Practical solutions of eco-electric sector towards energy transition

In the midst of the debate on energy transition launched by the government in November 2012, the French eco-electric sector* published a study which proposes further courses of action.

In 2011 France’s energy bill reached a new record high – 61 billion euros – that is more than the peak of the 1979 second oil crisis. Therefore the eco-electric sector decided to conduct an in-depth study on energy use and potential savings as well as reduction of CO2 emissions in buildings. Buildings, residential and tertiary, are indeed the most energy-intensive sector behind transportation. In line with the Percebois and Gallois reports, pushing for public policies based on energy efficiency, this study compares different solutions to control energy consumption, as “the greenest and cheapest energy is that which is not used”.

Active energy efficiency: smart and reasonable energy consumption to bring down cost of energy bill

Energy efficiency, rather than a rigid concept, is an emerging sector of the economy combining three approaches:

  • « Thermal » or passive energy efficiency is to help eliminate “energy leakage” by renovating and insulating building shells.
  • « Performance » energy efficiency aims at enhancing the energy performance of technical equipment (heating, lighting, household appliances, etc.).
  • « Active » energy efficiency focuses on optimizing consumption and reducing wasteful use of energy by way of automated monitoring of every piece of electrical equipment in a building

eco-electric sector, energy transition, energy efficiency, energy consumption

Active energy efficiency schemes involve using all current technology, especially digital. The first necessary step is to audit building energy performance by means of consumption measurement tools. After this assessment phase, adequate monitoring instruments can be installed to optimize power consumption.

This method particularly applies to the five core aspects in the life of any building, whose daily energy use is highly contingent on the management of its equipment: heating, domestic hot water, lighting, ventilation and air-conditioning.

Installing smart equipment helps make building energy use more flexible and therefore more modest. Occupancy-based room lighting and hot water generation or accurate heating control are examples which show that energy savings can be easily achieved without affecting our way of life.

Office or tertiary buildings, priority target of active energy efficiency investments

According to the eco-electric sector, an accurate room-by-room remote management of electrical equipment could save around 55 to 60% energy in educational and office buildings, whose activity can easily be split into different units, enabling better control of energy use: space units (storage, reception and work areas…) and time units (night, vacation and holidays…). By contrast, since activity in private homes is less predictable, it is harder to forecast how long it will take to recoup initial investment, nevertheless offering energy savings of 12-28%.

eco-electric sector, energy transition, energy efficiency, energy consumption

French economy’s promising sector

The nation-wide implementation of energy efficiency schemes could save huge amounts of energy. According to the eco-electric sector, retrofitting every building in France would represent a total investment of 116 billion euros in 25 years. Such renovation works could save an average € 17 billion a year, to be compared with France’s energy bill in 2011 of € 61 billion (the average national return-on-investment time for residential and tertiary buildings is 7 years). Finally, a significant effort to push for such solutions across the country would create 56,000 skilled, not outsourceable jobs every year in the eco-electric sector, thus boosting small and medium-sized businesses.

For more information :

* The eco-electric sector gathers 5 federations and trade unions which constitute a set of competences from applied research to integration, installation, utilization and maintenance of solutions for the final consumer, including industrial manufacture and specialized distribution.

  • FFIE : Fédération française des entreprises de génie électrique et énergétique (French Federation of Electric & Energetic engineering companies)
  • FGME : Fédération des grossistes en matériel électrique (Federation of electric supplies wholesalers), which Rexel is a member
  • Gimélec : companies that provide electrical and automation solutions on the energy markets
  • IGNES : Industries du génie numérique, énergétique et sécuritaire (Industries of digital, energetic and safe engineering)
  • SERCE : Syndicat des entreprises de génie climatique et électrique  (Unions of climatic and electric engineering)
Bookmark and Share

About admin