Energy efficiency modernisation will not only benefit the environment but the business sector and the consumers as well. When fully finished, it will help cut down harmful greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in the EU and significantly reduce energy costs.
So what is energy efficiency really and why does it matter?
According to International Energy Agency, something is more energy efficient if it delivers more services for the same energy input, or the same services for less energy input. For example, charging a smart phone for 1 hour: a more energy efficient phone would be the one which goes without the need of recharging it longer than the other while you are using both phones equally.
But the importance of energy efficiency really shows when scaled up to a national or regional level. In Europe, buildings account for 40% of energy consumption because two-thirds of them were built before energy performance standards existed. Renovating them has a direct impact on consumers and business because energy efficiency lowers the energy bill. Energy savings equal some 8 Mtoe in 2030, which is Croatia’s primary energy consumption in 2013. Further more, the reduction of energy consumption helps reducing greenhouse gas emissions – in the period 2009-2015, around 800 million tonnes of CO2 in 2014 were saved in the EU which is almost equal to Germany’s CO2 emissions in 2014. Energy efficiency also goes hand in hand with renewable energies, meaning less dependancy on oil and coal power and replacing those with clean energy from wind and solar generation.
5 things you didn´t know about energy efficiency
- the energy transformation in the EU is already happening: greenhouse gases were reduced by 18% between 1990–2012, renewables share reached 14.1% in 2012, up from 8.5% in 2005 and energy efficiency is expected to improve by 18–19% by 2020.
- solar power is the cheapest form of energy in almost 60 countries: keeping in mind the definition of delivering the same services for less energy input gives this power source an unbeatable competitive edge. Megawatt-hours and kilowatt-hours are units of energy, whereas megawatts (and kilowatts) are units of power – the rate at which energy is consumed. In terms of that sub-$30 MWh figure for solar, it’s roughly half the price of paying for coal.
- By 2020, it is expected that almost 72% of European consumers will have a smart meter for electricity: a smart meter is an electronic device that records consumption of electric energy in intervals of an hour or less and communicates that information at least daily back to the utility for monitoring and billing. On average, smart meters provide savings of €160 for gas and €309 for electricity per metering point.
- Clean energy sector already employs more than one million people in the EU: it also accounts for €144bn revenue every year. Implementing the planned EU´s Energy Union policies could bring up to 900 000 net additional jobs in the EU economy by 2030 compared to the reference scenario.
- energy efficiency addresses social imbalances: on average, 8.6% of the expenditure of low-income European households is used for energy-related purposes. A growing share of these households do not have sufficient financial means to heat their homes to an adequately warm level. Energy efficiency measures are directly impacting the household energy bill and therefore those who need these savings the most.