It has become increasingly clear that energy efficiency is a low-cost route to mitigating future energy demand. All of the central imperatives of sustainability are made more achievable by an energy policy that recognizes the need to balance environmentally-friendly initiatives with business and consumer-friendly savings.

The 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive and 2008 and Climate Change Act are core drivers of the regulatory framework for renewable energy in UK. The target is to source 15% of energy from renewable sources by 2020. The International Energy Agency (IEA)’s recent report on global investment in energy efficiency suggests that although investment in energy efficiency is on an upward spiral, it needs to grow even more to mitigate the dangers of climate change.

The UK public sector is trying to set and tackle various energy efficiency targets, opening up abundant opportunities for the traditional energy providers and new, innovative cleantech start-ups to help support our Government through managing and implementing successful energy efficiency schemes.

The NHS is required to meet the necessary reductions in carbon emissions of 34% compared to levels of emissions in 1990 by 2020. Recently EnCO2de 2015, a best practice guidance in energy efficiency projects, has incorporated lessons learned from projects under the NHS Energy Efficiency Fund. EnCO2de recommends that NHS organizations develop a robust Sustainable Development Management Plan.

Local authorities are also under immense pressure to enforce Private Rented Sector Energy Efficiency Regulations. Although taxpayers provided £25 million for the disaster that was the household energy efficiency scheme, the Green Deal, energy efficiency continues to be an integral part of the housing policy.

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In Costa Rica for example, there is the government’s 2021 Carbon Neutral plan that is driving different initiatives.  Energy Efficiency is growing at a rapid pace in both private and public sectors. Currently, Energy Economics is leading the industry in terms of innovation and funding programs through customer’s utility bills pay back saving plans. ” ….Our main focus for 2016 was the commercial/industrial sector but in 2017 we are going after a large market; the residential market.” said Daniel Yepez, President of Energy Economics.

Another part of the public sector that is prioritizing energy efficiency is the Department for Education, through their recent commissioning of building and refurbishment work under the Priority Schools Building Programme. There are also a number of primary and secondary schools across a range of local authorities involved in school estate refurbishment programs.

Last week, the Committee on Climate Change published a report assessing the progress made in areas of heat and energy efficiency. It found that there is an urgent need for the Government to introduce a new policy framework for energy efficiency and low carbon heat for buildings to meet 2030 carbon budgets.

More real time examples are cases such as homeowners like Eric taking control of their own homes. “My definition about energy efficiency as installed in my house 12 years ago, is using rain water for 60% of my hot and cold water needs, which cuts the cost in sewage, as we bypass the water meter. To use as I do, day-time solar thermal heat to maintain a temperature in my 12 radiators at 35-43c to stop the house going cold while the family is at work and school. All lights converted to LED, but the grid power separated with an off grid solar/battery system, now we have super bright 5watt LED lights to see with.
To have a shower from rainwater heated by solar thermal is the greatest feeling of being more in control of household, water, heat and power bills”

With the NHS implementing energy efficiency schemes, local authorities becoming more responsible for energy efficiency regulations, and central government focused on reducing energy emissions in the commercial sector, this is a crucial time for energy providers to engage with the NHS, central and local government, as an opportunity to influence Government policy.

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