16 Dec 2010 03:12:36
New EU energy energy efficiency targets
MEPs have passed a resolution about energy efficiency targets that could save UK businesses more than £1bn a year.
The European Parliament has demanded that Europe improve its energy efficiency by 20% over the next decade and place a renewed emphasis on greener buildings. MEPs passed yesterday the resolution which, according to recent Carbon Trust research, could help save UK businesses more than £1bn a year.
The resolution calls for member states to set national energy efficiency goals as part of the European Union's forthcoming revised Energy Efficiency Action Plan (EEAP). National energy efficiency action plans would be approved by the European commission, MEPs said, citing the success of similar renewable energy and carbon emissions targets.
MEPs decreed that barriers such as upfront investment costs must not prevent the renovation of existing buildings, which account for about 40% of energy consumption and 36% of carbon emissions in the EU.
MEPs advocated district refurbishment plans, and making "pay-as-you-save" financial incentives similar to the UK's green deal available at regional, national and European levels, as the best methods to ensure the energy efficiency targets are met.
According to the new resolution on energy efficiency targets, the public sector should lead the way by assessing its own buildings and called on EU institutions and agencies to ensure their facilities achieved near-zero energy consumption levels by 2019.
Upgrades to heating and lighting, energy-saving policies and staff training would comfortably save £1.6bn each year
A paper published this week by Carbon Trust Advisory, the business arm of the Carbon Trust, found that finance directors typically estimate the average internal rate of return from energy efficiency projects to be less than 20%, when in fact it is closer to 48%.
Hugh Jones, managing director of Carbon Trust Advisory said "The business case for energy efficiency is clear and compelling. Few other investments get anywhere near that rate of return, yet our data suggests big businesses are leaving around half the investment opportunities on the table and continuing to waste billions of pounds on unnecessary energy use every year."
Simple changes such as upgrades to heating and lighting, energy-saving policies and staff training would comfortably save £1.6bn each year, Carbon Trust Advisory added.
Sandra Rapacioli, research and development specialist at the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), said that financial departments should play a bigger role in promoting and implementing green targets.