Date: January 15, 2020, No. 003

Majority of companies aiming to become climate neutral

Energy efficiency index by the EEP: Winter Survey 2019/20

The energy efficiency index EEI has risen again slightly compared to winter 2019. The energy productivity index in particular has risen by 0.3 points in the last 12 months. The investments made by companies in efficiency measures and the future significance of energy efficiency on the other hand have slightly declined.

Since 2013, the Institute of Energy Efficiency in Production (EEP) at the University of Stuttgart has been surveying current and planned activities by German industrial companies in terms of energy efficiency on a bi-annual basis. The Energy Efficiency Index (EEI) is created in collaboration with the German Energy Agency (dena), the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Fraunhofer IPA and TÜV Rheinland as well as other partners.

The expectations of industrial companies, which address the significance of energy efficiency, the investments made in corresponding measures and energy productivity, are still higher than what has actually been done. “This means that companies are preparing to carry out additional measures in the future”, said Professor Alexander Sauer, the Head of the Institute for Energy Efficiency in Production (EEP), “but it's becoming critical – if we still want to make the change towards renewable energy.”

Just 6 in 10 companies are investing in trying to become climate neutral in future. Half of them have already started to make the change. Unlike many other measures which are inquired about in the energy efficiency index on an alternate basis – this holds true for companies of all sizes, from the smallest to the largest. The obstacles which prevent companies from trying to become carbon neutral are more technical than financial. This may be the case with production processes such as for example the production of cement, which can currently not be performed in a carbon-neutral way or only with extreme difficulty.

What measures are companies now taking in order to reduce their carbon footprint or the carbon footprint of their products? Measures to increase energy efficiency are mentioned most often. Self-generation and purchasing of renewable energies are some way behind. Efficiency First was launched by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWI) in 2015 for the shift towards renewable energy in Germany, and now a new sense of dynamism appears to be emerging among companies due to climate change becoming a hot topic. “Actually, the only way to become carbon neutral is by making more of an effort to be energy efficient”, says Sauer.

The industrial sector will face particular challenges in future due to carbon pricing. This means it is in the companies’ interest to make the effort to reduce their carbon emissions quickly before the new pricing rules take effect in 2021. The increase in CO2 prices poses particular challenges to SMEs, who previously were not subject to EU emissions trading rules. This particularly applies to companies with a high demand for energy, such as foundries, hardening plants and paper manufacturers. The plans of many larger companies to reduce their carbon emissions also means that more stringent requirements will be placed on the supply chain. “For these reasons in particular we believe that supporting measures are necessary, for example a non-bureaucratic refund of investments made for reducing carbon emissions in the amount of the carbon tax paid”, says the Head of the EEP Professor Alexander Sauer.

Christian Schneider M.Sc., Projektleiter Energieeffizienz-Index, EEP – Universität Stuttgart, Tel: +49 (711) 970-3640, Mail

Dr. Birgit Spaeth, Pressestelle EEP – Universität Stuttgart, Tel: +49 (711) 970-1810, Mail

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