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Operation Thermostat: Benefits and How it Works

Gaurav Bali
Gaurav Bali

19th October 2022

Introduction

Countries throughout Europe are taking steps to reduce their energy use and make sure the lights stay on this winter in response to potential energy shortages brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Energy costs have skyrocketed as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions that followed, and the Russian president has simply stopped supplying gas to the west in retaliation. Because of this, many nations in Europe are already taking steps to store gas and reduce their energy use in anticipation of a harsh winter and potential energy shortages. Governments are putting into place standards and procedures to deal with the energy crisis and the challenges of winter.

Considering its numerous advantages like energy efficiency, as part of Operation Thermostat, a mission to help Italy manage its energy issues, residential buildings, schools, and other public institutions will no longer be allowed to turn their air conditioning to any level lower than 25 degree celcius. In this blog, we will discuss what an operation thermostat is, how the operation thermostat works and its overall benefits for the building management system.

What leads European Nations to launch Operation Thermostat?

The main reason for the current energy crisis in Europe is that Russia has cut off the continent’s access to the inexpensive natural gas supplies that it had been relying on for years to power industry and produce electricity. The result has been a desperate search by European governments for new resources and strategies to mitigate the effects as economic growth slows and electricity costs rise.

In addition, because of this winter’s record-high inflation brought on by high energy prices, consumers will have less money to spend as the price of food, fuel, and utilities rises. An economy that is currently struggling could suffer greater damage from a total stoppage. Making problems even worse, outside of Russia-related factors have caused other power sources to lag.

In Europe, since gas is a primary fuel used to produce electricity, electricity prices have also surged. Gas is utilised in a variety of industrial operations that most people seldom give much thought to, such as pasteurising milk and cheese, creating glass bottles, forging steel used in automobiles, and heating houses in addition to producing electricity. 

The more worsening case is companies caution that switching to other energy sources, such as fuel oil or electricity to provide heat, frequently cannot be done overnight. Additionally, the cost of fuel oil and coal has increased as a result of everyone looking for alternative supply. When the heat is turned off, machinery holding molten metal or glass may be damaged, and in the long run, energy-intensive companies may decide to abandon Europe.

In an effort to combat and alleviate a worsening energy crisis, Europe has launched several energy conservation missions like Operation Thermostat. Additionally, they have prepared all possible alternative gas sources, including pipeline gas from Norway and Azerbaijan as well as LNG shipments arriving by ship from the United States.

Operation Thermostat – Explained!

European nations are aiming to get rid of the necessity to use Russian oil and gas as Russian soldiers continue to strike Ukraine, After Prime Minister Mario Draghi highlighted air conditioning as an example of something Italians could have to give up in exchange for peace in Ukraine, air conditioning is currently at the forefront of the debate in Italy. According to the Operation Thermostat mission, effective since May, it will be banned for public buildings in Italy to set their air conditioning units at temperatures below 25°C during the summer and above 19°C during the winter. The measure could be extended longer; it will be in effect until the end of March 2019. It aims to assist the nation in coping with an energy crisis that has been made worse by the conflict in Ukraine.

Following hikes in energy costs and as the government works to diversify Italy’s gas supplies (the nation currently imports about 40% of its gas from Russia), the restrictions were passed as an amendment in parliament. The 5Star Movement’s MPs Angela Masi and Davide Crippa proposed the amendment, which stated that its goals were to “lower building thermal consumption and to obtain immediate yearly energy savings.”With the Operation Thermostat mission, the government hopes to save 4 billion cubic metres of gas this year by turning the AC down. The restrictions were in effect by last May 1 and extended through April 2023. 

How does an Operation Thermostat help in energy conservation?

When it comes to global warming, air conditioning presents a serious problem. It isn’t really necessary (at least not all the time), as it consumes a lot of energy, and it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. However, as the planet warms, our need for cooling will increase. Not only for comfort, but in many places of the world also for health and survival. Increasing energy use and increased emissions result from this, creating a loop that is difficult to break.

