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Climate change

Climate change is any long-term significant change in the expected average weather patterns of a specific region, or, more relevant to contemporary socio-political concerns, of the Earth as a whole over an appropriately significant period of time. Climate change reflects abnormal variations to the expected climate within the Earth's atmosphere and subsequent effects on other parts of the Earth, such as in the ice caps, over durations ranging from decades to millions of years.
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Emission trading

Emission trading is an administrative approach used to control pollution by providing economic incentives to reduce the emission of pollutants. It is sometimes called “cap and trade”. See also:

Energy audit

An energy audit is an inspection, survey and analysis of energy flows in a building or technical system with the objective of understanding the system’s energy dynamics. Typically, an energy audit is conducted to seek opportunities to reduce the amount of energy input into a system without negatively affecting the output(s) such as particular user requirements. When the object of study is an occupied building, the reduction of energy consumption while maintaining or improving human comfort, health and safety is of primary concern. Beyond simple identification of energy use sources, an energy audit seeks to prioritize energy uses from the greatest to the least cost effective opportunities for energy savings.

Energy policy of the European Union

The European Union introduced and the European Council approved the concept of a mandatory and comprehensive European energy policy on 27 October 2005 in London.
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Energy Service Company (ESCO)

An energy service company (ESCO or ESCo) is a professional business that provides a broad range of comprehensive energy solutions including the design and implementation of energy savings projects, energy conservation, energy infrastructure outsourcing, power generation and energy supply and risk management. The ESCO performs an in-depth analysis of the property, designs an energy efficient solution, installs the required elements and maintains the system to ensure energy savings during the payback period. Energy costs savings are often used to pay back project capital investment over a five- to twenty-year period, or are reinvested into the building to allow for capital upgrades that otherwise may be unfeasible. If the project does not provide a return on investment, the ESCO is often responsible for the difference.

EU directive on the energy performance of buildings

The objective of the Directive 2002/91/EC on the Energy Performance of Buildings is to promote the energy performance of buildings within the European Community taking into account outdoor climatic and local conditions, indoor climate requirements and cost-effectiveness. The Directive was brought into force on 16 December 2002. Each member state was required to incorporate Directive provisions into national law by 4 January 2006. See also:

German International Climate Protection Initiative

On 5 December 2007, the German government adopted the Integrated Energy and Climate Programme (IEKP) to make an important contribution to attaining European and international climate protection goals. One component of this programme is the Climate Protection Initiative that uses income from the sale of CO² certificates through the emissions trading system to fund climate protection projects. This makes Germany the first country to invest the proceeds of certificate auctions directly into national and international climate protection measures.

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) promotes climate protection measures for increased energy efficiency and greater use of renewable energies. The International Climate Initiative supports measures for adapting to climate change in developing and newly industrialising countries. It aims to bring new momentum to negotiations on an international climate protection agreement for the post-2012 period. Thus, the initiative makes an important contribution to reaching ambitious climate protection targets in Germany, Europe and worldwide.

Since the beginning of 2008, the BMU has made available up to 400 million euro from the sale of emissions allowances for the Climate Protection Initiative. The Initiative is subdivided into two areas:

  • Promotion of sustainable energy supply
  • Adaptation to climate change impacts and conservation of biodiversity

This new form of environmental cooperation in these two priority areas will complement existing cooperative developmental activities and support their cost-effective implementation as well as promote innovative pilot projects.
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Municipal energy management

Municipal energy management (in German: "Kommunales Energiemanagement" – KEM) summarizes the various activities and initiatives to permanently reduce the energy consumption of municipal buildings within the municipality. There are two approaches: strategic and operational energy management. Through strategic energy management, a municipality develops long-term energy concepts for the entire municipality that provide a general orientation, not only for the building sector, but also for municipal services and administrative organization. With a practical orientation, operative energy management focuses on the analysis of the energy performance of individual buildings and services and the introduction of measures to reduce and optimize their energy consumption.

Passive house

The term Passive House (in German: "Passivhaus") refers to a rigorous, voluntary, passive house standard for energy efficiency in buildings. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling. The standard is not confined only to residential properties: several office buildings, schools, kindergartens and a supermarket have also been constructed to the standard. Passive design is not the attachment or supplementation of architectural design, but an integrated architectural design process. Although it is mostly applied to new buildings, it has also been used for refurbishments. Previous experience from other low-energy building standards include the German Niedrigenergiehaus (low-energy house) standard and that of buildings constructed to the demanding energy codes of Sweden and Denmark.

The Passive House standard for central Europe requires that a building fulfils the following requirements:

  • The building must not use more than 15 kWh/m² per year (4746 btu/ft² per year) in heating and cooling energy
  • Total energy consumption (energy for heating, hot water and electricity) must not be more than 42 kWh/m² per year
  • Total primary energy (source energy for electricity and etc.) consumption (primary energy for heating, hot water and electricity) must not be more than 120 kWh/m² per year (3.79 × 104 btu/ft² per year)

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Primary energy

Primary energy is energy that has not been subjected to any conversion or transformation process. Primary energy is energy contained in raw fuels and other forms of energy system inputs. Primary energy includes non-renewable and renewable energy. Primary energies are transformed in energy conversion processes to more convenient forms of energy such as electrical energy and cleaner fuels. In energy statistics, these forms are called secondary energy.

Renewable energy

Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat that are renewable or naturally replenished.
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