Technology Record - Issue 30: Autumn 2023

151 of ownership for a project. Construction typically represents around 20 per cent of total cost, meaning much more thought needs to be given to operating and maintaining buildings, as this offers significant opportunities for efficiency. 5. Financing gap Investment in energy efficiency has a very short, but recurring, payback, meaning continued savings well beyond return on investment and, ultimately, removed costs with green capital expenditures effectively saving brown operating expenditures. Financing models needs to be optimised to recognise and support this. 6. Government as role model The United Nations Environment Program estimates that buildings produce around 40 per cent of global carbon emissions. The IEA has measured that energy efficiency, electrification and low-carbon energy have the potential to reduce more than 95 per cent of these emissions by 2050. Governments must become role models and demonstrate leadership in this area. This starts by creating a decarbonisation roadmap, in which they audit each building’s energy performance and carbon impact to then develop a decarbonisation strategy. One example of a successful civic energy efficiency project is Schneider Electric’s partnership with Madison County School District in Alabama, USA. Here, district-wide energyefficient lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning is decreasing energy costs by 40 per cent. Over two decades, the district will save $40 million. 7. Regulation There was a large consensus at the conference that incentives are more effective than coercion. However, when coercion is needed, it must be regulated and there must be a horizon that allows people to review, plan and adapt for their transition. 8. Reinforce the grid The current seven-year wait times to get new renewable infrastructure physically connected to the grid are not acceptable; we must accelerate the process and make transmission lines available much faster. 9. Scale up existing technology When it comes to tackling climate change, there has been a widespread tendency to revert to big ideas that are years away. However, reliable, efficient and inexpensive solutions already exist, so we must focus on adopting existing technology faster and at greater scale. 10. Build the new net zero We need to aim for net-zero construction that leverages existing technology. The commitment to action has never been stronger and the time to act is now. We must enforce measures and execute the technologies for energy efficiency to make improvements materialise and help tackle the energy and climate crises for good. Olivier Blum is executive vice president of energy management at Schneider Electric INDUSTRIALS & MANUFACTURING The Schneider Electric team at the International Energy Agency conference