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Energy efficiency: The new currency of power

Energy efficiency unlocks the power of ending energy waste. STOCKXPERT

Simply putting an end to wasted electricity is the easiest way to go green. This is why most companies have turned to energy efficiency as a preliminary step in the low-carbon economy.

Lots of individuals and organizations have come to realize that aside from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, there is added revenue in energy efficiency investments. Testament to this is a recent study by McKinsey Global Institute which said that a US $520-billion investment in energy efficiency can cut energy consumption by 23% in the next 11 years, yielding a $130 savings annually.


There are seven energy efficiency business opportunities according to a 2008 study made by McKinsey Global Institute:

    • Building technology products—space-heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment, windows, doors, elevators and escalators, building insulation, end-product components like heat exchangers and solar-control glass
    • Electrical devices/household equipment—appliances, white goods, CFL bulbs, PCs, printers, TVs, home-entertainment equipment and office supplies including rechargeable polymer lithium-ion batteries
    • Transportation fuel efficiency—braking retrofits
    • Transparency-creating products—smart grid, heat loss detecting software
    • Customized solutions—large heating, air-conditioning, lighting, refrigeration, and ventilation systems
    • Energy services—(1) the operation and maintenance of installations such as cogeneration, district heating units, and small-scale residential boilers; (2) the supply of energy, often in the form of power and heat from cogeneration but also gas sourcing; (3) facility management in various areas ranging from technical management and cleaning to safety and security; energy audits, consulting, demand monitoring and management
    • Financing of investments in energy efficiency—loans from banks

Recognizing energy efficiency

Lots of companies have earned recognition through energy efficiency.

Krka, a pharmaceutical laboratory in Slovenia, received its second award in energy efficiency in April 2009. Krka has spent 3.5 million euros (about US $5 million) for renewing their energy systems which include modernizing the boiler room, building a central heating station with a hot water distribution network, installing a high-efficiency cooling machine, upgrading their cooling energy distribution network, and investing into waste heat systems. This has resulted in a reduction of energy use by 28% in the last five years for the company, thereby increasing their production.

Another company in Slovenia has gained efficiency recognition. Snovik Thermal Spa was hailed as its country’s “Most Energy Efficient Company for 2008.” The organization has installed a biological waste water treatment plant and a boiler room for liquid gas. They also installed tube collectors, heat pumps, and a biomass heating plant, and operated the apartment building on an intelligent room/house principle. They do not make use of energy from fossil fuels, succeeding in CO2 reduction of approximately 305 tons a year. The firm has further plans of installing a photovoltaic system and upgrading their existing boiler room for operation as a combined heat and power plant.

Augusta Newsprint Company in North America was been touted as the most energy-efficient company in the forest products industry by the Industries of the Future program in 2002. The company’s $1.4 million investment in the retooling of its thermomechanical pulping process which accounts for 70% of the plant’s electricity resulted in company savings of $1.12 million annually. The firm has also innovated an enzyme that helps break down pitch or sap for easier removal for the wood pulp, and is developing a facility which will reclaim minerals like clay and ink from the 100 tons of sludge generated by newsprint production and recycling.


SMRT Corporation, a multi-modal public transport service provider in Singapore, was given the Most Energy Efficient award at the Metro Awards 2009. Energy efficiency was achieved through short trips instead of end-to-end trips during peak hours and by running on full coast when travelling between stations to conserve energy.

Other measures included replacing old chillers with poor efficiency, upgrading trains and installing energy-efficient equipment like line flow fans which improved cabin air circulation. Fluorescent lamps were also replaced with LED-powered lamps during track maintenance and 75% of escalators were fitted with electrically controlled device which reduced energy consumption by 10%. Another 25% of escalators were installed with variable speed drivers which controlled escalator movement according to passenger loads, reducing energy use by 15-25% and led to fewer escalator breakdowns.

Telecommunications company Ericsson received the 2008 China Green Company Award for their energy innovations, one of which is the “Tower Tube,” a construction that houses base stations and antennas, which cuts energy consumption by 40% and CO2 emissions by 30%.

These are just some of the various companies in the world, across many industries, which are reaping the benefits of an energy efficient working environment.

-   Sunshine T. Santiago

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