With the global energy crisis continuing well into 2023, the enormous power of energy efficiency has remained squarely in the spotlight. Energy efficiency is climate critical - it’s the fastest and most cost-effective way to slash energy bills and cut global fossil fuel demand. After all, the greenest form of energy is the energy you don’t use.
2023 has brought important progress on energy efficiency by policymakers. In June, 45 governments around the world endorsed the goal of doubling the average global rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030. But more must be done to help corporates meet ambitious energy efficiency targets. In this mid-year ‘stock take’, we reflect on the progress made by EP100, Climate Group’s corporate energy efficiency initiative.
EP100 brought its members together throughout this year, so they could share their thoughts on the biggest opportunities to increase corporate energy efficiency and on the challenges they are facing that we must tackle together.
At the start of the year, EP100 organised two members forums where our members flagged how a lack of coherent energy efficiency standards globally, is causing challenges for large corporates. Many of our members mentioned that it’s difficult to standardise their practices across different geographies, due to very varied legislation and differing energy efficiency frameworks and standards. Governments need to acknowledge this, and implement strong policies on building codes while ensuring their standards are not overly onerous for companies operating in multiple jurisdictions.
Back in March, our CEO wrote that the world’s most powerful politicians have finally woken up to the power of energy efficiency. With this newfound enthusiasm, policymakers must encourage businesses to meet ambitious energy efficiency standards, and provide support to meet the ambitions too. Members remain confused about how to make the most of opportunities in new legislation, such as the funding available via the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in the US. At Climate Week NYC this September, we will support EP100 members and other stakeholders to understand how to fully benefit from the Inflation Reduction Act.
In June, Climate Group brought its action summit series to Asia, showcasing the climate progress of EP100 members, City Developments, NTT, and Siemens. We encourage more Asian companies to join EP100, half of our members in Asia are in heavy industry and manufacturing sectors, so energy efficiency offers a significant opportunity to slash carbon emissions and costs. By improving the energy efficiency of their factories, they can even help maintain the wellbeing of employees and therefore improve their productivity.
At London Climate Action Week in July, EP100 hosted an event with member Landsec under the banner ‘Collaboration for Decarbonisation’. Our members often highlight the different positions of landlords and tenants, and the challenge of finding the shared benefits of installing energy efficient technologies like LEDs, heat-pumps and even AI enabled energy management systems. Discussions focused on how building owners and occupiers can work together to reach net zero, with some attendees taking up our call to action by pledging to speak with their tenants or landlord about increasing energy efficiency. Landsec and EP100 members Buro Happold and Worley provided insights on innovative solutions in their offices, and we urged corporate landlords and tenants to discuss opportunities to drive up energy efficiency together.
For example, Landsec has adopted several simple yet inventive practices to improve the performance of its buildings, and the behaviours of their corporate tenants. At their head office in London, it has implemented a zoning policy so that on days of low occupancy, such as Fridays, certain areas of the office are closed off to help save on lighting and HVAC use. It has also introduced ‘gamification’ to help drive energy efficiency amongst its occupiers, with ‘energy saving leaderboards’ established to encourage competition.
As we look ahead to Climate Week NYC and beyond, EP100 will continue to bring together members to drive collective action on the opportunities and challenges shared by our members. Throughout the rest of 2023, we will continue to call for increased ambition, innovation, and financing in aid of energy efficiency. In our most recent annual report, we proudly announced that to date our members have collectively reduced 380 million metric tonnes of CO2e – exceeding the annual emissions of Denmark, Italy, and Portugal combined.
In our next report, we hope to add a fourth or even a fifth country to that list. Together, we will continue to strive towards an energy efficient future, and we welcome who want to join us on this critical journey those.