How can we reduce the demand for energy?

17 Feb 2022 16:00 to 16:30

Exclusive Event for IOR Members Only

Register here to hear this keynote address from the IOR Annual Conference. The Journey to Net Zero



When looking at how we move to ‘Net Zero’ greenhouse gas emissions, we often focus on how to improve cycle or system efficiency, make better use of monitoring/data, use alternative technologies and provide better training to the industry. All play their part in the journey but we often overlook why we need to use the energy in the first place and whether this can be reduced or in some cases eliminated.

The Energy Hierarchy, developed back in 2009 and republished by IMechE in 2020, provides a refreshing approach to tackling the challenge of ‘net zero’ by putting energy demand reduction at the top of the list of things to consider when developing a sustainable energy policy for the future. It highlights the need to challenge why we use energy in the first place and how we can reduce or even eliminate demand. The benefits of doing this are far greater than the incremental improvements that can be made in efficiency and a kWh saved is more valuable than a kWh supplied when trying to meet the ‘net zero’ goal; the impact is also immediate and not something confined to future development. This is true for the HVACR industry where demand is often in response to existing working practices and is applied without any challenge to improving the process or in some cases eliminating it altogether.



Ian Arbon is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, a Registered European Engineer and a Chartered Environmentalist, with an MSc in ‘Renewable Energy and the Environment and an MBA.  Formerly MD of several UK engineering-sector manufacturing companies (including Howden Compressors Ltd), he now runs Engineered Solutions, a Sustainable Engineering and Management consultancy.  Ian is a Fellow of IMechE; as a Founder and past Chair of its Energy, Environment & Sustainability Group, he has a long history in spearheading the Institution’s work in sustainable development; among other relevant reports, he was Lead Author of the Institution’s Reports (2009 & 2020) on ‘The Energy Hierarchy’.  He is also a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Energy Institute, the Institute of Refrigeration and the Institution of Engineers in Scotland. He has been a Visiting Professor in Alternative Energy at Newcastle University, an Honorary Professor in Sustainable Energy at the University of Glasgow and is currently a Visiting Professor in the Centre for Energy Policy at the University of Strathclyde.


More information 

This paper was originally presented as a keynote address at the IOR Annual Conference in April 2021.

IOR members who were unable to take part in the conference now have the opportunity to hear the recording of the keynote address from Ian Arbon.