By the middle of the 21st century, there may be up to six billion air conditioning units in use worldwide, according to the “Future of Cooling” research. Without significant technological advancements, this would also increase the amount of energy needed for cooling, amounting to 6,200 terawatt-hours by 2050, or one-fourth of the current global energy consumption. According to the survey, there hasn’t been much investment in the market for air conditioning products, and there haven’t been many advancements. The technology still works largely the same way as when it was first developed, a century ago. When we consider advancements in other energy technologies like solar cells and batteries, this doesn’t make much sense.

Furthermore, there are methods for lowering the electrical loads needed to cool buildings, such as improving insulation, putting window shades, sealing air leaks, and painting reflective roofing materials. Research conducted last year found that installing cool rooks in 80% of US commercial buildings would reduce yearly energy use by more than ten terawatt-hours.

Therefore, to find appropriate solutions to the current energy crisis, Governments across Europe are scrambling to stockpile natural gas supplies in underground storage facilities so that households will have enough fuel to stay warm during the forthcoming winter.

With petrol prices on the rise, Europe is rushing to conserve enough fuel to survive through the winter. Rising energy costs are increasing household expenses, causing inflation to reach its highest point in decades, and reducing people’s purchasing power.

Germany formerly purchased more than half of its gas from Russia, and the government is currently working to secure winter gas supplies amid concerns that Moscow may soon entirely shut off the taps. It is therefore reasonable for Italy to adopt Operation Thermostat, especially in light of their current energy crisis, given the negative effects air conditioning has on the environment and society.

Benefits of Operation Thermostat

Energy Efficiency

The efficiency gains provided by an operation thermostat mission are likely its greatest advantage and the major factor driving many people to make a move. The best method to deal with growing energy expenses is to reduce energy consumption. People who follow the Operation Thermostat guidelines can control the environment while they are away or modify the temperature to suit their comfort demands. Depending on the time of year, homeowners can save 2% or more on their energy costs for each degree their thermostat is adjusted up or down. A timetable that is maintained while you are away from home can also be made. You may conserve energy and money by creating a timetable that fits your routine rather than heating or cooling your home while you are away. Your reduced energy usage will rapidly cover the low expense of the modification.

Promotes Environment sustainability

Obviously, your costs will go down if you use less power. There is an additional advantage, though: it is your modest contribution to preserving the environment and making the world a greener place. Your thermostat can change the planet with just a few clicks and a few seconds of your time.

Consistent Temperature

By following the operation thermostat mission, people can keep their home’s interior at the appropriate temperature all year round. An automated thermostat can run continuously during the summer instead of being set to a high setting. Because it adheres to the preset temperature schedule you’ve established for your home, your heat can be consistent even when it’s freezing outside. With smart thermostats, you can prevent cold and hot spots in various regions of your house, allowing your family to live comfortably throughout the whole year, thereby conserving energy as well.

Reduce Nation’s Dependence on Foreign Energy Resources

Renato Brunetta, Italy’s minister of public administration, estimated that Operation Thermostat’s air conditioning scheme would reduce gas use by at least two billion cubic metres annually, thereby cutting the country’s reliance on foreign energy sources. According to Angela Masi, a legislator with the Five Star Movement, the largest party in the ruling coalition, it is true that the public administration is leading by example, reducing waste and educating people about rationalising consumption. It’s a straightforward approach to help and lessen reliance on petrol. In an interview with the Corriere Della Sera newspaper, Draghi said, “We do not want to depend on Russian gas any longer because economic dependence must not become political subjugation.”

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Conclusion

In order to combat the sharply rising costs of natural gas and electricity, European nations are considering a variety of actions, including restricting energy prices, lowering taxes, supporting the poor, and lowering the temperature in public buildings. The annual growth in natural gas prices in European markets exceeded ten times, reaching historically high levels, and this increase dramatically raised electric prices. Prices increased up to eight times in European countries' wholesale electricity markets.The European Union and its member nations are working to put various measures into place to safeguard consumers from sharp price hikes and guarantee the security of the energy supply. All member nations are required to reduce their gas use by 15% as part of the plan, which translates to a reduction in gas use of almost 45 billion cubic metres yearly across the union. In the event that the Russian natural gas supply is cut off, the EU has established an emergency plan like Operation Thermostat. The government really hopes that citizens would persevere with the mission, make a personal contribution to ending the current energy crisis, and stop relying on foreign nations for their energy needs.


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