Is fuel poverty hitting the commercial sector?

Thomas McGrath
Thomas McGrath
Nov 11, 2011

With average energy prices potentially jumping over 100 percent by 2050, European businesses face at least 20 years of electricity price rises, according to a leaked European Commission report on how the region can meet its green energy targets.

Fuel poverty is said to occur when in order to heat its home to an adequate standard of warmth a household needs to spend more than 10% of its income to maintain an tolerable heating regime. Is the commercial sector now facing the same threat and if so, what can be done about it now?

Number one: we need new energy policies across the board. If European Union countries are to meet their goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, European businesses need clear guidance and a definitive framework within which these targets should be achieved.

Here in the UK the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), much touted as Europe’s first ‘cap and trade’ energy initiative, didn’t take off quite as originally planned. The UK government removed the original cash-back incentive element due to essential nationwide austerity cuts, announced in the 2011 Budget. However, it’s also undeniable that there was a lack of publicity around the scheme (reportedly, two thirds of UK businesses were unaware of the scheme just six months before its official launch and less than half had signed up a fortnight before the official registration date). Also, there should have been more guidance given to organizations from the top. Now, according to the latest report from Apollo Enviro, 69 per cent of respondents said that they would like to see the scheme simplified and 57 per cent would like to see it scrapped all together.

Number two: there are many options available to businesses around the world today which will help them reduce carbon emissions. Take office equipment for example. With PCs and servers accounting for 50% of office energy consumption, there are measures that can be made to reduce C02 here:

On average one sixth (15%) of servers are not doing any useful work

  • Reining in of non-productive servers produces $3.8 billion in energy cost savings alone
  • 11.8 million tons of CO2 is wasted each year by servers not doing anything useful – the same amount produced by 2.1 million cars

50% of PCs are not shut down on weekday evenings and weekends – wasting £25 per PC per year

  • There are approximately 1 billion PCs in the world – rising to 2 billion by 2014
  • A one night shut down of the world’s PCs would save enough energy to power the Empire State Building for 30 years

There are clear calls to action here. It’s time to find those unused servers and those sleepless PCs and take back the associated energy costs. Sophisticated reporting built-in to industry leading solutions such as NightWatchman® and NightWatchman® Server Edition on can be used to provide organizations with accurate, detailed information on energy consumption, cost, productivity and CO2¬ emissions from PCs and Servers. All of the organizations that have worked with us to become more energy efficient have cumulatively saved in excess of $550 million.

I’m looking forward to reading the European Commission’s Energy Roadmap to 2050 when it comes out later this year and to seeing what is agreed in Durban at the COP17 summit in November.

Want to know which companies are the most carbon efficient in Europe?

Incidentally, 31% of the top 50 are 1E customers.

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