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Posts tagged 'Energy Efficiency'

Is energy storage the real killer?

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A new report from The Carbon Trust says energy storage could save £2.4bn every year in the UK electricity system if some market barriers are removed. Some of the key identified barriers are: policy risks, failure to recognize externality benefits to society, revenue cannibalisation risks, distorted markets price signals, among others.

The analysis, backed by UK department DECC, estimates that around £7bn could be saved annually if energy storage technologies are integrated effectively into the grid system.

Please see the full new report from the Carbon trust.

Recently, the US department for Energy announced good news about breakthrough energy storage technologies, especially for large scale storage.

Please see the full article from the Guardian

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Our yarn supplier Aquafil implements a symbiotic relationship with an Aquapark next door

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Our main supplier Aquafil has started a symbiotic project where their excess thermal energy in their Econyl plant in Slovenia is then used by an Aquapark nearby.

Regardless of how different the two businesses are, their location has permitted them to start an incredible project where the excess of thermal energy is transferred to Atlantis Aquapark to provide it’s 100% requirements of thermal energy.

This actually translates into an expected reduction of CO2 emissions on more than 2.000.000. This is the equivalent of 1100 cars driving 35km!

This is what happens when companies think differently and not selfishly. The great irony is that Aquafil uses excess warm water for their thermal needs from the electricity station nearby. Pass it on!

Read the full article here.

Atlantis & Aquafil

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Is Radical Energy efficiency possible?

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BP Statistical World Energy 2014 by Carbon BriefI was reading this article recently which states that since 2006 energy use in Europe has dropped by 10%, and is now at 90s levels. On one hand this is great news but I can’t help but think that we haven’t tried particularly hard. I’ve seen with my own eyes how we have increased energy efficiency by 54% at Interface Europe since 1996, and I’m constantly amazed that we continue to find quick wins year on year.

Applying product standards is a quick way to save on energy. We could be much more stringent when applying standards across all energy using products from white goods, TVs, servers, cars, etc. We could also start touching on the potential of product design to save embedded carbon. Today there is carpet on the market with 20kgCO2/m2 and carpet for 3kgCO2/m2. Both pay the same tax. So no incentives to sell or buy the better products.

Another way of looking at increasing efficiency is the sector approach. We have come a long way with automotive but the revolution could go much further – Construction is almost a virgin territory. A strong minimum efficiency standard could be enacted Europe-wide measuring KwH/m2 of heating and cooling for new buildings. Embedded carbon could also be regulated because EPDs for all building materials are becoming available. Building renovation has great potential too – According to Renovate Europe, imported gas used by buildings could be reduced by 61% by 2030.

Public sector expenditure is another area for quick wins. For example, we could replace lighting in cities with the super efficient kind. Phillips just announced a program with the Madrid local council to change all city lighting, delivering a 44% energy saving.

Let’s also look at big industry. Today there are technologies that pay back relatively quickly. Here are some of the initiatives that we have applied at Interface: Insulation of hot equipment, air curtains for doors, password-locked thermostats, reuse of cold air and heat, storage space kept at 5C, switched to high efficiency boilers, spot heating instead of heating entire factory halls, installing valves that prevent heat escaping, installing Building Management Systems, reduced cooling to the bare minimum, switched to LEDs, reduced use of compressed air and fixed air leakages regularly. These simple technologies are already available and you could argue are not particularly radical, but our combined efforts certainly will be.

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Energy Security and the 2030 Climate & Energy Package Report

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The Advisory Council I of the Green Growth Platform has released this report pointing to the benefits of a low carbon union. This group of advisors from esteemed international organisations, some members of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and academic experts makes a number of recommendations to Ministers and their governments in the run up to the European Council energy security discussions next week. There’s more about the stakeholders and their vision throughout the CISL website.

