Unplugging the TV, not letting your laptop charge infinitely at night, turning off the power strip…. TotalEnergies, EDF and Engie called on the French men and women to reduce their energy consumption, in order to preserve our country’s capacities in this area, undermined by a lack of energy production. “The effort must be immediate, collective and massive. Every gesture counts”, plead the three giants.
So don’t see any bad faith on our part, we want to open the windows in the morning rather than turn on the air conditioning in the afternoon and unplug the microwave, but still, it’s hard not to do a little the pout when you see the store signs lit up at night or the doors wide open with the air conditioning revving, not to mention those bright billboards flickering down our streets.
Limit night lighting
Since 2013, interior lighting of offices and shop windows has been prohibited at night, between one and six in the morning. The energy savings achieved represent the consumption of 750,000 households. From 2018, it is the turn of signs and advertising panels to turn off their lights between 1 and 6 a.m. in the event of no nighttime activity (if they are open part of the night, they can keep lights on until one hour after closing and one hour before opening).
A measure that would save 1,000 gigawatts per hour, or the consumption of 370,000 households, as well as 200 million euros in savings, according to the Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition. “These are measures that have shown their full effectiveness and that we could now push further, at least in times of tension. For example, switching off the lights as soon as the brand’s activity stops, or just an hour later, ”argues Pierre Dennery, France manager at European energy markets analytics. Lighting represents 25% of the average energy bill of a business, according to the Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe), questioned by 20 Minutes.
The air conditioning
Another big subject of energy tension: air conditioning. Three grievances are formulated against far too many brands. First, air conditioning with the doors wide open, “an ecological and energy aberration”, recognizes Pierre Dennery, “the air conditioning must be done in an enclosed place”. Second, the much too strong air conditioning. Ademe recalls that good air conditioning is a maximum of four or five degrees below the outside temperature. Clearly, at 30 degrees outside, we put the air conditioner at 26, not at 22. “A drop of 1 ℃ in a room generates overconsumption of the air conditioning system by 12 to 18%”, indicates the agency.
Last but not least, just like heating in the winter, it is not necessary to keep the air conditioning on all day. “Easy measures to take consist of preheating the premises in winter, or precooling them in summer before eight o’clock, in order to then save during the day,” notes the French electricity transmission network (RTE). Ademe reminds us that air conditioning represents 13% of a store’s energy bill.
And yes, size does matter
Last fight to lead, the illuminated billboards. According to an RTE report, there were 9,000 in 2019, with an increase of 20% per year. They should represent 50% of advertisements in town in 2050. Their annual consumption would amount to that of 2,000 households according to Ademe, not really a game-changer so.
All of these energy expenditures have one thing in common: the bigger the sign (or panel), the more it consumes. This is why the RTE in particular is leaning in its proposals for the winter of 2022 on a reduction in the size of the signs and offices, sometimes less filled with telework. Less space, less light, less air conditioning, less energy consumed. While waiting to see your favorite supermarkets lose volume, don’t forget to unplug your hair dryer.