Last night the 2016 Low Carbon Champions were announced by The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) during the industry’s leading networking dinner in assocaiation with LCV2016. The champions Awards shine a light on achievements and innovation in the move to low carbon road transport.
H2 Aberdeen – which has developed a strategy for the introduction of cleaner, hydrogen-powered transport to the Scottish city – and Argent Energy – which has developed a drop‐in diesel replacement for cars, buses and trucks – were jointly presented with the highest accolade; the ‘Grand Prix’, or winner of winners, Award.
Sir Peter Hendy was recognised as the 2016 winner of the Outstanding Individual in Promoting Low Carbon Transport at the celebration. Hosted by Formula E TV presenter and science communicator, Nicki Shields, who was Master of Ceremonies, the event took place at the Double Tree by Hilton, MK Dons Stadium.
The LowCVP Managing Director Andy Eastlake said about the Awards:
“All the entries short-listed for the Champions Awards deserve recognition for the contribution they are making to cutting carbon emissions from road transport.
There is a lot of work still to be done to achieve the long-term objectives set under the Climate Change Act
“There is a lot of work still to be done to achieve the long-term objectives set under the Climate Change Act, but the dynamism and determination shown by so many of those involved today shows how UK industry and operators have the drive and potential to achieve them.”
The judges said that Toyota – which won the car manufacturer award – has been a global leader in low emission vehicles, selling over 9 million petrol hybrids. They said that the company has built on this reputation with the introduction of the zero emission hydrogen fuel cell car, Mirai.
The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project – H2 Aberdeen – has introduced Europe’s largest fleet of hydrogen fuel cell buses. The project has delivered the UK’s largest hydrogen production and bus refuelling station. The bus companies report that the vehicles are proving to be extremely efficient compared to their diesel equivalents.
Argent Energy manufactures 60 million litres of biodiesel from waste each year. In 2015 Argent supplied high bio‐blend diesel to two major London bus companies. After a year of supplying these companies, the greenhouse gas emission savings will be equivalent to 150 million miles of carbon-free travel, based on DfT figures.
The Champions Awards judging panel was comprised of 22 senior executives from across a range of UK organisations with a stake in the low carbon road transport agenda.
Richard Bruce, Director Energy, Technology and Innovation at the Department for Transport – one of the Awards judges – said: “It’s fantastic to see another array of ground-breaking companies vying for the Low Carbon Champions Awards this year. It’s precisely because of the synergies between environmental improvement and great commercial opportunity – synergies that the ideas and technologies here demonstrate so well – that the UK Government remains so committed to this agenda.”
Alex Burns, Chief Executive of Millbrook, the Champions Awards headline sponsors, said:
“It’s encouraging to see so many UK-based organisations committed to cutting carbon emissions and improve air quality. We are pleased to present this award to two fantastic companies, and commend them for their continued good work.
“As an organisation committed to the test, validation and engineering of low carbon transport, Millbrook is proud to present the ‘Grand Prix’ award jointly to H2 Aberdeen and Argent Energy.”
The UK vehicle industry continues to push the boundaries of innovation in low carbon technology
Darren Messem, Chairman of the LowCVP and an Awards Judge said:
“The UK vehicle industry continues to push the boundaries of innovation in low carbon technology, production and operation. This is essential to deliver the decarbonisation of transport needed to mitigate the worst effects of climate change and to improve air quality.
“This year’s LowCVP Champions Awards recognise innovation across the transport sector, and all stakeholders in the LowCVP – the Board, the Secretariat and our members – hope this provides further stimulus to all the innovators and operators working hard to deliver low carbon transport.”
Another of the judges, Professor Neville Jackson, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at Ricardo UK Ltd, said: “The LowCVP Champions Awards have now been established as a key event in the Automotive technology calendar.
“Both the LowCVP and their awards have played an important part in transforming the low carbon transport sector to provide a dynamic and successful contribution to UK innovation. This has resulted in an expansion of the low carbon agenda, from a few niche vehicles and initiatives to mainstream automotive in recent years.”
“Robert Evans, Chief Executive of Cenex, the organiser of LCV2016, said: “We are pleased to be able to host the LowCVP Low Carbon Champion Awards as part of the Cenex-LCV2016 networking dinner.
