Taiwan can further improve the energy efficiency of its new and existing buildings by achieving a potential 30 percent reduction in both energy use and carbon emissions using technologies that are already available, the European Chamber of Commerce Taipei (ECCT) said yesterday.
"Taiwan should pick up its pace to catch up with the world in energy conservation by raising and instating legally binding standards to improve energy efficiency, " said Andreas Gursch, chairman of the ECCT's Energy and Environment Committee, at a news conference to release a report titled "Energy-Saving Measures for Taiwan's Built Environment."
According to Gursch, while 30 percent would not be difficult to achieve and could be done through existing technologies, what Taiwan needs is willingness on the part of the government, entrepreneurs and the general public to work together, especially when Taiwan's building insulation standards are two times less strict than those in Europe.
The report draws on the results of a computer simulation conducted by the ECCT and National Taipei University of Technology (NTUT), as well as best practices and cutting-edge technologies from Europe, to improve the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings in Taiwan.
The results of the simulation with real climate data and typical user patterns in Taiwan show a potential 30 percent reduction in both energy use and carbon emissions in office buildings and residential high rises, which is equivalent to NT$60 billion in dollar terms, or reductions of 12 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Lee Kuei-peng, an assistant professor at NTUT, said at the news conference that as commercial and residential buildings account for around 35 percent of Taiwan's total electricity use, saving 30 percent in energy is equal to a reduction of 10 percent of electricity usage.
"Energy conservation is a kind of invisible power plant, " Lee said.
The report recommends the establishment of an inter-ministerial task force to develop new regulations for Taiwan to improve building code standards and promote the use of environmentally friendly technology.
It also suggests that special skills in monitoring, energy simulation, building management and maintenance, design and construction should be included in the education of architects, engineers and construction workers to raise the necessary professional skills and public awareness.
The report concludes by emphasizing that important policy decisions such as a timeline for emissions reductions or carbon taxation versus a cap and trade system should be made within the framework of international standards that are presently being developed.
According to the ECCT, the report has been presented to government officials such as Economic Affairs Minister Yiin Chii-ming, Taipei Magistrate Chou Hsi-wei and Energy Bureau Director-General Yeh Huey-ching.
The ECCT, which represents 370 multinational companies and 650 individual members from more than 30 different countries, is the principle organization promoting European business interests in Taiwan.