The urgency of energy efficiency and low-carbon services

Renewable energy, Sustainability


The world has created a problem

Climate change is having a huge impact on the quality of life of populations and the trend, if no action is taken, will be worsening. Scientists warn that at the limit, we can emit about 800 gigatons of CO2 without making the process irreversible. In the last five years, we have eitted about 200 gigatons, that is, another two decades and we will exhaust capacity.

group of elementary school pupils walking on a protest march

It’s urgent to act, but are we still in time?

In order for this scenario not to materialize, we need to reach zero emissions by the mid-century. A task that is not impossible.
Science tells us that we have created a climate problem, but it also tells us that climate change can be reversed if we act now!

The path to halting this problem involves three main actions:

  • energy efficiency
  • carbon capture through reforestation (photosynthesis) and emerging technologies
  • decarbonization of the economy by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energies

Renewable energies, especially wind and solar, are already options with technical and economic viability and a clear alternative to fossil fuels. In addition, carbon capture technologies, while still requiring strong investment in innovation, research and development, so that they can be technically and economically viable, show that solutions to overcome the climate problem are available, only action is needed

Energy management

The current complexity of energy management issues, whether from the perspective of supply or demand, requires that energy be managed with the same attention as human, material or financial resources. In this sense, the use of specialized services that support decision-making is increasingly a critical factor of success of organizations.

ISQ’s energy services are to improve competitiveness by providing excellent services and offering innovative energy efficiency and low carbon solutions to the needs of its customers. They also aim to promote environmental sustainability and minimize the consumption of natural resources, thus contributing to the well-being and sustainable development of society and the economy.

To accomplish this mission, ISQ counts on its staff with a team of two dozen energy specialists and a know-how of about 20 years. In addition, the use of innovative analysis and diagnostic tools and equipment, intelligent decision support systems, as well as a network of laboratories, allow ISQ to be at the forefront of energy services.

They are essentially aimed at contributing to the increase in energy efficiency and integration of renewable energies into organisations from an independent and third-party perspective. After evaluating the conditions of energy use of the facilities, opportunities for improvement are identified, implemented energy management methodologies, the technical and economic feasibility of introducing energy efficiency and renewable production measures is studied, ensuring in the end the correct and effective implementation of these solutions.

ISQ’s Energy Services operate in the following sectors:


The industry sector

Industry is the main market focus of ISQ’s energy services. The universe of companies potentially interested in these services is one in which energy use has a more relevant relative weight in the cost structure, such as: pulp, paper and cardboard; automobile; waters; plastics; food; ceramics; fuels; extractive; chemistry; construction; textiles; metalworkomechanics and glass.

The national regulation of the Energy Intensive Consumption Management System (SGCIE) obliges companies with consumptions greater than 500 tons of oil equivalent to periodically carry out energy audits and to promote rationalization plans with well-defined reduction targets. About 1,300 energy audits and rationalization plans were carried out on energy-intensive consumers in Portugal, with ISQ participating in approximately 11% of these same plans.

As a corollary of the knowledge acquired during two decades in the provision of energy services, ISQ has developed a Manual of Energy Audits for Industry, in collaboration with ADENE – Agency for Energy, which was published in 2019.

The buildings sector

Among the various sectors, the buildings have the greatest potential for improvement in terms of energy efficiency and the integration capacity of renewable energies. ISQ develops its activity in large service buildings: hospitals; hotels; sports facilities and administrative buildings.

In this sector, ISQ played an important role in the process of implementing the energy certification system for buildings, having collaborated with ADENE both in monitoring and technical verification of the system, as well as in the training of hundreds of qualified experts who today issue energy certificates.

The transport sector

The transport sector is one of the main responsible for greenhouse gas emissions and perhaps what will have the biggest challenge in the process of decarbonisation and electrification of the economy. ISQ develops its activity mainly with freight transport companies, doing energy audits and rationalization plans, as well as feasibility studies and decision support in the renewal of the automotive fleet.


The urgency of joint global action

Working in these three major areas – industry, buildings and transport – ISQ notes that energy efficiency is an area that is very active on the national and global agenda. In recent years, efforts have been made through the publication of directives and standards aimed at promoting and ensuring practices conducive to improving energy efficiency.

On the other hand, economic actors and the general population are increasingly aware that the path points to the rational use of energy.

The data show the urgency of this challenge. In the last 6,000 years and until the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increased from 200 ppm (parts per million) to 280 ppm. Nowadays, as a result of human activity and the burning of fossil fuels, this same concentration increases by about two ppm per year and already exceeds 400 ppm.

Scientists say that levels of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere between 600-700 ppm will be enough for warming to cause all the existing ice to melt. In this scenario, sea level would rise 80 meters.

Environmental refugees will increasingly be a reality. Action is urgent.

The Arctic is warming three times faster than the rest of the world, causing weather extremes in the latitudes where there is the highest food production. In fact, scientists’ predictions are coming to fruition sooner than expected. At this rate, excess carbon in the atmosphere will have devastating consequences: rising sea levels; permanent droughts in middle latitudes; storms, floods and severe fires that are increasingly intense and unpredictable.

All this will make the world, as we know it today, have less land and less food with more people.

Environmental refugees will increasingly be a reality. Action is urgent.


Head of Energy Efficiency Department at ISQ

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