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Energy Efficiency in brief

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World energy consumption continues to grow with no perspective of slowing down in the near future. This trend is driven by different factors, both economical and sociological:

  • An increase in the world population, particularly in countries where the energy use per person is expected to grow in the future. For example, today, over one billion people have no access to electricity, and around 40% of the world’s population is living under water stress. This means that the energy needs will increase in the future, in order to allow people to benefit from a better standard of living. This additional energy need is globally not compensated by a decrease of energy consumption in developed countries. According to the International Energy Agency, the average energy use per person increased by 10% between 1990 and 2008.
  • Urbanization and industrialization, particularly in developing countries. This means that more energy will be needed for construction, manufacturing, and transportation of people and goods

The major part of energy is today obtained by burning fossil fuels (around 82% in 2012).

The consequence of this is the emission of huge quantities of CO2 (32 billion tons in 2014), which has an accepted impact on climate change by greenhouse effect.

In addition, these fossil fuels are subject to fluctuation in prices, because of geopolitical issues and competition between countries.

For these reasons, there is a global commitment of countries to curb the use of fossil fuels.

The Kyoto protocol was the first international agreement by which industrialized countries set objectives to reduce the greenhouse gas emission. Such a commitment has been confirmed during the Conference of Parties (COP 21) in 2015, with the objective to limit global warming within acceptable limits (maximum 2°, and possibly 1.5°C).

In order to reach these objectives, different regulations have already been put in place in many countries, relative to energy efficient construction for example.

One of the solutions proposed to solve the dilemma between economic development and CO2 emission is to increase the part of electricity in the energy mix. Production of electricity represents around 30% of fossil fuels consumed worldwide, and 68% of electricity is produced from the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas).

So actions that must be taken should include:

  • Development of the use of renewable energies (mainly solar and wind).
Unfortunately, cost is still an issue, particularly during periods when the price of fossil fuels is low. The other major issue is the fluctuating nature of solar and wind generation. Energy storage is needed, which can significantly increase the cost yet again.
  • Energy Efficiency. The objective is to provide the same level of service by consuming less energy. By implementing energy efficient electrical equipment and smart controllers, it is possible to save up to 30% of energy. This is the most cost effective means for limiting CO2 emissions, and saving energy and cost.

Here are the main points presented in this chapter:

  • Overview of worldwide standardization and Energy Efficiency assessment techniques,
  • Presentation of electrical measurement as the key diagnostics tool,
  • Overview of energy savings opportunities in Electrical Installations.