"Taking a stand on climate change is a moral obligation."
Last year, President Obama announced the Clean Power Plan initiative that would put the US on the path to reduce nearly a third of greenhouse gas emissions from power stations within the next 15 years. This followed a climate summit in June where the world leaders of the G7 met to discuss the pressing need to curb carbon emissions and transition to more efficient energy systems. As renewables and energy efficiency options become more and more economically competitive, there is also an increased social and political value to addressing these issues. The energy efficiency market in particular is seeing an investment boom.
According to the International Energy Agency's 2014 Energy Efficiency Market Report, the estimated investment in energy efficiency in 2012 alone was between $310-360 billion. That figure will undoubtedly continue to increase because the price of energy has been steadily rising alongside it. The IEA found that, across its member countries, the cost of energy rose at a rate between 11-52% from 2001 and 2011. This economic driver has increased attention and adoption to new retrofit green technologies like COOLNOMIX®, which reduces commercial air conditioning and refrigeration system energy use on average by 30%.
So far, the energy efficiency market has had its largest impact on the residential sector which saw a decrease in energy demand by 5% since 2001. A few factors will likely drive the commercial sector to adopt more of this technology in the upcoming years.
1. New Financing Options
One of the latest changes to financing energy efficiency projects is the prominence of ESCOs which can implement new performance-based financial models. Clean energy bonds are also cited by the IEA's report as a good way to tap into the fixed income markets for funding. Renewable energy startups like Boston-based CloudSolar are working towards creating models that crowdsource the acceleration towards alternative energy Public financing should not be overlooked as it continues to be one of the main forces that incentives organizations to move the needle on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
2. Changes to Transport
With battery pack prices steadily dropping and more electric vehicles entering the automotive market, the way that companies move goods is about to undergo a dramatic change. The freight sector has to react to efficiency-based standards that are being implemented in countries such as Japan, Korea, and the United States while also considering the notion of self-driving trucks from companies like Freightliner and Mercedes-Benz. Commercial transport is poised to undergo a much-needed energy efficiency revolution.
3. Better Data, Better Technology
The increased ability to obtain and track energy data will continue to make energy-efficiency decisions easily justifiable and information-driven. When policy makers and organizations have access to a wide array of energy information, they will be able to make better decisions that reduce both carbon emissions and operating costs. Simultaneously, new technologies are being developed to solve energy waste problems and when they succeed, they are able to grow into international markets like COOLNOMIX® has with CoolGreenPower.
One of the most promising figures from the IEA's Energy Efficiency Market Report is that the 11 countries that are IEA members were able to generate energy efficiency savings in 2011 equivalent to the total financial consumption of the European Union. Globally, countries are making a serious effort to reduce their costs and reach carbon neutrality. Investment in the energy efficiency market is and will continue to be an essential part of reaching that goal.