Energy efficiency is a critical technology to for the world. It is the single best solution to the myriad of problems our society is facing today, around climate instability and resource depletion. Energy efficiency allows people to reduce their energy use without sacrificing comfort or production. It usually is very profitable to apply, giving energy savings worth far more than its costs. And it often increases the comfort, health and productivity of its users.
Energy efficiency can provide more savings than most people expect. In our experience, 20% - 50% savings are accruing regularly in projects we're associated with, at "paybacks" of well under three years. A number of our customers are Energy Efficiency Award winners, and two have documented energy use reductions of over 25% since working with us.
We guarantee that the savings we identify will be more than our fee for the project. If not, we will refund our fees to the extent of the difference. So far, every project has identified more than enough savings to meet the guarantee.
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There are many myths circulating about energy efficiency in "the common wisdom", which are one reason that the energy supply difficulties and price rises New Zealand has experienced in the last twenty years are still occurring.
Myth: Energy costs are a fixed expense.
Reality: "Energy costs are the single largest controllable expense for office buildings" (NZ Property Council 2000).
Myth: Responding to climate change is very expensive.
Reality: Reducing energy use (and correspondingly, CO2 emissions) is the most important and effective response (and it’s profitable!).
Myth: New Zealand is already energy efficient.
Reality: “New Zealand has had the least energy savings in manufacturing of all countries studied” (From IEA Energy Use Indicators report 2000).
Myth: Once the lighting in a building has been upgraded, any other retrofits are too expensive to be cost-effective.
Reality: HVAC Optimisation is the most profitable energy savings technology available today.
Myth: Energy Management is too difficult and time-consuming to be worthwhile.
Reality: Many companies will assist you to manage your energy costs, some with performance guarantees (like us).
Productivity, Health, Comfort
Energy efficient buildings are more comfortable than less efficient ones. Comfort should not be sacrificed in the name of efficiency.People working in more comfortable buildings have been shown to be more productive than those in "standard" buildings, sometimes by 10% or more. The value of this productivity is in addition to and worth much more than the energy savings.
Efficient buildings are more profitable to operate, and more valuable, because their operating costs are less than comparable buildings that are not as efficient. The increased value is typically ten times as much as the annual energy savings (assuming a capitalisation rate of 10%).
Climate Stabilisation and Future Generations
Improving the energy efficiency of our infrastructure is the most important thing we can do to reduce carbon emissions and help stabilise climate. Energy efficiency improvements do not have the negative impacts of most types of energy supply, including renewable energy.
“The issue of conversion to clean energy is one of ethics and intent. Our ability to turn around the rate of carbon emissions and slow the engine that can conflagrate the world is certain. But do we have the will? We have been the primary beneficiaries of the lifestyle that accelerated climate change, and, of course are among the primary emitters of greenhouse gases. For the first 200-plus years of the fossil fuel age, we could claim ignorance of its lasting harm; we cannot do that now.
With knowledge comes responsibility, and with that responsibility must come action. As the earth’s stewards, our individual changes are important, but this is a bigger deal than replacing light bulbs or riding a bike. Let’s make working to turn emissions around a litmus test for every politician who asks for our vote.
Imagine a democracy across space, time and class, where legislative bodies represented not only those living in the world’s low-lying areas but their great-grandchildren — and ours. Or imagine that our elected representatives were proxies for those people. Imagine those representatives determining our current energy policy. Is there any doubt that things would change more rapidly?”
Mark Bittmann “Let’s not Braise the Planet” New York Times 1 July 2013.