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Posts by Ramon Arratia

New technology to slash energy requirements of cell phone base stations

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Mobile Phone Signal AmplifierResearchers from Bristol and Cardiff Universities have designed a mobile phone mast amplifier that works at 50 percent efficiency. Currently they operate at around 30 percent.

This redesign of signal amplifiers for cell phone masts could deliver a massive 200MW cut in the load on UK power stations, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by around 0.5 million tonnes a year.

Dr Kevin Morris, from the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Bristol University said:

“This new amplifier design represents a step change in energy efficiency that could make a really valuable contribution to meeting the UK’s carbon reduction targets.”

The team have also simplified the design process:

“Traditionally, designing signal amplifiers for base stations has been a long, complex process involving a trial-and-error approach and producing one-off solutions,” Dr Morris went on: “This has fuelled a reluctance to develop new amplifier designs. To get over that barrier, we’ve made it a priority to ensure our design is easily replicable.”

The next challenge is finding routes to market so the team are working with major manufacturers and have received follow on funding (Via EPSRC) to ensure this happens.

This is very encouraging to hear but does raise further questions:

How best can government apply both ‘carrot and stick’ incentives via regulation and commercial support, to ensure advances like these are not left to languish in universities or supply chains? What can be done to take the technology to market quickly? What can be done to ensure the interests of the various participants in the value chain are aligned so no one blocks this technology from going to market?

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Solar to dominate as science trumps fossil fuels

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PhotovoltaicSolar is making real inroads as a viable alternative to fossil fuels. Here are some of the latest stats and facts courtesy of The Telegraph:

* Photovoltaic energy is already so cheap that it competes with oil, diesel and liquefied natural gas in much of Asia without subsidies.

* More solar has been installed in the US in the past 18 months than in 30 years.

* New solar installations overtook wind turbines worldwide last year with an extra 36.5GW.

* Scientists can now capture 31.1pc of the sun’s energy with a 111-V Solar Cell.

* Solar cell prices have already collapsed so far that other “soft costs” now make up 64pc of residential solar installation in the US. Germany has shown that this too can be slashed, partly by sheer scale.

* Harvard University is developing a flow-battery that promises to cut the cost of energy storage by two-thirds below the latest vanadium batteries used in Japan.

* Deutsche Bank say there are already 19 regional markets around the world that have achieved “grid parity”.

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U.S. Green Building Council earns LEED® certification around the globe

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The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced last week that 3 billion square feet of green construction space has earned LEED® certification around the globe.


“This milestone is the result of leaders across our industry making the business and environmental case for healthy, sustainable buildings,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “More than 4.3 million people live and work in LEED buildings. As our numbers continue to gain momentum, the impact is significant — jobs are created, revenue is generated and well-being is prioritized — proving every day that LEED works.”

Green construction has grown massively over a short period of time: McGraw-Hill estimates that it will comprise half of U.S. construction and be worth up to $248 billion by 2016. LEED is the most widely recognized and used green building program across the globe, with more than 1.7 million square feet of commercial building space LEED certifying each day in more than 140 countries and territories.

In the U.S. alone, buildings account for 41 percent of energy use, 73 percent of electricity consumption and 38 percent of all CO2 emissions. Globally, buildings use 40 percent of raw materials, or 3 billion tons annually. LEED is designed to minimize the adverse effects of constructing, operating and maintaining buildings, while maximizing sustainability and health-related features. By encouraging the careful sourcing and selection of building materials, reducing energy use and waste, conserving water and ensuring a healthy and safe indoor environment, LEED is being used to optimize building projects in new construction, retrofits and ongoing building operations across the commercial and residential sectors, as well as neighborhood developments.

“Some of the best-designed and well-maintained buildings of the green movement utilize LEED, which is defined by innovation and imagination,” added Fedrizzi.

Some of the most well-known LEED buildings include The World Bank in Washington, D.C.; the Fifth Avenue Tiffany & Co., the Time Life Building and the Empire State Building in New York, N.Y.; the Merchandise Mart in Chicago; and Taipei 101, one of the tallest buildings in the world, in Taipei, Taiwan.

Recently certified LEED buildings that helped tip the scales to 3 billion square feet include the Hilmar Cheese Company’s LEED Platinum Headquarters and Innovation Center. Certified in February 2014, this 55,000-square-foot building in Hilmar, Calif., utilizes daylighting strategies and occupancy sensors and employs solar energy to provide about 25 percent of the overall building energy demand.

