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01 Jun 2023 8 min

Energy efficiency: this is the answer to high energy prices

The initiatives put in place by the Italian government to address high energy bills of companies (particularly if they are energy intensive), allow for the replacement of approximately 30 billion standard cubic metres (scm) of purchased gas with 25 billion scm from renewable sources by 2025. These derive from the application of energy efficiency policies. In addition to these measures, each company can adopt its own savings by hiring consultants to optimise energy consumption.

The need to set up an energy-saving campaign for companies has been talked about for months. Last winter, Europe was hit by a serious energy crisis, due to the lack of raw materials and the consequent price increases. Companies saw increasingly higher bills and the situation does not seem to be improving.
For these reasons, companies should take steps to reconsider the management of their facilities with a view to efficiency and energy savings.

It is not just a gas problem

Everyone’s attention has been focused for months on gas consumption. The war between Russia and Ukraine, and the actions taken by the players involved, generated a progressive decrease in gas supplies to many countries, including Italy. This situation led to a drastic decrease in the gas available to companies, giving rise to the need to review their management strategies to reduce consumption.
It is a need that does not concern only gas consumption, but that of electricity as well, the production of which in Italy depends on gas for 45 per cent of its total.

Gas – looking for new supplies

The first concern of the Italian government is to diversify the supply sources of the gas purchased from Russia. The initiatives put in place so far by the “National Plan for Containing Natural Gas Consumption”, issued by the Ministry of Ecological Transition of the Draghi government, allow for the replacement of approximately 30 billion standard cubic metres (scm) of gas from Russia with 25 billion scm of gas from other countries by 2025. These particularly include Algeria, Azerbaijan, the Netherlands and Norway.
Imports of LNG - liquefied natural gas - are on the rise. This supply source will become increasingly important in the future and comes from Qatar, Egypt and, starting from 2023-24, from Congo and the USA. To be fed into the grid, LNG needs regasification facilities which are in Rovigo, La Spezia and Livorno in Italy. 
Unfortunately, one thing is certain: even with the above measures, it will be impossible to diversify energy sources before the second half of 2024. This takes into consideration the increase in energy that can be produced internally, using renewable energy sources (RES) and renewable gases (biomethane and hydrogen).
Despite the new measures, we have two to three years of energy emergency ahead of us, for which the government measures already taken or planned and those to be taken will be crucial.

Our consultants can show you all the actions to counter this energy emergency

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Energy efficiency and consumption reduction

The government’s plan goes in two directions, which are the maximisation of electricity production using fuels other than natural gas and the adoption of a plan to contain heating consumption and the efficient, but controlled, use of energy.
The objective is twofold: overcoming the energy supply crisis and ensuring that companies do not suffer excessively from the exponential increase in energy prices.
The Consumption Reduction Plan includes actions to change the current regulation of heating temperature and hours in winter.
As for industrial, craft and similar buildings:

  • the values under Art. 3, paragraph 1 of Italian Presidential Decree no. 74/2013 are reduced by 1°C: the reference temperature is 17°C with a tolerance of plus or minus 2°C. This means that in company offices, communal areas, workshops, factories, etc., the room temperature cannot fall below 15°C or rise above 19°C.
  • Another measure concerns the operating limits of heating systems, which have been changed from what was set by paragraph 2 of Article 4 of Italian Presidential Decree no. 74/2013: the operating period has been reduced by 15 days, with the start date postponed by eight days and the end date brought forward by seven days (except for sensitive users such as hospitals, nursing homes, etc.), and the daily operating duration has been reduced by an hour.

Fervo Group is at the forefront in supporting companies to improve the management and energy efficiency of their facilities. Ask us for advice. 

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Reducing consumption - savings in the containment plan

According to the “Administrative and behavioural actions to reduce the national demand for methane gas”, a report prepared and published by ENEA (National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development), by acting on the modulation of temperature and the hours per day of heating, i.e., lowering the indoor temperature from 20°C to 19°C during the heating season and decreasing the operating time by an hour, the office and commercial sector can achieve energy savings of more than 480 million scm.
Alongside these zero-cost behavioural measures, there are others suggested by the Plan. Companies can replace air conditioners with more efficient models, installing new electric heat pumps to replace old gas boilers, installing solar panels to produce hot water, and replacing traditional light bulbs with LED bulbs. With a good corporate facility management policy, these solutions can lead to a reduction of about a billion scm, according to ENEA's calculations.

These measures must be integrated with those for reduction in industrial sectors

According to the Plan, “these containment measures can be integrated with those for reduction in industrial sectors, especially those which are energy intensive. A discussion has been opened with Confindustria (Confederation of Italian Industry) to define the implementation contents and methods and a survey is underway, in partnership with SNAM and Confindustria, through questionnaires of the various companies involved, to determine the potential for reducing consumption on a voluntary/incentivised basis and the categories of companies that have production cycles that cannot be interrupted without notice.”

Energy efficiency and environmental impact

In addition to energy and financial savings, an energy efficiency strategy promotes the sustainable development of buildings by reducing pollutants and waste. This contributes significantly to the progressive decarbonisation of buildings and the fight against climate change, a step towards the net zero emission goal.

Energy emergency - how to deal with it

Today is crucial for companies to have the support of a consultant who can help identify the measures which promote energy efficiency through the design and implementation of systems that meet the energy saving and sustainability requirements of buildings.
Fervo Group’s Eco2zone, E.S.Co can take an energy snapshot of your property to identify areas for improvement.
Through a dedicated digital platform, Eco2zone can also account for the building’s consumption to check in real time where to intervene to achieve a better energy performance with consequent savings.

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Source: Piano Nazionale della transizione ecologica - Ministero della Transizione Ecologica