Integrative Design for Radical Energy Efficiency
An Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) 2019 Deep Dive Workshop
Integrative design has been most widely applied in passive, net-zero, and net-positive buildings (those that over a year produce more energy than they use). However, similar opportunities have been demonstrated in mobility and energy too. For example, analyzing automotive efficiency for whole-vehicle designs and actual market products, rather than part-by-part, reveals a severalfold larger (and cheaper) efficiency potential. Similarly, integrative design of major and diverse industrial plants has confirmed surprisingly large energy savings with short paybacks in retrofits and generally lower capital costs in newbuilds.
Integrative design, by greatly expanding the energy-efficiency resource, is thus an important new tool for speeding the global energy transition, protecting climate, environment, and health, and improving equity and resilience. Especially when the energy saved is electricity—the most capital-intensive form, whose supply uses roughly one-fourth of global development capital—investing instead in cheaper end-use efficiency can free up an enormous amount of financial capital to fund other development needs. This may be the most powerful known lever for global economic development. Tools are emerging for making integrative design not rare but common. Societies still building extensive infrastructure, hence able to build it right more easily than fixing it later, could be especially advantaged if they quickly spread this practice through their design professionals, skilled tradespeople, business leaders, and design/technical educational and policy institutions.
This workshop presented practical evidence from diverse sectors, end-uses, climates, and geographies showing how integrative design can radically increase energy-efficiency opportunities, decrease their cost, and expand their scope and benefits.