Other recent certifications include the LEED Platinum Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore.; Hines’ LEED Gold recertification of the One and Two Shell Plazas in Houston; Jones Lang LaSalle’s LEED Platinum Aon Center in Chicago; and the LEED Gold Kv. Jublet building in Stockholm.

About the U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the Center for Green Schools and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. For more information, visit, explore the Green Building Information Gateway (GBIG) and connect on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

About LEED
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction, maintenance and operations of green buildings. Every day, 1.7 million square feet of space is certified using LEED. More than 58,000 commercial and institutional projects are currently participating in LEED, comprising 10.7 billion square feet of construction space in more than 140 countries and territories. In addition, more than 50,000 residential units have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system. Learn more at

Contact: Jacob Kriss
Media Specialist, USGBC

SOURCE U.S. Green Building Council

Read more:

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The 2014 CR and Sustainability Salary Survey

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According to Acre, Carnstone & Flag their CR and sustainability sector continues to grow, as does the reach of the survey. This year their CR and Sustainability Salary Survey Report achieved a record 1,200 responses, a 42% increase on 2012. Breaking through the 1,000 respondents mark has added an even higher degree of clarity and validity to the findings.

Result highlights

* 1,200 respondents this year, a 42% increase on 2012

* In-house employees make up the majority of the survey’s sample

* Average salaries have risen in all regions except the Rest of the World and the UK, where they have dropped (slightly)

* On average, consultants are paid £8.7k less per year than those working in-house

* Those working in the Rest of Europe are the highest paid

* 90% of respondents have a first and/or postgraduate degree

* Carbon/energy management is no longer one of the top five activities

* The global average salaries for men and women are £67,859 and £52,201 respectively

* The average female salary has declined compared to 2012

* Over 52% of respondents are satisfied with their jobs and 28% are very satisfied

* 93% of respondents would recommend a career in the sector

Click on the image to open the report:

Salary Survey

About the Authors:

Flag is a creative communications agency specialising in corporate reporting and communications. We work collaboratively with national and international brands from a wide range of industry sectors, as well as public sector and not-for-profit organisations, to provide: corporate reporting, sustainability and communications consultancy, sustainability copywriting and editing, creative information design, digital and in print technical and accessibility expertise, and implementation project management and production. Our 46 employees are based in Cambridge and London and we have held the ISO 9001 quality standard for 17 years. 

Acre is a specialist sustainability recruitment consultancy connecting companies and people across corporate responsibility, sustainability, environment, energy and health & safety to help build the next generation of sustainable business. The company was founded in 2003 to respond to the growing need for sustainability professionals and offers bespoke solutions for recruitment, search and business intelligence.

Carnstone is an independent management consultancy specialising in CR and sustainability. We have broad expertise and advise large, mainly corporate clients on the full range of social, environmental and ethical matters, from tentative first steps through to day-to-day management, strategic planning, measuring performance and corporate reporting. 

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Rob Boogaard talks to L’Express about Interface becoming fully sustainable

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L’Express interviewed Rob Boogaard this week about Interface becoming a fully sustainable company by 2020. It’s posted on their website here in French so I’ve copied the core content, translated into English, with the original video below.

“In a rapidly changing entrepreneurial world, the leading players from large companies, NGOs and government tell us their journey, ideas and initiatives that give meaning to their work .

Interface, who specialise in producing carpet tile, have engaged a strategy since 1996 to become the first fully sustainable company by 2020. It’s called Mission Zero.

Here we met and discussed this initiative with Rob Boogaard, President EMEA for Interface.”

Many thanks to all at L’Express.

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How to achieve revenue growth from resource efficiency

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This webinar all about resource efficiency was posted last week. Thanks to Tracey, Greg and the teams at 2degrees and Next Manufacturing Revolution.

Resource efficiency is traditionally associated with cost reduction. But leading companies have also used non-labour resource efficiency to drive sales. Watch this webinar recording to hear how Kyocera successfully do this and how your company can too.

The Next Manufacturing Revolution conservatively estimated additional profits worth £325M p.a. from revenue growth from resource efficiency through:

* Improved product performance
* More efficient delivery models such as ‘servicising’
* Collaborative consumption business models
* Quantifying these additional revenues can boost the economics of resource efficiency and should be included in sustainability-related business cases.

