Requirement of energy audit is considered formal

The requirement to conduct energy audit is rather of bureaucratic nature due to lack of regulatory base.

The list of companies, which have to conduct energy audit until the end of the year, made up by the Ministry of Economics, is botched and even includes companies that have bankrupted. Moreover, businesspeople surveyed by DB indicated that normative documents in relation to application of the European Directive were not completely developed. Nobody is against energy efficiency, however, there is no guarantee that companies, which have implemented saving in practice, would comply with the formal requirements as well.

Process is certified
The list of companies published by the Ministry of Economics includes also a/s UPB. “It would be useful to specify, whether it is a company as an economic unit or the requirement applies to all subsidiaries as well,” said Dainis Berzins, the Chairman of the Board of UPB. According to the available explanations, the requirement applies only to the parent company rather than the holding’s production units. The current requirements stipulate that companies with certified energy management system or environment management system in place are released from the energy audit. A/s UPB and majority of holding companies have implemented environment management system ISO 14001-2005 and, regardless of requirements of normative acts, it is planned to implement the system in other structural units as well, and include this information in report to be submitted to the Ministry of Economics. The company possesses the equipment necessary to conduct energy audit, as well as trained specialists, who are currently in certification process of energy auditors, therefore the company would easily comply with the requirement posed by the Ministry of Economics. However, Dainis Berzins emphasised that the regulatory base as regards implementation of the so called European Energy Efficiency Directive has not been developed – only the list of companies has been published. “Moreover, methodology, according to which energy audit and data accounting has to be conducted, will be developed in future. The deadline for energy audits is in the end of the year, currently the previous regulatory documents are in force and it is planned to replace them with new soon. However, if we would immediately try to comply with the current requirements and prepare a report, possibly, in the end of the year, other regulatory documents would be in force and changes would have to be implemented,” he explained.

Saving already
The Regional Hospital of Liepāja has already conducted energy audit as it was one of the conditions to receive financing from the The Climate Change Financial Instrument (CCFI) for a project within the framework of which external walls of the Hospital’s main block were insulated and glass sets changed. Therefore the Hospital obtained energy certificate for five years, according to Andris Vistins, the Hospital’s Board Member. “Conducting of energy audit, of course, requires financing, however, last winter, compared to winter before, we paid for heating 25% less,” said A. Vistins. At the same time he admits that for more accurate data on the savings, expenses for heating should be compared over years, especially as this winter was rather warm. Regardless of requirements of regulatory enactments, energy efficiency has one of UPB’s priorities for several years. Data on consumption of fuel, gas, electricity and other resources, as well as the related expenses are assessed on a regular basis. As a result, modernisation of production facilities and transport, as well as of processes is implemented. Energy saving in buildings is topical in all holding structural units, for example, ensuring efficiency of ventilation systems, optimisation of heating and electricity that is included in projects, older buildings, however, are subject to technical modernisation. “The process is continuous, as technologies are changing constantly. Several years ago we calculated the implementation of LED bulbs is not profitable, today situation has changed and we are considering to replace all bulbs,” explained Dainis Berzins. The so called air curtains have been placed at the big gates of the holding’s production facilities. The produced constructions are taken through the gate. Efficiency of the curtains cannot be calculated, however, they save the warmth inside the premises and hold back cold air, consequently improving working conditions of employees. When buying new production facilities, their energy capacity is considered. For example, a new generation laser cutting device will be purchased for the production facility of RK metals , the device, compared to the majority of devices available in the market, uses 30% less electricity.

No policy
The EU Directive includes recommendations, which are not included in the publicly available documents developed in Latvia. For example, the EU Directive recommends supporting small and micro cogeneration stations, which are used in several European countries to improve the overall energy efficiency. D. Bērziņš believes that use of small cogeneration units with high efficiency has a potential in Latvia as well. A/s UPB as a producer of these devices is interested that the state not only would ask for a bureaucratic report requiring additional expenses but would also promote efficient and prudent energy policy on the state level. According to Dainis Berzins, in the long run, total expenses for the key energy resources will continue growing, therefore each and every company has to think about energy efficiency. “For example, price of electricity is fluctuating at the stock exchange, however, considering all expenses – production and management of electricity, MPC (Mandatory Procurement Component) and others – they will increase for the user. At least no decrease is expected,” Dainis Berzins indicated.

Vesma Levalde
Spurce: Dienas Bizness