Energy use has become one of the most critical issues worldwide. In fact, international forecasts state that energy consumption, including electricity and other sources, will double by 2050 and electricity itself will double by 2030 International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook report, 2007, leading to significant increases in energy prices. At the same time, climate specialists tell us we should halve CO2 emissions to avoid serious climatic changes.
In other terms, the world needs to improve its carbon intensity by a factor of four.
“There is a focus on efficiency in transport, yet industry and buildings account for up to three times the energy consumption of transportation,” says Gys Snyman, vice-president energy efficiency at Schneider Electric South Africa.
Against this background, Schneider Electric saw a need for energy education across all industries and embarked on the development of Energy University (www.MyEnergyUniversity.com), a free web-based and professional level training programme.
“Energy University is vendor neutral and focuses on energy consumption and efficiency in building and facility management,” adds Snyman. “In-depth courses have been developed to aid industries such as hospitality to achieve very significant savings of up to 30 percent from implementing energy controls, measurement, and monitoring systems.”
The courses available through the Energy University website are designed to provide a suitable level of expertise to anyone involved in the decision-making, management, planning, design, or construction of any space that is impacted by the use of energy.
“Energy University addresses a broad range of efficiency issues and offers methodologies for implementing safe, reliable and cost effective measures that are particularly relevant in the South African environment of limited energy resources, tariff increases and the need to focus on clean, efficient energy to reduce CO² emissions,” says Snyman.
“The lack of available educational resources on energy efficiency and sustainable operations can be overcome through more accessible information and know-how that is practical rather than academic in its approach.
“A great deal of the educational material about energy is focused towards civil engineering and science -based programmes, while the real need is for information aimed at general business management where real decisions about energy are tackled daily.”
Snyman adds that the Energy University has considerably extended its boundaries since its introduction in 2009. “Today it reaches far beyond our clients and is used by a number of industries. More than 120,000 people have been trained through the site and there are over 80 courses available free, online and in 11 languages across a broad spectrum of energy topics.”
Professional associations and organisations across a number of industries have reviewed the Energy University courses and approved them for their membership to obtain continuing education credits to supplement their university degrees or professional certifications.
“Energy University has been adopted by organisations including the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEP), the U.S. Green Building Council and the IEEE, which is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence.”
Snyman says Schneider Electric plans to continue expanding the Energy University curriculum to support new solutions and industry segments globally. New courses are being released every quarter and there are many topics in the pipeline for development. Access the site at www.MyEnergyUniversity.com.