Habits are holding back companies from introducing energy management

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The forthcoming Law on Energy Efficiency and support from the European Union will give Latvian entrepreneurs new opportunities to develop smarter management. As experts confirm, entrepreneurs understand the importance of energy management but not all of them have committed to introducing it, even though it often does not require investment and is as easy as closing a door, turning off a light, or changing heating settings.

“Well thought-out management allows companies to work more efficiently, and it is one of the keys to Latvia’s competitiveness. With the Energy Efficiency Directive for the European Union’s member states and the Law on Energy Efficiency currently being developed in Latvia, energy management is topical not only for the public but also for the private sector. I believe that additional support for entrepreneurs in the promotion of energy efficiency will help to strengthen the sustainability of both individual companies and the entire national economy,” says Uldis Mucinieks, Electricity Sales Director of Latvenergo AS.

Energy efficiency — a change in thinking and habits

“Energy efficiency means not only the insulation of buildings and replacement of windows, but also solutions such as well thought-out air flow in data centres and server rooms. It also refers to business process automation, from the automatic reduction of temperature in vacant hotel rooms, and microclimate and air purification in laboratories, to fully automated manufacturing,” stresses Aleksandrs Grebežs, Technical Director of the intelligent engineering solutions company SIA FIMA. “Companies must see energy efficiency as a long-term process which helps to improve work efficiency and save resources. Furthermore, it is often enough to train employees and change habits without any financial investments.”

Professor Andra Blumberga of Riga Technical University (RTU) Institute of Energy Systems and Environment says: “Entrepreneurs name other priorities and employees’ habit-driven resistance and fear of change as the main obstacles to the introduction of energy efficiency. Such argument as “not enough money” does not appear in the results. Quite the contrary — smart management helps to save money. One company’s data analysis revealed that it spends about 40 MWh a day on the production of 1000 t of produce, on some days more than three times that amount (140 MWh). After the introduction of energy management, the company now saves 200 000 euros a year.” Experts demonstrate the relation between habits and excessive consumption of energy resources with the following example: a vehicle service owner installs heating at employees’ request to later discover that the tremendous increase in energy resource expenses is due to the garage doors being kept open because it is too hot inside.

Expected support for the introduction of energy efficiency

As the Ministry of Economics explains, the objective of the Law on Energy Efficiency will be to ensure energy efficiency in energy production, management, distribution, and end consumption. The legislation provides for mandatory audits in large companies which have not introduced energy or environment management systems. Energy audits can also be voluntarily performed in small- and medium-sized companies.

To promote various energy efficiency measures, the 2014–2020 EU Funds Programming Period provides for several support programmes, for instance, the implementation of energy efficiency measures in apartment buildings, industrial objects, and state and local government buildings. The legislation also provides for voluntary agreements between the state and industry associations, merchants and local governments on the implementation of energy efficiency measures.

On 16 April 2015 Uldis Mucinieks, the Electricity Sales Director of Latvenergo AS, Inguna Ozoliņa, Rapporteur of the Energy Efficiency Division of the Ministry of Economy Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Department, Andra Blumberga, Professor at RTU Institute of Energy Systems and Environment, Aleksandrs Grebežs, Technical Director of the intelligent engineering solutions company SIA FIMA, Tālivaldis Podiņš, Business Development Manager of SIA ABB, and 38 other representatives of large companies participated at the Efficient Business Afternoon organised by the intelligent engineering solutions company SIA FIMA and AS Latvenergo Energy Efficiency Centre.

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