Today’s good idea: Stop building rubbish homes. Labour’s Alan Whitehead slams the ‘near criminal’ failure to improve the energy efficiency of new build homes.
Business Green 27th Feb 2018 read more »
DNOs should help fund energy efficiency measures, MPs told. It is “illogical” that distribution network operators (DNOs) should not be expected to help fund the installation of energy efficiency measures for low-income households, the chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust has told MPs.
Utility Week 27th Feb 2019 read more »
Dave Elliott: Amory Lovins from the Rocky Mountain Institute, US, says the cost of energy efficiency will fall — not rise — with wider use if we adopt integrated system design. That’s a divergence from the traditional view that, once we’ve exploited the easy “low-hanging fruit” energy-saving options, it will get harder and more expensive to make more savings. It may be true that as energy-saving measures are rolled out widely, the technology will get cheaper due to economies of production volumes and learning-curve improvements. But in his recent paper, Lovins goes further: integrated design offers large additional cost savings. That’s since we are moving from energy-efficiency upgrades — add-ons to basically unchanged systems — to complete new system designs. Lovins offers examples from the building sector, with big savings possible via designs incorporating full insulation that eliminate the need for heating systems, as at the Rocky Mountain Institute’s HQ. Eliminating or downsizing heating and cooling needs is obviously good news, assuming it does not cost too much, which is what Lovins claims. He offers similar gains from system design approaches in industry; energy use can be reduced by clever design and new tech. This seems fair enough — you can squeeze out energy use and cut costs. But can that process be continued repeatedly? Aren’t there final limits? Lovins seems to think not. At least, not until we get to zero energy use, or low residual energy use based on renewables. Energy efficiency, aided by smart system management, is clearly a key part, making it easier for renewables, large and small, to supply the reduced demand. Although this all seems to be about electricity — as was the case in the DNV-GL study I looked at in my previous post. Electricity is certainly getting pushed hard as the best decarbonization route in every sector. But in my next post I ask if the future must be all-electric? There are other options for energy supply and use, and for storage and system balancing.
Physics World 27th Feb 2019 read more »