For Italian businesses, energy efficiency is both an obligation and an opportunity
An energy diagnosis offers tangible benefits to Italian companies: it enables them to pinpoint areas of waste and to plot a roadmap of the work that needs to be done in order to boost efficiency
Published on 9 April 2020
It is now undeniable that there is a close link between energy use and climate change. The European Union is undoubtedly the economic area that has managed better than any other to introduce a system of governance capable of promoting the rational use of energy, thereby reducing its impact on the climate. Italy in particular stands out among European countries for having almost always managed to achieve its goals, in particular through boosting the energy efficiency of its productive activities.
Indeed, Italy introduced the legislative decree 102/2014, which outlines the necessity for large companies (with a workforce of over 250 and annual turnover in excess of 50 million euro), as well as energy-intensive companies (mainly in the manufacturing sector, with electricity consumption greater than 2.4GW/h per year and effective energy costs equivalent to at least 2% of their turnover) to carry out an energy diagnosis.
While energy diagnoses have become obligatory, at the same time they also offer important opportunities for companies. An energy diagnosis can in fact be a starting point for businesses that intend to boost their energy efficiency, by identifying the major areas of waste and helping plot a roadmap of the work that needs to be carried out in order to boost efficiency. For this reason, an energy diagnosis or an energy audit is also strongly recommended for companies that are not legally obliged do so.
Recently ENEA, the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, observed that, at European level, more than 50% of all energy diagnoses concerned Italian businesses, in particular in the manufacturing sector. A total of 16,105 diagnoses were carried out on 8,871 business entities, of which 5,862 were large companies and 2,913 energy-intensive industries. The total impact of the improvement measures that followed has led to an overall saving of 896.3 thousand tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE). This is a huge amount if we consider that one TOE corresponds to 5,347 kWh of electricity, or the annual consumption of two Italian families. What’s more, it is often a requisite to conduct an energy diagnosis in order to access funds or apply for regional or national subsidies.
But what does the legislative decree 102/2014 actually specify? It states that 5 December of every year is the deadline for carrying out an energy diagnosis, both for companies required to do so by law and those that aren’t. The diagnosis, which should be presented every four years, must then be sent to ENEA via the web portal Audit 102, in accordance with the relative instructions.
In November 2016 the Ministry of Economic Development published a paper on this very topic specifying the relevant criteria for: the subjects obliged to obtain the diagnosis, the type of individuals and companies that are able to carry it out, the technical methods to be used, the deadlines and limitations, as well as the related penalties. These diagnoses or energy audits can be performed by energy service companies, or experts in energy management or certified energy auditors: a list can be consulted on the website of Accredia, the Italian organisation that certifies Energy Service Companies (ESCos) active in Italy.
Meeting the requirements for carrying out an energy diagnosis is simple: the pathway is clear and straightforward, and it is easy to find experts to turn to. However, it is also important to understand that an energy diagnosis can be a huge opportunity to improve a business, making it more sustainable and competitive. This is also because better use of available resources generates savings that will far exceed the costs of carrying out the diagnosis.
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