Paving the Way for more energy efficiency – findings from Italy
According to a 2013 Energy Efficiency Report, Italian industry could obtain up to a 27% increase in operating margins through improvements in energy efficiency, generating an internal market for businesses in the mechatronics industry of € 7.4 billion per year.
“He who always does what he can already do, will remain what he is.” I believe that Henry Ford‘s words have never been as appropriate as they are today. In the market, in professional life, in politics or even for parents raising their children, the paradigms used to decode the world around us have changed. National and European institutions are suffering from an identity crisis. They seem to be unable to find their footing to “get a grip on” today‘s systemic crisis. What is certain is that all of us, like it or not, will come out of this situation somewhat changed.
Even the topic of energy efficiency is an invitation for businesses to change. This is particularly true for Italian companies, forced to put up with 30 % higher energy costs than in Germany. This is why the Italian government has given top priority to energy efficiency within its National Energy Strategy (SEN).
Relevant national standards and legislation are being stabilized and refined. On the one hand, there is the transposition of the Directive 2012/27/EU, which imposes energy audit or certification obligations for the energy management systems of all non-SME companies. On the other hand, there is the streamlining of the economic incentives for energy efficiency called TEE (Energy Efficiency Certificates, or “White Certificates”).
Italy‘s situation is fairly clear from the standpoint of its legislation. Energy diagnoses are described in the UNI/TR 11428 standard, in anticipation of the issue of the ISO 50002 standard. The Energy Management System is defined by ISO 50001. Businesses that intend to offer energy efficiency services (ESCo – Energy Service Company) must be certified in compliance with UNI/CEI 11352. Professionals will be required to pass a certification examination in compliance with UNI/CEI 11339 (EGE – Esperto nella Gestione dell’Energia, Energy Management Expert).
Applying energy efficiency is not merely a technical issue. Of course, systems and equipment diagnoses and sizing are required. However, payback periods have to be calculated and funding sources found as well.
In the end, management has to be convinced of the advantage of the investment while personnel need to be trained in energy awareness. Indeed, using energy efficiently is, above all, a cultural issue. This is why the EGE is an interesting, innovative and polyhedral position, in line with the “change” posited at the beginning of this blog entry. This is an opportunity to be seized by young professionals and new start-ups in this stagnant job market.
In my next blog post you will get insights from the Energy Efficiency Report 2013, carried out by the Polytechnic University of Milan.