October 2, 2022

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Energy Prices, Country |  The message of the Minister of Local Government: Now the state must provide electricity

Energy Prices, Country | The message of the Minister of Local Government: Now the state must provide electricity

All ministries must take steps to provide electricity to their buildings and properties, Municipal and County Minister Sigbjørn Gjelsvik (Sp) wrote in a letter.

– I think it is important for the state to take measures to contribute to reducing energy use. The country’s real estate portfolio is large in size, with great potential to save electricity. Gelsvik writes in the letter that reduced energy use would also be financially profitable for the state.

This call applies to both rental buildings, self-managed properties, and properties managed through a state rental scheme.

In the ministries, we sit on many properties in various sectors. Among other things, I sit with Statsbygg. The armed forces have very large property, there are health care institutions, research, higher education, etc., Gelsvik tells NTB.

It will control ventilation, temperature and lighting

The Minister for Local Government confirms that several ministries and agencies have already started this work, including the Department of Defense and Statsbygg. The letter also contains concrete proposals on how to reduce electricity consumption.

Measures that will be effective in the short term are the management of ventilation, temperature and lighting in buildings. Very few buildings have full hours of use for all rooms around the clock. If you focus use in fewer rooms, you’ll be able to turn off ventilation, heating, and lighting in rooms that aren’t being used, the mayor writes.

He tells NTB that there is also an ongoing dialogue with the municipal sector, but that the municipalities themselves are already paying enough attention to this issue, so as not to send a similar letter to them.

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Statsbygg rejoice

Statsbygg leases property to large parts of the public sector, and buys fixed-rate electricity, saving them NOK 200 million this year. This gives tenants few financial incentives to save electricity. Director Harald F. Nicholassen The mayor’s call will make it easier to reach out to tenants about the need to turn off the lights and turn the temperature down.

– This is a clear political signal that energy savings must be increased. Communication has been inadequate, but the fact that we now have so little energy is a fairly new idea emerging in the consciousness of both us and our tenants, Nikolaisen tells NTB.

He states that the mapping shows that it is entirely possible for the total mass of property on the ground to provide 15 percent of today’s electricity consumption, the same amount of energy needed to electrify a shelf.

Statsbygg has always had ambitious goals to reduce its energy consumption, but it becomes an engine of its own when politicians make demands and give a clear message to all users of our buildings that they must now save energy. This will make it easier to reach the goals we set, says Nikolaisen.

Will not submit requirements

Many countries have introduced concrete requirements for, among other things, lower temperatures and reduced lighting in public buildings. Gelsvik does not want to present this in Norway.

– This is something I discussed with my colleagues in the government and I feel that the ministers are keen to follow up in their fields. They are interested in finding the best solutions within specific sectors. We can draw inspiration from other countries, but one must be careful not to copy solutions provided by others. He says: We have to see what is best for us.

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The letter also contains a call to find out how to reduce energy use in the long run.

– I think that we, on the part of the state, have an important responsibility to take the initiative. Of course, we want to contribute to saving energy between individuals and companies. But we have to show on the state side that on the state side, with our large real estate portfolio and construction inventory, we have great potential to provide electricity, says Gelsvik.