Posted on 08 February 2020
Lima’s bright yellow Palacio Municipal is a beautiful neoclassical building. It proudly covers the entire west side of this capital city’s centrally-located Plaza Mayor, and its grand arched balconies and imposing box bay windows recall earlier eras in Peru’s colorful past.
A new WWF partnership with local building managers in Peru, Chile, Columbia and Vietnam will see iconic structures treated to energy efficiency 'makeovers' thanks to innovative energy management technology.
Energy efficiency vital part of reducing emissions
In essence, energy efficiency is simply making the most of every unit of energy we use.
That may seem too basic to be a cornerstone in fighting the climate crisis. But to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, it is just as important for us to significantly cut our energy consumption as it is to move to renewable power sources.
The International Energy Agency says 40 per cent of the emissions reductions we want can be achieved with existing energy efficiency technologies, processes, and policies. But we are not implementing these measures fast enough. Energy use is rising (up 2.3% in 2018) rather than shrinking.
There is no proven technology that can take carbon from our atmosphere in huge volumes. That makes energy efficiency our best tool – our hidden superpower, if you want – to help meet our energy needs and control rising temperatures and help avert the risks presented by the climate crisis.
Which brings us back to the Palacio Municipal.
Reducing energy use at the Palacio Municipal
Using the energy management tool Smappee, WWF and building managers identify technical fixes and behavioral changes needed to makeover the building’s old energy systems and lower its energy usage.
Results of the makeover at Palacio Municipal will let people see how today’s tools deliver efficiency and fight climate catastrophe.
Ximena Giraldo Maca, Lima's City Services and Environmental Management Department Manager says an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions conducted in 2015 showed that 41 per cent of the city's emissions come from stationary energy. This included energy consumption in homes, municipal buildings, industries and street lighting.
"We need to be more energy efficient.So we welcome the opportunity to test smart tools that generate data in real time, allowing us to evaluate the way in which we consume energy and to identify actions that can be applied at municipal level and replicated at a city level to improve our energy performance."
Other iconic buildings that will shortly join the project include the Santiago Stock Exchange in Chile, the Huong Giang Hotel in Vietnam, and La Gobernación de Cundinamarca in Colombia.
By focusing on beautiful buildings that many city dwellers already have a feeling for and a relationship with, we hope many more people will get a vision for how energy efficiency measures can help help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Jennifer Calder is WWF's global energy efficiency expert.