In order to address the world’s complex energy challenges, all stakeholders - from energy producers and policy-makers to HVAC industry experts and end-users - must be better informed and educated and willing to share their knowledge with others.

That was the overriding theme of the sixth Danfoss EnVisioneering Symposium, “Breaking Through: Creating an Informed Energy Efficiency Technology Marketplace,” held Oct. 23, 2007, at the Hotel Washington in Washington, D.C. About 25 energy stakeholders attended the all-day event hosted by Danfoss, a supplier of components for refrigeration, air conditioning, motion controls and heating.

The symposium featured six speakers, including Dennis Moran, Eastern region director of energy for Marriott Inc. Moran said he believes there is too much emphasis on global warming and not enough emphasis on issues that will drive improvements in the global energy situation.

Glenn Barrett, director of energy management for Supervalu Inc., which manages 1,300 grocery facilities nationwide, noted that cold storage facilities and supermarkets use about 7% of the electricity generated in the U.S. As such, Barrett’s mission is to increase the energy efficiency of Supervalu stores and distribution centers.

Heather Kennedy, manager of government affairs for Home Depot Inc., noted that the home-improvement retailer has realized energy savings of 34% in stores that have undergone energy-efficiency improvements since 2003. She added that Home Depot recently introduced a new branding program, Eco Options, designed to give customers a choice of products that have a lesser impact on the environment.

Eric Ackerman, senior manager of regulatory policy for Edison Electric Institute, offered three solutions for improving the electricity challenge in the U.S.: 1. Introduce more efficient rates at retail, 2. Restructure business and regulatory models so utilities can make a sustainable business out of efficiency, and 3. Share information - for example, via national databases - about state-of-the-art energy-efficient products.

Karen Penafiel, vice president for advocacy with Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International, highlighted two BOMA programs that have had recent success. The BOMA Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP) provides building owners with tips on reducing energy costs, while the Green Lease Guide gives building tenants guidelines for saving energy and being environmentally responsible.

Chandra Govindarajalu, senior environmental specialist for The World Bank, said a wealth of energy-efficiency projects are awaiting implementation in developing countries, especially in China, India and Brazil. But various barriers inhibit implementation, including a lack of information, of trained personnel or technical/managerial expertise, price distortions, regulatory biases and high transaction costs.

Following the presentations, John Galyen, president of Danfoss Refrigeration & Air-Conditioning North America, reviewed the highlights of the five previous symposia and emphasized that stakeholders still have a lot of work to do.

“The global energy situation is a complex and high-profile issue,” Galyen said. “For many players, the level of information and clear understanding is still in its infancy. But I strongly believe - through events like the EnVisioneering Symposia - we are making progress. We’re putting the larger, global issues on the table. We’re opening dialogues that were previously closed. We’re discussing solutions and beginning to measure outcomes.”

Danfoss plans to continue the EnVisioneering Symposia Series in 2008, emphasizing regional micro-symposia with topics that are even more relevant to target audiences. Details about the 2008 program will be announced soon.