"Worrying" rise in EU office energy use

Rising consumption by schools, offices, hospitals, needs "serious attention," says Dutch official

Office electricity consumption is rising at a "worrying" rate in many EU countries and requires "serious attention," a senior Dutch economic affairs ministry official told an EU co-sponsored conference in Amsterdam this week. C. Dessens said the energy used in Dutch schools, hospitals and other "commercial" buildings by office equipment alone, is set to rise by 4% per year by 2003. This is double the Netherlands' average projected increase. Increasing office automation and more flexitime and teleworking are partly behind the increase, the official said. Complexities of building ownership have also hampered attempts to apply energy demand management to heating and lighting in offices and similar buildings, Mr Dessens said. Speaking at the same conference, Friedrich Kindermann of the European Commission's energy directorate said the body was considering launching a "green lights" action programme next year to encourage the introduction of more efficient lighting in commercial buildings. The Commission is also planning legislation on public procurement of office equipment (ENDS Daily 30 April) and is pushing for the EU to adopt the USA's "Energy Star" labelling programme for information equipment. Also at the meeting, the International Energy Agency (IEA) launched a global competition challenging industry to develop digital photocopiers up to 60% more energy efficient than current models.

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