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Switched on

to energy effi ciency R

Andrew Brister looks at the ways that ECA members can help reduce their clients’ energy bills using technology at relatively low cost with fast payback

educing carbon emissions is not all about renewables. While solar photovoltaics, heat pumps and wind turbines grab all the headlines, their less glamorous cousins are quietly going about their

business, in installations large and small, up and down the country. Simple controls, voltage optimisation, lighting equipment upgrades and the like all have a massive role to play if the UK is going to get anywhere near its carbon reduction targets. The government is committed to reducing greenhouse gas

emissions by 34 per cent by 2020, and an eye-watering 80 per cent by 2050. It is hoped that renewable sources will make up 15 per cent of the UK electricity mix come 2020 (see The right FITs feature, pages 20-23) but the majority of savings will have to come from simple energy effi ciency improvements on refurbishment projects. The new coalition has followed suit with the previous administration and gone ahead with legislative drivers to bring about change in terms of the UK’s energy effi ciency performance. Amendments to Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Power) of the Building Regulations came into force in England and Wales on 1 October 2010. They represent an average 25 per cent improvement in effi ciency over the 2006 regulations. This year also saw the introduction of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC – see box on page 43). The CRC scheme is mandatory and aims to raise revenues from large energy users of around £1billion per year by 2014-15, by effectively taxing organisations for the carbon dioxide emissions that are attributable to energy consumption.

New direction Labour’s original plan was to hand revenues back to participants to reward investment in energy-saving technology, but this was reversed in George Osborne’s recent Comprehensive Spending Review, when he decided to hang on to the revenue from the sale of carbon allowances. Nevertheless, such a change is unlikely to

44 ECA Today Winter 2010 About the author

Andrew Brister Andrew Brister is a freelance journalist and editor. He has been involved in the building services sector for over 20 years.

alter the drive to bring down energy consumption. ‘The government’s decision to retain the revenue generated

by the CRC means that participating companies are effectively facing a new energy tax,’ comments Paul Reeve, head of health, safety and environment at the ECA. ‘Energy effi ciency and renewables will become increasingly important as these companies look for ways to reduce the new energy tax burden. As they look to reduce their costs and energy consumption, there are considerable opportunities for ECA members to provide energy-saving solutions.’ Rachel Cooper, energy consultant for global energy

management specialist Schneider Electric, believes the best way for businesses to prepare for the scheme is to accurately monitor and manage energy usage. ‘The good news is that organisations will now not need to purchase allowances until 2012. This allows organisations to prepare for the start of the scheme by ensuring that they understand their emissions usage and are taking action to monitor and reduce. Furthermore, if they monitor and manage their usage effectively, they will know what the fi nancial implications will be, assuming that the cost of allowances remains the same for 2012.’

Targets As the CRC targets the UK’s highest energy users, we are talking about the likes of major retailers, large government departments and banks, who will now have to raise their game to avoid the new tax and drive down emissions. Surely such organisations are already at the forefront of energy effi cient thinking? Not so, says the Carbon Trust. Analysis of large private and

public organisations by the Trust found signifi cant potential for cost-effective emissions reductions through energy effi ciency. Its recent analysis of the non-domestic building sector suggests 70-75 per cent reductions could be made by 2050 at no net cost, using options that exist today. So what options do exist today? The ECA has recently published a handy guide, Maximising energy savings and


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