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Britain missing out on huge savings in commercial sector

Published: 30th August 2012

Article From:  Energy in Buildings & Industry Magazine – July/August 2012

Britain is missing a huge opportunity for electricity savings in the commercial sector, according to a report quietly published by the government’s new Energy Efficiency Deployment Office on the Department of Energy (DECC)’s website.

The report, “Capturing the full electricity efficiency potential in the UK” has been prepared for DECC by the international consultancy McKinseys.  Its existence was exclusively revealed by EiBi (May 2012) when it reported Climate Change Minister Greg Barker saying that “the latest detail I have is that there is the technical potential to address up to 38 per cent of electricity demand set for 2030, via energy efficiency measures”.

The McKinsey research reveals that the largest potential electricity savings remain in the non-residential sector.  And that under existing policies, very little of the potential will be realised.  “Existing policies capture 76 per cent of the total residential energy savings opportunity. But only 13 per cent of the opportunity in the service sector, and just 4 per cent of the industrial opportunity”.

One clear opportunity forgone, according to the report, is support for control systems that use automated sensors to dim lights.

Installing lighting control systems in non-residential buildings would deliver greater electricity savings by 2030 (15.6 terawatt hours) than all residential building electricity efficiency (estimated potential, 14.7 terawatt hours).  It would also require less cost in upfront costs.

Extending action into the commercial sector requires a “change in policy beyond simple awareness-raising.”  The latest report points out – as have many others previously – problems with over-size pump specifications.  These are identified as the biggest potential source of industrial electricity savings unlikely to be captured by present policy.  Such systems are often “poorly controlled and not well-matched to process requirements.”

Tightening appliance standards inflict minimal costs, especially when tied to replacement cycles,  Product labelling, common amongst residential sector appliances, should be widened to cover commercial lighting, heating and industrial motors.

 

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