Geoff Bennett - Editor

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.

I am not sure words will ever suffice, but we want to extend our thoughts, wishes and sympathy to the people of Christchurch. What a cruel and harsh blow after months of what must have seemed like a slow climb back to ‘normality’… If there could ever be any silver lining to this, it might be in that it has sure prompted us to ensure our survival kits are all full and up-to-date.

This week we get back to mainstream issues like the effective management of energy and utilities. The first of these is the news that ISO 5001 International Standard for Energy Management is due for release in the third quarter of 2011. Its going to be great to have a standardised and systematic way for dealing with energy management and we are already looking at what we might have to change in e-Bench™ to make it ISO 5001 compliant, which it will be.

And talking of Enterprise Energy & Carbon Accounting (EECA) software, the next article provides seven useful best practice recommendations for potential purchasers. If any of you are thinking about what systems might be best for your organisation, please make sure you get in touch with us for a demo so that you can see for yourself the full range of services in e-Bench™.

Talking of features, the next article looks at how San Francisco is requiring all owners of commercial buildings over 1,000 m2 to undertake annual energy performance benchmarking and energy audits every five years. Which will all contribute towards increasing the pool of green office space that more and more companies are wanting to lease, even if they cost more than their less-green alternatives.

Our next set of stories looks at how the business community is increasingly seeking to address sustainability issues. A recent Fortune 1,000 firm survey of senior leadership undertaken by Schneider Electric, found that almost 90 percent admitted to feeling a “moral responsibility” to addressing sustainability at their companies and that 61 percent said that the single biggest driver for energy efficiency and other sustainability projects is the potential cost savings from increased efficiency. And they pay you how much to figure this out?

Which is probably why more and more major companies are tracking their supply chain emissions, and many, along with their suppliers, are also saving money from greater efficiency and reduced carbon. The latest utility to receive closer scrutiny in supply chain management is water, as our next article examines. Given the worldwide shortages and pressure on clean supplies of water, this is likely to see a rapid take-up.

Next we examine how asset owners are being urged to address climate change in their investments. In order to maximise investors risk/reward profile of their portfolio, the Australian based Asset Owners Disclosure Project is providing owners with tools for measuring climate change-related risks and opportunities and protecting investments from the effects of sudden climate change events.

This assessment of risks associated with climate change is also being seen in the US oil, coal and power companies, where shareholder resolutions increased by 50% in 2011. Such resolutions, many of which were filed by leading pension funds are seeking information on how these businesses are managing climate change risks as concerns grow over increasing risk to their portfolios.

A good example of risks in this sector might be in how BP mismanaged their drilling in the Gulf of Mexico or Chevron who has been fined for pollution in the Amazon. Whilst not directly linked to climate change, it is as a result of these companies being forced to seek fresh supplies of oil in more demanding and risky environments as cheap, easy to access oil runs out…

Talking of environments, we carry a recent story from the NZ Herald that reports on how New Zealand baked in its hottest month ever. It felt great here in Wellington – summer in the capital at last. Nearly went swimming in the harbour.

Our last story is a little bit quirkier and looks at how two Germans travelled 3,000 km in a wind-powered electric car. By using a collapsible 20-foot wind turbine, the duo were able to charge their batteries up overnight. There was no mention though of how their likely diet of Sauerkraut sandwiches assisting with the generation of wind.

Thanks for taking the time to read this issue and look forward to catching up with you again. If you have any items of interest you would like to submit, then please feel free to forward them.

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