Click on the image to download the report:

Energy Security Report

 The low carbon union has also been captured neatly in this infographic:

Low Carbon Energy Union Infographic Final

 

Here is some of the press surrounding the initiatives:

Bloomberg – “The European Union needs an ambitious emissions-reduction goal, targets for energy-efficiency and renewables as well as tools to foster investment under its planned 2030 policies, an advisory panel to 14 ministers said.”

Business Green – “Green Growth Group urges EU to revamp energy security strategy”

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How Nestlé reduced its energy use by 36% per tonne of product

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Next Manufacturing Revolution have pulled together a great resource including key points and collateral regarding Nestlé’s energy efficiency drive. The headline is this video which explains the £1.9B p.a. energy saving opportunity available to UK manufacturers, and how Nestlé made substantial energy efficiency improvements.

Despite ongoing improvements in energy use, the Next Manufacturing Revolution study identified Energy Efficiency as a major opportunity for UK manufacturers worth:

* £1.9B p.a. in cost savings
* 19.2 MtCO2e in greenhouse gas emission savings
* 3,500 new skilled full time jobs

Manufacturing generates directly 10% of the UK’s GDP and employs 2.5 million people (9% of the employed labour force). Labour productivity improvements in the sector have reduced labour costs since 2001 at a rate of 3% p.a. to £75bn in 2011, a reduction of 1,000,000 jobs.

The NMR study presents opportunities to improve non-labour resource productivity which could enable a revolution in manufacturing and are estimated, conservatively, to be worth for the UK:

Tri-Benefits from the Next Manufacturing Revolution

For more great insights visit http://www.nextmanufacturingrevolution.org

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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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John Lewis To Put Lifetime Cost On Product Energy Labels

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John LewisJohn Lewis is to put lifetime energy costs on product labels.

You’ll see normal usage figures in the image, but posting actual costs rather than the somewhat indecipherable kWh or /Cycle will be a great help to most consumers. Not as far as I would like to go but a step in the right direction as advocated in my book Full Product Transparency.

The Guardian ran a piece last week that covers more of the detail but essentially it’s a six month trial backed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

If you buy a product through their website will you please let us know what you think of the new labelling if you have any feedback?

Here is an excerpt from the original article in The Guardian:

” The six month pilot involves displaying the average lifetime electricity running costs in a number of John Lewis product categories.

The aim is to test the effect of putting the lifetime running costs of appliances on product labels as opposed to just how many kilowatt hours of energy they use per year, information that will still remain. It is hoped that the labels will lead to an increase in the number of energy efficiency products being sold.

Speaking at the launch of the scheme at John Lewis in central London, energy secretary Edward Davey said: “In the past, people have had no idea how much their appliances will add to their energy bills.

Now consumers will be able to see clear, simple information on the lifetime electricity costs for appliances like washing machines and tumble dryers. This will help people to make better, more informed decisions and see how much an appliance is expected to cost over its lifetime.”

Davey hopes the collaboration with John Lewis – one of Britain’s biggest high street names will help raise consumer awareness of energy running costs and “lead to more retailers rolling out clearer labelling.” “

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The magic metric that changed the car industry

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What has happened to the car industry using g CO2/km as a metric is a very good example of the depth of transformation that product transparency can deliver. This fascinating metric has enabled European regulators to mandate top-down targets for car companies, enabled customers to have a comparable reference for the car footprint and provide national and local legislators the means to tax what is higher impact and support what is lower.

This transparent metric has also created competition in the car sector with the focus being upon their biggest environmental impact, ‘in life use’, which in turn has created a huge level of innovation in the car industry and supply chain. A decade ago the car industry had no incentive to design cars that would consume any less petrol. It really wasn’t at the core of car manufacturers’ strategy.

The industry used to design cars that were affordable to build but not necessarily always affordable to run. Yet according to European Union (EU) research, passenger cars make up 12% of total EU CO2 emissions. And yet, according to the European Environmental Agency, around 77% of the impact of a passenger car is in the ‘use’ phase with a further 13% directly linked to the production of the fuel consumed in the ‘use’ phase.

