Three cost-efficient ways to deliver on the Paris Agreement
Businesses are ready with cost-efficient solutions to help governments and cities take the next steps in implementing the Paris Agreement. At the COP 23 conference in Bonn, it was time to push for action and turn commitments into impact.
If we use energy more efficiently, it can deliver 40% of the emissions reduction needed to keep the planet within the 2 degrees scenario of global warming. And 35% can be added to this if we at the same time integrate renewables into the energy systems. Three cost-efficient ways to make it happen are cutting energy use in buildings, controlling electric motors, and connecting the elements in smart energy systems with district heating and cooling.
It is mainly in the cities this must be achieved, and the battle for sustainable development must be won. Cities account for 60-80% of global energy consumption and 75% of carbon emissions, and with the massive growth in new urban dwellers, the pressure on climate will further grow.
At COP23, Danfoss participated in the World Climate Summit. The summit is one of the most important international platforms for business-driven solutions to climate change. Anton Koller, Divisional President for District Energy, represented Danfoss. On Tuesday, November 14, he gave a keynote speech on how district heating infrastructures can contribute vastly to CO2 emissions reductions. The same day, the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions, which has Danfoss as one of its founding members, launched a new 1,000 solutions’ initiative.
Below, the three cost-efficient ways to deliver on the Paris Agreement:
Cut energy use in buildings
Currently, buildings account for nearly 40% of global energy use and offer the largest cost-effective opportunity for savings. According to projections, an area equal to roughly 60 percent of the world’s current total building stock will be built or rebuilt in urban areas by 2030. Technologies like advanced compressors, variable speed drives, control valves and radiator thermostats can cut up to 40% of the energy used in the cooling and heating systems – with a short payback time of typically below 3 years. In New York, where 70% of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions result from the energy consumed by buildings, they have set ambitious reduction targets supported by laws and policy tools to activate a shift. In the Empire State Building, Danfoss has contributed with 6,500 radiator thermostats to cut energy consumption and increase comfort.
Control electric motor systems
The potential for cost-efficient savings is also huge when taking a broader look at electric motor systems. They consume more than 50% of all electricity worldwide in end-user applications and industrial processes. Most electric motors are not equipped with variable speed drives today, meaning that they work full speed, regardless of need. By deploying variable speed drives and other system-wide efficiency measures, energy consumption in industrial motor systems can be reduced by up to 40%, and global electricity consumption by 8%. Payback time is typically 2-4 years. In the Danish city Aarhus, they have done this in their water and wastewater supply, and combined with biogas production from wastewater treatment, the city is creating an energy-neutral water cycle for its citizens – the first of its kind in the world.
Connect it all in a smart way
Even more can be obtained when thinking buildings, industry and the energy systems together. District heating and cooling systems can connect it all in a smart way, and a broad application, combined with energy efficiency measures, could contribute with as much as 58% of the CO2 emission reductions required in the energy sector by 2050. District energy infrastructures can utilize surplus heat, free cooling sources and renewable energy to heat and cool buildings. It can use e.g. surplus heat from power plants, industrial processes, data centers, supermarkets and wastewater plants. Surplus heat that would otherwise just vanish into the air. Recovering all of Europe’s surplus heat could cover the heating demand of the entire building stock. And a similar potential exists across the world. In the Chinese city Benxi, a district heating solution, which uses surplus heat from the local steel works, reduces the annual coal use in Benxi by 198,000 tons and provides clean air for the population.