Energy efficiency is a notion that is increasingly being addressed in the ecosystem of French companies. Controlling energy consumption will be one of the major challenges in the coming years. The dynamics of the energy transition are pushing companies to find new solutions to perform energy savings. So what actions can these companies take?
What is energy efficiency?
The concept of energy efficiency refers both to the result (a building that consumes as little energy as possible for its own operation and that of its occupants) and the means implemented to achieve it (a set of actions to save as much energy as possible).
Aiming for energy efficiency means reducing the energy consumption of an entire system while maintaining the same end service. For a company, this means not lowering its production level, or the comfort of its employees. Energy efficiency means consuming more rather than consuming less.
If you represent a company and you want to reduce the cost of your energy expenses while participating in the energy transition movement, now is the time to implement a strategy to optimize your energy efficiency.
How to build a strategic plan to optimize energy efficiency?
As with any strategy, your energy optimization plan must start with an assessment of your current consumption. Called an energy audit, this aims to analyze the energy consumed, and how it is consumed.
The energy audit
First, the audit provides a diagnosis of your company’s overall energy situation today. Then, it is completed by a set of recommendations that should enable you to optimize your energy consumption, according to your objectives. Performing an energy audit is a common step for companies in all sectors of activity.
The energy performance of buildings
The building sector is the most energy-intensive sector in Europe. It is estimated to account for 40% of European energy consumption. It is therefore the sole focus of many energy optimization challenges. In addition, a large part of this energy is wasted due to the poor energy performance of the buildings constructed.
The energy efficiency of the building can be improved as early as the construction project phase. Thermal insulation, orientation of the building, efficient ventilation system, sealing work … the choices of the builder have an extremely important influence on the energy efficiency of the building.
More and more intelligent buildings are being created to meet new requirements for reducing energy consumption. These buildings are equipped with sensors. Associated with data reading tools, they make it possible to capture and analyze all consumption data at the same time. It is then easier to know what action to implement first.
For older buildings, the optimization of energy performance generally involves renovation. The installation of more efficient solutions in the heating system, for example, brings quick results in reducing energy consumption.
In addition to reducing the cost of energy bills, it also meets the requirements of energy transition, a real competitiveness criterion for companies. These few investments generally make it possible to achieve a satisfactory level of energy efficiency. When this is not the case, it is necessary to act on the use of different energies on a daily basis.
Improving a company’s energy efficiency generally involves improving its electrical efficiency. We talk about electrical flexibility, which refers to the fact that a company uses electrical energy at a better time of day, without compromising its performance.
The company in question can join a common approach known as electrical effacement. How does it work? First of all, the head of the company commits to consuming less electrical energy during peak periods, when consumption is the highest. For example, for an industry, this may involve shutting down the most energy-intensive equipment for a few hours. In return, the company is paid by the electrical operator.
For industrial companies: utilities
In industry, the term utility represents a unit of production or distribution of a fluid or energy carrier. In short, a utility produces or distributes the same type of energy, which will be used for several industrial production lines.
The energy audits performed for industrialists therefore consider utilities as important opportunities to create what are called energy deposits, i.e. points on which it is possible to perform energy optimizations without lowering efficiency.
For example, lighting can be an energy source. The energy optimization plan may well recommend the use of natural light during the day, or the installation of presence detectors to turn on the light only when necessary.