Analysis by the European Industrial Insulation Foundation (EiiF): If the industrial and production systems invested resources in thermal insulation, Italy would save 1.45 million tonnes of oil per year and would not emit 3.86 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air every year, the disliked CO2 that is accused of changing the world's climate. After all, if only in short-sighted financial terms, in industry the cost of thermal insulation is paid back in just one year, and from the following year it is all worthwhile.
There is no better kilowatt hour than one that is not used. Hence the proposal of companies in the sector to give more attention to energy efficiency, to the so-called ESCOs (companies specialising in energy saving), to manufacturers of insulating materials, to the world of thermal calculations and installation.
For example, a standardised document could greatly simplify the issuing of valuable energy efficiency certificates, an environmental bonus that with the complex regulations to apply always makes investments unattractive for companies with heat losses.
A few months ago, EiiF, a think-tank that brings together the experiences of Europe's leading companies and research centres, published a study "The insulation contribution to decarbonise industry", in which the potential for energy savings and reductions in CO2 emissions associated with industrial insulation in the European Union is analysed in detail. Tanks with old, inefficient insulation, uninsulated valves, steam pipes wrapped in untidy bundling, boilers with inadequate insulation - often small interventions are enough to achieve large, lasting benefits.
“The potential reduction in emissions associated with the increased efficiency of industrial insulation systems at European level is 40 million tonnes of CO2 per year, with energy savings equivalent to the energy consumption of about 10 million homes or about 20 million cars", says Michele Mannucci, EiiF vice-president and an industrial thermal insulation operator with a leading company, Termisol Termica, in Livorno.
EiiF has made a very detailed estimate for Italy, showing that the industrial segments with the greatest potential for reducing energy costs (and emissions) are precisely those most exposed to emission reduction policies, the 'hard-to-abate' sectors recently analysed in a detailed Interconnector proposal by analysts at the Boston consulting group.
According to EiiF, the top three industrial sectors are: the electricity sector, which could save energy equivalent to 416 thousand tonnes of oil equivalent, i.e. 1.25 million tonnes of carbon dioxide less in the air; the non-metallic mining industry (157 thousand tonnes of oil equivalent, 450 thousand tonnes of CO2) and oil refining in third place (155 thousand tonnes of oil equivalent, 545 thousand tonnes of CO2). Then chemical industry, food industry, and so on.
Alberto Forbiti, managing director of the Milan-based company Riva Mariani, which has been active in industrial plant engineering for more than 80 years, adds: "In the case of Italy, the figures show that the potential for reducing CO2 emissions by 3.86 million tonnes per year is equivalent to the energy consumption of around 1 million homes or 2.1 million cars. In addition, better and more efficient insulation reduces thermal stresses in the plants and the risks arising from corrosion, improving the efficiency of the plants themselves".