Avoiding Common Traps in Energy Savings (Mis)calculation

In an article for Euractiv, Navigant explains how inconsistencies in the calculation of energy savings could derail global sustainability efforts

Most nations around the world are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy efficiency. Yet, inconsistencies in the calculation of energy savings could hamper global sustainability efforts, said Tom Machinchick and Dr. Andreas Hermelink, energy efficiency experts at Navigant.

In an article for Euractiv, they investigate the effect of non-persistence in energy conservation measures on meeting the Paris Agreement and other national or regional carbon emissions targets.

The savings related to energy conservation measures (ECMs) always come from a comparison of what would have been the consumption without ECMs and what will be the consumption with ECMs. Both pathways offer numerous traps that may lead to over or underestimating savings. Relative to meeting climate targets, overestimation of savings is an issue that can hinder attaining sustainability goals.

A major reason governing bodies or sustainability-related organizations overestimate savings is the persistence, or rather the non-persistence, of energy conservation measures. For example, the savings gained by implementing an ECM drift or degrade during a measure’s lifetime.

Commitment alone is not going to provide results if the actuals are not measured accurately or do not match the targets,” wrote Machinchick and Hermelink.

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