A battle for the climate inside buildings

Amidst the climate and energy crisis, Europe’s ageing building stock provides a challenge—and an opportunity, says Julie Kjestrup of the VELUX Group ahead of the first edition of the European Energy Efficiency Day.

There are more benefits to energy efficiency measures than simply saving money. Climate change is happening rapidly and so are the consequences of not fighting it adequately, intentionally and consistently. Despite scientists showing us the marked impact of climate change as well as what we need to do to mitigate it, we are not currently on the right path towards meeting the Paris Agreement and the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality goal. Add to that the recent hike in energy prices and fast action is essential. We can still get on track if we all play our part by taking responsibility and acting now. 


Read the full article here

More information on Energy Efficiency Day here & Register here.

Energy System Efficiency for a cost-effective decarbonisation and energy resilience, 28 Sept 2022

On 28 September 2022, 11:30 – 13:00pm (CET) as part of the European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW), the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) with smartEn and E3G, hosted an online conference on energy system efficiency and how this approach contributes to energy transition and to the phase-out of fossil fuels while increasing energy security and creating economic, social and environmental benefits for citizens and businesses.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated an already looming energy price crisis, stressing the urgent need to achieve a more efficient and decarbonised energy system. This requires the application of the Energy Efficiency First principle at the system level with consumers at its heart.

By significantly reducing energy demand and better integrating system efficiency solutions relying on the active contribution of consumers, the energy system can be transformed to ensure that we reduce our energy consumption and satisfy our energy needs with renewables at the best time, in the right way. This will ensure the optimisation of the system and accelerate the efficient integration of renewables.

The focus of this session is to discuss and demonstrate, through the contribution of concrete examples, how an energy system efficiency approach can contribute to energy transition and to the phase-out of fossil fuels while increasing energy security and creating economic, social, and environmental benefits for citizens and businesses.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Moderator: Monica Frassoni, President, European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE)
  • Niels Fuglsang, Rapporteur of the Energy Efficiency Directive recast, Member of the European Parliament
  • Dirk Kaisers, Segment Leader Distributed Energy Management EMEA, Eaton
  • Adeline Rochet, Senior Policy Adviser, E3G
  • Michael Villa, Executive Director, smartEn
  • Hans van Steen, Principal Adviser in DG Energy, European Commission

Recording of the event available here & starts at 2:35:09

More information here.

Decarbonisation through digitalisation: The key role of smart city districts in boosting energy efficiency

Smart buildings are energy-saving, sustainable buildings. Clustered into smart city districts, they play a crucial role in climate protection. The adaptive, open-source technology to make this possible is already available, says Matthias Rebellius of Siemens Smart Infrastructure on Foresight Climate & Energy ahead of the first edition of the European Energy Efficiency Day. 

Decarbonisation comes with a simple truth: kilowatt-hours that are not consumed do not have to be produced. They do not have to be stored or distributed. And when we are saving energy to avoid carbon emissions, this becomes all the more critical.

Efficiency is key, especially in the building sector. Buildings account for 40% of global energy consumption. But the average building still wastes up to 50% of the energy it consumes. Equipping or retrofitting a building with digitalised, networked and intelligent systems can reduce its ecological footprint by up to 80%.

Efficiency is more than modern insulation and state-of-the-art heating systems. We need smart building technologies and efficient building operations if we are going to move the needle on decarbonisation, especially in brownfield applications. A huge amount of leverage is being wasted. Buildings should—and can—contribute much more to the global decarbonisation effort.

Yet we must not focus just on buildings. We have to take into account synergies and efficiency gains on the community and city levels.


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More information on Energy Efficiency Day here & Register here.

Water efficiency could help Europe drive decarbonisation and boost industrial competitiveness

As water scarcity becomes a bigger issue, industry must become more resilient by reducing pressure on available freshwater resources. Strong policy frameworks are required to support more efficient water usage, says Emilio Tenuta from Ecolab on Foresight Climate & Energy ahead of the first edition of the European Energy Efficiency Day. 

While the risks of a climate crisis loom ever – nearer, global leaders gathered a few weeks ago for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to argue once again for the need for swift climate action.

Even before this, in January 2021, the new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for an determined approach, saying: “We will no longer wait for the slowest and least ambitious. We’ll turn climate from a cost factor to competitive advantage”. It is encouraging to see leaders finally rising to the climate challenge.

The message is clear: We need more than ever to move faster and act collectively to address the climate emergency. To accelerate decarbonisation in industry and successfully achieve the goals set under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, we will have to work together. Governments, businesses, investors and civil society will need to partner to turn this commitment into concrete actions.

Water efficiency is part of the solution to decarbonisation.

Read the full article here

More information on Energy Efficiency Day here & Register here.

The water-energy nexus repowering the EU

The water-energy nexus is the interdependency of water and energy: energy is needed for abstracting, storing, treating or disposing water but also for moving, heating and cooling water across industrial cycles, while water is also heavily used for the generation and transmission of energy. The nexus holds the potential to generate large-scale energy and water savings across sectors and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The energy use by water and wastewater infrastructure amounts to about 4% global electricity consumption and 3,5% in the European Union (IEA, 2016).

Water utilities can become energy neutral and even energy positive with existing technologies and low costs of investments.

The revision of the EU Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD) represents a key opportunity to deliver the transition in the sector. A good way forward would be introducing an energy efficiency target for wastewater treatment plants of a certain size, for example bigger than 10,000 in population equivalent (p.e.). Mandatory energy audits for wastewater treatment operators which include measuring water efficiency could also help advance the energy efficiency of the sector.

This would reinforce and echo new provisions on water and the energy savings obligations for public bodies, currently being negotiated by co-legislators in the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) recast.

Digitalisation in the water sector is an important enabler towards energy neutrality. In wastewater treatment, existing digital solutions can achieve significant energy savings with limited investment needs (no civil engineering or hardware costs) within a short period of time. Intelligent pumps for wastewater management, for example, can save up to 70% energy per utility with 80% inventory reduction, thus lowering costs for utilities.

Saving water, saves energy and saving energy saves water. It is now time to advance energy efficiency and “RePower” the EU through the water-energy nexus!

by Tania Pentcheva
Senior Manager Government and Industry Relations
Xylem Inc.