Energy saving is not only an environmental act but also a profitable investment. The city of Kemi started to develop their energy efficiency and are aiming for savings valued around hundreds of thousands. The Ministry of Employment and the Economy and the Energy Agency recommend an energy efficiency agreement to all municipalities.
The EU requires public sector actors to take the lead in developing energy efficiency. The Municipal Energy Efficiency Directive entered into force in 2008. The first contract period for the Municipal Energy Efficiency Agreement lasted until 2016. The organizations committed to it aimed for a 7.5% saving in their energy consumption. At that time, 77 municipalities and associations of municipalities took part.
From the beginning of 2017, the second contract period started, which extends to 2025. By the beginning of June, 49 municipalities and associations of municipalities have committed to the savings target. Of the municipalities in Finnish Lapland, Kemi, Simo and Ii and the Association of Education Lappia have so far all joined in.
Potential to save hundreds of thousands
The annual energy consumption of the city of Kemi is 44 GWh, which means an invoice of more than 3.3 million euros for the residents. A saving of 7% would reduce costs by around 230,000 €.
“The payback period of investments is 10-20 years. In the long run, the investments will mean better service for the citizens. The money saved from energy costs can be used for services”, says the technical director Mika Grönvall.
In the city of Kemi, savings have been sought with the help of experts by developing systematic energy thinking in everything we do. EnerKey, which specializes in energy saving, has been a partner in the change.
“Clear goals, careful planning and active consumption monitoring has brought the posture to action. We now know how to take the energy aspect into account in everything we do and invest in the right things”, Grönvall continues.
The key factors are lighting and energy efficiency in properties
One concrete change is the replacement of old mercury lamps with new energy-efficient LED and halogen lamps. The lighting can also be adjusted to dim, which further reduces consumption. For users, the change is hardly visible.
“For streetlights, savings created on operating costs were almost 10,000 euros annually. Another significant saving is real estate. Particular attention is paid to the energy efficiency of the largest properties when planning renovations”, Grönvall says.
The energy efficiency agreement is binding. Nevertheless, it also brings tangible benefits to the municipality. Thanks to the agreement, the municipality can receive support for energy audits and energy efficiency investments.
“The spirit of the Energy Efficiency Agreement is to encourage the public sector to use real estate efficiently and manage it in an exemplary manner. Energy efficiency does not mean saving from the wrong place”, says Tuomas Savola, EnerKey’s Director of Sales and Marketing.
It’s often feared that energy efficiency would cause circumstantial problems. Instead, improving energy efficiency also improves property conditions in addition to the cost savings that can be achieved.
“When building automation works properly and the systems talk to each other, the conditions of the property also improve. It’s about finding the right ways”, Savola continues.
In addition to financial savings, the city of Kemi aims to have a positive reputation.
“Hopefully, the residents will also get excited and start to consider energy saving”, Grönvall sums up.
Facts: What is a municipal energy efficiency agreement?
- The Energy Efficiency Directive requires the public sector to play a pioneering role in saving energy. The Association of Finnish Municipalities and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy recommend that municipalities enter into an energy efficiency agreement.
- The first contract period was 2008-2016, when a target of 7.5% savings in energy consumption was sought.
- In the new 2017-2025 contract period, the goal is to achieve a 7.5% savings with the new contract partners and at least 10.5% with the participants in the previous period for the 2014-2025 period. Intermediate target being 7% by the year 2020.
- EnerKey provides municipalities with consulting and reporting assistance in saving energy.