Retrofit technologies are the lifeblood of buildings and business, confirms new report

A new paper reveals global revenue for energy efficient retrofits in commercial buildings is estimated to exceed $100 billion (£0.74bn) by 2025.

The news is vastly impactful; on a global scale, buildings, both residential and commercial, are said to account for 37% to 45% of total final energy consumption.

Thus, energy efficient technologies stand ready to comprehensively combat climate change, by mitigating carbon emissions from buildings and delivering the futuristic building stock of tomorrow.

Reducing existing energy consumption

At Energys, we’re proud to work at the pinnacle of low carbon tech. Alvin Chen, Research Analyst at Navigant Research, behind the report, said: “Worldwide, countries are making commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change. Energy efficiency retrofits will be a key component toward reducing existing energy consumption and reducing the need for new generation.”

“We know this to be true,” confirms Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys. “Our numerous successful case studies point to the worldwide revolution taking place. Yesterday’s building stock is being made more sustainable at unprecedented rates.”

Retrofitting success stories

Hyde Park Junior School

Energys Group equipped Hyde Park Junior and Infant Schools in Plymouth with retrofit boiler optimisation technology in just a single half-day of work. The project is now predicted to save the schools 15% a year on their energy bills.

Moreover, 9.45 tonnes of carbon savings have been achieved, overall payback is estimated at 2.5 years.

Hackney Community College

Using Salix energy efficiency funding, Hackney Community College in east London has converted 4,900 lamps to LED, as well as implementing boiler optimisation controls and specialist insulation – supplied and installed by Energys Group.

320 tonnes of CO2 a year are being saved, as part of a major energy efficiency upgrade that will pay for itself in just over 2.5 years.

Retrofit to the future

“We’re immensely proud of our track record,” says Cox. “We know our technologies, are comprehensively fit for purpose, futureproof and timely to install. Across schools and hospitals, with the NHS or with private leisure centres, our role in the transition to a sustainable UK is central.”

Plan to scrap DECs is itself on the scrap heap

Some 12 months ago, the Department for Communities and Local Government opened a consultation on improving the Display Energy Certificates (DECs) regime for public buildings.

A year later, the consultation page still says, ‘We are analysing your feedback.’ But seemingly, behind closed doors, the decision on the much criticised consultation has been taken.

Energy in Buildings and Industry magazine (EiBI) has just printed a news story, in which it claims the ex-Communities Minister, James Wharton, wrote to a constituent saying; “I am happy to confirm that we have no current plans for changes to Display Energy Certificate requirements.”

Sajid Javid now heads up the Communities Department, following David Cameron’s departure from office.

But, says EiBI, neither Wharton nor Javid have yet to announce the U turn, or inform trading standards.

Why are DECs crucial?

A few months ago, Andrew Warren, British Energy Efficiency Federation, wrote in Business Green illustrating the vital role DECs play, and the bad joke the consultation has turned into.

“Some 15 years ago I chaired an inter-governmental, inter-professional taskgroup on sustainable construction and energy efficiency, for the Enterprise Directorate of the European Commission,” he began.

“Central to this was the requirement that actual fuel usage performance in each public or commercial building should regularly be measured and monitored, to enable it to be properly managed.”

This cornerstone of energy management theory was working well, through DECs, prior to the consultation. Warren pointed to the Department’s own buildings as a key example:

“Perhaps the biggest indictment of all was the failure even to consider how the existence of an annual DEC has improved the rating of the Communities Department’s own Midlands HQ at St Philips Place, Birmingham, where a low G rating in 2009, improved to an E in 2010, a D in 2011, and a C in 2012.

“This means that building will be emitting far fewer greenhouse gases than before. And its lower fuel bills will mean that it is operating at a far lower cost to the taxpayer.”

For these, and other reasons, the consultation has caused outrage. For many commentators, it failed to identify the key role DECs play.

Now, public sector efficiency can, in theory, start to ramp up yet further.

“Although no information has been released, I am in no doubt that when eventually published, it will be revealed that the vast majority of responses received will have told that Department they would be mad to alter DECs,” Warren wrote.

“Instead compliance efforts should be strengthened – and extended to cover the private sector too.”

What happens next?

This page, live on the Government’s web portal, says public authorities must have a DEC for a building if all the following are true:

a) it is at least partially occupied by a public authority (e.g. council, leisure centre, college, NHS trust)
b) it has a total floor area of over 250 square metres
c) it is frequently visited by the public

In the absence of any further comment, it seems to status quo has been restored. So the message must be; move now to improve public sector energy efficiency, and deliver a more fruitful DECs regime, and more carbon-healthy UK.

Energys Group is a leading energy efficiency technology specialist; we have helped hundreds of public sector organisations improve their DEC rating through retrofit technologies such as LED upgrades and boiler optimisation. Find out more about our solutions.

DECC is no more; can energy efficient technologies still thrive?

Greg Clark, new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will lead the UK’s drive on low carbon in the reformed Conservative Government.

DECC no longer exists, subsumed within the new Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. DBEIS, if it becomes known that, is certainly a tongue twister.

It’s one of a vast swathe of post-Brexit political changes, moving so swiftly they are nigh on impossible to track. Commentators appear split; does DECC’s dismantling signal trouble for low carbon?

