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How industry must help Europe achieve its climate ambition

By Eline Lhoest
October 28, 2020

The European Industrial Insulation Foundation (EiiF) is calling for mandatory energy performance requirements for industry to help the EU achieve its goal to be climate-neutral by 2050.

In a White Paper presented to the European Council this week, the EiiF says that improving insulation standards in industry would reduce the European Union’s carbon emissions by a staggering 40 million tonnes every year — equivalent to 1% of the EU’s total annual emissions or the emissions from 10 million cars driven for a year.

Knauf Insulation is a member of the EiiF — which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year — and Silke Weiss, our Director of Technical Solutions Sales Central Europe, has been appointed the foundation’s treasurer.

“We are familiar with A, B, C, D, E, F, G energy ratings which grade the energy efficiency of consumer goods such as fridges or washing machines and also classify buildings,” Silke says.

“But we don’t have them in industrial plants where the energy saving potential is much higher, particularly in big power plants. We need to adapt these ratings for industry and make it obligatory for all European industrial builds to achieve a certain level.”

Closing the 2030 energy efficiency gap by 10%

In the White Paper, the EiiF says that if a mandatory ‘C’ level of energy efficiency was introduced across industrial buildings a total of 40 Mt of CO2 could be saved every year. This in turn would save 14 Mtoe of energy, representing 10% of the gap to reach the EU’s 2030 energy efficiency target.

The EiiF estimates that between 2% and 10% of European industrial processes — depending on the temperature of the industrial application — either lack insulation or continue to operate with damaged insulation. The result? Millions of tonnes in emissions and millions of euros wasted on excessive energy bills.

“That money could obviously be better invested in improving industry and making it more competitive as well as helping tackle climate change,” says Silke.

So, how can Knauf Insulation help?

“We can provide the technical expertise and in-depth audits — known as Technical Insulation Performance Checks or TIPCHECKS.

“Our technical specialists visit industrial sites, make a thorough audit of the savings potential of industrial insulation installation, see if government schemes are available to support the work and provide customised solutions that deliver outstanding performance,” says Silke.

Return on investment

The return on investment can be significant. In one example cited by EiiF, a refinery storage tank with a roof the size of a football pitch is replaced with an insulated version that takes the roof of the tank to Energy Class G.

The cost of the insulation was €400,000 but yearly CO2 emissions are reduced by 1,500 tons from 1,900 tons and annual energy costs cut by €185,000. This means the insulation would pay for itself in just over two years.

In addition to TIPCHECKS, the EiiF also provides a free ‘TBI’ app which can be used by industrial asset owners to self-inspect their plants.

The app offers an easy-to-use reporting tool that quickly estimates how much energy and money can be saved by a technical insulation system. Although not as comprehensive as a TIPCHECK — which can take at least two days to process — the app provides a generic savings overview in minutes.

Huge savings potential

“Industry asset owners often do not fully appreciate the huge savings potential of insulation and frequently there is a push and pull over cost control between maintenance managers and energy managers,” says Silke.

“However, once an asset owner is shown the payback and the opportunities available — through the app or a TIPCHECK — they become very enthusiastic very quickly.”

Silke, who took on her new EiiF role as treasurer earlier this year, describes her job as “getting the insulation message out to industry”.

“Most of the EiiF executive members are engineers and technical people. I was appointed because of my marketing and communications experience and I am determined to get the insulation message out to as many industrial partners as possible.”