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Other legal requirements like individual metering -particularly smart metering - informative billing, and energy management for larger service sector buildings or building owners, aim at changing the energy consumption behaviour of end-users by providing frequent feedback, e.g. on energy bills. Such measures can easily be combined with information programmes and other policies to enhance the effectiveness.
Savings of up to 30 per cent can be achieved through individual metering. In order to ensure and sustain these savings, individual metering should be supported through comparative billing for example, so that end-users can benchmark their performance.
In the context of energy-efficient use of appliances, the focus for other legal requirements in addition to mandatory minimum energy performance standards and mandatory comparative energy labelling is on individual metering - particularly smart metering - informative billing, and energy management for larger service sector buildings or building owners. These policy instruments aim at changing end-users’ energy consumption behaviour. The various kinds of end-users are not fully aware of the fact that they waste energy and, thus, money.
Instead of individual meters, master meters are often still used in multi-residential or multi-occupancy building units. The landlords combine the energy consumption of all building units and divide average costs through all building units. Individual meters, in contrast to master meters, connect the energy bill directly with one building unit and therefore increase the motivation for end-users to save energy.
For new buildings, government and parliament may legislate for the installation of individual meters in multi-occupant buildings. For existing buildings, it is equally important to raise the incentives and awareness for building occupants towards energy savings potentials through such meters. Many countries, including the European Union, have therefore mandated individual metering and frequent billing of electricity, gas, heating or cooling, and even domestic hot water if centrally supplied to a building unit. A programme in multi-residential buildings in Canada has shown savings of around 30% from individual metering (Navigant Consulting 2012).
The introduction of individual meters should usually go hand in hand with comparative bills. Only if bills entail information about the national, regional or local average energy consumption, end-users can benchmark their individual performance.
Experience in many countries, including recent reviews of feedback programmes in the USA and Canada, show electricity and fuel savings in the range of 5%, and sometimes up to 15%. Darby (2006) claims that direct feedback (i.e. immediate feedbacks from the meter or display monitors) can lead to more energy saving than indirect feedback (i.e. feedback that has been processed before reaching users, e.g. billing). However, a good informative billing programme can sometimes result in higher savings than direct feedbacks, given certain socio-economic factors and consumption patterns (Stromback et al. 2011). More information on such measures can be found in the bigEE file on Feedback measures targeting user behaviour.
The introduction of individual meters should be combined with an information campaign promoting energy-efficient appliances and giving energy savings advice enabling consumers to select such appliances. Firstly, this will lead to energy and cost savings and, secondly, it will initiate a market transformation towards highly energy-efficient appliances.
Another instrument under the description ‘other legal requirements’ can be the introduction of energy managers (in most cases to support non-residential building occupiers). Energy managers are permanently employed with an organisation and, therefore, can analyse and make recommendations on the energy consumption on a daily basis. This will first of all concern the building and its use, but it is highly advisable that appliance energy efficiency be included in the tasks of energy managers. In order to safeguard energy savings in their organisation, energy managers need a proper training environment including a curriculum and a physical infrastructure, e.g. for workshops.
For example Singapore has introduced a certification system so that organisations can easily identify trustworthy experts to hire as energy managers (Energy Efficiency Singapore 2013).
Ideally, end-users (households, organisations) benefiting from those measures should cover the costs for installations or employment, respectively.
Measures subsumed here under “Other legal requirements”, primarily aim at reducing the energy consumption of appliances. After having received feed-back from the energy bill or the energy manager, end-users might, first, try to change energy consumption habits, like switching off the TV completely instead of only using the stand-by mode or washing only if the machine is full. Another way to save energy is the exchange of energy-wasting appliances, e.g. buying a new energy-efficient refrigerator with the most energy-efficient class of the mandatory or voluntary energy label. If such purchases increase due to these other legal requirements, market transformation effects are sustained.
Worldwide implementation status
In recent decades, governments and parliaments have increasingly recognised the relevance of individual metering, informative billing, and energy managers, and have created the respective legal requirements.
For example, in the European Union the Member States are working together for the roll-out of smart meters to equip at least 80% of users with smart meters by 2020. Many countries , especially in North America and Europe have thus legally mandated energy companies to install these meters for all or some of their customers. Countries like China and Japan have an increasing number of smart metering roll outs. In other countries major utilities are still in the early phases. According to Navigant Research (2013) worldwide shipment for the first half of 2013 reached more than 50 million (Navigant 2013).
However, feedback action based on the meter has rarely been added as a legal requirement.
Italy and Singapore are among the countries requiring energy managers for larger companies.
Legislation on the installation of individual meters, informative billing, and the appointment of energy managers will usually best be passed at the national level but may also be promoted at the regional or local level. However, cost-effectiveness considerations can pose a limiting factor for managers and inspectors, both of which require proper training. Establishing curricula and training centres may be less costly if implemented at the regional or national level.
The policy primary targets the user behaviour of end-users. This can concern any type of appliance.
The following pre-conditions are necessary to implement other legal requirements:
Agencies or other actors responsible for implementation
For the installation of individual meters, energy companies should guide the process instead of having end-users individually contract installers. Utility companies should develop a roll-out plan and submit reporting documents to the governmental actor that is going to supervise the policy (e.g. an energy agency).
Regarding energy managers, implementation is to be left to the organisations. However, in order to safeguard that the policy functions properly, it is necessary that governmental agencies establish criteria for those managers (e.g. participation in training courses).
Cost-sharing among various actors might be an option for the installation of meters. The building owner or occupier usually pays for the individual meter, directly or, more frequently, via the energy bill.
For the training and education (as well as certification) measures of energy managers, the government should allocate sufficient funds. Further costs for energy management activities can be funded by the companies alone or subsidised.
