[114] Adopt wide system boundaries

The energy savings potential of systems is as large, and sometimes much larger, than the energy savings at product level. Therefore, efficiency gains for a subsystem can produce much bigger gains at the system level, especially if the subsystem is situated near the end of the energy supply chain.

For example, if a pumping system has an overall efficiency of 20%, every kWh saved at the output will save 5 kWh at the input.

Of course, a better approach is to optimise the entire system [52, 88] – which is not always possible – or even better, to rethink the whole system [140] – which is even rarer.

[113] Deeper time perspectives please

Both for energy efficiency and for many forms of renewable energy, the major part of the financial effort is situated in the initial investment, which is then paid back over the years. Making lifecycle costing into a standard practice for energy related investments would therefore stimulate the energy transition.

And more generally, the energy transition moves the energy system from being primarily fuel-based to a mixed basis of fuel and capital. In such a context, lowest-first-cost is not a good idea, as it will increase system costs.

Let’s avoid turning capital goods into consumables, and pay attention to durability and circularity.

[112] The baseline will always be imperfect

True! Here’s a counterfactual that is particularly difficult to grasp in its entirety:

Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is projected to cause about 250,000 additional deaths per year from heat stress, malnutrition and the spread of infectious diseases.

World Health Organisation

[111] Europe’s biggest energy & carbon saving potential

An increasing trend in energy management is the adoption of cloud-based energy management software. Such a cloud-based system can offer increased flexibility, greater capacity and high scalability, while reducing IT expenses.

The challenge is no longer the availability of data. Metering devices and sensor technology have provided us with a deluge of data. It is now a matter of converting these data into key performance indicators [38] as well as turning it into actionable knowledge.

[110] A well-managed organisation

Top-level commitment is not only a necessary condition for energy management (ISO 50001). It equally applies to other issues in the ISO management suite, such as the famous ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment), ISO 26000 (social responsibility), ISO 45001 (occupational health and safety) and ISO 55001 (asset management).

While the initial investment to become an ISO organisation can be significant, there is a substantial learning effect to adopt subsequent standards beyond quality.