UNIDO's focus on system optimization in industry aims to go beyond the simple energy efficient equipment approach to energy efficiency that is currently prevailing among policymakers and in the market. Energy use in industry is much more related to operational practices than in the commercial and residential sectors. If energy efficient lighting or appliances are installed in a commercial or residential building, those devices supply the same level of service at a reduced energy use without any further intervention from the user. Benefits will accrue for the life of the appliances unless extraordinary measures are taken to negate them. By way of contrast, an industrial facility may change production volumes or schedules and/or the type of product manufactured many times during the useful life of the factory.
The energy-using systems designed to support these production patterns may be relatively energy efficient under the initial production design conditions but become typically significantly less so as production patterns change. The presence of energy-efficient components in industrial systems, while important, provides no assurance that energy savings will be attained if the system of which the components are part is not properly designed and operated. Evidence from implemented national and international programmes shows that, while efficient components may bring about gains in the range of 2 to 5 per cent, systems optimization measures can attain average efficiency gains of 20 to 30 per cent with a payback period of less than two years. UNIDO's training-the-trainers programme aims at equipping local industry and energy effciency experts with the expertise, methodologies and tools required to develop and implement energy system optimization projects and practices.