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Leading cities around the World join forces to improve energy efficiency

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Calls For G20 Leaders To Mandate Climate Disclosures From Environmental Lawyers

Green Building Councils are working with leading cities around the world to dramatically ramp up energy efficiency within buildings, under a new partnership between the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) and the World Resources Institute-led Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA).

 

 Green Building Councils in Colombia, the United Arab Emirates, Poland and South Africa will work with Mayors and staff in the cities of Bogota, Dubai, Warsaw and Tshwane, respectively, under the BEA in a bid to double the rate of energy efficiency by 2030. They will help cities to define the best action they can take to make efficiency improvements and receive market buy-in from those in the sector who will help to deliver these energy savings.

This work is being undertaken as part of the BEA, a public-private partnership of cities, businesses and organisations which aims to improve energy efficiency in buildings. The BEA is one of six accelerators under Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All), an initiative led by the United Nations Secretary-General, and is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

As one of the larger delivery partners under the BEA, WorldGBC and the participating Green Building Councils are turning climate finance into concrete, timely and measurable action in cities in the wake of COP21. This includes Green Building Councils providing direct support to the city governments mentioned above, while WorldGBC will primarily share resources and build capacity around the value of green building certification programmes which can operate at a national but also local level.

Announcing the partnership at the Green Building Council of South Africa’s annual convention in Johannesburg, Terri Wills, CEO of the World Green Building Council, said: “Cities and the buildings which make them up consume around 75 per cent of global energy, putting them at the coal face of our fight against climate change.

“But whilst they are a major consumer of energy, cities also have huge potential to dramatically reduce energy use, with buildings offering one of the most effective ways to do so. Through collaboration with cities, our Green Building Councils will provide on-the-ground expertise to help realise this opportunity.”

Jennifer Layke, Director, Building Efficiency Initiative, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, World Resources Institute, added: “Cities are powerful leaders: as owners, investors and regulators, they shape the sustainability of our future. Buildings that are efficient improve the productivity of both people and energy systems.

“By joining forces, the WorldGBC and the Building Efficiency Accelerator support the success of policy and project action taken by all cities: those that are inspirational examples and those that aspire to do much more. Working in partnership, WRI and WorldGBC bring more knowledge and resources to help BEA partner cities.”

By joining forces, the WorldGBC and the Building Efficiency Accelerator support the success of policy and project action taken by all cities

His Excellency Ahmed Butti Al Muhairbi, Secretary General of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE), commented: “In line with the Dubai Integrated Energy strategy 2050, which aims to reduce 30 per cent of the energy demand by 2030 as well as the demand side management programmes including building retrofit, the Building Efficiency Accelerator is an important programme for the Emirate of Dubai, particularly in energy security.

“We are pleased to join the Building Efficiency Accelerator, which will help to foster a culture of efficiency in existing and new buildings which allows us to see the best practices and benefits from other cities’ experiences to ensure a sustainable environment for future generations.”

Reducing energy in buildings is essential if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change. Energy used in buildings often accounts for half of all carbon emissions of some cities, while buildings in some larger cities can be responsible for up to 80 per cent of emissions. Given that two thirds of the world’s population are expected to live in cities by 2050, this places a further demand for buildings that are energy efficient and that enable a high quality of life.

Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the Green Building Council of South Africa, said: “We value our strong working relationships with a number of cities across South Africa. When the City of Tshwane expressed an interest to us and WRI to join the Building Efficiency Accelerator, we didn’t hesitate to offer our expertise.

“Helping the city to establish a policy or programme that will make a meaningful impact on the energy efficiency of its buildings is fundamental to our mission, and we’re delighted to be involved in this partnership through WorldGBC.”

Further Green Building Councils are expected to join the BEA through WorldGBC as the partnership develops.

Energy

7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption

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Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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