Is Energy Efficiency challenging or profitable? Solutions for the European textile & clothing industry

Energy efficiency continues to gain importance in most industries and economic sectors. The energy cost has always been a crucial element for the competitiveness of the European clothing and particularly the textile industry. The International Energy Agency underlines in its latest report: “Industrial energy efficiency measures deliver substantial benefits in addition to energy cost savings – enhancing competitiveness, profitability, production and product quality […]”

Today companies across the whole textile and apparel value chain place sustainable production and higher resource efficiency at the centre of their growth strategy. This may explain the success of the SESEC* project, whose final conference took place this week in Brussels where it brought together entrepreneurs, industry representatives, researchers, consultants and policy makers to discuss on the most profitable energy efficiency measures. Coordinated by Euratex, the SESEC project developed tools to help clothing companies in understanding and reducing energy consumption.

In his opening address Mr. Francesco Marchi Director General at EURATEX, pointed out the relevance of energy efficiency for the sector and the goals of the ad-hoc crated Energy Made-to-Measure campaign. Mrs. Serena Pontoglio from the European Commission, Directorate General for Energy, presented the Commission’s communication on energy efficiency published in July 2014. She underlined that to reach the Europe 2020 target of 20% increase in energy efficiency no additional legislation at the EU level shall be needed. The current task is to assure effective implementation of the existing framework since most of the EU Member States still have to fully comply with the Energy Efficiency Directive. Dr. Fabio Genoese from the Brussels-based think tank CEPS provided a detailed overview of the impact of energy costs on energy intensive industries.

The SESEC partners presented ready-to-use project’s results, such as special software tools for companies to start rethinking their energy spending, use of buildings, heating system, ventilation and electricity.

Partners reported that under SESEC some 50 companies across Europe have already been audited and/or supported to launch energy efficiency measures. Insights on business cases in Italy, Bulgaria, Romania and Portugal as well as % of the achieved cost-reductions were shown. The 400 participants in training meetings and the free of charge access via website to the SESEC self-assessment tools in 8 European languages were remarked.

The new project SET (Save Energy in Textile SMEs) was also presented. SET will build on up the SESEC legacy, addressing energy saving measures for the textile manufacturers. SET will seek to support over 150 European companies until 2016. Both projects are co-founded by the EU Intelligent Energy Europe programme and constitute the core elements of the Energy Made-to-Measure campaign. The latter brings resources and high quality information on energy efficiency measures to European textile and clothing companies.

*SESEC – Sustainable Energy Saving for the European Clothing Industry, find out more: www.euratex.eu/sesec   

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