Environmental impacts during the lifecycle of a car

SOURCEShttp://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/figures/life-cycle-analysis-of-passenger-cars and http://ec.europa.eu/environment/ipp/pdf/jrc_report.pdf

For this transformational change to take place an overall regulatory framework at EU, national and local level was needed. Furthermore, and crucially, a common industry metric was required that could be used in the car industry. That magic metric was to be tail-pipe (exhaust) emissions measured as grams of CO2 per kilometre driven (g CO2/km). Although incomplete, because it didn’t take into account whole-life CO2 emissions and environmental impacts, this partial transparency at least focused on the biggest issue and has transformed the industry. g CO2/ km has given a purpose to policy-making, often bureaucratic, expensive, ineffective and siloed. Below is an overview of some of the key regulatory interventions this common standardised metric has enabled.

First, the bottom-up approach.

The EU Car Labelling directive was enacted to ensure that a label on fuel economy and CO2 emissions is attached to a car or displayed in a clearly visible manner near each new passenger car model at the point of sale. This bottom-up approach was based on driving transparent competition, which in turn enabled the customer to make an informed decision taking into account the biggest environmental impact of the product. Most customers might still choose a car mainly by the design or the brand but at least they have the right to know the impact of their decisions. What has been the main result of this transparency? It has cut off all the ‘greenwash’. No manufacturer today is doing green marketing on the little things they are doing in their factories or their recyclable seats. Why? Because this wonderful metric is allowing customers to say, ‘please cut the fluff and just tell me the g CO2/km for this car’.

Sustainability commoditized as it should be, like money: terrible news for marketing agencies, great news for the world. The beauty of such a metric goes beyond ‘point of sale’ to ‘all promotional materials’. Thanks to the same directive, today all car advertising must include the g CO2/km for that specific car being advertised. That has created consistency and transparency whilst simultaneously empowering the customer to not only become accustomed to the metric but make critical buying decisions based on this metric. My mother today knows that 160g CO2/km is too much and 100 g CO2/km is acceptable. Many Londoners know cars under 100 g CO2/km don’t pay the congestion charge. Consistent transparency creates customer literacy and awareness which leads to change.

Second, the old-school, top-down approach.

This key metric allowed an EU-wide regulation that came into law in 2009, requiring each manufacturer to decrease their average portfolio of emissions to 130 g CO2/km by 2015 and 95 g CO2/km by 2020. In 2008, the average g CO2/km for car emissions in the UK was 158.0 g CO2/km. In 2009 that figure was 149.5 g CO2/km so the change because of legislation is huge. Look at how effective those ugly technocrats from Brussels have been! How ironic that the UK Climate Change Committee highlights cars as one of the few successes of carbon reductions in the UK. This legislation came about because the EU ran out of patience with industry voluntary agreements.

Yes, those voluntary agreements so loved by politicians because they don’t have to impose any difficult decisions. In 1998, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), JAMA, and KAMA agreed to reduce average CO2 emissions from new cars sold to 140 g/km by 2008. That was a 25% reduction, quite considerable. But predictably when there is no stick or carrot on the table, the car manufacturers’ commitment achieved a mere 2.2% reduction between 1998 and 2006. What would you expect? So the EU set up a mandatory target and crucially gave a sensible period of time (2020) to allow companies to invest, innovate and so make the necessary widespread changes required to meet the targets of this regulatory framework.

It also came with sticks in the form of financial penalties.

