These awards, launched by the European Commission in 2000 and 2005 respectively, promote the reduction of energy consumption by public and private organisations on a voluntary basis. One of the 12 award winners in the 2010 edition of the GreenLight programme is Dagda town council in Latvia, which reduced its energy consumption in lighting by 85% after joining the initiative in 2007.
In the GreenBuilding category, two of the best refurbishment projects, an office building in Austria and a secondary school in Germany, have achieved over 80% of energy savings. These initiatives count over 700 participants all over Europe, who save approximately 545 GWh each year. This is equivalent to the energy used by two mid-size European cities over the same period.
"We congratulate the winners of these awards. Whether public or private sector, they are all living proof that organisations which invest and innovate in energy efficiency can bring immense benefits to themselves while making a leading-edge contribution to a more sustainable Europe. Spreading this kind of best practice, including through award schemes like this, will be a key factor in the economic and environmental success of the Europe 2020 Strategy", stated Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science and Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Energy.
Managed by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), the GreenLight and GreenBuilding programmes are voluntary schemes that invite private and public organisations to reduce their energy consumption in their premises. GreenLight encourages partners to install energy-efficient lighting, while the GreenBuilding initiative promotes improved energy efficiency in buildings through several measures such as thermal insulation, efficient heating and cooling, intelligent control systems, PV panels etc.
The two award ceremonies take place in Frankfurt on April 13 & 14 during the "Improving Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings" Conference (IEECB'10). A total of 24 participants receive awards in this 2010 edition for their results or their innovative projects. Decisions are based on their energy savings, technologies used and the sector they belong to (public buildings, retail, offices...).
Since its creation in 2000, the GreenLight initiative has recruited more than 500 partners from across Europe. By replacing old-fashioned lighting with modern, low-energy lamps, and by controlling the use of lighting, they have achieved total savings of 241 GWh/year (see figure 1 in the below attachement). This corresponds to a saving of around €24 million in running costs and over 94 million kilograms of CO2 emissions per year.
The GreenBuilding initiative, created in 2005 following the success of the lighting initiative, has recruited over 185 partners. The 286 participating buildings save an estimated 304 GWh/year in primary energy (e.g. electricity, natural gas and heating oil), which corresponds to an average percentage saving of 41%.
These results have been achieved by a combination of measures (see figure 2 in the below attachement), mainly by installing more efficient heating and air conditioning systems, followed by a better insulation of the building envelope (the separation between the interior and the exterior environments) and more efficient lighting. Harnessing solar and geothermal energy has also contributed.
Important findings from this programme can contribute to the promotion of efficiency measures:
For new buildings, additional costs related to energy efficiency investments are low (less than 10% of the investment)
Most of the projects brought more savings than initially estimated.
The JRC is currently evaluating the overall results of both programmes and detailed reports summarising the main energy efficiency measures, savings, motivations and experience of the partners will be published during the EU "Green Week" in early June.