As the world’s governments convene this week in Paris to negotiate carbon targets and national climate change plans, the UK’s largest renewables trade association, the REA, has reminded the public that many of those on the ground in the UK working in green industries face an uncertain future. Facing a disappointing European Commission (EC) package released yesterday, it has launched a new campaign.
Responsible management of biodegradable waste is argued to be an important part of supporting the UK’s larger move towards sustainability. There is growing evidence that the country faces a number of environmental challenges such as depleting soil quality and from the impacts of climate change, including rising sea levels.
Anaerobic digestion (AD), a form of organic waste management, creates resilience to these trends by using resources that we may otherwise send to landfill, particularly food waste. The process turns the waste into biogas (which can be used to heat homes and cook food) and organic fertiliser (called digestate). It provides alternative incomes to many farmers and rural communities, supporting the countryside economy.
However, since the general election, the REA has counted twelve negative policy announcements that have seriously undermined investor confidence in the sector. The AD industry faces up to 89% cuts to the Feed-in Tariff and the loss of pre-accreditation for projects.
In the face of such uncertainty the REA looked to leadership from the European Commission. Mandatory separate food waste collection would have greatly encouraged the industry, which is presently suffering from a lack of feedstock. The industry is frustrated that the package fell short of expectations.
Separately, there is a growing business case for the separate collection of food waste. Reports from Councils and early results from independent research commissioned by the REA indicate that local authorities tasked with waste collection could reduce their costs and improve their balance sheet by collecting food waste separately.
Facing a lack of support from the European Commission on this issue, the REA have publicised its Food Waste Push campaign. Scotland and Wales have already introduced mandatory food waste collection and it is time England did the same.
Jeremy Jacobs, Technical Director at the REA, said: “Our discussions with councils lead us to believe that the collection of food wastes from homes and businesses makes business sense, not just environmental sense. Facing a lack of support from the European Commission on this issue we think it critical to push this cause and support a strong domestic biogas industry. It provides new incomes to many living in rural areas, is a growing source of employment, and enhances our sustainability.
James Court, Head of Policy and External Affairs at the REA, said: “The twelve damaging policies to the renewables industry that have emerged so far, and lingering questions for the AD industry around the Feed-in Tariff and pre-accreditation, are doing serious damage to the UK’s reputation.
In light of this, we have publicised our Food Waste Push. We’re looking for thousands of signatures from the public to back separate food waste collection across the UK. This supports national food production, energy security, and green growth.
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”