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Monitoring Electricity Consumption in the Tertiary Sector (EL-TERTIARY)

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The objective of this project is to promote more efficient use of electricity in the tertiary sector. It will provide detailed and reliable know-how on different types of electricity consumption: such as lighting, office equipment, ventilation and air conditioning. A harmonised methodology for electricity metering, survey and analysis will be developed for more than 100 tertiary buildings in 12 European countries. Existing studies and data on electricity consumption will be reviewed and brought together in a database. The results will be made available for all interested experts and the public.


  • Large differences between participating countries have been seen with regard to electricity consumption, underlining the technology gap between the 'old' and the 'new' EU countries.
  • In most cases the use of energy bills in combination with on-site visits proved an effective way of evaluating energy consumption and identifying potential savings. The use of long-term monitoring proved difficult in most cases as it requires continuous contact with facility managers and building owners.
  • Almost all auditors found potential savings in the lighting area. Most frequently a lamp replacement was recommended. Motion control systems should also be installed, at least in rooms which are not used often.
  • In almost all cases where buildings had air-conditioning, potential savings were found. A variety of measures was recommended: external protection of rooms from overheating; lower fan speed; more use of fresh air; better equipment control; switching off at night; the replacement of old equipment; insulation of pipes; heat recovery; and behavioural measures such as closing windows and doors.

Lessons learned

  • The attempt to collect existing data revealed that detailed information on electricity consumption and uses in the tertiary sector is still scarce. High quality data are needed to develop suitable energy efficiency policies and for building managers. It was the first time that data on disaggregated electricity consumption were collected and analysed at EU level on this scale and revealed the difficulties of defining and identifying reference values for electricity consumption.
  • A very efficient and easy-to-apply tool was developed for the case studies. It is a methodology for data collection and the documentation of electricity consumption and relevant equipment in a building. At the same time, it also functions as a database which allows further input to be added and data to be evaluated in different ways.
  • Various surveys conducted during the project also delivered valuable results. Surveys on the electricity consumption and relevant equipment in hotels showed that this type of data collection is supplementary to metering with regard to the representativeness of samples. A survey of office employees revealed that comfort aspects which are relevant for electricity consumption (heating, cooling, ventilation, etc.) are not sufficiently considered and harbour additional saving potentials.

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Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V.
Contact point: 
Edelgard Gruber
0049 721 6809159
Thomas Erge
0049 0 761/4588-5337
Jens Pfafferott
Mario Ragwitz


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In brief

01/01/2006 to 30/06/2008
Contract number: 

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