End users come into contact with electricity, gas and heating retail companies as well as local distribution companies that own the physical distribution system.
Both households and businesses can reduce their energy costs quite substantially by using energy in a smarter, more efficient way. This can often be achieved without big investments.
Smart energy use at home
Many households can reduce their energy cost substantially by actively monitoring their electricity consumption, using more energy efficient appliances and improving insulation. Smart meters can help identify sources of energy waste. Solutions are also available for remote control of heating, ventilation and lighting, by mobile devices.
Solar panels or a small-scale wind turbine can further reduce the need to purchase electricity. The implementation of smart grids will allow traditional consumers to become net producers of electricity.
Energy efficiency for businesses
Energy accounts for a significant part of costs in many businesses. Most companies can reduce their energy usage by around 20 per cent, without the need for costly investments. A first step is to audit the current use of energy to improve the knowledge of the main areas of energy consumption, such as heating, water, ventilation and lighting. This could be done with a simple checklist, or in more detail with a smart meter that monitors the consumption of energy.
The audit can serve as a platform for the implementation of a long-term energy strategy, leading to reduced energy consumption, less environmental impact and lower costs.