Welcome to another two weekly review of energy and environmental events and developments from both here in New Zealand and around the world. As always, we hope you find our collection of stories to be of interest in what continues to be a rapidly evolving area.
We open this week with another article which puts one more nail in the coffin for anthropogenic climate change deniers. A recently published study has concluded that human actions had contributed to warming of the earth’s oceans over the past 50 years. It has concluded that ocean warming can only be explained when greenhouse gas increases are included in the models. Identifying where and how those gases have been created historically and the forecasted expectations for the future is an important aspect to the solution of how we might tackle such a problem. The Forest Footprint Disclosure Project (FFP) has merged with the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) with the two combining to create the world’s largest primary body for measurement of greenhouse gases, water and forests. This merger offers a greater opportunity for provision of information and disclosure by tracking and monitoring the impacts corporations are having to the world we live. But while the data might look grim, the opportunity globally and particularly in New Zealand is huge – so let’s keep our focus on the positive…
With particular relevance to energy management (EM), we have a collection of articles which explore how EM can assist in reducing your carbon footprint. We start with one area often left unchecked resulting in a considerable ghost or vampire load – termed the “Plug Load Monster”. Plug loads contribute as much as 30-35 percent of total electricity used, particularly in commercial buildings. Devices such as computers, TV’s, kitchen appliances, phone chargers, desk lights are plugged into electrical outlets and left unchecked – consuming electricity when on standby or even switched off. The article provides several solutions for battling your hidden plug load monster.
Another area is provision of water and wastewater services where energy is a controllable operational expenditure of the asset. Undertaking energy efficiency measures often has a payback of less than five years. Which no doubt the fruits will be received long into that assets lifetime.
For those who have industrial motors, new electric drive technology has saved $34 billion in electricity costs in the United States alone, equivalent to the electricity consumption of 75 million European households. Electric drives are used to regulate the speed and consumption of electric motors. As energy is a major contributor to the lifecycle cost of a motor this piece of technology is very welcome.
Ongoing maintenance of buildings is a traditional method for operational performance, but have you heard of prehabilitaton? Basically this is running your building like you would an athlete. This next article discusses how using statistical data you are able to take a more proactive way to condition your building and ensure optimal performance by predicting and preventing problems before they eventuate.
Not an engineer? How to do a basic energy audit is an article that provides some basic insights into best practises for energy management for non-technical people. By reading this you’ll soon understand the hidden opportunities that might exist within your business and how an audit can assist uncovering these.
Data centre energy management initiatives on distribution and cooling settings help to curb runaway power in the data centre. Infact benefits of this can achieve anywhere from 20- 40% energy reductions. To put this in perspective, an approximate 1% decrease in global data centre energy usage would equal 2,000 GWh!
Finally, businesses which have a comprehensive and diverse energy strategy are well positioned for competitive advantage. The next article discusses how rising costs and resource scarcity are driving the ever increasing adoption of strategies for renewables and self-generation with particular emphasis on demand management.
Corporate Sustainable Reporting or CSR is an increasingly sought after tool used by business. The reasons why are discussed in our next set of articles which establishes a link between company performance and its CSR programme. This is attributed to a lower cost of capital and lower risk to investors, but also retaining the top performers in your workforce and attracting the best talent from the market. Increasingly workers are demanding more alignment between their company’s CSR performance and their own personal values, with many willing to take a pay cut by enjoying a greater level of satisfaction by ‘making a difference’. Alongside this sits our hardwired ancestral traits that drive pro-environmental behaviour – social obligation, social recognition and social influence. So whether we feel it or not, we have inherent traits that remind us of the importance of the environment and people around us.
Continuing with a similar theme, how to turn your employee’s into sustainable assets to help boost the bottom line is described in our next few articles. Communicating, informing, empowering and presenting opportunities to employee’s to actively engage in volunteer programmes and sustainable practises contributes to overall happiness and satisfaction. In addition, what rewards programmes can be adopted to facilitate uptake and success. Several businesses such as EnerNOC, Organic Valley, CA Technologies give differing examples of the success of investing in a sustainable culture in the business.
Our next article discusses three ways to making sustainability central to success (arguably EM as well). They are centralizing its work, integrating it, or embedding it. All of which contribute to retaining employee’s longer and making them happier – surely a happy stable and sustainable business is a recipe for success. We think so.
While having a happy, profitable and sustainable business can be achieved by internal drivers, looking externally is also required. Our final two articles describe how Wallmart is using its sustainability metrics to drive productivity. It uses what it calls a Sustainability Index to evaluate suppliers on range of metrics. Through using supplier scorecards Wallmart is able to decide where and who to source products from, but also to provide communication to suppliers on how and where they can improve. Wallmart’s roots extend far beyond their own patch – so ultimately this will have an effect on other businesses. For any business looking to adopt a scorecard programme these articles are a must read.
Thanks for taking the time to read this issue and look forward to catch up with you again. If you have any items of interest you would like to submit, then please feel free to forward them.
From the ETSL team.