Comment

06.08.18

Stay on top of energy efficiency

Source: PSE Aug/Sept 2018

As the grid goes green, do we still need to consider energy efficiency? The Mayor of London’s RE:FIT team investigates.

According to recently published greenhouse gas emissions factors, the UK is making excellent progress towards decarbonising the grid. This poses an interesting question: as the grid becomes less carbon-intensive, do organisations still need to be concerned with reducing energy use?

Between 2014 and 2018, the carbon intensity of UK grid electricity has reduced by 43%. This clearly shows that efforts to decarbonise the grid are making a positive contribution towards meeting the UK’s climate change targets.

For organisations reporting against a carbon emissions-based target, this provides an advantage. Positive environmental performance can be reported without necessarily taking action to reduce energy consumption.Conversely, this poses two challenges. As the grid decarbonises, how can organisations:

  • Maintain focus on the financial benefits that climate change mitigation can provide?
  • Ensure transparency when reporting performance?

RE:FIT supports public sector organisations to overcome both of these challenges. It is an award-winning programme to help make non-domestic public buildings more energy efficient. It does this by providing an energy performance contracting framework to guarantee energy savings.

In London alone, the programme has supported the retrofit of over 600 public sector buildings, reducing carbon emissions by 149,000 tCO2 and saving these organisations £7.1m annually.     

Financial benefits

With energy prices continuing to increase, it is important that organisations do not lose sight of the financial benefits that reducing energy consumption can provide.

At the heart of RE:FIT is saving energy. By entering into contract, the delivery of energy reductions is guaranteed. This not only provides a strong business case for taking action, but also provides assurance that financial savings will be achieved.

Transparency

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs guidance states that transparency is essential to producing a credible environmental report. It is therefore expected that, as the carbon intensity of energy generation reduces, demonstrating primary data such as kWh will become increasingly important.

Through ongoing measurement and verification provided as part of any RE:FIT contract, organisations receive annual energy reports demonstrating savings. This is reported in line with the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol, an internationally recognised reporting method.

As well as reducing energy consumption and costs, delivering a project using RE:FIT has a number of important additional benefits, such as better management practices; improved maintenance activities; and enhanced brand and stakeholder reputation.

Organisations that focus solely on carbon emissions will be increasingly at a disadvantage to their peers as they miss the benefits that sound energy management can yield. 

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