International Energy Agency declares Energy efficiency fuel of the future

Industry comment

Published: 19 July

Author: Alan O'Brien

Type: Industry comment

Year: 2010

However barriers exist, warns Sabien Technology

  • Financial and resource barriers are preventing the wide spread adoption of energy efficiency in UK private and public sector organisations
  • However there are solutions available to remove these barriers

As the International Energy Agency* declares in a new report that ‘energy efficiency is destined to become the most important part of a global energy future,’ Sabien Technology, the energy efficient technology specialist today warns barriers are stalling the wide spread adoption of energy efficiency initiatives within the UK private and public sector.

“Energy efficiency has long been recognised as the key initiative to delivering the UK’s carbon reduction targets, however organisations are still struggling to find the finance or human resource to implement technology initiatives throughout their estates”, says Alan O’ Brien, CEO Sabien Technology.

“The resource barrier isn’t just about the size of the organisations energy or carbon management teams – it’s more to do with the technical know-how, the expertise and the ability to choose the right solution” he said...


“The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme – a mandatory carbon trading scheme – is putting pressure on the private and public sector to reduce carbon emissions or face financial penalties: company resource is being strained as organisations get to grips with the data management and reporting requirements while trying fully to understand  the impacts the CRC will have on their organisation – pushing those responsible out of their comfort zones. Some organisations will inevitably be exposed as the deadlines approach,” he said.

“Then there’s the finance challenge, it’s widely accepted that the financial mechanisms around facilitating energy efficiency programs are not available – what we don’t yet know is how the government plans to overcome this challenge,” added O’Brien.

At the recent Local Government Association (LGA)** annual conference Chris Huhne the Secretary of  State for Energy & Climate Change outlined his ideas to create a framework to deliver a step change over the next four decades to deliver a low carbon economy. Huhne hinted the new Energy Bill which will released later this year will make it easier for businesses to reduce emissions and cut their costs in the most cost effective manner. “Energy efficiency has traditionally been the Cinderella at the energy policy ball, but it us absolutely a key area” he claimed.

If this is the case then both the private and public sectors need to know where the funding is likely to come from. For example the very popular and successful Salix funding scheme designed to help public sector organisations enhance their energy efficiency and cut carbon emissions has been effectively closed to new applicants after all available funds, £57m were fully allocated to over 1,439 energy efficiency projects across 223 organisations, saving an estimated 95,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year in the process. However, no fresh funding was delivered in the budget meaning the scheme is effectively on ice and awaiting the results of the corporate spending review of the government before it can confirm when and if new loans can be allocated.

However, organisations can overcome these barriers. Technology and FM Service providers can provide the resource support and the financial means to relieve the pressures of delivering on these targets.


“It’s not all doom and gloom - organisations just need to ask for help, claims O’Brien. “The expertise to deliver is out there. For example a number of UK FM providers or ESCOs (Energy Saving Companies) can provide Energy Performance Contracts. What differentiates these from the traditional energy consultants or technology suppliers is the fact that they can also finance the projects which can include energy analysis and audits, maintenance and operation, monitoring and evaluation of savings and the implementation of proven energy efficiency technologies. The end user no longer faces the burden of finding the capital and it’s the responsibility of the ESCO to deliver the savings. The ESCO’s remuneration is directly tied to the energy savings achieved.”

ESCOs will have a portfolio of proven technology solutions and the expertise to deliver the savings taking away the financial and technical risks as well as the hassle factor.


“If the ESCO model is not a preferred option for the end user then speak directly to the energy efficiency technology suppliers themselves. Any reputable provider will have a proven track record, field case studies, savings validation and the ability to deliver UK wide multi site installations providing the vital support and reassurance the end users need says O’Brien