There is a large potential for energy efficiency improvement in the utilities sector

3 july 2018 | Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Streetlights and new buildings will consume less energy. The amount of energy needed for heating in new apartment buildings will be lower while stricter requirements for lighting equipment manufacturers (including those supplying lamps for street lights) will reduce the share of poor quality products in the market. These are the changes stipulated in RF Government Decree No. 1356 and the Ministry of Construction Order No. 1550/pr, writes the Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Grigoriy Mikryukov
Grigoriy Mikryukov
Department for Sectors of Economy

Replacing incandescent and halogen light bulbs with luminescent, gas discharge energy-efficient and LED lamps reduces energy consumption and utility bills, but if the technical characteristics of lighting equipment is not monitored properly, the market tends to get flooded with cheaper poor quality products, which, in the worst cases, may have a detrimental effect on people's eyesight, believes the Head of the Department for Sectors of the Economy of the Analytical Sector Grigoriy Mikryukov. "While at the level of individual households people can do their own research before deciding which lamps to buy, when it comes to the utilities sector in general as well as state funded and corporate projects, the deciding factor is often the lowest cost," he said to a Rossiyskaya Gazeta correspondent. According to the expert, this often results from the logic behind bidding procedures. "When lamps are being purchased for schools, kindergartens, polyclinics, office buildings, there is often a very high risk that poor quality lamps will end up being bought. But a good LED lamp is expensive not just because of the brand or logistics; it uses better quality materials (drivers, light reflectors). The new requirements ban manufacturers and vendors from offering consumers poor quality lamps," Mr Mikryukov concludes.

The Ministry of Construction's order demands that new apartment block construction projects include solutions to reduce the consumption of thermal energy for heating and ventilation by 20% from July 1st. The same requirement applies to buildings that undergo major repairs (except for residential apartment blocks). Heat consumption per unit of floor area depends on the number of floors in the building and on its purpose. While that is the only requirement for buildings undergoing repairs, for new buildings the demand is to reduce the energy and heat consumption by 40% from January 1, 2023 and by up to 50% from January 1, 2028.

There is a large potential for energy efficiency improvement in the utilities sector, Mr Mikryukov believes. He noted that, for example, a desk study of 3 thousand apartment blocks in the Southern Administrative District of Moscow conducted by the Analytical Center several years ago found that the buildings that were inefficient in terms of energy consumption (accounting for just 5% of the total floor area of all the buildings studied) accounted for almost 25% of the total consumption of heat. The excess payments for heating for the 322 buildings totaled more than 700 million rubles per year.

"All the materials and technologies needed for the construction of more energy efficient housing are already available," Mr Mikryukov insists, "however, there is a practical dilemma: do we use cheap materials and end up with buildings with higher running costs or do we instead spend more on materials and then save money on reduced running costs? Balance can be achieved through market mechanisms and buyers will have the final say."

The Ministry of Construction's order lays down the right foundation, but specific regulations are yet to be developed for how to assess and classify buildings in terms of energy efficiency and how to make sure this information is available to consumers so they can take it into account when buying residential property. "This will allow consumers to make a choice based on energy efficiency while construction companies will have the incentive to offer housing with better energy efficiency," the expert concludes.

Source: Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Photo from open sources