Jes Munk Hansen spoke about how the U.S. can apply technologies to solve the environmental and energy challenges of the coming decades.
Jes Munk Hansen, president of Grundfos North America, joined Pia Olsen Dyhr, Danish minister for trade and investment, at a congressional forum in Washington, D.C., on April 25 to discuss how Grundfos' home country, Denmark, is meeting the economic, environmental and energy challenges of the coming decades and how the U.S. can apply these lessons.
"We need to shift to energy efficiency and independence," said Congressman Steny Hoyer, who gave the opening remarks to the forum. "Denmark is way ahead of the United States in this quest."
Thanks to a long-term investment in energy efficiency, Denmark went from depending entirely on foreign sources of energy to becoming the most energy independent nation in the European Union. Dyhr said Danish companies like Grundfos gained a global advantage from the innovation fostered by Denmark's policies.
Indeed, Grundfos has already developed technologies that can help solve the global energy and water crisis. Hansen explained how Grundfos' AUTOADAPT software ensures that pump systems only run when needed, thereby halving the amount of electricity consumed by moving water around.
"We take relatively mundane products and lift them into the new millennium," Hansen said.
Municipalities, too, have the potential to save energy and water through increased efficiency. Ensuring that the water infrastructure is only pressurized to the necessary degree dramatically reduces leaks, which in turn saves energy.
"The U.S. cannot afford the trillions of dollars it would cost to replace the infrastructure," Hansen said. "What we need is to make the infrastructure smarter. All it takes is existing technology and a willingness to implement."
Grundfos' technologies have the potential to create a win-win-win situation for consumers, society and the environment.
- Consumers benefit from access to water at a reasonable rate
- Society benefits from assured growth and prosperity
- The environment benefits from more efficient use of natural resources
But Hansen made it clear that Grundfos could not solve the water and energy challenges on its own. He presented the audience with a call to action -- a labeling system to increase awareness of the energy savings possible through efficient technology.
This, too, would create a win-win-win situation, Hansen said.
- Consumers would be able to make informed choices
- Industry would be incentivized to innovate in order to meet higher standards
- The environment would again benefit from more efficient use of natural resources
"A labeling system would lift the entire industry to new heights," Hansen said. "Our elected officials must set ambitious energy goals. Producing energy is one of the biggest consumers of energy. At the same time, moving water accounts for up to 20 percent of electricity use. We need to address this nexus now in order to ensure a positive and prosperous future."
An audio recording of the entire event is available through the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, which hosted the forum.