The benefits of energy efficiency: Much more than savings

Beatriz Sanz Baños    27 April, 2018

Energy efficiency has become the ‘first fuel’ of the 30 countries that belong to the International Energy Agency (IEA), including Spain. This means that the energy saved by the members of this organization was higher in 2010 than the energy demand met by any source of energy, including oil, gas, coal, electricity or any other fuel. 

Energy efficiency is a key lever in achieving the sustainability objectives which require lowering kT emissions of CO2 equivalent. Thus, the IEA modelled that 40% of the reduction in emissions needed to limit the increase in the global temperature to 2 degrees by 2050 could be achieved thanks to energy efficiency. 

These figures endorse the additional benefits of energy efficiency, which are joined by other obvious advantages like savings for companies and industries. They are all part of the concept known as the ‘multiple benefits’ of efficient energy management, which was addressed by the IEA itself in a workshop held in Paris last March, where it updated and reflected on its progress. 

This concept, which is still little-known, was presented in a 2014 report entitled ‘Capturing the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency’, which described how investment in energy efficiency benefits the different stakeholders, identifying 12 key areas with a positive impact due to energy efficiency, including energy savings. 

This list of advantages also includes environmental sustainability, active values, macroeconomic development, industrial productivity, energy security, access to energy, the cost of energy, public budgets, the available income, air pollution, and health and overall wellbeing. 

Different kinds of solutions 

Tools of this nature can be grouped into two kinds: remote metrics and remote control. The former primarily consists of implementing IoT sensors in the client’s facility which generate information on consumption and the variables on which it depends (outside temperature, inside temperature, humidity, etc.), which are then transmitted via mobile or stationary networks to a cloud platform which stores and processes it and provides a visualization environment. The latter add the deployment of actuators, which are managed remotely from the platform to allow for dynamic configuration and therefore achieve better optimization of consumption. Smart Energy IoT by Telefónica is an example of a specific solution to manage energy efficiency through the application of the IoT. 

In short, by focusing on energy efficiency we get a threefold benefit, since it guarantees savings, sustainability and digitalization or “IoTization”, so it is a solution worth bearing in mind for companies and industries in all sectors.

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