“The LCV2016 event brings the low carbon vehicle community together for two days of technology showcasing and networking, with the evening dinner extending this valuable networking time. As an awards judge I commend all those nominated for an Award and congratulate the winners.”
New Zealand to Switch to Fully Renewable Energy by 2035
New Zealand’s prime minister-elect Jacinda Ardern is already taking steps towards reducing the country’s carbon footprint. She signed a coalition deal with NZ First in October, aiming to generate 100% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2035.
New Zealand is already one of the greenest countries in the world, sourcing over 80% of its energy for its 4.7 million people from renewable resources like hydroelectric, geothermal and wind. The majority of its electricity comes from hydro-power, which generated 60% of the country’s energy in 2016. Last winter, renewable generation peaked at 93%.
Now, Ardern is taking on the challenge of eliminating New Zealand’s remaining use of fossil fuels. One of the biggest obstacles will be filling in the gap left by hydropower sources during dry conditions. When lake levels drop, the country relies on gas and coal to provide energy. Eliminating fossil fuels will require finding an alternative source to avoid spikes in energy costs during droughts.
Business NZ’s executive director John Carnegie told Bloomberg he believes Ardern needs to balance her goals with affordability, stating, “It’s completely appropriate to have a focus on reducing carbon emissions, but there needs to be an open and transparent public conversation about the policies and how they are delivered.”
The coalition deal outlined a few steps towards achieving this, including investing more in solar, which currently only provides 0.1% of the country’s energy. Ardern’s plans also include switching the electricity grid to renewable energy, investing more funds into rail transport, and switching all government vehicles to green fuel within a decade.
Zero net emissions by 2050
Beyond powering the country’s electricity grid with 100% green energy, Ardern also wants to reach zero net emissions by 2050. This ambitious goal is very much in line with her focus on climate change throughout the course of her campaign. Environmental issues were one of her top priorities from the start, which increased her appeal with young voters and helped her become one of the youngest world leaders at only 37.
Reaching zero net emissions would require overcoming challenging issues like eliminating fossil fuels in vehicles. Ardern hasn’t outlined a plan for reaching this goal, but has suggested creating an independent commission to aid in the transition to a lower carbon economy.
She also set a goal of doubling the number of trees the country plants per year to 100 million, a goal she says is “absolutely achievable” using land that is marginal for farming animals.
Greenpeace New Zealand climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson believes that phasing out fossil fuels should be a priority for the new prime minister. She says that in order to reach zero net emissions, Ardern “must prioritize closing down coal, putting a moratorium on new fossil fuel plants, building more wind infrastructure, and opening the playing field for household and community solar.”
A worldwide shift to renewable energy
Addressing climate change is becoming more of a priority around the world and many governments are assessing how they can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and switch to environmentally-friendly energy sources. Sustainable energy is becoming an increasingly profitable industry, giving companies more of an incentive to invest.
Ardern isn’t alone in her climate concerns, as other prominent world leaders like Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron have made renewable energy a focus of their campaigns. She isn’t the first to set ambitious goals, either. Sweden and Norway share New Zealand’s goal of net zero emissions by 2045 and 2030, respectively.
Scotland already sources more than half of its electricity from renewable sources and aims to fully transition by 2020, while France announced plans in September to stop fossil fuel production by 2040. This would make it the first country to do so, and the first to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles.
Many parts of the world still rely heavily on coal, but if these countries are successful in phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable resources, it could serve as a turning point. As other world leaders see that switching to sustainable energy is possible – and profitable – it could be the start of a worldwide shift towards environmentally-friendly energy.
5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable
Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.
1. Weather stripping
If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.
Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.
Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.
2. Programmable thermostats
Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.
Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!
3. Low-flow water hardware
With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.
Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.
Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.
4. Energy efficient light bulbs
An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.
New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.
5. Installing solar panels
Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.
Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.
From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!
These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.
Economy2 weeks ago
Report: Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Finance
Energy3 days ago
5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable
Sustainability3 weeks ago
Worldwide Cities Leading the Way in Sustainability
Environment4 weeks ago
Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage