Energy Efficiency, or simply rational management of gas, oil, renewable energy and other raw materials. The more efficient energy management, the closer we are to independence from Russian gas and oil and decarbonization.
Every cubic meter of gas and every liter of oil from Russia funds the fascist regime of dictator “Adolf” Putin. To avoid funding genocide we should immediately stop buying gas and oil from the now fascist Russia. We are faced with choice of either funding Putin’s genocide or risking the collapse of our economies through lack of supply from Russia, but perhaps there is a third good option?
If we would use 20-30% less gas and oil then independence from Russian supplies could be much easier. Also in addition we would strengthen our economies by keeping in our countries the money that is now killing innocent people in Ukraine. Beautiful, but… true and achievable through energy efficiency!!!
Is it possible to live without Russian gas today?
Even significant rising importsfrom outside Russia would not be enough to replenish reserves sufficiently before next winter. According to Bruegel experts, Europe would be forced to reduce demand by 400 TWh (or 10-15% of annual demand).
Energy efficiency is simply the rational management of resources.
@Vladimir Alekseichenko once said “there are no resources that cannot run out”. In in Fact that was in the context of computing power for Machine Learninig. Howeverwhat relates to computing power equally relates to raw materials and energy. From my observations of hundreds of facilities in Poland and Western Europe, as well as in the USA, the relatively easy to achieve potential to reduce gas and electricity consumption of buildings is 15-30%!!! After additional deeper modernizations some facilities or houses could reduce gas and energy consumption up to 50%!!!
But how to fix it? I offer examples of actions and areas where, in my experience, the most energy is wasted:
Change our thinking and commit to energy efficiency. Sound trivial? The genius is in the simplicity. Or maybe it helps that everyone can contribute to the fight against the fascist regime of “Adolf” Putin and help us be energy independent! I’ve optimized hundreds of objects and always the biggest problem in the optimization was the people and their approach. This applies to thinking from the concept of the building, investors, designers, contractors and managers to the end user. In practice, we waste a lot of resources mainly due to laziness, lack of understanding, etc. A lot is said and seemingly done about energy efficiency, but very often it is for show and it fails because of people’s attitude and laziness. Examples of such waste due to human attitude only:
- Quotes from managers and technicians/operations engineers “let it work 24 hours, the tenant pays for it”, “after all, it’s not my money”, let’s not change, better is the enemy of good”.
- Copy-paste design without thinking
- Absurdly high user requirements forcing extremely inefficient operation of devices: https://iqbuilding.eu/index.php/2022/02/20/cheapest-and-healthiest-humidifier-healthy-air-1/
- Fear of savings problems, which paralyzes the implementation of changes to improve energy efficiency
- Myths from a previous era such as: “appliances using more energy when starting up we don’t turn them off more”. Does anyone leave their car running at all night because they will use more fuel in the morning for the first few minutes?
- The abandonment of efficient solutions due to seemingly higher capital costs – that is, build as cheaply as possible and then the user pays for more energy.
I described many other examples of the impact of mindset on energy efficiency in the article: https://iqbuilding.eu/index.php/2022/03/13/mentality-and-energy-efficiency/
Change the mindset – energy efficiency must benefit for everyone:
We all need to get involved, to make changes in the law or the way we hire people so that energy efficiency can benefit everyone:
- Extra bonuses for employees for reducing energy consumption.
- Education and that starts in school, children can have a say in their parents. Someday we need to start changing our world.
- Energy charges based on energy consumption per area, volume, etc. If a building uses too much energy/gas for a strict area level (m2 or m3) then it pays more for energy. Therefore, gas and energy costs will be paid for by those who are inefficient in their use of energy, and it would reward those who use the least and manage energy/gas well. This point of simple cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency will solve most of the problems we describe here.
In addition to radical education and a commitment to energy efficiency, there are several areas of greatest concern to reduce energy consumption and even produce and store energy.
