B4E, the Business for Environment Global Summit, is the world's leading international conference for dialogue and business-driven action for the environment. The summit addresses the most urgent environmental challenges facing the world today. Important topics on the agenda include resource efficiency, renewable energies, new business models and climate policy and strategies. CEOs and senior executives join leaders from government, international agencies, NGOs and media to discuss environmental issues, forge partnerships and explore innovative solutions for a greener future.
Guy has been involved in the energy sector since 1984 working initially in the oil and gas industry as an exploration geologist for Amoco before joining the newly formed PowerGen in 1990. At PowerGen Guy worked initially in the UK core business before transferring to be part of the International expansion of developing conventional power stations in Portugal, Germany and Eastern Europe.
Pete is the Programme Director for Transport at the European Climate Foundation, where he has worked since 2011. Prior to that, he spent 10 years analysing and reporting on politics, business and markets for the international newswire Reuters. Since 2008, he has been living in Brussels, focusing on the European politics of climate and energy. He has published several books and papers on ecology, travel and communications.
By Reed Brown
This article was originally published on Alliance to save Energy and is republished with permission.
The building sector consumes a significant amount of energy across the world – in the U.S. this equals about 40 percent of energy used and 70 percent of total electricity used. When we think of the existing 114 million homes and 80 million square feet of commercial building space, there is certainly a lot of potential for energy savings. However, weather patterns are changing as a result of climate change and buildings will need to be designed and constructed to not only be energy-efficient, but also resilient in the face of a new set of climactic conditions. There are a range of methods that can be used to address these issues, like improving specific components within the buildings themselves, coordinating components that make up building systems and educating the people that live and work in these buildings. If any of these components are ignored, a significant amount of savings will be left unrealized.
What follows is a write-up on the session "Buildings of the Future: How do we design and construct energy-efficient, resilient and climate adaptive buildings?" at EE Global 2016.
Ersilia Serafini, president of the Summerhill Group, focused her remarks on the impacts of humans and the interaction between humans and buildings. She stressed that “people are unpredictable,” and explained that even the best theoretical models of potential energy savings can fall well short of actual savings because people do not behave as engineers expect them to behave. As such, she explained, there is the potential for achieving significant additional energy savings simply by understanding and educating the people that work or live within the building. In one example, Serafini described a project that aimed to reduce energy consumption without any capital investment: simply by optimizing the lighting schedules for the tenants within the building, the building was able to save 1.5 million kWh, worth $168,000, per year.
Mark MacCracken, CEO of CALMAC Manufacturing, spoke about the importance of energy storage and the ways in which zero net energy buildings impact the grid. He explained that fossil fuels are such a valued commodity because they are not simply a form of energy, but also a form of stored energy. In contrast, renewable energy cannot be stored effectively – presenting a challenge. As zero net energy buildings become more prevalent, energy storage will be become even more vital. MacCracken went on to explain that the relationship between zero net energy buildings and utilities is complicated (for reasons beyond the scope of this panel summary blog post) and energy storage will help make these buildings more viable. As MacCracken put it, “A lot of excitement has been generated by Tesla’s Battery Wall, for good reason, but thermal storage is already a 10th of the price of batteries with a lifetime 5-10 times longer than the average battery.”
Sheila Hayter, officer at ASHRAE, spoke about resilience and the role of building codes. The buildings of the future will be zero net energy buildings, meaning they will create an equal amount of – or more – energy than they consume. These buildings, she explained, will need to incorporate highly-efficient designs and materials which will ensure that they can continue to operate even if faced with a power outage or extreme weather event. One way to encourage these efficient design principles is through effective building codes and standards. Hayter described two options: the International Code Council’s (ICC) International Green Construction Code and the ASHRAE 189.1 standard. Both of these options have their respective strengths, but Hayter outlined the need for a single set of principles to help improve consistency across buildings. ASHRAE is working on developing such a standard, which will be available in 2018. There are many factors that must be correctly aligned to create a sustainable building – and building energy codes and standards are certainly crucial factors, Hayter explained.
Michael Mazor, fellow and scientist at The Dow Chemical Company, spoke about the need to address energy consumption in the built environment, specifically the existing building stock. There are approximately 114 million existing homes and 80 billion square feet of commercial space in the United States, which means there is a significant opportunity to reduce energy consumption. However, tapping into this potential is difficult. Technology exists to address the issue, but without clear policy directives to spur momentum, it will be hard to overcome the situational inertia. Mazor described the difficulties of updating building codes to address future environmental concerns, which are currently difficult to predict.
