This week’s briefs

There are some good brief news items this week.


• WSED Young Researchers Conference

Only a few days remain to submit a paper. The deadline is October 9th.

The annual World Sustainable Energy Days [] in Wels, Austria has grown from strength to strength over recent years. The World Sustainable Energy Days are organised by the OÖ Energiesparverband, the energy agency of Upper Austria with the mission of promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. WSED includes thematic conferences, a trade show and technical visits. Altogether, there are six conferences on biomass, sustainable buildings and energy services.

One of the highlights is the Young Researchers Conference. It will once again be in integrated part of the programme with two conference tracks: one on biomass and one on energy efficiency in buildings

As before, this event is dedicated to presenting the work and achievements of young researchers in the fields of biomass and energy efficiency and offers an opportunity to interact with researchers and industry experts from all over the world. The organisers will cover the costs for accommodation, meals, participation and local transport for up to 60 selected participants.

For the third year in a row, the best conference contributions will be honoured with the awards “Best Young Researcher: Energy Efficiency” and “Best Young Researcher: Biomass”. The researchers will receive 1,000 Euro each as prize money.

Young researchers have to have been born after 1980.

Submissions are invited from any field (e.g. technology & engineering, economic and social sciences, architecture, law, arts, etc.) and must be in English only. Deadline for submissions is 9 October 2015.

Contributions must be submitted using an online submission form. It is a “one stage” submission process, meaning that the evaluation of the papers will be based on the information received by 9 October 2015. Therefore, the organisers recommend that you do not only submit short abstracts (ideally: papers between 10 – 15 pages, supported by a Powerpoint).

Energy in Demand is honoured to be a member of the scientific committee.

Information on the conference and on submitting is on the WSED website.


Xu Wan from writes

• Energy-saving appliances gain popularity

It’s been ten years since China announced energy efficiency standards for household appliances, and it seems to be working. The latest consumption data from the Ministry of Commerce shows that in the first eight months of the year, sales of energy-saving home appliances grow more than 11 percent faster than industry as a whole. 

Hold your smart phone, scan, and you’ll know how much electricity an air conditioner consumes each month. Last month, more than 1,700 home appliances in China started to add this kind of QR code to their original national energy efficiency labels. Other products in China will follow up soon. A recent survey shows, the penetration rate of energy-saving products in Shanghai homes has reached 58.9 percent. Each household on average has two to three energy-saving appliances, and more than 90 percent of consumers are willing to buy more.

At Suning, China’s largest electronics retailer, the sales of energy-saving appliances are growing by 20 percent so far year-on-year. This has encouraged manufacturers to work for more market share by releasing more green products. According to Suning, 45 percent of the air-conditioners it sells are green products – 30 percent more than ten years ago. For TV sets, fridges and washing machines, the market share is now over 90 percent.

“Some manufacturers are working hard at developing energy-saving appliances, releasing new products each quarter.We also see energy efficiency as an important selling point. When introducing items to customers, we will interpret the labels for them, and focus on how much energy it can save for them,” said Huang Jun, shop manager of Suning Appliance.

Energy-saving appliances can be nearly 1,000 yuan more expensive than conventional products, however. The central government provided subsidies for purchases of five types of energy-saving appliances for one year during 2012 and 2013, to offset part of the price difference. But with the end of the subsidies and a slowing economy, there’s now pressure on customers to return to the cheaper products. Industry insiders are now trying to figure out new ways to continue raising the market share of the energy-saving products.

“We’ve been working with the Shanghai Institute of Quality Inspection for two years, and have published a list of what we call “top energy saving products.” We consider factors like the purchase price, the cost of use and the sales figures of a product, to decide which one is the most cost effective for ordinary households. This is a way to promote green products in the long run,” said Han Jianhua, secretary general of Shanghai Commercial Assoc. of Household Appliances.

In the first half of the year, the sales of household appliances in China grow by 4.5 percent year on year to nearly 770 billion yuan. In the same period, the country’s households consumed 355 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, still growing but at a slower pace. When the government set energy-saving standards ten years ago its declared aim was to reduce household electricity consumption 56 percent by the year 2020.

UK Government launches consultation on energy efficiency tax policy for businesses

The UK Treasury has launched a review to look at ways to simplify the energy efficiency policy landscape for businesses.

The current energy policy landscape has been criticised by a number of organisations over its complexity and for diverting resources away from on the ground delivery of energy efficiency improvements.

According to the UK Green Building Council, the Treasury wants to create a system where a single business or organisation faces one tax and one reporting scheme, and in doing so abolish the CRC (Carbon Reduction Commitment), the scheme in which large energy users in the public and private sectors are required to buy allowances for every tonne of carbon they emit.

Richard Griffiths, senior policy advisor at the UK Green Building Council, said: “Moving to a position where organisations are faced with just one key reporting scheme should help to free up organisations’ resources and allow them to focus on delivering energy savings, rather than administration. Likewise, rationalising the tax regime could provide a clearer spur for action, and help to kick-start commercial retrofit activity after a few relatively flat years.

“But neither of these things will, alone, drive the scale of change that we need to reduce emissions from our buildings. To do that, we need new incentives that significantly strengthen the case for businesses to not only identify energy saving opportunities but put them into action, and so it’s encouraging to hear that Government is open to new ideas in this area, especially in the light of recent cuts to support for renewables.”

The government said moving towards a low carbon economy remains a key part of the government’s long term plans, and this review will look at how investment in energy efficiency can support this.

Damian Hinds, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: “This government wants to create a sustainable tax system for businesses that is fair and simple and supports growth. We recognise business concerns around the complexity of business energy efficiency policy and we want to create a simpler and more stable environment.”

He added: “This will in turn help increase the productivity of our businesses and boost our economy, while at the same time delivering on our commitment to save carbon.”

Energy secretary Amber Rudd said: “Moving to a low-carbon economy is vital for our long-term economic and environmental prosperity, and we are determined to do so in a way that backs business and helps them to innovate, grow and create jobs. We want to reduce the burden on business and make it easier for them to grasp the opportunities that clean growth represents.”

The consultation closes on 9 November.


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