Energy efficiency allows firms to tap 'hidden fuel'

May 31, 2018

At a time when the global demand for power is continuing to rise, energy efficiency is comparable to a new source of energy within the global power grid.

In fact, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has described energy efficiency as the world's "hidden fuel" because of the huge energy savings that can be made.

An article for Investing News Network (INN) gives the example of heating systems in two commercial buildings -- one standard and one energy efficient. The building with the energy efficient system can provide the same level of energy at a lower cost, thereby reducing operating costs for the business and increasing net operating income.

A 2009 report from the United Nations found that "the building sector has the largest potential for delivering long-term, significant and cost-effective greenhouse gas emission reductions," while National Resources Canada has stated that energy efficiency, achieved through retrofits and other means, is a "high-volume, low-cost approach to reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions."

One way of improving a building's energy performance is through its windows, INN noted. Properly treated or glazed windows reduce heat gain by reflecting heat energy, and can reduce the amount of air conditioning needed to offset temperature rises.

Bigger projects like replacing a heating system or re-insulating the building are known as deep-energy retrofits.

"Due to their disruptive and cost-intensive nature, deep-energy retrofits are usually triggered by non-energy-related factors, such as a significant change in building occupancy. However, taking the opportunity to replace these components with energy-efficient options can lead to substantial savings," said Paul Ghezzi, chief executive of energy efficiency specialist Kontrol Energy.

Internet of Things (IoT) hardware and energy management software can help firms get a clearer picture across the business and detect areas of high energy consumption.

The technology essentially turns a building into a live system of connected devices reporting information in real time, INN said.

"Through this real-time energy management, building owners and assets managers gain access to deep analytical profiles of how energy is used and also where there are potential for improvements and savings," Ghezzi explained.


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