Kevin Bollom, vice president of building services at Trane, described the efforts of businesses to address their carbon footprints. He explained that, according to a recent data set ranking the importance of a range of factors, 90 percent of business owners have made a commitment to reduce their impact on the climate and 70 percent of business owners currently utilize energy efficiency tactics to reduce energy consumption in their buildings and supply chain. This data, he pointed out, shows that companies have realized that energy efficiency is by far the cheapest and easiest way to reduce their energy consumption. In regards to buildings, energy efficiency is best incorporated as an element of building design, he continued. There are many ways to optimize current buildings and the buildings of the future: the building needs to be approached as a system, it needs to be monitored and it needs to be improved continuously. And, he pointed out, improving energy efficiency in buildings does not have to be difficult, as simply monitoring energy consumption can lead to reduced consumption (up to 7 percent!).
The built environment is a vast source of untapped energy saving potential. All of the panelists highlighted ways that energy efficiency can be utilized to reduce energy consumption while also saving businesses and homeowners money and protecting the environment. Challenges remain, but a great deal of exciting progress has already been accomplished in the effort to make buildings more energy-efficient and resilient.
By Scott Nichols
This article was originally published on Aquaculture Stewardship Council and is republished with permission.
Somewhere near the middle of the century there will be 2 billion more of us on the planet. That’s a very big number of new folks to feed. Beyond numbers, the composition of the population will change as well. The world is experiencing rapidly increasing wealth and with increased wealth comes change in dietary preferences. The larger and wealthier population we will have mid-century requires we roughly double our food production (see here and here). Quite soon, an unprecedented demand will be placed on our food system.
Our current agriculture uses 38 percent of the land and consumes 70 percent of available water. Can we double 38 percent? No we can’t, at least not from a practical point of view. As for doubling 70 percent—it simply isn’t going to happen.
Doubtless there will be improvements in agricultural productivity. These are likely to be incremental improvements and, while they are important, they will not take us where we need to go. Large and discontinuous improvements are needed—revolutionary not evolutionary change.
The Fish We Eat. One thing we can do is to turn to the sea but we need to in a particular way. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations undertakes a biannual oceans assessment called State of Worlds Fisheries and Aquaculture. The 2008 report found 80 percent of fisheries harvested at or above their sustainable limits. Successive reports were increasingly grave until the 2014 edition showed 90 percent of wild fisheries are harvested either at or above their sustainable limits so it isn’t feasible to capture more wild fish. More likely, wild fish capture should probably decrease to allow challenged stocks to replace themselves.
Whether wild fish harvests decrease or remain the same, however, they will certainly not address increasing demand. It seems clear that if we are going to continue to eat fish, we need to farm them.
Aquacultural Productivity. The encouraging news is that aquaculture is capable of providing the new and discontinuous change we need. Its potential productive capability is tremendous. Here’s an example of that.
Duplin County in North Carolina in the US produces lot of hogs. With its 822 square miles and 59,000 people Duplin County produces more hogs—about 2 million per year—than any other county in the nation. The result is about 280 million pounds of marketable pork.
What size of fish farm would be required to match the hog production in Duplin County?
Picture, if you will, a fish farm whose nets are 15 meters deep. In those nets the amount of fish is held to a maximum of 5 kg of fish per tonne of water or, said another way, the fish occupy one half percent of the volume of the pen. (By comparison, national regulations for salmon farms in Norway are that fish not exceed 25 kg per tonne of water so what I’m talking about here is a 5 fold reduction.) Add the further stipulation that half of the weight of fish grown actually is fish that makes it to market.
The length of the North Carolina coastline is 484 km (301 miles) making US territorial water off North Carolina 156,000 square km (60,200 square miles). The amount of ocean surface required to raise 280 million pounds of fish on our thought experiment farm is 01.6 square km (0.6 square miles).
This comparison is loose; of course all of the land in Duplin County isn’t a hog farm. But you can see that aquaculture’s productive capability is enormous.
Resource Requirements. The animals we eat must also be fed themselves and a very large part of the environmental footprint for animal agriculture is growing what they will be fed. Animals use the calories they eat to fuel growth and to provide for their day-to-day metabolic activity. To a first approximation, animals that eat less will have less impact on the environment.
