Carbon Conservation & Energy Efficiency

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Bruce Rowse & Team

Archive for December, 2008

One of the most dangerous newspaper headlines you’ll ever see – “Climate change is a lose-lose affair”

Friday, December 12th, 2008

This blog exists because of my belief that a vigorous response to the climate change challenge provides a win-win situation, not a lose – lose. Yet Fairfax Digital’s Independent Weekly has just come out with this headline “Climate change is a lose-lose affair”.

This sort of headline is very dangerous because it promotes fearful thinking, and fearful thinking will not get us out of the economic crisis and neither will it solve climate change.

Let me give just one example of how a vigorous response to the climate change challenge provides a double win. From a manufacturing company which uses a LOT of energy. Supposedly a company that would be a big loser from climate change. But not just any manufacturing company, one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies. Big company. Uses a lot of energy. Surely acting on climate change is a bad thing for this company?

But no, in actual fact responding vigorously to the climate change challenge has yielded multiple WINS for this company.

Over the last three years its Australian manufacturing plant has reduced direct carbon emissions per widget manufactured by a staggering 30%. WIN = big savings on its energy bills.

One of its widgets is synonymous with “green,” is the most energy efficient on the market, and there is a waiting list to buy it. WIN = growth in market share.

Its environmental credentials attract some the best and brightest in the industry to work for it. WIN = people are the key success factor in any business.

The company of course is Toyota Motor Corporation, and the widgets referred to above are cars. Andreas Kammel, Environmental Policy Manager of Toyota in Australia recently said to me “there are strong business opportunities on the back of climate change, climate change does not have to be something that is difficult even for an energy intense manufacturer such as ourselves.”

The Toyota sustainability report can be found at http://toyota.republicast.com/sr2008/republicast.asp?page=1&layout=1&control=yes&zoom=100

Cars are a major source of greenhouse gas pollution, and I’m certainly not saying you should ditch your bicycle for a Prius. But I would not be surprised if Toyota is one of the first manufacturers to come out with a mass produced zero emissions vehicle. For Toyota, acting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is good for the company and less harmful to the environment. It’s a WIN-WIN not a lose-lose.

We are in a time of economic crisis, and moving into a period of great environmental crisis. The last thing we need is the poverty of thought promoted by media with negative headlines.

The three pre-requisites for sustainable carbon conservation

Friday, December 12th, 2008

As I’ve observed organisations that are successful in reducing their carbon emissions in an on-going way I’ve noticed that they all have three things in place before they begin to significantly cut their carbon:

  1. Leadership commitment. More often that not the most senior level managers will be on the environmental steering committee.
  2. A system in place for accurately measuring and tracking their emissions. They measure what they treasure – in this case their carbon savings.
  3. Wider commitment in their workplace to emissions reduction.

With these three pre-requisites in place these organisations are more likely to move forward to actually cut their carbon pollution.

Become A certified mirrorlux Installer or Sales Agent

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Carbonetix has developed a website to assist its certified Mirrorlux installers and distributors with sales, marketing and installation activities. Mirorrlux provides an opportunity for Electrical Contracting and Facility Management businesses to build additional business by offering Delamping Services which can halve their customer’s lighting energy use.

The site has been developed to assist Mirrorlux distributors maximise the sales opportunities that exist to halve the lighting costs of their existing and prospective customers.

The resources included there are:

· Training videos and manuals to help you learn about Mirrorlux Reflectors.

· Promtional material to help you market and sell the Mirrorlux solution.

· A proposal generator and tracking system.

· Ordering and tracking system.

· A savings calculator.

· General news and updates.

If you would like to register to become a certified Mirrorlux installer/sales agent please go http://www.mirrorlux.com.au/ and click under the Distributor Login button.

What is a comfortable office temperature (2)

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

A comfortable office temperature doesn’t depend just on the temperature, there are other factors that come into play. These include the relative humidity, the temperature of surrounding surfaces and the speed of any air movements.

Craig Ryan of Johnson Controls has prompted this second posting with some good observations about humidity and comfort on my first posting on a comfortable office temperature.

The more humid it is, the higher the temperature feels. This is shown in the thermal comfort chart below.

thermal comfort diagram - humidity vs temperature

thermal comfort diagram - humidity vs temperature

In climates which are always hot, or climates that are mostly cold, our bodies acclimatise somewhat to these conditions. The chart above is most appropriate for cooler rather than hot climates.

Moving air makes it feel colder. When its hot creating air movement (eg through fans) can mean that air conditioning systems can be set to provide higher temperatures than would otherwise be the case.

Radiant temperatures of nearby surfaces also make us feel warmer or colder. Because of this sitting next to a large window in winter may still feel cold even though the inside air temperature is 22 degrees Celcius.

By operating heating and cooling systems out to the limits of what is perceived to be a comfortable temperature significant energy and greenhouse gas savings can be achieved. Attention also needs to be paid to air movement and surface radiant temperatures.

Human development AND a stable climate – the challenge?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

I received yesterday a powerpoint about food security and climate change from Dr. Julie Cliff, a friend of mine who has worked in tropical medicine in Mozambique for the last 30 years. Her powerpoint had a dramatic image of cassava plants grown in laboratory conditions at different atmospheric concentrations of CO2 (shown below). Cassava is a staple crop whose tubers are consumed across southern and central Africa. The plants grown at higher concentrations of CO2 produced tubers with less than half of the useful food of the plants grown at lower CO2 concentration.

Cassava tuber growth at different CO2 concentrations

Cassava tuber growth at different CO2 concentrations

Yesterday I also met an economist who showed me some modelling that predicted the effect a $50 per tonne carbon price would have on the cost of employment across a range of sectors, such as manufacturing, banking and insurance, etc. Typically the cost was around $2,000 per employee – or in other words the modelling was predicting that business expenses would increase by $2,000 per employee if we had a carbon price of $50 a tonne.

These two viewpoints clearly show the apparent climate change challenge – one which shows that the response to climate change could be expensive, the other that not acting could have dire consequences for food security in southern and central Africa. This is the classic argument that I referred to in my first blog post – the climate change challenge is framed in a way that we lose economically if we act to limit greenhouse gas emissions now – but if we don’t act we will lose in the future.

So what is my climate positive take on this? More in my next posting – and comments welcome.