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Energy efficiency removes more emissions than renewables, says new study

03 January 2019

Analysis of government figures shows that energy efficient measures have saved more carbon emissions than the adoption of renewable energy, according to the Carbon Brief website.

This follows long-term discussion within the FM industry on the subject, with a number of FMs and their service providers citing energy efficiency as a major area of importance.

Government statistics show that reducing reliance on fossil fuels to satisfy the UK's energy requirements by switching to renewable energy technology saw demand reduce by 95 terawatt hours (TWh) since 2005.

However, energy efficiency measures have reduced demand by 103TWh during the same period, according to the study.

Although many companies and facilities have appreciated the potential savings that can be achieved and the value this brings - particularly in reducing energy bills - some FMs say that it depends on who controls the energy budget that is often the deciding factor in what action is taken.

Where energy costs are simply regarded as a necessary expense, this usually means that energy efficiency measures are unlikely to be given major priority.

When the energy budget is placed within the remit of the FM department, however, this is more likely to result in action being taken, particularly when the savings can be used to fund other projects or meet budgetary reduction targets.

Improving energy efficiency can also mean that the effect of any energy price rises can be absorbed.

Despite the improvements achieved through the adoption of measures such as increased use of LED lighting and more efficient HVAC controls, there has not been sufficient publicity, according to industry bodies and environmental campaigners.

Association for Conservation of Energy's Joanne Wade said: "The huge improvement in energy efficiency tends to be completely ignored."

Carbon Brief's Simon Evans said: "Although the picture is complex it's clear that energy efficiency has played a huge role in helping the UK to decarbonise - and I don't think it's got the recognition it should have," according to BBC News.

More gains in energy efficiency are expected in 2019, however, as facilities continue to comply with legislation such as the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), which is expected to drive further action.

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