Energy efficiency has a crucial role to play
17 July 2016
The UK energy system requires significant transformation to meet future demand and global emissions targets. In the Energy Institute (EI)’s Energy Barometer 2016 report, energy professionals surveyed stated that, by 2030, energy efficiency improvements and reduced demand will help to jump-start this transformation.
Energy efficiency improvements since 1990 have saved the equivalent of 30 years of UK primary demand at 2014 levels (DUKES 2015). These efforts have also avoided 10 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions – almost a third of global annual emissions (IPCC 5th Assessment Report 2014).
For the time being, some forms of energy are cheap – however, there is always a good argument for improving efficiency. We are very far from running out of things to do when it comes to managing our energy use more efficiently. Behavioural change is an area of particular interest to energy managers and organisations. It is often seen to offer the greatest potential for achieving short-term gains in managing energy, but many consider it as a difficult nut to crack.
There have been renewed efforts to assess efficiency within large UK businesses in the last few years, with the introduction of the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). Now that those assessments have been submitted, the onus is on those organisations to implement the recommendations. Part of the shift in energy efficiency has been in making senior managers more accountable, with ESOS assessments having to be signed off by the board. But the responsibility for managing energy doesn’t stop there. The energy transformation required isn’t just about new infrastructure and switching to lower carbon resources – a step change in behaviour is needed at every level of the organisation. Energy efficiency can reduce costs, cut emissions and increase productivity. We need everyone to play his or her part and each contribution is one more step on the road to a more sustainable energy system.