The importance of energy efficiency in reaching net zero emissions

As part of the Paris Agreement, we need to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, which means that we need to reach zero net emissions from the second half of this century.

Energy efficiency means to either perform the same activity with less energy input or accomplish more activity with the same amount of energy input. Either way, you achieve more with each unit of energy consumed.

Think of energy efficiency as the cheapest and cleanest fuel you can use, as it is measured and valued as the quantity of energy you do not use. The higher the price you pay for your electricity, the greater the value to being more productive with your energy input.

Apart from saving you money, improving energy efficiency means that your renewable energy needs will be smaller, which can make your journey to net-zero emissions less expensive. It also reduces the environmental impact of manufacturing, transporting, and installing renewables.

You can improve energy efficiency by implementing procedural changes, engaging staff, and retrofitting and upgrading equipment. Energy is wasted by leaving appliances and equipment on when not in use, having inadequately controlled temperature or process settings, using old technology, having poor maintenance procedures, or by staff not being aware of the correct operation of equipment.

Examples of retrofitting or upgrading equipment include:

  • lighting replacements
  • improving building envelopes to reduce heating and cooling energy demand
  • optimising or upgrading the HVAC system, lighting sensors and timers
  • re-engineering manufacturing processes or implementing new process technology
  • implementing metering and monitoring processes
  • installing variable speed drives on motors used to drive equipment, like fans and pumps

Even the largest and most sophisticated energy users can find additional opportunities for cost-effective energy savings.

One of the best ways to uncover energy efficiency opportunities is to undertake an energy audit. Energy audits can be a bit daunting, and it helps to engage experts. While in the past, we used to perform energy audits onsite, we have now adjusted our business processes so that we can deliver a seamless online experience for our customers.

Using technology, our virtual energy audits will save you time, money and upskill your staff, while our carbon footprint is also reduced. To illustrate how this process works, we shot a 2-min video (see below) at the Coalloader Centre for Sustainability site in North Sydney. A special thanks to North Sydney Council for allowing us to film onsite!

Covid-19 is forcing many businesses to look at reducing costs where they can. An energy audit will achieve cost savings, not only in the short but also in the medium and longer-term. To see if you have opportunities to save money by not wasting energy, contact Barbara or Patrick.

Focusing on energy efficiency can be a cultural shift for many organisations, and implementing these changes can take time. We recommend implementing an Energy Management System, like ISO 50001, which works for all organisations, regardless of size, industry, or location, to embed an ongoing culture of energy management and efficiency within your organisation.

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