This is how (top-level) political visions are transformed into concrete action plans
The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) shed light on what private and public companies must take responsibility for when it comes to sustainable development. This includes the CO2 emissions from the buildings we live and work in. With the right energy management tool, companies can bridge the gap between something as abstract as a Global Goal and something as concrete as the daily use of a building.
CO2 emissions from the world's collective building stock are rising. In fact, during 2019, more CO2 was emitted from buildings around the world than ever before. This was concluded by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in a 2020 report.
The increase was partly due to an increased need for heating and cooling of the buildings as well as extreme weather events. In the same report, the IEA also concluded that there was great potential for achieving CO2 reductions in the area, but that the potential remained untapped due to the use of dirty energy, absence of energy efficient policies, and lack of investment in energy optimization of the buildings.
That was the global status. Unfortunately, developments in Europe do not look much more promising.
An EU report from 2017 found that as much as 40% of the total energy consumption in the EU was used to heat and cool buildings. The same EU report also concluded that 75% of buildings in the EU were decidedly energy inefficient.
The worst decision is no decision at all
The million-dollar question is, of course, what decisions private and public companies can make to take on their share of responsibility and reverse the trend so that energy consumption in buildings does not go up, but down.
“Basically, you can make bad and good energy decisions. But from a sustainability perspective, the worst thing you can do is not make decisions at all. Doing something is better than doing nothing,” says Jens Cornelius, Senior Business Director at KMD.
Basically, there are good energy decisions and bad ones, but from a sustainability perspective, the worst thing you can do is fail to make decisions at all. Doing something is better than doing nothing
Balance between savings, comfort, and indoor climate
KMD often plays an advisory role when private or public companies need to take the next step on their energy optimization journey. Jens Cornelius always begins the dialog by repeating the same mantra.
“No matter where they are on their journey, I usually say that it's about using energy the right way. In the sense that there must be a connection between what they do and the results they can expect to receive. For example, there is no point in replacing fossil fuels with renewables if you do not look at the energy consumption and user behavior in a building at the same time. The power might be coming from green energy sources, but if consumption just runs unchecked, then nothing has really changed,” he says.
For example, there is no point in replacing fossil fuels with renewables if you do not look at the energy consumption and user behavior in a building at the same time The power might be coming from green energy sources, but if consumption just runs unchecked, then nothing has really changed
“Nor does it serve any purpose to turn down the heat in a building so much that users turn on their own heaters to keep warm. Or vice versa - that they bring their own fans when it's hot. There has to be a balance between green savings, energy-efficient comfort, and a good indoor climate.”
Three-point action plan
Cornelius recommends that companies proceed step by step when creating a concrete action plan for energy optimization. The action plan should be based around three key points.
“What is the building's idle consumption, or in other words, the fixed consumption? What is the standby consumption for the building, which is consumption that might be unnecessary? Finally, what is the variable consumption for the building - in other words, the consumption that depends on the building’s use? The three points can then be subdivided into energy supply types, then further divided into days of the week and hours per day, so that you end up with a comprehensive understanding of energy consumption. This is the only way to make sure that the energy is used correctly, and view it in the context of weather, number of users, their behavior, and how the building performs.”
Having insight into granular energy consumption across the building stock provides a solid foundation of data for communicating with budget decision-makers, and provides support to run the right energy optimization projects and reap green savings.
Mapping with KMD EnergyKey
Not all energy optimization tasks can be solved by turning down a radiator or turning off the lights at night. There is often a need for energy specialists and consultants who have in-depth experience in water and energy, smart meters, technical facilities and building operation.
“At KMD, we have been providing solutions to the energy industry for more than 35 years, and we are used to meeting ambitious climate goals and supporting the green agenda. KMD EnergyKey is our energy management tool that acts as a map of the collective efforts made by companies and public institutions to achieve the energy and climate goals they set. KMD EnergyKey allows owners and decision-makers involved in efficient operation to quickly see where they need to invest, thus creating an optimal balance between green savings, energy-efficient comfort and a good indoor climate,” concludes Jens Cornelius.
At KMD, we have been providing solutions to the energy industry for more than 35 years, and we are used to meeting ambitious climate goals and supporting the green agenda.
Objective 7: Sustainable energy
- Objective: “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.”
The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)