Metabolism is an area where terrestrial animals and fish differ in three very important ways.
These things—cold-bloodedness, life in a weightless environment and much smaller skeletons— mean fish can be raised with a lesser call on resources to feed them than the other agricultural animals we raise.
This is, perhaps, best seen in what is called the feed conversion ratio (FCR). FCR is the amount of food required to raise an amount of animal. For instance, it takes about 1.7 kg of feed to raise a kg of tilapia and only 1.2 for a kg of salmon. On land, however, beef cattle have FCRs of 6-10 depending upon how they are raised while for chickens it is about 2.
Reference to salmon:
Chart by Marine Harvest
Lower FCRs and the higher percent of the animal eaten are what led Conservation International and The WorldFish Center to conclude in their 2012 report Blue Frontiers
“It is apparent from this study that aquaculture has, from an environmental impact perspective, clear production benefits over other forms of animal source food production for human consumption. In view of this, where resources are stretched, the relative benefits of policies that promote fish farming over other forms of livestock production should be considered.”
How Your Food Is Raised Matters. All agriculture, whether on land or in the ocean, has environmental effects. Therefore the measure of proper stewardship isn’t having no effect. Rather it is to avoid negative effects to the greatest extent possible and then to ameliorate the rest. A laudable goal is to raise food now with practices that don’t preclude others from doing so in the distant future.
To ensure pursuit of the most responsible aquacultural practices, the World Wildlife Fund established a series of discussions called the Aquaculture Dialogues in 2004. Participants came from many stakeholder groups—farmers, NGOs, scientists, retailers and other aquaculture-associated businesses¾to define best practices and, from them, develop standards for responsible aquaculture for 12 different species. The standards were then passed on to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) which trains independent auditors to examine on-farm performance and certify farms whose practices comply with the standards.
Certification against ASC standards means a number of different things for us as consumers. Most importantly, it lets us know that our food was raised with responsible practices that ensure the healthfulness of the fish we eat and the health of the environment where they were raised.
Because, how our food is raised truly does matter.
By Ilario D'Amato
This article was originally published on The Climate Group and is republished with permission.
LONDON: While plans are “in motion” to achieve sustainable business in line with the Paris Agreement, companies still require an “enabling environment” to make meaningful investments, says Elizabeth Press,Director of Planning and Programme Support, International Renewable Energy Agency, in an exclusive Climate TV interview.
In particular, RE100, a program convened by The Climate Group and CDP to support businesses in their journey to be powered by 100% renewable energy, is one of the most striking examples of how industry can play a crucial role in shaping a sustainable future, Elizabeth Press explains.
“RE100 is an incredibly important initiative, and there are three reasons for it. One, they’re creating demand, so the market is growing and getting bigger. The second is that by making renewable energy their energy of choice, they are sending a strong message that you can grow your business sustainably and effectively through renewable energy.
“But what I find very interesting is that many of the companies that are part of RE100 actually are household names. Having these companies choosing renewables is a very important educational tool as well […] going out in public at large is helping all of us to pursue sustainability and energy choices.”
WATCH CLIMATE TV
Another important point about the RE100 campaign is that it is composed of businesses that are neither energy companies nor energy producers. “When a company that has no stake in this other than being having a good economic case on that,” says Elizabeth Press, “when they talk about this, when they say ‘this is good for us’, it is a very different message”.
The Paris Agreement changed the business and political landscape, and in particular is affecting the energy sector – which emits the most greenhouse gases globally. “We have a new framework for international cooperation that has very different goals to what we had a year before,” says Elizabeth Press, “we have sustainable development, we have a climate agreement. These are game-changing decisions.”
However, while it will take a little while for governments to catch up and to develop their policies through frameworks that will accommodate this economic growth in a sustainable way, business must choose and act much more quickly.
Companies “have to look at the business models,” continues Elizabeth Press, “and they have to decide today where they are going to be in 10 or 15 years. Their choices today will determine whether they’re going to be competitive 10 years down the road.”
VALUE OF COLLABORATION
To achieve the bold goals indicated in the Paris Agreement, cooperation is necessary between different actors that can innovate and pave the way for a sustainable, prosperous world for all. “Everybody understands they cannot move at this sort of change on their own,” concludes Elizabeth Press. “The private sector is ready to invest, because there is a lot of positive attitude and positive plans being in motion, but they need an enabling environment to put investment in sustainable areas. We need everybody to work together.”
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