[131] Sustainability requires long-term and system-wide thinking

And those principles serve both economic and environmental interests.

The problem is, they are easier to preach than to put into practice. It’s easier to compare two motors by their purchase price than to calculate their life cycle costs. It’s easier to regulate an individual motor as sold on the market than a motor system including the application as installed on the work floor.

That’s why we need to be relentless in repeating the benefits of those concepts, while embedding them into regulations and standards.

[128] Systems – the elusive challenge

This remains true, but the extended product approach is difficult to translate into a workable regulation. The international standard EN 61800-9 (March 2017) describes efficiency categories for the extended product level at full load and designated part load conditions. But how to organise market surveillance?

For circulator systems, Ecodesign regulation is upcoming (2020), but apart from that, regulation of the extended product approach has for now been abandoned.

A more active promotion of IEC 61800-9 could be an alternative to regulation, as well as promoting motor system efficiency via ISO 50001 on energy management and its implementation guides.

[120] Efficiency is not the only thing

There are two complementary visions for a low carbon housing future: building standards that provide thermal efficiency; and building automation and control systems that add smartness. Both share a perception of occupants as preoccupied primarily with cost and aesthetics, deficient in knowledge and environmental concern, and thus unable/unwilling to accept any change in lifestyle. Reducing energy use can thus only be achieved as passively as possible or with fully automated systems.

This narrow vision is much questioned nowadays. Material aspects are complemented by social insights into how we live in our homes – enter sociocultural sciences in energy policy design.

[115] Thinking big means thinking wide

Decarbonising the existing, highly inefficient European building stock is one of the long-term goals of the European Commission. The recently revised directive on the energy performance of buildings (EPBD) improves energy efficiency in buildings and encourages building renovation. It promotes cost-effective renovation work, introduces a smartness indicator for buildings, simplifies the inspections of heating and air conditioning systems, and promotes electro-mobility by setting up a framework for parking spaces for electric vehicles. Finally, this is the systems approach we have been waiting for. 😊

[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.