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Cross-sectoral services

Introduction

The energy sector of tomorrow is not just about technology. Go ahead and find out more about the broad range of approaches and instruments the service sector has to offer!

Image Copyright: istockphoto.com/ShadowDesigns

Engineers conducting an energy audit

© istockphoto.com/ShadowDesigns

A holistic approach is essential when seeking to implement measures to boost energy efficiency in business and industry. This is ensured by providers of cross-sectoral services such as energy contracting or energy auditing and management. These services help companies and building owners to identify the potential energy savings that can be made and to achieve sustainable reductions in their energy consumption.

In energy audits, service providers analyse energy consumption and identify suitable and financially viable efficiency measures. These measures are then integrated into operational processes on a permanent basis as part of energy management. Energy contracting in particular is ideal in the case of public buildings like hospitals, industrial and commercial properties and rental housing. With this service, the owner commissions a service provider to independently plan, implement and finance energy efficiency measures, thereby reducing their own workload and benefiting financially.

In Germany, energy audits are mandatory for large companies and energy contracting is already being used successfully in this context. As a result, German service providers have acquired extensive expertise in the field of energy services, from analysis and consulting to financing and implementation.

Energy audits are used to identify opportunities for saving energy in order to optimise the provision and consumption of electricity and heat. At EU level, an energy audit is defined as “a systematic procedure with the purpose of obtaining adequate knowledge of the energy consumption profile of a building or group of buildings, an industrial or commercial operation or installation or a private or public service, identifying and quantifying cost-effective energy saving opportunities, and reporting the findings”.

In EU Member States, it is mandatory for large-scale enterprises to conduct energy audits at least every four years, unless the company has implemented an international or EU-wide certified energy or environmental management system. In 2012, European Standard EN 16247 was introduced throughout the EU to cover the workflow and scope of an energy audit.

Based on the results of the energy audit, appropriate measures can be identified and implemented to improve energy efficiency and also reduce energy costs. Such measures include, in particular, building renovation measures, the
replacement or modernisation of technical equipment and devices to use energy-efficient technologies, for example to heat buildings, heat water, provide cooling, manufacture goods, operate lighting and drivetrain technology or implement a company energy or environmental management system.

To guarantee quality assurance in the international trade of products and services and in the application of procedures, standards have been implemented at a global level that define minimum requirements and properties. Standards in the energy supply sector cover generating installations and their components, building materials, energy services, energy and environmental management systems and production processes, to name just a few.

Companies, organisations and individuals can obtain certification as proof of their compliance with the minimum requirements demanded by the standards. The term accreditation is used, on the other hand, when confirming and recognising professional expertise.

The “seal of quality” issued by certification or accreditation helps companies and organisations to gain the trust of potential customers in relation to the efficiency and quality of their products and services as well as the relevant expertise of the company and its employees. This can increase sales, particularly in the export market, and improve competitiveness.

Certification is generally granted by certification companies, which operate independently of the standardisation organisations and usually specialise in examining certain individual standards. In Germany, several companies specialise in the area of certification. Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH (DAkkS) is responsible for accreditation.

Energy contracting is based on a contractual agreement between a service provider, also known as a contractor, and a principal or client, for example a company or a private household. The services provided by the contractor differ, depending on the type of contracting, and a distinction can be made between energy supply contracting and energy performance contracting.

In energy supply contracting, also known as plant contracting, useful energy in the form of electricity, heat or cooling is provided to the client. The contractor provides the plant
and energy source for energy generation and is responsible for a reliable energy supply and the associated services, such as the installation and maintenance of the relevant technical equipment. This service is financed by means of the remuneration paid for the useful energy provided within a defined contract period. Energy supply contracting can be used by the clients, for example, to procure electricity or heat from renewable energy installations or combined heat and power plants without having to make a long-term investment in or commit to such facilities.

In contrast to energy supply contracting, energy performance contracting is based on the implementation of energy savings measures, the costs of which are financed in full or in part by the saved energy costs.

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