In this webinar, Dr Greg Lavery from Lavery Pennell, lead author of the Next Manufacturing Revolution, presents the revenue growth opportunities available from resource efficiency and how to succeed followed by Tracey Rawling-Church, Head of CSR at Kyocera Document Solutions UK, presenting Kyocera’s experience.

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#Vacancy – We Need A Corporate PR & Communications Director

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Interface has an exciting opportunity for you! For our Marketing team EMEA we are looking for a new colleague for the role of;

Corporate PR & Communications Director

In this job you will be responsible for all the PR & Communication activities in the EMEA organisation. You will report to our Marketing Director EMEA. Ideally you will be based in our office in London, but we are also interested in candidates who could work from our office in Scherpenzeel (The Netherlands) and are very willing to travel on a regular basis to London.

The most important activities in this challenging position are:

* Develop and implement an EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Corporate PR plan linked to thought leadership in the Architecture and Interior Design and Sustainability fields.

* Create a corporate internal and external communication strategy, which will deliver a consistent, legally compliant message (on and off line) throughout the EMEA region and which will link to the USA and Asia Pacific regions

* Integrate marketing and corporate communications, helping Interface leverage all forms of media, with a specific emphasis on digital content, in everything from major product introductions to corporate PR and sustainability initiatives.

* Management of Corporate Communication activities, including annual PR plans, speaking platforms, awards, events, core messages and sustainability metrics

* Develop and continuously upgrade the EMEA internal communications programme supported by new knowledge portal and web-cast technology.

Desired Skills and Experience:

For this varied and challenging position the following position-requirements are essential:* In depth experience of working in a similar role within an international organization.

* Previous experience within the B2B Commercial Interiors or Building Industry preferred

* Excellent external networking skills

* Communications / Public Relations oriented degree, HBO/WO

* Excellent level of English, both verbal and written plus a minimum of one other European language

* International project management experience

* Experience of managing multicultural and international teams

* Online PR experience

* Multiple stakeholder experience (ie. Government, NGOs and financial community)

Click here or here for more information

Closing date for this vacancy is April 10, 2014

Please no agencies.

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More jobs, less carbon: why we need landfill bans

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The Green Alliance recently released this report looking at the issue of landfill, capturing some staggering facts and figures. An actionable task list is included and needs to be shared. Many thanks to all involved in creating this great resource.

The UK puts at least £3.8 billion of resources in landfill each year.

More jobs less carbon

Keeping these resources out of landfill would support skilled jobs and cut the UK’s carbon emissions. Remaking old products requires skilled labour for disassembly, fault finding and repair. High quality recycling is a sophisticated industrial process, requiring engineering and technical skills.

Avoiding landfill creates jobs

Selling the products created through reuse, remanufacturing and recycling generates profit, justifying the labour required to process them. In contrast, landfill just has a labour cost. Landfill is easy, but it makes no sense economically. Three actions would secure more skilled jobs and value:

• Landfill bans – to prevent products and materials from being wasted.

• Better collection systems–to keep the quality of materials up.

• New infrastructure – to reprocess and remanufacture Landfill bans help stimulate better collection systems and economies of scale, underpinning infrastructure investment. Scotland, Austria, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, and several US states have already introduced them. It is time the UK did too.

How many jobs created

Stop these products

The Green Alliance Trust is a registered charity 1045395 and company limited by guarantee (England & Wales) 3037633.

Notes and references

1 Value of wood, food, textiles, and plastics, from Green Alliance, 2013, Why we need landfill bans, of £2.5 billion plus £1.3 billion in waste electronics from WRAP, 2012, Electrical product material composition.

2 Based on calculations from a wide range of recycling, remanufacturing, and reuse jobs estimates. Full details are available from sources

3 Committee on Climate Change, 2013, Meeting carbon budgets.

4 Exampleslistedarefromjobswebsiteslistingvacanciesin existing UK recyclers, remanufacturers, and reprocessors at the time of publication.

5 The 4th carbon budget covers a five year period, but landfill emissions are stated per year. To make this comparison, the emissions savings from ending landfilling were applied to each year of the five year budget period and compared to the reduction needed to move from the third budget period to the fourth budget period.

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