Midlands businesses - complaining bitterly of higher power costs - were today accused of "frittering away" energy.
A leading Birmingham financial expert said in particular fast-expanding firms were not doing enough to control their consumption.
Growing companies used around half of the UK's business energy but were largely ignorant of incentives for becoming energy efficient, according to a survey by accountants PKF.
But, while 92 per cent have suffered rising fuel costs in the past 12 months and 56 per cent are finding it impossible to pass all of the increase on to customers, more than half (51 per cent) are not aware of the benefits available to them to utilise energy more wisely.
Toby Stephenson, partner for growing businesses at PKF in Birmingham, said: "Energy efficiency is no longer just a green issue but something all businesses should frequently review to curb the everincreasing energy burden on both their costs and the environment.
"It is clear from the survey findings that many could be doing a lot more to reduce their own energy costs and contribute to the national target for reduction in carbon emissions.
"It is worrying to find that, in spite of high levels of anxiety about rising fuel costs, 80 per cent have not considered alternative sources and over half are not aware of Government targets and benefits available to them in becoming energy efficient.
"Businesses must be encouraged to stop this 'frittering away' of energy."
Although 84 per cent of companies feel some responsibility to be more energy efficient for climate change rather than commercial reasons, the strongest motivation for improving their business' energy efficiency is the opportunity to reduce costs. Even then, nearly three quarters need to be reassured that the benefits would clearly outweigh the initial investment costs.