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.
This week we open with the news that the Green Building Council of Australia has announced rule changes to its design rating. As of 1 January 2013, the Green Star – Design rating will only be valid for two-years after which the Green Star – As Built rating will apply. As the GBCA says the ‘Design’ rating is seen as a promise within the industry, which then provides the groundwork for a ‘As Built’ rating, which in turn demonstrates that this promise has been delivered in construction and operation.
And there are many new and smart ways of remotely determining how well a building may be performing. The latest of these to emerge is ‘Essess’, which uses thermal image data gathered very much like how Google has for its Street View application. These thermal images allow Essess to identify building energy leakages and provide energy efficiency reports for building owners without ever setting foot on the property. This complements other remote applications such as ‘Retroficiency’ (previously covered in SnippETS and which provides energy audit reports) and ‘First Fuel’ (which analyses energy bills to drill-down on consumption patterns).
Our next article discusses where energy losses manifest themselves in commercial buildings. Whilst not a detailed article, it does serve as providing a useful check on where efficiencies might come from.
Our next series of articles examines the ever increasing fragile balance between population growth and the consumption of the world’s natural resources. For example, it is predicted that in only 15 year’s time silver will run out, followed in 20 to 25 years by zinc and lead and 30 to 40 years by copper. And it is not only metals, it is our continuing dependency on fossils fuels such as oil, increasingly being sourced from dirty sources such as Tar Sands. As James Hansen has said – it will be game over for climate change as far as human kind is concerned if these Tar Sands are ever consumed in their entirety.
And if you ever thought that big business might be acquiring a moral compass over shareholders expectations of profits, then the article on Shell’s decision to shelve investing in wind power might put that to rest. An economic model that rewards more highly energy sourced from fossil fuels over that from renewables is plain wrong, especially when all the externalities such as damage to the environment and human health are born by others.
Our next set of articles examines some interesting transport related trends and developments. The first of these looks at the behaviour of drivers of electric vehicles, such as how far do they tend to travel and whether it is all electric when they do. The second article looks at how introducing a flywheel developed out of F1 might improve the fuel-efficiency for buses. Our third article takes a look at the E-Ship and how efficiency improvements and the use of rotors can reduce fuel-consumption by up to 30 to 40%.
Our last article this week takes an in-depth look at what has become the last bastion for climate change sceptics - clouds. Whilst they acknowledge that the human release of greenhouse gases will cause the planet to warm, they assert that clouds, which can either warm or cool the earth, depending on their type and location, will shift in such a way as to counter much of the expected temperature rise and preserve the equable climate on which human civilisation depends. Release of CO2 – no problem mate, the clouds will save us. Tui add anyone?
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.