Energy efficiency refers to the point of balance between the energy consumed (useful energy) and the energy expended by the building itself. Concretely, it is the operating condition of a building whose energy expenditure has been optimized while not lowering the quality of service.
Also called energy efficiency, energy efficiency meets energy saving objectives. The goal is to reduce energy consumption as well as the associated costs.
The objectives of energy efficiency
The concept of energy efficiency is used by extension to refer to action aimed at optimizing the ratio between a building’s energy consumption and its average operating level. The main goal of energy efficiency is to “do better with less”.
To achieve this, energy efficiency can be based on methods such as optimizing the architecture of the building, installing a more efficient heating system, or using renewable energy. The implementation of so-called passive solutions is also an excellent lever for energy efficiency.
The objectives of energy efficiency are obviously above all ecological. All of the actions that move towards the goal of energy efficiency respond to a global need that is increasingly important for companies: that of improving their ecological footprint.
This means reducing consumption overall, but also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. All of these actions can be supported by a more global approach to ecological transition, implemented at the head of the company.
The ecological transition necessarily involves an energy transition. To this end, the government has formulated a set of measures, including a carbon neutrality objective, which is expected to be achieved by 2050. Of all sectors of activity, real estate and construction are the most energy-intensive. This is why they are being led to anticipate strong energy efficiency initiatives for the coming years.
Energy efficiency in the building and real estate sectors
In the European Union, the building sector is the most energy consuming sector. It is responsible for the absorption of nearly 40% of total energy consumption. 36% of European CO2 emissions come from this activity (2008 Eurostat figures).
In France, building and real estate combined are responsible for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions and 44% of energy expenditure. In these sectors, energy efficiency must therefore become a key priority in order to meet the challenges of contemporary climate change.
These figures should make it possible to implement resources for sustainable energy management and, as far as possible, to initiate new policies on energy use in companies.
To date, a certain number of regulations in place are moving in the direction of improving the level of energy efficiency, particularly with regard to housing construction. All of them encourage the use of renewable energies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency.
For example, the 2012 Thermal Regulations provide a framework for energy consumption in new housing. For its part, the role of the business energy audit is to measure the energy expenditure of real estate programs belonging to companies with more than 250 employees or with revenues of more than 50 million euros.
The Elan law provides a framework for the gradual reduction of energy consumption in commercial buildings with a floor area of more than 1,000 m2. The target for reducing energy expenditure is set at 40% by 2030, 50% by 2040 and 60% by 2050.
Finally, the environmental appendix aims to facilitate communication on energy efficiency optimization issues between lessors of buildings over 2,000 m2 and their purchasers.