A lesson in Swedish efficiency
Enhanced energy efficiency is one of the most cost effective ways of reducing emissions and expenses, whilst at the same time improving energy supplies and competitiveness. Companies in Sweden are continuously increasing their energy efficiency investments to gain an important competitive edge, save money and be environmentally responsible. Over the course of the past year, the EIB has funded three projects in Sweden to do exactly this.
In 2014, the EIB provided more than EUR 2.3 billion for energy-efficiency projects that support the EU’s target to increase energy efficiency in the Union by 20% by the year 2020. Sweden has long been a European trailblazer in this respect. Since the oil crisis in the 1970s, the country has been investing heavily in alternative energy sources, capitalising on their wealth of natural assets and advanced technological industries. Now Sweden is leading the way in the shift towards more sustainable energy systems, starting with significant reductions in energy consumption.
Did you ever imagine that a fridge could consume only 70kWh a year? That’s the same energy consumption as an 8LW LED bulb that’s on 24 hours per day. This is possible, but thanks to focused research and constant innovation.
A leader in household and professional appliances, AB Electrolux has set very ambitious 50% carbon emission reduction targets for 2020. If they are to meet their goal, making their products more energy efficient is a must for the Swedish company.
”We are focusing our investments on refrigeration, cooking and laundry products to ensure that today’s products use the best available technology to minimise electricity and water consumption across Europe, North America, South America and Asia Pacific.”, said Henrik Sundström, Vice President of Corporate Reporting Environmental Affairs at Electrolux. A EUR 150 million EIB loan is backing the development of more energy-efficient and user friendly white goods and small electric household appliances.
Energy efficient fridges are a step in the right direction, but what good are they if they are in cold and draughty buildings?
A number of years ago Swedish property company Fabege decided to focus on energy efficiency, reduced carbon dioxide emissions and sustainability, and environmentally certify all new buildings under the Building Research Establishment Environmental assessment Methodology (BREEAM). One of Fabege’s newest projects is the development of two large office buildings which boast a superior environmental performance thanks to their use modern energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. A EUR 100 million EIB loan is helping to put these new buildings on the map in Solna (Arenastaden), a former industrial area on the outskirts of Stockholm that is being transformed into a modern and sustainable district.
The near-zero-energy-buildings, which have been designed to meet high standards for office accommodation, will be environmentally certified and their final energy consumption will be below 50 kilowatt-hours per square metre. But it is not only the environment that is set to benefit from the buildings. They are likely to have a significant social and economic impact. An improved working environment is good news for companies and workers alike.
And of course, building sites such as those which Fabege is establishing in Solna are energy-draining, employing heavy machinery with the potential to produce emissions. Another Swedish company has a solution for exactly this. The Atlas Copco Group produces the world’s most energy efficient air compressors which are used universally in factories, large buildings and construction sites, meaning cleaner air and reduced CO2 levels.
It is safe to say that energy efficiency is central to all of the Swedish company’s operations. Ken Lagerborg, Group Treasurer at Atlas Copco, states: “Our research and development activities have also resulted in the production of innovative mining equipment that has a reduced environmental impact, is more energy efficient, ergonomic and safer for operators”.
Over the course of the last decade, the EIB has provided a series of three loans which have been a cornerstone in the funding of the company’s R&D activities. The most recent EUR 300 million loan in January 2015 will be used to develop advanced remote-controlled mining equipment to create a safer and cleaner mining environment, while enhancing efficiency and productivity. Atlas Copco is confident that the energy efficient products that will result from this research will help the company and its clients save money!