The European Commission (EC) wants member states to use information and communications technologies (ICT) to improve energy efficiency as part of the European Union’s efforts to combat climate change and drive economic recovery. Studies show that ICT-enabled systems can reduce energy consumption in buildings by up to 17 percent and carbon emission in transport logistics by up to 27 percent.
According to the EC, these technologies are projected to reduce total carbon emissions in Europe by up to 15 percent by 2020, through the monitoring and management of energy use in factories, offices, public spaces and homes. Results from recent trials in member states indicate that consumers reduce their energy consumption by as much as 10 percent by using smart meters.
Software tools can also address the need to measure energy performance at a system level, providing information and data on how to better configure systems to optimize overall energy performance cost effectively. Other tools such as eCommerce, telecommuting and advanced collaboration technologies can also reduce demand for energy and other material resources, according to the EC.
The EC is also calling on the ICT sector to reduce its own carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2015. Currently, the ICT sector is responsible for 2 percent of carbon emissions in Europe: 1.75 percent from the use of ICT products and services, and 0.25 percent from their production. The use of ICT across all sectors of the economy and society can reduce the remaining 98 percent of European emissions, projects the EC.
The Commission also launched a public consultation to ensure a common understanding of all the issues around improving the energy efficiency of ICTs and using ICTs to improve energy efficiency. The government group also called for working partnerships between the ICT sector and the other major energy-using sectors (including buildings and construction and transport logistics) to further improve the energy performance through the use of energy-efficient ICT tools such as heating, ventilation, lighting and design.
The European Commission also recently adopted two eco-design regulations that are expected to save as much as the annual production of 20 power stations of 500 megawatts each. The move is expected to eliminate 32 million tons of CO2.