5.1 EnergyThe world’s energy demand has doubled in the last 40 years (International Energy Agency, 2009 ) and the increasing amount of fossil fuel used to meet this demand has had, and is still having, a severe impact on the climate (IPCC, 2007 ). Estimates suggest that, with our present dependence on fossil fuels, we will only have supplies for the next 200 years (Europe’s Energy Portal, 2010). All over the world, there is increasing concern about these issues and most countries are taking steps to reduce both the the amount of energy we consume and our dependence on fossil fuels.
In Europe, buildings account for 40% of all energy consumption (European Commission, 2002). In the European Union, there is a saving potential of 20-50% by refurbishment of existing buildings and, with more stringent regulations, of new buildings (Eichhammer, 2009). Products such as solar thermal systems, PV panels and more costly options like small windmills, make it possible for homeowners to produce their own renewable energy and thereby change the source of energy.
The VELUX Group supports the use of onsite cost-optimal renewable energy when it is used directly in buildings, like solar thermal energy for hot water and space heating. However, renewable energy produced and exchanged with an external energy system, like the electricity grid, should be evaluated and based on cost-optimal levels and strategies for the energy system.