Can low carbon win within the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy?

Firstly, Clark has this to say: “I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading government’s relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change.”

Political words are cheap, but his final sentences hint at an understanding of how essential energy, efficiency, and low carbon will be to successfully building post-Brexit UK business. Some commentators note he has written positive papers on low carbon, and could be a genuine advocate.

But the Guardian writes; ‘The abolition of the Department of Energy and Climate Change has been condemned by former ministers as a major setback to British efforts to combat global warming.’

It quotes Ed Davey, who served at DECC: “This is a major setback for the UK’s climate change efforts. Greg Clark may be nice and he may even be green, but by downgrading the Whitehall status of climate change, Theresa May has hit low carbon investor confidence yet again.”

Ed Milliband says the move was, “Plain stupid. Climate not even mentioned in new dept title. Matters because depts shape priorities, shape outcomes.”

Contrastingly, the Policy Exchange argued, “Rather than bemoaning the demise of DECC, we should embrace the creation of DBEIS,”

“DECC has always been regarded as something of a minnow in departmental terms. By merging with BIS, energy and climate change issues can be elevated to a much higher level politically.”

The low carbon viewpoint

Most of the low carbon lobby believes, on balance, that Clark isn’t climate change sceptic. He said, in 2009; “Policies to decarbonise the UK economy should never be treated as some sort of sideshow or distraction. Nor should they be seen as an irrelevance during a time of economic downturn.”

The worry isn’t that Clark won’t fight low carbon’s corner. Nor, post 5th Carbon Budget, that the Tories will sneakily dismantle more green policy.

More relevant concerns are that Clark will be hugely busy; tasked with a massively important brief. Restructuring departments takes time and energy. His department is now embroiled with industry and business, historically high carbon advocates. He must handle these, restructure how work is done, all the while keeping an eye on Europe.

But that challenge is little more than the wider effort facing global business in a climate change world; to modernise viewpoints and transition from carbon to sustainability. It’s one Clark faces whether within or without a dedicated department.

“It all comes down to whether you believe there is much in a name,” says Kevin Cox, Managing Director of Energys Group, an energy efficient technologies specialist.

“Low carbon technology is here and perfectly positioned to help redeploy tomorrow’s greener UK economy. At Energys, we will work with any and every Government department, minister and strategy to realise this aim.

“Hospitals, schools, all need low carbon, efficient options, more than ever if post-Brexit recession fears come true. Energy efficiency saves money. In today’s uncertain world, this certainty is one to which we must hold true. We are ready for the tasks ahead.”

Energys welcomes report that says corporate action could shift the planet to a below 2°C world

A stunning report says bold corporate action, smart policy and low carbon technologies can easily keep global temperature rise below 2°C.

A new report says if all relevant companies signed up to 5 low carbon initiatives, by 2030 the business contribution would amount to around 10bn metric tons of emissions reductions per year.

According to the paper, that’s equivalent of what China, the world’s largest emitter, pumps out annually. The message is riveting; corporate action could shift the planet over halfway to a below 2°C world.

The news is an undeniable call to action. It proves, categorically, that businesses in the UK, by shifting to low carbon, energy efficient measures, would save money and control climate change.

Why is the report so telling?

There are heavyweight partners behind the report; We Mean Business Coalition, CDP and the New Climate Institute.
The partners’ collective goal is to help businesses actively combat climate change. Their report provides the first ever analysis on how firms can hold global temperature increases below 2°C.

If companies worldwide and in the UK commit to the suggested 5 low carbon measures, then by 2030 business will have cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 3.7bn metric tons of CO2 equivalents a year.

Remarkably, that alone is over 60% of the total emissions cuts pledged by countries in the Paris Agreement through their own Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Put another way, it’s the equivalent of taking over 1,000 coal-fired power stations permanently out of use, almost 75% of the world’s total.

The numbers are truly groundbreaking. But what do the actual initiatives call for?

What are the 5 low carbon initiatives to build tomorrow’s world?

The 5 suggested business initiatives include companies setting emission reduction targets based on keeping temperature change below 2°C.

Companies should also commit, over 25 years, to doubling their economic output from each unit of energy; building energy productivity. Further, they should commit to using 100% renewable electricity.

In the fourth aim, firms would commit, by 2020, to using no commodities that cause deforestation.

Finally, as part of the Low Carbon Technology Partnership Initiative (LCTPI) firms would develop and use more low-carbon technology in their industry.

One key element of LCTPI is buildings energy efficiency. We know buildings are the largest energy consumers in the world. They account for around 30% of global carbon emissions, and over one-third of final energy use. This share could double or triple by 2050 if we do not act, as buildings have a long life-cycle that locks in their energy use.

At Energys we are delighted to welcome, and wholly endorse the LCTPI aims, and those of the Business End of Climate Change overall. Our product offering is based on excellence and performance, but also on the fact we know to be true; energy efficiency in buildings must hasten.

Our products can manifest the change LCTPI is calling for; better, greener buildings where people love to work, where carbon is mitigated and where our future planet is defined.

Find out more about our portfolio of green technologies and solutions.