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.

<p>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.</p>
<p>This week we open with a couple of articles on energy efficiency, the first of which comes from a report by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, which according to Steven Nadel, the ACEEE Executive Director, is “that the cheapest energy is the energy you don’t have to produce in the first place”. At an average cost to the utilities of 2.1 c/kWh, it is significantly less than the average 10.13 c/kWh to generate.</p>
<p>According to a Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory study, the US energy efficiency programmes collectively cost $5.2 billion, but have saved over $25 billion. Despite these well heralded successes, utilities and large industrial companies have a strong motive to kill these programs, just as horse and buggy makers might have wished to kill the automobile. Utilities make money by selling more electricity, so when customers use energy efficiency programs to lower their electricity bills, the utilities lose revenue. It is therefore disappointing, but not surprising we learn that large US industrial and utility companies are lobbying for an end to these energy efficiency programs.</p>
<p>It therefore requires increased public oversight and accountability such as requirements for sustainability reporting which have been introduced by the European Parliament. The law which applies from 2017 for all 7,000 publicly traded companies with more than 500 employees requires them to report their policies, risks and results in relation to social, environmental and human rights impact, diversity and anti-corruption policies. Standardised reporting such as GRI and CDP are to be used, which is an opportune way to introduce the top 5 Sustainability Frameworks.</p>
<p>Whilst the European Parliament may be forging ahead, most other governments are perceived to be failing to take a lead on sustainability. Furthermore this perception has continued to grow and confidence that government will lead, grows weaker. News that governments from around the world censored the recent IPCC report doesn’t assist in this regard either.</p>
<p>As Assaad Razzouk speculates, perhaps the most effective way to drive change might be through the threat of litigation. With institutional investors commanding £70 trillion of assets and with tens of millions of savers worldwide depending on them, they have a duty to invest prudently. At the apex of the £70 trillion sit pension fund trustees, individuals who apparently continue to back the 90 companies responsible for two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions. By holding these trustees personally liable and pursuing them through the courts with aggressive litigation, it would establish that there is nothing responsible about investing in companies which are violating basic human rights. Furthermore, new capital would stop flowing to fossil fuel exploration, freeing up more than $5 trillion for climate-friendly investments. Advantages of this approach is that it doesn’t rely on government approval and uses existing proven legal channels. We think this proposal could well have the fresh air scent of success.</p>
<p>In the first of three articles on “re-using and managing natural resources”, Heck and Rogers discuss the need for businesses to fundamentally rethink the way they integrate technology and the use of ever decreasingly available natural resources in production. A company called DIRTT, Doing It Right The first Time, makes money by eliminating waste through design. They propose 5 key changes to business models and give some interesting examples. </p>
<p>In the second, Davis focusses on examples of companies that have “dematerialised” – used less stuff in manufacture of their product. Examples given include reducing the amount of backing and nylon composition of carpet, or the packaging of hygiene products, saving the companies millions of dollars per year. Davis also discusses ideas on sharing resources between companies to improve resource productivity.</p>
<p>In the third Gent talks of the call from the British Lords Science and Technology Select Committee for the Government to create a “Waste Champion”, someone to coordinate business and government to turn “waste” into wealth. A Minister for waste could help to generate a substantial economy, possibly valued at tens of billions of pounds, and creating considerable numbers of jobs.</p>
<p>In our next article we look at ‘Annex 66’ which seeks to standardize studies of occupational behaviour. Energy efficiency technologies can provide big energy based savings through ensuring building management systems, lighting and heating/cooling are used as efficiently as possible. How can these improvements be monitored and measured accurately?</p>
<p>We next look at ways to log what is actually happening within a building (staff movements etc). Portable data loggers could be used for tracking occupancy patterns and fill a gap between CO2 sensors and an expensive camera network. Light and occupancy loggers are compact and easier enough to deploy. There are many options available for tracking movements but it’s important to actually use the data to enhance improvements where possible.</p>
<p>Using an existing IT infrastructure could also prove to be a good way to monitor staff occupancy. For example, one such strategy is to monitor network addresses in Wi-Fi access points and routers and correlate those addresses with the occupancy of a floor, area, or room of a building. HVAC and lighting could then be adjusted accordingly based on the information received.</p>
<p>We finish up with a look at different approach to farming. Michael and Adam Cromwell have simply stopped plowing their fields. They grow a mix of grasses for the cows in the winter, then cut the hay and plant corn directly into the sod in summer.</p>
<p>The soil seems to be better for it, as noted it’s nearly impossible to find worms in conventional fields but as displayed “Look at that beautiful worm,” Michael said. “Look at that hole he’s making.” He picked the worm out of the dirt and it coiled around his finger. “I love him.”</p>
<p>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. </p>
     Reviews and Templates for Expression Web

Copyright 2011 Energy and Technical Services Ltd. All Rights Reserved.