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63 municipalities join the LiU energy conservation scheme

Initial success attracts new participants.

One of the participating towns--Skövde--reduced its energy costs by 64 percent. The industrial site Hägglunds located in the northern town of Örnsköldsvik was able to cut back by about as much. An 11-industry complex in the coastal town of Oskarshamn has sliced power consumption in half. Ulricehamn Betong, a cement industry in the community of Ulricehamn, doubled its production without increasing power usage.

The success of the Sustainable Municipal Energy Project has attracted the attention of the political leadership of other Swedish towns. From a modest start of five pilot municipalities, the project now has 63 candidates signed on.

The Swedish Energy Agency, a government institution, is the taskmaster. Energy scientists at LiUs Department of Energy Systems work in the field assessing and advising industries and municipalities on how reconfigure power usage to create sustainable energy environments. The potential savings are tremendous.

"Basically, what we are doing is pinpointing the weak spots in the systems of consumption," says LiU Professor Björn Karlsson. "Obviously there are rewards to be found in simple measures such as shutting down idle computers instead of keeping them on stand-by, or turning off lights in empty rooms, but the jackpot payoffs appear when we scrutinize the overall system.

"Industrial sites account for as much as 35 percent of Swedish power consumption. We are a little spoiled by a long history of abundant cheap power and the Swedish industrial sphere has built up its supply and usage on those premises. Each Swede consumes three times more electricity than his continental European counterpart.

"Volvo has halved consumption at its Torslanda site simply by applying the same standards as the sister factory in Ghent, Belgium," Björn Karlsson relates.

Professor Karlsson and his team routinely ring in overdimensioned ventilation systems and lighting systems that stay on day and night.

"And many sites have a ventilation system that simultaneously heats and cools," he continues. "Energy is consumed to warm up the premises and then more energy is consumed to bring in cold air to ventilate."


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Last updated: 2009-06-03