority of the total number of industries and cover a consistent share of the energy consumption of a whole domestic industrial sector. This paper aims at providing an overview of the most effective interventions for reducing energy consumption in industrial operations that have been successfully implemented in a large number of case studies investigated in North America and Europe. The paper provides different scenarios according to the implementation of those interventions, characterized all by being Best Available Technologies and Practices, showing the impact on the energy consumption for a set of Italian industrial districts. The final results show that, under certain assumptions, the financial support of the most effective interventions eventually provided by governments’ energy efficiency policies, would lead to a widespread increase of the overall energy efficiency of a district with strong benefits for the whole industrial system.

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