The Danish focus on energy efficiency started during the oil crisis in the 1970s, where we had to make ourselves more independent of oil as an energy source. A more efficient use of energy was a safe and cheap way to increase this independence. Since then climate considerations have been a player in the desire to improve and reduce energy consumption. The energy supply system is under constant evolution and the effort of energy efficiency streamlining is to be understood as part of the total energy system. Over the last 10-15 years the share of renewable energy in the system in Denmark has for instance increased significantly. In the same way, prices on energy are also changing over time. This has an impact on the means of energy streamlining that will be included in the future energy policy. This is also important as to the cost-efficiency of investments in energy streamlining compared to other initiatives in the field of energy.
Initiative of energy streamlining
There is a lot of initiatives relating to energy streamlining that should ensure a reduction of the Danish energy consumption. The initiatives can be divided into 3 different, general kinds of instruments.
- Financial instruments: Fees on energy and subsidies to energy improving initiatives will create incentives to energy improvements. Such initiatives include e.g. green Housing/Job Arrangements and energy taxes.
- Normative instruments: Statutory requirements and regulation may have a direct impact on the energy consumption by means of prohibitions or injunctions as to e.g. minimum standards. It includes among other things the energy requirements in the building regulation.
- Informative instruments: A series of instruments are based on an increased level of information to the end users about energy consumption in order to have an influence on consumer behaviour and to inform about potential energy savings. This includes e.g. energy labelling of buildings and products and a comprehensive information effort at sparenergi.dk.
The above efforts address households, the business world and its various sectors as well as pubic services. Read more at the website of the Danish Energy Agency about tangible efforts of energy efficiency improvements.
Energy Efficiency on EU Level
The EU has a common ambitious target as to energy efficiency improvements of 20 % by 2020 and 27 % by 2030. Furthermore, energy efficiency is a priority of the EU Energy Union.Apart from the overall target there is a common European legislation in the field of energy efficiency that will contribute to obtaining the general target.
- The Directive on energy efficiency demands the energy companies to obtain an annual energy reduction of 1.5 % and that an energy audit is made in important companies.
- The Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings sets requirements as to energy savings and energy labelling of buildings.
Finally, a category of the EU legislation relates to energy efficiency concerning energy consuming products such as boilers, domestic appliances, light sources and television:
- The Directive on ECO design translates into common European energy requirements of the products.
- The Directive on energy labelling elucidates to the consumers, by means of the known European energy label, the energy efficiency of the products.
Requirements to energy consumption and energy labelling of products are valid for all products on the EU single market and have turned out to be a smart and cost-efficient way of obtaining important energy savings - the two arrangements are estimated to supply up to half the EU 2020 target.