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Buildings can reduce energy intensity by up to 38%: report

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  • According to a white paper published in January 2024 by the World Economic Forum and PwC, changing energy demand through meaningful interventions can help buildings cut their energy intensity by up to 38% in comparison to existing levels.
  • According to the white paper, implementing energy-saving and efficiency measures could result in a process intensity reduction of up to 90% without major changes to technology, regulations, or outside funding. It states that by 2030, these actions could result in annual savings of up to $2 trillion.
  • According to the report, Electrification is a “key vector” that can lessen the energy intensity of current processes, and working with supply chain and public sector stakeholders can aid businesses in developing “new value pools and revenue streams.”How building energy efficiency can save the day in the U.S. | GridPoint  posted on the topic | LinkedIn

Navigating the Energy Transition: Challenges and Opportunities in Buildings, Industry, and Transportation

The report evaluated the mixed impact of feasible demand-side interventions on global energy intensity by structuring its analysis around buildings, industry, and transportation. Maintaining a safe and secure energy supply in the midst of an extremely dangerous political landscape, ensuring that energy is financially practical for businesses and societies, and meeting the growing energy demand while adhering to the objectives of the 2050 Paris Agreement are the three main challenges that businesses are facing in light of this ongoing energy transition, the report said.

The bright paper’s scenarios foresee a possible shortage in clean energy supply by 2050, despite presumptions of three-fold growth in solar energy. According to the paper, there will be a 42% shortage of alternative energy by 2050 to meet the demand for energy from transportation, industry, and commercial buildings.

Buildings currently account for about 30% of the world’s energy demand, but interventions can cut that demand by 12%, the white paper claims.

Driving Energy Efficiency: Strategies for Reducing Emissions and Operating Costs Through Demand-Side Interventions

According to the paper, addressing energy demand can help companies cut greenhouse gas emissions and increase margins by 200 to 300 basis points while also lowering annual operating costs by about 10% over the course of three years. The paper notes that the cheapest form of energy is “energy that is not used,” and that demand-side actions can be carried out by “reallocating recently wasted or unnecessarily used energy to fresh consumers and/or new uses.” According to the report, any delay in taking action will result in higher energy costs and a hampered achievement of climate goals.

According to the whitepaper, businesses can lower emissions intensity—the amount of emissions produced during the production of a good or service—by utilizing current and reasonably priced AI-powered technologies that are readily available at scale. These technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI)-driven HVAC management software for existing equipment, can cut HVAC energy use by up to 25%. It identifies demand-side interventions for buildings as energy-saving measures, such as adjusting room temperatures close to outside conditions, closing underutilized space, and turning off unoccupied assets like lights and equipment.

Energy efficiency measures, the second type of demand-side intervention, involve retrofits and other improvements that make it possible for buildings to use less energy to complete the same task. These improvements are generally funded by capital expenditure and have a payback period of less than 15 years. According to the paper, these measures can reduce the amount of energy needed by non-industrial sector operations by 27%. They include implementing complete building retrofits, such as roof, walls, and windows, digitizing building management systems, installing effective HVAC equipment, upgrading to LED lighting systems; replacing outdated equipment; and electrifying heat systems.

Collaborative Solutions for Sustainable Buildings: Enhancing Efficiency and Wellness Through Value Chain Collaboration

As a next lever, it suggests implementing value chain collaboration measures, such as altering building design, installing district heating and cooling systems and district energy management systems, on-site energy production and storage, the use of greener materials, and demand response programs. The report emphasizes the significance of working with public and private sector bodies to raise money for retrofit programs and integrate clean and distributed energy systems, citing Brazil as an example of energy efficient lighting and intelligent building systems integration for corporate office buildings.

The white paper notes claim that in addition to lowering energy intensity, retrofitting can lower employee sickness by 20%, increase employee productivity by up to $7,500 per person annually, create 3.2 million new jobs, and raise asset values by about 15%, taking rental premiums into account.

Viktor Musil

Victor Musil, pen name for Edouard Py, advocates for inclusive, people-centered city development. His work underscores the importance of ethical considerations and equitable access, shaping the discourse on urban innovation worldwide.

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