This winter, many communities have had to make decisions to deal with rising electricity prices: closing swimming pools and museums, reducing Christmas decorations, lowering temperatures in schools, etc. And most communities have had to renegotiate their energy contracts, becoming aware of the rise and volatility of energy prices, seeing their energy budgets increase four or fivefold.
“It’s a shame to see that this awareness of energy issues is the result of a budgetary rather than an environmental problem, but it’s no less important that this awareness has taken place,” says Alric Marc, founder of Eficia, a Frenchtech expert in energy management for tertiary buildings and local authorities recently referenced by the UGAP.
He continues: “These past few weeks have made us realize that local authorities don’t know what they really consume, or where their consumption comes from. A swimming pool does not consume like a town hall, nor like a school, etc. In a community, no building is running at all. In a community, no building functions like another, which makes energy management and control particularly complex. It is now essential that they take stock of how they consume energy and monitor their consumption on a daily basis.
Alric Marc deplores the fact that the actions taken until now to reduce their energy budget and participate in the national effort have been “short-term solutions, even very short-term.
The objective now is to make these gains last, to make them accepted and above all to do them in a more intelligent way. Because closing a pool cannot be a long-term solution. On the other hand, we can make energy savings in the medium term by investing in switching public lighting to LED bulbs, replacing old oil-fired heating systems with heat pumps, etc. These are just examples, but I think that 2023 will be a year of strong investment by local authorities in energy solutions, whether for heating, lighting or regulation and intelligent energy management systems. And in the longer term, local authorities must implement a real energy management policy to achieve the 40% reduction in GHG emissions set by Europe. For a municipality, this also means making energy savings in its building and vehicle fleets. Internal teams will have to take charge of the energy issue.
To go further, solutions are already available to reduce their energy bill and impact, and new jobs dedicated to energy could also soon be created within communities.