At its core, the idea of energy efficiency aims to minimise the amount of energy consumed without deteriorating the quality of life and without hindering the economic development and social well-being of society. More broadly, energy efficiency aims to avoid energy losses; recycling of various wastes and/or their reuse; reducing energy demand using more advanced technologies without reducing production; use of renewable energy sources.
By developing an Energy Efficiency Strategy, the EU and the Member States aim to contribute to providing energy for all under acceptable conditions and to minimize the negative impacts of energy production and use on human health and the environment. This can be achieved by promoting effective energy and fuel use practices and technologies, covering the three main areas important for sustainable development, such as natural, social and economic sustainability.
BENEFITS OF IMPROVING ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Saving energy and increasing energy efficiency leads to improved air quality and public health, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy security by reducing dependence on energy imports, reducing energy costs for households and businesses, increasing the competitiveness of the economy, creating more jobs, thereby increasing citizens’ quality of life.
In order to achieve all this, work must be done on a framework of measures that promote energy efficiency and ensure that the objectives of raising it are achieved. Experts point to three main sectors where energy efficiency has great development potential, such as construction (decarbonisation of buildings), transport and energy.
According to Eurostat, the energy intensity of Bulgaria’s gross domestic product (GDP) shows a sustained downward trend. While maintaining it and implementing measures to increase energy efficiency in the country, Bulgaria can be expected to reach EU levels in the near future and the competitiveness of the economy can be improved in the long term.
However, according to scenarios of the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy efficiency measures are responsible for 40% of the necessary reductions in emissions by 2040 globally. This is why the recommendation is for countries to prioritise energy efficiency strategies in all economic activities and in fast-growing cities. This can be done through innovative policies, technologies and innovative approaches.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN BUILDINGS
To achieve a highly energy efficient and decarbonized building stock, it is recommended to take measures in several main directions:
- Construction of new buildings and transformation of existing buildings into buildings with low energy consumption;
- Improving the energy performance of residential and non-residential buildings;
- The introduction of smart technologies in the building sector.
Still, a very small part of our country’s housing stock has gone through the process of energy auditing and subsequent implementation of energy-saving measures. The European norm EN 15232 describes in detail the processes of energy production, distribution and consumption for each energy class and the ways in which these processes should be controlled. The difference between classes comes from the degree of control of these processes.
Efforts must be focused on promoting the introduction of new technologies to build efficient district heating and cooling systems and efficient heating and cooling infrastructure.
In this regard, building management system (BMS) is a great technology that is subject to the European norm EN 15232.
Building automation systems have started as means of managing the OIC. As automation tools develop, their functionality is expanded, thanks to which they also carry out control, management and monitoring. In the process of their development, they begin to cover other systems in the building that consume energy. Thus, BMS became a centralized technology for the overall management and monitoring of the systems in the building.
In this way, BMS can now not only improve and increase the comfort of a building and achieve it with minimal cost, but also control the overall energy consumption and monitor the proper functioning of the other technical systems installed in the given building. One of the main advantages of BMS is the speed and accuracy of the reaction.
Among the advantages of building automation systems are:
- This is an investment with a very fast return;
- Turns the building into an easy-to-service site;
- Increase competitiveness by enabling costs to be managed more properly;
- This is a green investment that reduces emissions.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN THE TRANSPORT SECTOR
The depletion of liquid fuel and natural gas raw materials, global warming and environmental pollution reinforce the need for the increasing use of alternative sources of energy. This provokes the creation and production of eco-friendly and energy-saving cars. The trend for this is constantly accelerated by the huge consumption of these raw materials.
On the other hand, global warming is due to an increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and their emissions continue to rise. Although cars tend to become cleaner, their numbers keep growing. In the context of major cities where half of the world’s population live and more than two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions are generated, the fight against harmful emissions is essential.
Land transport, with its 11% contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gases and ranks first in cities. Therefore, the transformation of large fleets to electricity, especially light commercial vehicles such as cars and vans, is an important opportunity to reduce urban greenhouse gas emissions.
One kilogram of fuel – gasoline or naphtha – pollutes 15 cubic meters of air or “produces” 2.74 kg of CO2. Electric vehicles (ENP), as an alternative to cars powered by internal combustion engines (DVT), are a natural and direct solution to reduce greenhouse gases in major cities. The modern development of technology has made it possible to construct electric vehicles (ENP) with road performance similar to those of vehicles with DVG, but with many times less energy consumption per kilometer. ENP generates significantly fewer emissions – in most cases close to zero compared to vehicles with DVG.
Effects of the spread of electric vehicles:
- Decrease in the production/import of liquid fuels by approximately 20%;
- Significant reduction in major cities;
- Minimizing transport noise.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY WITH SMART ELECTRICITY MEASUREMENT AND MONITORING
The economy is the driving force of societies around the world. It can be defined as a machine that absorbs a large amount of resources under the condition of producing goods and provides services with low cost and little effect on the environment. Given its nature and value, energy is the resource that has the greatest impact on achieving these requirements. This is why energy saving and smart utilization is a major task of both industry and policy makers.
The main goal of industrial energy management is to achieve an effective balance between quality, cost of the manufactured goods and service provided through individual and generally accepted approaches and instruments.
At its core, the concept of energy management can be a combination of complex, effective, organizational, technical and activity to change the behavior and attitude of employees, management and even a private user, which can lead to a reduction and optimisation of energy consumption, as well as basic and secondary materials in a production, service provided or domestic energy consumption.
In this respect, the introduction of smart meters and consumption monitoring systems allow for qualitative analysis and change.
The advantages of smart metering and monitoring systems for electricity:
- Are a tool that helps consumers better manage their energy purchases;
- System-wide monitoring through intelligent software provides real-time data on electrical parameters, allows faster detection of system interference and immediate corrective actions to minimize the impact on the customer of events such as interruptions;
- Smart meters also help the ERP to understand the needs of the electricity grid in more detail than older appliances. This better understanding facilitates systematic planning to meet consumers’ energy needs, so-called ‘demand management’;
- Data analysis and high-performance management decisions. The huge amount of information provided by smart meters in the control centre database enables managers at different levels of government to analyse and organise the elimination of various defects in the electricity grid, detect and eliminate technical and non-technical losses, allocate the functions of emergency groups to optimise costs and plan investments for future periods.
- Secure data transfer. The system provides secure access, storage and management of information from electricity meters based on data encryption and key management system.
- Reducing maintenance costs;
- Reducing the time to locate and identify infrastructure problems and malfunctions;
- Monitoring of consumption and historical data;
- Possibility for optimal consumption analysis;
- Increase service speed.
With the introduction of the liberalised energy market, these advantages of smart meters and monitoring will also be carried over to the end user
Video: Energy Efficiency in Bulgaria – Success Stories and Technologies
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