Energy efficiency is being encouraged in all the EU countries. The background for this is an EU directive that forces each member state to improve their energy efficiency. The goals have been determined in the EU, but the individual member countries can decide on the implementation methods themselves.

In Austria, district heating companies are already well on their way in the process of improving their energy efficiency. The enthusiasm behind the process, however, is not entirely due to the companies’ voluntary cost-efficiency ambitions. The directive for implementing the law in Austria forces even district heating companies to improve their energy efficiency annually.

According to a law that entered into force approximately two years ago, energy efficiency in Austria must be improved by 20% by 2020. This goal is substantial. In the entire country, the share of renewable energy must be increased, greenhouse gases must be reduced, and the supply security of energy must be improved. At the same time, the energy sector should create 6,400 new jobs.

District heating companies are looking for various methods of improving energy efficiency. Dr. Andreas Müller from the TU Wien has been studying the opportunities and he sees potential especially in the intelligent utilisation of existing heating systems, and cites an example of decreasing the temperature in a heating network – which is exactly what we here at Leanheat are hoping to implement in a sensible and controlled manner.

The increasing of energy efficiency is being closely monitored in Austria. District heating companies must provide regular reports on their measures to the authorities. Any extra efficiency can be turned into money by selling it to other companies, and vice versa: if a district heating company’s own goals are not being met, it needs to buy energy efficiency elsewhere.

Leanheat has developed its own solutions for district heating companies to enable an increase in their energy efficiency by cutting the peak power loads. Artificial intelligence that anticipates the peaks is excellent for this. In cases like Austria, this may become a very profitable way of following the law for district heating companies: when energy efficiency is easily improved, energy efficiency may even create something new for district heating companies to sell, this time to other district heating companies.

Vesa Jaakkola
Leanheat, VP Sales, International