That’s the conclusion reached by Kas Mohammed, Vice President of Digital Energy at Schneider Electric, who spoke to future Net Zero about the effects of the pandemic and lockdowns on the energy sector.
He said the change in lifestyles and working practices across the economy had not only resulted in cleaner waters and cleaner air, but had also highlighted inefficiencies in energy management and areas of unnecessary energy spend, such as empty offices still consuming significant amounts of power.
He added: “That awareness was quite important, people started to see what it could be like, what the possibilities were, and it just felt all-round a nicer way to live, albeit with this coronavirus and the lockdown going on.
“I think it helped to accelerate the topic that actually this is real and remove any of the doubt that may well have been there – I think we’re starting to gauge the thoughts of businesses and organisations right now. They are thinking a little bit more creatively about how we can do something different and the agenda not being a 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-year agenda but actually thinking over the next few years.”
Kas pointed out that technology can help make sure emissions and energy consumption don’t rise to previous levels, even when people and businesses begin to return to offices – he suggested that they can do this by helping to target where a system is using excess power and help drive efficiencies to reduce this.
He added that many of the technologies that can help achieve this are often easier to implement and are more affordable than commonly imagined.
He said: “It’s helped businesses to realise net zero is a real opportunity, it’s a real possibility for their building and actually the discussion should now be about ‘how do I get net positive’. Let’s not just look at net zero, let’s look at net positive, and I’m actually now really contributing to my society, my business isn’t just there taking up resources, it’s giving something back”.