The IFC says energy efficient buildings could drastically cut global C02, but policy and standards must step up also

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has weighed in on energy efficiency.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. It’s in such countries that climate change is predicted to hit hardest.

This status gives IFC’s words and position massive clout. IFC’s report, entitled Creating Markets for Climate Business, says making buildings more energy efficient could reduce carbon emissions dramatically, but only if countries adopt better building codes and higher standards too.

It’s a riveting piece of news, which should catalyse debate in both emerging and developed markets. What’s behind the IFC claims?

IFC lays it on the line for energy efficiency

The IFC offers compelling headline stats on what the right mix of energy efficiency, codes and standards can offer to mitigate global C02.

In Indonesia, for example, regulations created with IFC support have mandated energy efficiency requirements for large buildings throughout the capital.

This opened the door for the private sector to supply solutions; IFC now estimates the benefits include avoiding over 700,000 metric tons of carbon emissions, plus energy savings of almost $70 million in the last 3 years.

There are more astonishing figures. IFC says investments in green buildings could reach $3.4 trillion by 2025 in key emerging markets. That’s a huge chunk for energy efficiency firms to win.

But this will happen only if developing countries adopt the best building codes and standards and create targeted financial incentives such as green building certification and mandatory benchmarking of energy use.

At Energys, we take this underlying theme from the news…

If such trillions can be leveraged for C02 mitigation and energy efficiency in emerging markets, where financial resources are stretched, just consider what we ought to be achieving at home to help lead C02 reduction.

The opportunities are there, but they will cost

Overall, IFC’s report says energy efficiency in buildings needs an additional $296 billion globally, per year, to meet existing climate targets.

In terms of the standards both developed and emerging states require along with the cash; these must set minimum thresholds for energy performance, requiring certification to dedicated criteria.

In addition, programmes and codes should organise building data into a standardised format, that can be used to develop building benchmarking schemes; crucial for differentiating greener, more energy efficient buildings in the real estate market.

Without these elements, a lack of reliable data and awareness about energy efficiency and green building can hinder efforts to create a viable market.

Philippe Le Houérou, Chief Executive of the IFC, said: “The private sector holds the key to fighting climate change.

“We can help unlock more private sector investment, but this also requires government reforms as well as innovative business models, which together will create new markets and attract the necessary investment. This can fulfil the promises of Paris.”

What does it all mean at home in the UK?

“When we see a report that highlights how codes, standards and investment can build emerging market energy efficiency, we must then apply this thinking to how the UK, an established market, should be leading,” comments Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys.

“The sums and the benefits the IFC is talking about are vastly significant. Of course, many energy efficiency codes and standards for buildings already exist here in the UK.

“The Government has recently promised to consult on improving the energy efficiency of new and existing commercial buildings, and on raising minimum standards of energy efficiency for rented commercial buildings in its Clean Growth Strategy.

“Could we see the UK taking a stronger position in the field, and providing the leadership IFC proves could be so valuable in helping our own and developing markets mitigate carbon?”

We hope you enjoyed this article? See more of energy policy articles here. Please drop us a line if you’d like to chat about any of the issues and themes covered or to find out more about our energy saving technologies.

The Bonn Climate Conference; what might it mean for efficiency, policy and tomorrow’s business?

As we write, The Bonn Climate Conference is ongoing; and is due to conclude today.

A lot of very negative headlines on rising C02 emissions have galvanised the event. 2017 looks set to be among the hottest 3 years on record, after C02 surged to a record high in 2016.

So while solid work is being done, the reality is there’s a huge distance to cover before emissions are meaningfully controlled, and the mantle of action will likely fall on the world’s businesses.

What needs to happen at Bonn?

There’s huge focus in Bonn to prove the US move out of the Paris agreement won’t derail progress. But, there’s a great deal else delegates need to achieve.

Speaking of the US, The New York Times writes that much of the crucial work at Bonn will happen behind closed doors, as diplomats try to build on the initial Paris agreement, crafting new rules and guidelines that, they hope, will help turn hazy national promises into concrete action.

One widely recognised problem with the current Paris pledges is they’re fairly vague. Pre-Brexit, the European Union vowed to cut emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, but offered few specifics on how to achieve that goal.

EDIE explains that the thousands of representatives from 195 countries are gathered in Bonn from November 6 to work on a ‘rule book’ for implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Essentially, the summit is expected to lay the groundwork for the rules and guidelines which will need to be established by each country before December 2018’s COP24 summit in Katowice, Poland.

“This nitty gritty is the key to actually reducing carbon,” comments Kevin Cox, Energys Managing Director. “When you take the pledges and run with them in terms of solid policy, you start to see the concrete low carbon landscape emerging.”

What exactly will be ready by the end of Bonn?

This is impossible to say, but remember the aim is that new rules to make the Paris pledges more useful will be here by 2018, so we might see some detail on these emerging by the end of the conference.

Of course, there is one major risk at Bonn. Following the US moves to denounce the Paris agreement, there is a concern that other countries will follow suit.

It’s to be hoped that this does not happen, but if it does, all progress could be derailed. This is unlikely, especially given Chinese positivity and a new sense of global statesmanship emerging from China in the nationalist wake of President Trump.

But even delays, or perhaps an uncommunicative US presence at the event might slow progress, and as more and more of the world’s leaders agree, time is not on our side.

“We need the new rules which make the Paris promises more coherent, and we need them soon,” says Cox.

“Without these it’s difficult to sense where the future will lie. Of course the UK has its own rules and we are setting our own path to low carbon. But we need to see our role within a global context and to do that we need to see movement on the concrete actions to deliver the Paris sentiments.”

An endgame at Bonn?

Ultimately, Bonn won’t provide an endgame for UK corporate leaders seeking certainty on efficiency, policy and tomorrow’s business.

