‘Building a bridge between the Climate Agreement and actual energy savings in the Dutch retail sector’
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Becoming climate neutral by 2050 is the overarching target for the Dutch service sector. However, there is little insight in current energy usage patterns and opportunities for energy savings in the sector. Therefore, a quantitative and qualitative analysis in the retail sub-sectors, supermarkets and non-food shops was performed. The results of the trend analysis between 2010 and 2019 indicate a significant decrease in final energy consumption for non-food shops (-26%), and a marginal decrease for supermarkets (-5%). The driving forces of these changes were quantified with a decomposition analysis. The decrease in energy intensity was the largest contributor for both sub-sectors, with the chilly winter of 2010 compared to 2019 being the second largest driver. Floor area increased in both sectors, but more so in the supermarket sub-sector. The change in energy intensity was broken down in energy applications. As for supermarkets the decrease was driven foremost by product cooling and space heating. For non-food shops, the strongest drivers were the decrease in indoor lighting and space heating. Based on expert interviews, the perceived drivers and barriers to energy savings were analysed. Corporate responsibility and economic incentives are drivers for supermarkets. As for large non-food shops, the policy ‘Recognized Energy Efficiency Measures List (EML)’ is a driver. The recent increase in energy prices is another driver for both small and large non-food shops. One perceived barrier is the split incentive, which is induced by half of the shops being rented. Furthermore, the required investment capital is an economic barrier. Knowledge and technical barriers, like the lack of technical employees are also perceived. This study concludes with proposed strategies for energy savings in the retail sector, such as the implementation of a pilot project to quantify energy savings, as well as improved collaboration and knowledge sharing in the non-food sub-sector. Additionally, the long-term national energy intensity target needs to be specified in the service sector and its sub- sectors, to provide guidelines along the pathway towards climate neutrality.