A new project has been launched to promote energy efficiency in the European textile sector, following on from a similar initiative that tackled the issue at clothing manufacturers.

The 'Save Energy in Textile SMEs' (SET) project is part of Energy Made-to-Measure campaign launched by the European Apparel and Textile Confederation (Euratex). It will run until 2016, with the aim of helping more than 300 textile companies, especially SMEs, to become more energy efficient.

The scheme will initially focus on seven countries - Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal and Romania - which between them account for 55% of the EU's textile companies.

Among its aims are developing Energy Saving and Efficiency Tools (ESET) for SMEs, with on-site training and assistance for 150 companies. Another 350 firms will be helped to evaluate their production processes and make investments to increase energy efficiency.

The SET initiative follows on from the SESEC (Sustainable Energy Saving for the European Clothing Industry) project, which was supported in eight EU Member States and came to an end this month.

The SESEC project helped more than 50 firms across Europe in their energy efficiency measures, including special software tools to help clothing companies understand re-think their energy spending, as well as the use of buildings, heating systems, ventilation and electricity. 

Among the achievements listed, Italian producer Canali SpA identified opportunities to optimise its thermal and electric consumption; in Bulgaria, Kris Fashion identified a potential saving of 10-15% in its annual energy consumption; and Portuguese sportswear firm Damel identified savings of up to 5% in electricity and up to 3% in thermal energy through changes to its lighting, variable speeds in production machines, and insulation.

An analysis of real-time energy consumption data in its machinery helped German producer Marc Cain identify new operating rules for electric machines with an average saving of 10% in fuel consumption. It has also identified a possible reduction in machinery stand-by time with potential electricity savings of up to 20%.