Gas and thermal energy
- Heat recovery in residential buildings still a huge amount of new residential buildings, in particular multi-family buildings usualy do not have heat recovery from ventilation, which is a huge waste of energy (and often gas). Heat recovery (recuperation) can result in huge savings, improved comfort in the home and could create many workplaces.
- The obligation to use heat recovery in ventilation installations must be taken seriously. Theoretically, ventilation installations with a capacity of more than 500m3h by law should have a heat recovery. In practice, very often this provision is bypassed some smaller installations below 500m3h: More in the article https://optymalizatorbudynku.pl/500-m3-h-bez-odzysku-ciepla/
- Replacing old inefficient gas boilers as soon as possible. Surprisingly German companies @Viessman and @Buderus could make money on this
Automation of heating and air conditioning systems, etc:
- Personally, the biggest and fastest improvement in energy efficiency is achieved by reasonable adjustments and improvements in control algorithms/automatics of ventilation, heating and air conditioning equipment. In some buildings by proper settings and small adjustments of control algorithms I have achieved savings in electricity and heat up to 30%, but usually achieve 5-20%.
- Appropriate and executed use of the potential of energy-efficient solutions. For example, I have seen hundreds of times applied energy efficient devices that adjust the intensity of ventilation heating and air conditioning to the real demand. However, the controls for these devices only partly utilized aof this potential or even just managed to treat these devices as regular constant flow units, completely wasting their potential. Yet the LEED and BREEAM green building certification scores matched. Read more about instances of such hypocrisy in the article:: https://optymalizatorbudynku.pl/certyfikat-breeam-leed/
Enforcing energy efficiency:
- For many years we have obligations to certify the energy performance of buildings, energy efficiency audits of businesses, efficiency audits of heating and cooling sources, etc. How it looks in practice? In the vast majority the cheapest offer for an audit rules, which implies that audits are done senselessly on paper without enforcing the quality of these audits. How to fix it? It is enough to make the most inefficient buildings pay much more for energy than the efficient ones, as I wrote at the beginning. Then the owners themselves will look for ways to reduce energy and enforce the auditors.
Biogas power plants!
- Every larger sewage treatment plant should be converted into a biogas plant that can produce gas or cogeneration into electricity and heat. Together with company @VPPLant I had the pleasure to work with a biogas plant at a sewage treatment plant for a city of over 100,000 people. This biogas plant cogenerated 100% of the heat and electricity for itself and a large energy-intensive recreational and sports facility. In addition, the plant fed energy into the grid to power several hundreds of homes. Additionally, biogas plants can store energy in their gas tanks and wastewater. Energy storage is great for balancing out imperfections in other renewable energy sources (RES). Of course, biogas plants can feed gas into existing pipelines. So neare very city we have a sewage treatment plant to be developed as a local source, of gas, electricity, heat and an efficient energy storage to work with RES. There is a beautiful way to recover energy from greenhouse gases – yes because methane from sewage has several times the greenhouse effect than CO2 from its combustion. I recommend the article: https://swiatoze.pl/dwa-razy-wiecej-biometanu-potrzebne-od-zaraz-ma-zastapic-rosyjski-gaz/?fbclid=IwAR2cM5q2kM5taCqxjfG2mWw-fexuhFB9ke7zThIKpyB4VcjngHlCW8i8SGg
- On the occasion of energy audits of companies, almost nobody was serious about optimizing the routes of their fleets. Appropriate analysis gives a chance to reduce thousands of unnecessary kilometers driven.
- Trucks to trains!!! I still can’t understand how trucks in transit cross entire countries individually instead of using a single train. Such solutions should be imposed by the state in advance. By the way, how much more pleasant it would be to drive on highways…😊
- Using heat from the sun for heating https://solhotair.com/, hydroelectric plants, solar roofs, mini wind turbines, ground heat exchangers, etc. there is still a lot of energy to be developed
I could write at more and more about this, but what we need above all is a change of mindset and appropriate laws to encourage and enforce energy efficiency