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.

This week we open with an article highlighting that anyone 27 or younger will have never experienced a colder-than-average month. The month of October 2012 was the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature and was 0.63C above the 20th century average. As the article summarises ‘That's beyond astonishing'. It's also very concerning.

Perhaps this record of above average temperatures coupled with weather extremes, such as the recent hurricane Sandy and the central US droughts have at last had an impact in politics. Not perhaps on politicians themselves, but on their voter base anyway, with the polls from a number of US critical Swing States suggesting that issues such as renewables and climate change may have been a substantial reason why Barack Obama secured a second presidential term.

Google seems to think that renewables are important also. So far the US Search Engine company has invested $1 billion into clean energy projects such as wind generation, solar thermal and photovoltaics. Of course that it mirrors the views of many of the people (27 and under) who might use Google doesn't place it out of step with their thoughts and views either.

Our next set of stories surrounds the release of the 2012 International Energy Agency (IEA) report which discusses the development of hydraulic fracturing and shale gas/oil and their impact on world fossil fuel reserves. In a nutshell, the world has gone from having too little oil and gas, to now having too much.

So therefore, the IEA in making this transition from reporting scarcity to abundance, also carries a sombre challenge for us all. The report states that no more than one-third of the newly updated proven reserves of fossil fuels can be burned by 2050 if the world is to prevent global warming exceeding the danger point of 2C. The real challenge for us all is to ensure we leave the other two-thirds of the fossil fuels in the ground. This however will be easier said than done as the companies and indeed countries that have present stock market valuations or international loans and credit ratings based on these proven reserves are unlikely to see it from a ‘whole of earth'perspective. This will be the true challenge and perhaps the time and place where the nascent concept of valuing Natural Capital really comes into its own.

Natural Capital, which is placing a financial value on ecosystems such as clean air and water, wetlands, deserts and diversification of species are all threatened by climate change and warmer temperatures. If we can use Natural Capital valuations to replace companies'balance sheets or countries forgone fossil reserves, then perhaps we might have a chance on keeping the two-thirds of proven fossil fuel reserves in the ground.

I like to look at this as being the entire human'race's obesity problem – too much is bad for us and we have to learn to leave the food in the refrigerator.

Our next series of articles are all energy management related. The first of these examines the ISO 50001 standard for energy management systems – which is a systematic management framework for all energy and Corporate Sustainability Reporting activities. Some counties are really leading the way, with a focus on Ireland, Germany and the UK, where the initiatives are all government led.

Of course with any ISO Standard, there is a strong focus on and requirement for data collection, analysis and reporting. With the lack of real progress in international climate change talks, the emphasis amongst software developers has shifted from carbon reporting into energy management. We had already noticed this trend and thankfully have had a strong development pipeline underway in e-Bench™ for a number of years that sees us remain well ahead of our competitors. The most recently added features into e-Bench™ have been the continuous commissioning modules and additional asset management capabilities. Please feel free to check them out at

One of the most powerful ways of identifying where energy improvements can be realised for manufacturing and industrial applications is to construct a process energy map. From previous work in this area, ETSL has found that not only are there savings to be made from reducing energy & utility consumption, but savings often also come from using raw materials more effectively and labour where and when required. These latter items often dwarf the savings from reductions in energy & utilities, but are only capable of being identified when constructing the energy map in the first place.

Our next article examines developments in building management systems and how the new generation systems are much more than BMS in as much they are whole of operation systems. When we say whole of operation, we mean capable of interfacing with the operational parameters of the core business such as security, communications, room and time management, in addition to managing lighting levels and internal temperatures/air quality.

Our last article this week looks at internal building electricity power supply systems. At present virtually all buildings have electrical distribution systems based on alternating current (AC) and yet most equipment and many systems can operate on direct current (DC). This article discusses whether it makes more sense to now consider using DC distribution on a far wider basis so that all the individual equipment AC/DC conversion losses might be avoided. Many years perhaps of becoming a reality, but certainly food for thought.

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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