At first, all relevant stakeholders should be identified and a cost-benefit analysis should be carried out. For example, it needs to be clarified that smart meters can indeed be considered as more effective than ordinary meters because their ‘feedback’ is more comprehensive. This means a pre-study (including a cost-benefit analysis) should balance advantages and disadvantages of just installing individual meters against those of installing smart individual meters.
Companies, consumer organisations and governmental actors must agree on a funding scheme and discuss further policy measures necessary to achieve the greatest impact possible.
A pilot project may help proving that energy savings are going to be delivered.
Regarding individual meters, for the initial phase a precise target should be set (e.g. 75% of the population in a particular region has been equipped with individual meters). In terms of energy savings, metering systems and energy managers usually do not have a quantified target.
Policy makers can benefit from international co-operations that share the roll-out experiences of meters. Co-operations can be helpful for overcoming technical barriers and reducing costs.
Energy companies are in the position of monitoring how many of their customers have opted for individual meters. If legislation requires end-users or building owners to implement such equipment, the installation should be checked.
Regarding energy savings, individual meters are themselves tools that track energy consumption. Monitoring should include the number of consumers having installed metering systems and the behaviour changes of the end-users and the resulting energy savings.
For service sector companies, energy managers are best suited to track relevant information and report the results to responsible authorities (like an energy agency).
In order to track progress of individual meters, evaluation should cover a target group and a control group (without individual meters). Relative changes in the energy consumption and cost savings can become an impact indicator. An independent research institute can be employed to ask for information regarding such energy and cost savings.
Energy managers and inspectors can submit regular reports to an energy agency. Reports should include information regarding energy and costs savings since the implementation of the policy as well as further actions implemented (e.g. purchase of new, energy-efficient equipment). Moreover, costs for the appointment of the energy manager or inspector should be included, as well. Last but not least, the government should transparently state, how much it spends on training and education measures.
Design for sustainability aspects
Training courses for energy managers and inspectors can contain sustainability aspects. Apart from identifying pure energy efficiency gaps only, managers and inspectors should become aware of topics such as resource efficiency (such as water and detergent use of appliances), health aspects (e.g. noise level of appliances) and the like.
Installation companies for meters will benefit from increased demand. Moreover, positive employment effects will also be beneficial to energy managers.
Navigant Consulting (2012) conducted an impact evaluation of individual meters on multi-residential electricity consumption in the region of Ontario, Canada. The study found that annual energy savings range between 27 % or 1,272 KWh (electrically heated homes) and 34% or 1,344 KWh (non-electrically heated homes) per household.
Experience in many countries, including recent reviews of feedback programmes in the USA and Canada, show savings in the range of 5% and sometimes up to 15% for direct and indirect feedback (Darby 2006). These would come in addition to savings from individual metering. Darby (2006) claims that direct feedback (i.e. immediate feedbacks from the meter or display monitors) can lead to more energy saving than indirect feedback (i.e. feedback that has been processed before reaching users, e.g. billing). However, sometimes, a good informative billing programme can result in higher savings than direct feedbacks, given certain socio-economic factors and consumption patterns (Stromback et al. 2011). Furthermore, the potential additional savings from investment induced by feedback measures are still limited. Ehrhardt-Martinez’s (2011) study shows that users mostly decide to adjust their behaviour in response to the feedback rather than investing in energy-efficient technologies.
The following example may illustrate the potential energy savings from a legal obligation to employ an energy manager: The so called “Dollars to $ense” workshops in Canada are designed to achieve energy savings in organisations. Estimated savings attributed to 825 workshops held from 1997 to 2008 resulted in 13,000 TJ of energy savings and 1400 kT of GHG emission reductions (NRCan NA). Although these are mostly due to implementing building-related energy efficiency actions, a more energy-efficient use of office equipment and other appliances may also have contributed to these results.
For individual meters, major costs are the purchasing thereof, installation and operating costs as well as the investment in advanced data collection and data communication infrastructure (relevant for smart metes). In terms of the cost for society as a whole, the roll-out of metering system will potentially result in an increase of the energy price to cover the costs of deploying the technology (Balmert et al. 2012). However, the energy bills may reduce if the energy savings outweigh this increase, which is very likely for individual metering (given potential savings as in the example from Ontario, Canada) but yet to be proven for smart metering.
In general, the cost depends on a number of country specific factors, for example, the features of the existing local electricity and communication system, customer density, etc. (Balmert et al. 2012; Giordano et al. 2012).
Expected cost savings for the comprehensive introduction of individual metering systems in Ontario, Canada amount to over EUR 500 million for the period between 2013 until the end of 2017. This method is based on avoided costs, ‘marginal costs to society of generating, transmitting and delivering incremental amounts of electricity and typically represent the costs of building and running generation assets and the transmission and distribution infrastructure’ (Navigant Consulting 2012, p.24).
The following examples may illustrate the potential energy and cost savings from a legal obligation to employ an energy manager: In 11 years (between 1997 and 2008) there were 825 “Dollars to $ense” workshops in Canada with 14,700 participants attending. 13,000 TJ in energy savings did not only result in GHG reductions but also in considerable monetary savings of roundabout EUR 130 million (NRCan NA). Although these are mostly due to implementing building-related energy efficiency actions, a more energy-efficient use of office equipment and other appliances may also have contributed to these results.
Usually, energy and water cost savings are three to five times the costs of energy management according to the experiences of German medium-sized to larger cities (Borg et al. 2006).
Try the following external libraries:
|Energy Efficiency Policy Database of the IEA|
|Energy Efficiency Policies and Measures Database of the World Energy Council|
|CLASP’s Global S&L Database|