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Individual coaching: energy savings up to 20%
Posted on 24/09/2014

In the period 2012-2014, the city of Ghent initiated a guidance project for energy management. Fifteen companies joined in on this project, all with the same goal of lowering their energy consumption. This resulted in a reduction of 1820 tons of CO2 and savings of as much as 360.000€! These promising results encouraged the city to launch a follow-up project (autumn 2014), as companies are an important partner in order to transform Ghent into a climate neutral city by 2050.

Lowering the energy consumption of big energy consumers
After an energy audit has been performed at a company, the proposed measures are often not implemented because energy is not seen as a business’s core activity. However, energy saving measures can generate substantial direct profit, year after year. That’s why the city of Ghent launched a pilot project that provides additional support after an energy audit. This project is part of the European Interreg 2 Seas project ‘Answers to the Carbon Economy’ (ACE).

The energy advice is aimed at lowering the energy consumption of big energy consumers. The pilot project focuses on companies with a yearly electrical consumption of minimum 1000 megawatt hour. By working out more then 200 action points, potential energy savings up to 29% were detected. By focusing on quick results, up to 360.000€ has already been saved. The action points are, among other things: better insulation, heat recuperation, building management system, relighting, steam, compressed air and hibernate usage.

Companies saved up to 20% energy and more, and up to 80.000€
The pilot project has shown that with minor efforts, 10% energy can easily be saved. With some bigger, but still cost-effective effort, companies have even made energy savings up to 20%. The pilot companies are very pleased with the guidance programme, which clearly helps removing barriers for energy efficiency investments. E.g., for various companies, the guidance programme was even an extra stimulus to achieve ISO 50001 certification. 20% of the participating companies have achieved the ISO 50001 certification. This is not only good for the image of the company, it also guarantees a professional follow-up after the guidance programme has been finalised.

Furthermore, companies also found that the payback period can be relatively short. Implementing energy saving measures can even yield yearly effective profit. During the pilot project, companies saved up to 80.000€.

Follow-up project aims at 110 companies
After the succes of the pilot project, the city of Ghent decided to further invest in tailor-made coaching for the companies. Companies with a minimum electrical consumption of 100.000 kWh (or 345.000 kWh thermally), will be offered professional support worth 4.000€. If the yearly consumption is higher than 500.000 kWh (or 1.725.000 kWh thermally), the city of Ghent offers support worth 7.000€. The own contribution of the participating companies will be limited to 10%.

The coaching will be focused at the same action points, among other things: better insulation, heat recuperation, building management system, relighting, steam, compressed air and hibernate usage. The focus is both on investment as behavioural measures, monitoring, maintenance and control. The city of Ghent hopes to involve 110 additional companies in this follow-up project.

Copyright: Stad Gent - Guy Kokken