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Efforts by small firms to reduce the amount of energy they use through more efficient use of printers and toner cartridges may be hampered by a lack of knowledge of their electricity usage.

A study conducted by IBM that surveyed 15,000 people across 15 countries revealed more than 30 per cent are unfamiliar with terms such as "dollars per kwh" or the local currency equivalent, while 60 per cent are not aware of the benefits of smart meters.

Michael Valocchi, vice-president of global energy and utilities industry leader for IBM Global Services, said: "There have been major strides with new energy saving technologies, new programs and incentives, but in many cases the market is seeing more confusion amongst consumers than expected."

This may mean that companies looking to improve their printing efficiency may not be able to fully realise the potential savings they can make.

Mr Valocchi said it is important people go "back to basics" and are educated about the best ways of saving energy.

Recently, it was stated by npower that 53 per cent of small enterprises in the UK have no procedures in place for monitoring their power usage.

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