[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.

[103] Towards a culture of efficiency

The obvious question arising from this report is ‘how can companies create an energy-saving culture?’

Scott Stiner, CEO & President of UM Technologies, suggests five ways to encourage energy conservation among employees:

  • Prepare an energy-saving policy or programme that is easy to understand
  • Define strong strategies and clear goals
  • Invest in employee education
  • Encourage, incentivise and reward their energy-saving actions
  • Monitor and report on progress.

In short, this list reads like the basic principles of energy management.

[102] The game of energy efficiency

Since this tweet, gamification – the use of game design elements in non-game contexts – is being increasingly seen as a way to enhance energy efficiency by driving customer engagement and energy-related behaviour change.

Benchmarking relies on metering, but equally important is the provision feedback to energy users in understandable terms. And it’s important to have a feedback screen that is highly visible compared to the meter in the cellar.

When applying gamification to residential consumers, such feedback could be combined with customised energy saving advice.

[96] Beyond technico-economic analysis

The reason why the classic ‘technico-economic’ approach is not working optimally is because investments in energy efficiency result in more than a reduction of energy consumption. They also lead to a variety of non-energy benefits.

These include improved product quality, reduced production time, improved health and well-being, reduced environmental footprint etc.

Integrating the multiple energy and non-energy benefits of energy efficiency significantly improves the business case of energy-efficiency investments in the business sector by raising their strategic and financial attractiveness.

[87] Demographics

Energy consumption is the result of many factors, such as design, maintenance, user behaviour and weather patterns, to name a few. Some of these are within our control, others aren’t.

Especially demographic trends, such as population growth, smaller family units and ageing populations have a tendency to increase the amount of energy services we consume.

All the more reason to pursue cost-effective technical measures to save energy wherever we can.