Energy conservation under the Dutch Environmental Control Act

Through rigorous, structural implementation of existing environmental legislation, Dutch local authorities can achieve very significant reductions in energy consumption, saving 58 to 94 PetaJoules annually, equivalent to the consumption of around one million households. 

Under the terms of the Dutch Environmental Control Act (ECA), businesses and institutions are obliged to implement any energy-saving measures with a payback of less than 5 years. The reference is to educational and health care institutions, offices and supermarkets, among other parties. By examining reports on 800 inspections carried out by eight local authorities and district environmental agencies the total savings potential with less than the cited payback was established. Extrapolation to the Netherlands as a whole indicates that in the services sector there is still 41-60 PJ of energy (38% heat, 62% power) to be saved and in industries covered by the ECA 17-34 PJ (33% heat, 67% power).

The study also examines current practice vis-à-vis implementation of the ECA by local authorities and makes recommendations for improvement.