But we might just get a glimpse of how the world plans to make Paris promises real, and how that will impact at home.

And this, ultimately, will affect the global low carbon market, which will also feed into how the UK’s low carbon futures play out.

As ever, everything is at stake as the world continues its battle to put C02 on the back-foot.

We hope you enjoyed this article? See more of energy policy articles here. Please drop us a line if you’d like to chat about any of the issues and themes covered or to find out more about our energy saving technologies.

The Energys November Horizon Scan – your guide to what’s trending in energy

Energy efficiency saves billions

This month, the Telegraph is reporting that UK businesses can save billions in energy bills simply through basic energy efficiency measures.

In one example, the broadsheet notes that lighting accounted for £1.1bn of the identified £3.7bn of potential savings in a government report.

It consumes about 20% of the overall electricity used in commercial and industrial UK buildings and plays a more significant role in sectors such as retail and hospitality.

And, low-hanging fruit can also be found in carbon and energy management, which had the potential for £722m in savings across non-domestic sectors.

Among overall praise of energy efficiency’s winning bottom line, the paper also advises that while the incentives around energy efficiency tend to focus on the possible financial benefits, public-facing businesses in the retail and hospitality sector have other reasons to think about making improvements.

“A more efficient building is increasingly viewed as a better asset class,” says Pedro Guertler, a Senior Policy Adviser at the independent climate change think tank, E3G.

“[So] it’s easier to attract better quality tenants and it is more attractive to the tenants because they face lower energy costs.”

“At Energys, we strongly advise any firm seeking better understanding on how efficiency can help your business win to check out this feature,” comments Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys.

It lays out, in a simple way, the massive opportunities energy efficiency and energy management will deliver.

Massive C02 rises – how can they be mitigated

Worrying rises in the volume of C02 in the atmosphere have recently been reported.

Concentrations of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere surged to a record high in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), writes the BBC.

2016 saw average concentrations of CO2 hit 403.3 parts per million, up from 400ppm in 2015. “It is the largest increase we have ever seen in the 30 years we have had this network,” Dr Oksana Tarasova, Chief of WMO’s global atmosphere watch programme, told BBC News.

The news is hugely troubling. But EDIE is taking a positive tack, and examining which business actions will be under discussion as participating nations meet to discuss the next steps at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn.

EDIE notes that as part of the much praised Clean Growth Strategy, the largest UK business and industrial consumers will be asked to implement energy efficiency savings of 20% by 2030.

Large businesses collectively account for 25% of the UK’s total carbon emissions, so if achieved, these reductions will make a big impact on our national targets .
Building in the finest efficiency tech will be vital to this goal. But also, writes EDIE, behavioural change could deliver potential savings of around £860m for UK businesses, with large businesses accounting for £460m of this.

The sectors with the greatest scope for savings were identified as wholesale and retail, manufacturing, administrative and support services, and scientific and technical.

EDIE’s takeaway message is one we applaud here at Energys; for any business, cutting energy use and emissions is not only good for the environment, it makes a positive impact to your bottom line by delivering lower energy bills.

“We will watch with peeled eyes the developments at Bonn, as leaders meet to look at the next steps in terms of business actions on C02,” comments Kevin Cox.

“Energys will track the activities, and keep you alerted to the changes.”

We hope you enjoyed this article? See more of energy articles here. Please drop us a line if you’d like to chat about any of the issues and themes covered or to find out more about our energy saving technologies .

Energys Group works with WSCC Purple Bus team to encourage young people’s passion for engineering, design and racing

The Billingshurst-based energy solutions group has been working with West Sussex County Council’s Youth Service to support two Purple Bus teams from Storrington and Petworth Youth Groups, which have been taking part in the Greenpower Trust F24 international competition.

The teams worked hard throughout the season to design, build and develop two electric racing cars to race against teams from across the region, and ultimately qualify for the international competition at Rockingham Raceway.

Following practice sessions and their first competitive race at Goodwood, the teams had time to refine and develop improvements to the car, and to improve how well they worked together as a team, before entering their second race at Dunsfold Park. There was then a painful wait for results from elsewhere to find out whether they had qualified for the International Finals, over the weekend of 6-8 October.

However, they weren’t content to sit around, hoping for good news. During the wait, the teams researched engine performance improvements; visiting Shoreham’s Ricardo Engineering to get every bit of guidance and information they could to improve their cars’ performance. Then, two weeks before the final, the teams found out that both cars had qualified.

Dan Sneller, Project Manager for the Purple Bus, says, “Having worked with these young people since March 2017 it has been great to see them develop as a group and individually. We set them the task of researching what Greenpower Trust is and what other teams do. We worked with them to explore group dynamics and group roles, looking at what it means to be a part of a successful team.

“One of the team’s tasks was to plan for the International Final, in preparation for qualifying. They had a set budget which they had to allocate for accommodation and food for the weekend. It became very clear to them that the budget provided them was not enough and they had to look elsewhere to gain extra sponsorship. This was something I had planned to develop their problem-solving skills and encourage them to approach local business for support. The Energys Group was amazing at supporting the young people throughout this, helping them to a very successful international final, in which they placed 53rd in the world – which was an outstanding achievement and one they should be very proud of.”

Energys Group’s Managing Director Kevin Cox commented, “We have been thrilled to support the fantastic work done by the Purple Bus kit car teams throughout their design, build and racing in the Greenpower Trust’s annual challenge. We’re so proud of them for qualifying for the international final and for their outstanding result. Young engineers are the future for innovation in so many fields, including ours in energy solutions and we look forward to seeing these pupils develop their careers in science and engineering.”

Energys Group are experts in delivering energy efficient technologies. We’d be delighted to talk about any of the issues and themes covered in this article. Give us a call for a chat.