Julia Panzer, Danfoss: “The cheapest and cleanest energy is the one we don´t use”

6 December 2018

As the world’s nations and global businesses gather at COP24, Julia Panzer, Head of Public Affairs & Sustainability at EP100 member Danfoss, tells The Climate Group why energy productivity is key to decarbonizing the economy.

Why is energy productivity important and what opportunities do you see in this space?

“Energy productivity is a pre-condition for the decarbonization of our energy systems. After all, the cheapest, cleanest, and most secure form of energy is the one we don't use.

“But it's also essential for the ramp-up of renewables. That's why energy efficiency measures are a cost-effective way to support the shift to a low-carbon economy and, in the process, boost investment, growth, and employment opportunities around the world.”

Why is it important for Danfoss to be a member of EP100?

“At Danfoss, we take the lead when it comes to engineering talk into action. Through joining EP100, we’ve committed to doubling our energy productivity before 2030, from a 2007 baseline. As of today, it looks like we will reach this target 10 years ahead of time.”

“EP100 leverages the potential of businesses to be their very best when they are held accountable to ambitious targets.”

What are your achievements so far?

“We started by looking at our buildings and processes. We have a strong focus on energy savings in our 27 largest sites, which account for 85% of our total energy consumption. The cost savings stem from energy savings on heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting.

“And as it looks right now, we've already achieved an energy productivity improvement of 77% since 2007 and we expect to reach 100% by 2020. We invested €24.1m EUR in the global energy savings project and save €8.6m EUR annually on our energy bill. The next step is to invest more and achieve even further energy savings in our buildings. Looking at the lifecycle, it's a really good return on investment over the time.”

“Right now, we're aiming at reducing our global consumption of both electricity and heating by at least 30% before the end of 2019, from only working with energy consumption from our building stock. We expect to reach this target within the payback time of 3 years.”

"Energy efficiency measures are a cost-effective way to support the shift to a low-carbon economy and, in the process, boost investment, growth, and employment opportunities."
Julia Panzer, Danfoss

What challenges do businesses face in making Sustainable Development Goal 7 a reality?

“Increasing energy efficiency is often about small improvements; installing a valve here and a new window there, for example. That's why the level of investment into energy efficiency measures is still low in comparison to other technologies for decarbonization.

“However, energy efficiency is integral to all aspects of clean growth and innovation. The question is not how much renewable energy we can produce, but how much we can integrate or store. We must work together across sectors to combine our solutions and projects and increase the speed and scale of action. 

“By working together, we can deliver on Sustainable Development Goal 7 and advance sustainable energy for all.”  

If you were a policymaker, what would you do to progress energy efficiency as quickly as possible?  

“The technologies we need to reach the Sustainable Development Goals and climate targets exist today. But countries and cities need to set ambitious targets for energy efficiency and create a stable legal framework that ensures we're all committed to the energy transition.

“In its recent report on the future of cooling, the International Energy Agency shows that the policies currently planned or in place will have a very limited effect in slowing the growth of energy demand for cooling. We also see decreasing ambition from former energy efficiency champions – like in our home market, Denmark. Yet, we know energy efficiency is still the most cost-effective way to decarbonize our economy, according to the IEA.”

"We invested €24.1m EUR in the global energy savings project and save €8.6m EUR annually on our energy bill. The next step is to invest more and achieve even further energy savings."
Julia Panzer, Danfoss

How confident are you that we will be able to tackle climate change - and why?

“I'm a climate optimist. When it comes to this challenge, we owe it to the next generation to act now, before we reach a tipping point. That's also in Danfoss’s DNA. Our founder loved technological challenges – and so do we today.

“If we look at climate change from a technology point of view, it becomes easier. Technology that could help us reach the goals of the Paris Agreement is already available, or in the pipeline. And at Danfoss, as well as at many other companies, we bring new, innovative solutions to the market every day that allows us to save energy and decarbonize our energy system.”

What further plans do you have to deliver climate leadership?

“Climate leadership from a business perspective is twofold. Firstly, we can look inwards and work on our own energy and climate footprint, leading by example. We do this by updating our climate strategy regularly and driving the organization in the right direction – which is good for the planet and good for the pocket.

“Secondly, our solutions are state of the art when it comes to energy efficiency. The more we can engage with stakeholders on concrete projects, such as the District Energy in Cities Initiative, a public-private partnership led by the UN Environment Programme, the more we see energy efficient equipment becoming available in the markets we serve, and the better for the climate.”

EP100 is a global leadership initiative by The Climate Group in partnership with Alliance to Save Energy, which brings together energy-smart companies committed to using energy more productively and accelerate a clean economy. Find out more here.

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