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Energy Efficiency

Making homes, vehicles, and businesses more energy efficient is nowadays a largely untapped solution to addressing global warming, energy security, and fossil fuel depletion.

Many of these ideas have been discussed for years, since the 1973 oil crisis brought energy issues to the forefront. In the late 1970s, physicist Amory Lovins popularised the notion of a "soft energy path", with a strong focus on energy efficiency. Among other things, Lovins popularised the notion of negawatts—the idea of meeting energy needs by increasing efficiency instead of increasing energy production.

Energy efficiency has proved to be a cost-effective strategy for building economies without necessarily growing energy consumption. Still, efficiency often has taken a secondary position to new power generation and end of pipe technologies as a solution to global warming in creating national energy policies.

Challoch's 20 years experience in energy efficiency, both in buildings and industry, comprises 8 years working for ETSU on the UK’s Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme in the 1990s and extensive EU Policy experience, for example:

  • European Climate Change Programme, especially the Working Groups on electricity and buildings
  • DG TREN’s Energy Consultative Committee between 1999-2003
  • Energy Performance of Buildings Directive
  • Energy Efficiency Action Plan
  • Green Paper on Energy Security of Supply
  • End Use Efficiency and Energy Services Directive

Why energy efficiency?

In Europe there is a significant potential for:

  • Lowering energy bills
  • Reducing the reliance on external suppliers of oil and gas
  • Helping protect the environment
  • Curtailing industrial energy consumption (thus gaining in competitiveness)

All this can be achieved merely by using energy more efficiently and, in fact, significant steps in energy efficiency have been taken in the past 20 years. Currently, the policy framework is set by EU's Energy efficiency targets for 2020 and 2030. The EU has set itself a 20% energy savings target by 2020 when compared to the projected use of energy in 2020 and at an EU summit in October 2014, EU countries agreed on a new energy efficiency target of 27% or greater by 2030.

The benefits of energy efficiency extend far beyond achieving reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing demand for energy helps reduce other environmental problems such as poor urban air quality, acid rain and eutrophication (the process by which our seas and lakes grow green from algae).

Energy efficiency also contributes to economic and social prosperity. Energy is a costly production factor in Europe’s economies. Increased energy efficiency contributes to energy security and makes us more competitive in an increasingly globalised world.

energy box

Energy efficiency provides us with the time needed to replace fossil fuels and other non-sustainable energy sources with renewables in an ecological, economic and socially responsible manner.