Berlin, July 2021. When the topic of energy efficiency is brought up, what mostly comes to people’s minds seems to be building insulation. Heat and insulation are important components of our lives and homes. But our (residential) buildings are capable of much more. Energy efficiency through voltage optimization is an effective action in the fight against climate change that has so far received too little attention. Especially considering that the electricity demand continues to rise.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) describes energy efficiency as the heart of energy transition and the energy resource that all countries have in abundance.

But what is energy efficiency?

Energy efficiency is a way of measuring the relationship between the energy input or consumption and the outcome. For example: How much energy is used to light up a building? How much energy is used to operate the installed heating or cooling equipment? The less energy is used, the higher the energy efficiency. This also means that the energy losses during usage are as small as possible. 

Higher energy efficiency goes hand in hand with various advantages:

– lower greenhouse gas emissions

– lower energy consumption

– less energy that has to be produced

– lower costs

Energy waste

Buildings are responsible for 40% of all energy consumed. But “today, roughly 75% of the EU building stock is energy inefficient. This means that a large part of the energy used goes to waste“ (European Commission).

This shows us how great the need for action is. Especially considering that the demand for energy is growing and more energy is used every day.

Rising electricity consumption

We are surrounded by modern technologies and devices, most of which make our everyday lives easier. They require energy to operate. Additionally, more and more people in the world have access to these technologies. This leaves us no other option but to more effectively distribute and use the energy and electricity we produce (preferably from renewable energy sources).

Turning to the topic of electricity, the IEA predicts that global demand for it will rise sharply. After a decline of around 1% in 2020, global electricity demand will grow by almost 5% in 2021 and 4% in 2022 (Source: IEA (2021), Electricity Market Report – July 2021, IEA, Paris). Find further findings in the Electricity Market Report of July 2021.

Energy efficiency to combat climate change

Energy efficiency in buildings is a core element in our fight against climate change. We need to optimize buildings. And not just when constructing new buildings or through vigorously insulating and upgrading existing ones. It also means, above all, looking at and optimizing the electricity consumption in buildings.

We optimize the status quo. We strive for change. For the better.

EnergyLabs offers exactly that. First, we analyze the status quo. We look at the energy consumption, consumption fluctuations, peaks, and voltages. Based on this data and knowledge, we can determine how much energy can be saved by optimizing the voltage in a building. Our solution enables between 5-13% of electricity and CO2 savings, reducing the carbon footprint and energy bill in the long term.

CO2 emissions in the power sector

CO2 emissions from the power sector will increase in 2021 and 2022. After decreasing by 1% in 2019 and by 3.5% in 2020, CO2 emissions from the electricity sector are expected to increase by 3.5% in 2021 and by 2.5% in 2022, reaching a new high (IEA, Electricity Market Report – July 2021).

Staudamm zur Stromgewinnung

Need for action in all sectors: from households to supermarkets

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) writes on the subject of energy efficiency: „According to several studies, the economic electricity savings potential for the household, commercial, trade, services and industrial sectors is between 80 and 110 terawatt hours.“ (retrieved 16.7.2021). For comparison: Stromnetz Berlin states in its fact sheet (2020, German language only) that Berlin consumes up to 40 MWh per day. In 2020, the total consumption of the city was 12.8 TWh.

It is not only private homes that need to become more sustainable through greater energy efficiency. Businesses, commerce, and supermarkets also need to act. And there are the possibilities. The solutions of today, some of which are still pilot projects, are only the beginning of what will happen in the future in the green tech sector. These solutions can and must happen.

Sustainability as a necessity

It is vital that buildings and businesses are planned to operate hand-in-hand with sustainability. These things are not mutually exclusive. Every era has its opportunity, its possibility, its chance. Sustainability is ours. However, it is not just an opportunity, it is a necessity. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is integral to tackling global warming.

Buildings as active protectors

Let’s face this challenge together, take action and turn buildings into active protectors of the environment. The time when all they did was standing around is over. We need active buildings.

It is necessary that new ideas, technologies, and strategies are developed, implemented, and given the chance to prove themselves through performance, thus accelerating the energy transition. Even though more and more countries are committing to higher climate targets, they will all have to work hard on these targets and implementations to be able to reach them by the mid-century.

Pictures: Picjumbo, Unsplash