Surprise, surprise, it’s working! CO2 emissions from new passenger cars have started decreasing substantially: 1.6% in 2007, 3.2% in 2008 and 5.4% in 2009. That’s the beauty of the market: tell it what you want to achieve and it will find a way to do it. The problem is that on many occasions we don’t tell the market, our supplier, what we want, or worse, we don’t have the metrics. These two combined policies, of setting agreed, clearly measurable targets and making this information clearly visible to the end customer are completely changing the playing field of competition within the car industry. And this competition through innovation will compel manufactures to meet the EU-wide target of 95 g CO2/km by 2020. Car manufacturers are doing what they are best at – designing cars – as opposed to inventing labels, patronising customers with green marketing, ‘engaging’ employees, sustainability reporting and other semi-useless stuff. But our beloved metric goes much further. It can transform national and local policy-making aimed at changing behaviours and purchasing decisions. One example at national level is the French Bonus/Malus scheme. Simply put, customers choosing to buy a heavy polluting car will pay extra tax on the price of the car, whereas customers choosing to buy a more fuel efficient car will receive a reduction in the price of the car. The tax penalty ranges from €200–2600 per car.

The incentive reductions range from €200 to €5000 and higher for even cleaner cars.

Around 31% of new vehicles will be eligible for the bonus, 25% for the malus. There are around 44% of new vehicles currently emitting between 130 and 160 g CO2/km that are not affected by the new measure. Furthermore, the bonus will be deducted from the price paid to the dealer and must be identified and visible on the bill. These facts will also provide incentives to dealers to sell cleaner cars. Another example is UK company cars.

In the UK you pay more tax for your company car if your car produces more CO2. For example, for a car of less than 75 g CO2/km the tax rate for petrol cars is 5%. For a car of 150 g it is 19% and for a car of 235 g it is 35%. This is a good example of variable tax on a clean or dirty product. The more you pollute the more tax you pay. But our magic metric is also very useful at the local level.

In London, cars which emit 100 g/km or less of CO2 and meet the Euro 5 standard for air quality qualify for zero congestion charge. A 100% exemption from congestion charge also applies to electric vehicles. In many towns in the UK such as York, Salford or Milton Keynes and Richmond, one can have discounted residents’ parking if you have a low carbon vehicle and free parking if you have an electric car.

Guess what? Customers are paying attention to the environment! Such a crazy bunch of tree-huggers…

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An Interview with Michele Galatola – ‘EU Environmental Footprinting’

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Michele Galatola from DG Environment at the European Commission provides an overview on the rationale of the EU environmental footprinting methodology.

In this short video he describes the addressed audience and possible fields of application of the methodology.

Furthermore Michele Galatola shares insights on the role of environmental footprinting in future EU policy.

From the PCF World Forum, Sep 2012 (Published Nov 2012) –

Renewable Resources in the Value Chain. A Viable Option for Reducing Environmental Footprints?”

About the PCF World Forum

Consumption of goods and services indirectly contributes to a large share of worldwide GHG emissions. Efforts are underway to better understand, manage and reduce these emissions. Standards and tools for carbon footprinting as well as more comprehensive environmental and sustainability metrics are developed, refined and practically tested.

The Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) World Forum is a neutral platform to share practical experiences and knowledge towards climate-conscious consumption and production. The international platform provides orientation in current standardisation processes and creates opportunities for discussing international corporate best practices and emerging tools to support low carbon and climate-conscious consumption models.

The PCF World Forum was created out of the ambition to talk with each other and not just about each other given the ever increasing number of initiatives around the world and often little real understanding of respective approaches and activities.

PCF World Forum is an initiative by Berlin based think-do-tank THEMA1.

www.pcf-world-forum.org

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2degrees checks in on our sustainability strategy

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2degrees‘ editor Tom Idle interviewed me live from our London showroom to find out how we’re advancing our sustainability strategy.

Watch the interview session to learn:

– About lifecycle analysis and how it can help you understand the environmental impacts of your product or service
– How you can find the hotspots that should drive your sustainability strategy
– Why I feel sustainability labels are unnecessary “‘fluff”
– Why industries need to move from corporate social responsibility to full transparency of products

This is a recording of the live interactive session.

Many thanks to Tom and the 2degrees team.

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