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LowCVP Programme Focuses on Climate Change

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The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) has revealed its work programme for the next year. The focus of the programme builds on LowCVP’s ambitious targets for 2020 which are in line with the UK Climate Change Act. LowCVP’s programme includes activities involving the entire road transport sector and balances its targets with air quality objectives.

In 2020, to stimulate a decade of change, the LowCVP aims for:

– 5% of the new car market to be ULEVs

– All new buses to meet the new Low Emission Bus criteria

– 5% of new commercial vehicles to be defined as low carbon

– Delivery of the maximum sustainable GHG saving through renewable transport energy

2016-17 priorities include the establishment of a market for accredited low carbon commercial vehicles, the facilitation of collaboration to break down the barriers to an ‘EV-ready power grid’ and support for the creation of a UK market for low carbon ‘L-Category’ (micro) vehicles.

Throughout the work programme the linkages between cutting carbon and cutting local pollution will be considered and a balanced approach taken, working with our air quality community partners.

Taken segment-by-segment, key elements of the new work programme include:

A new phase for the ULEV car market through improved customer information and a consistent policy framework

With new tests and renewed public interest in emissions and fuel consumption, the LowCVP will focus on developing the next generation of robust, consistent and accessible consumer information to clearly show the performance and cost/operating benefits of alternative models.  With a much wider range of low carbon vehicle choices now available, the role of the Partnership is to help deliver mass market consumer demand for the products on sale. The Partnership will also work to help deliver a consistent national framework for local policy actions.

Filling the data gap to help kick-start the market for greener commercial vehicles 

The commercial vehicle (trucks and vans) sector has lagged progress in other sectors, mainly due to a lack of robust assessment methods. The LowCVP will focus on delivering a robust definition of a low carbon truck to establish potential ‘Green Truck’ programmes and support. The Partnership has already developed an accreditation process for low carbon/fuel-efficient retrofit technology and will continue to work with local (such as TfL’s LoCITY initiative) and national officials to further develop and support the roll-out of this scheme and supporting policies.

Showcasing progress in the ‘Green Bus Journey’

In partnership with representatives from the bus sector, the LowCVP played a leading role in establishing one of the most advanced low carbon bus markets in the world.  Over 25% of new buses sold in 2015 were low carbon-accredited. The LowCVP aims to further promote the Low Emission Bus (LEB) market and to communicate best practice, as exemplified by this forward-thinking segment of the road transport industry.  The Partnership has already started on a programme of dissemination activity part-funded by the industry with the first report “The Journey of the Green Bus” published in February.

Meeting European objectives for fuel and developing sustainable fuel frameworks

Increasing the renewable energy contribution is a significant opportunity for the UK transport fuels sector.  The LowCVP will continue to work to break down the barriers to widespread low carbon electricity deployment in transport and support sustainable biodiesel and biomethane use. The potential introduction of E10 (10% bioethanol mixed with petrol) presents a significant opportunity and a challenge. The LowCVP is uniquely placed to facilitate progress in these areas.  There will be particular emphasis on the development of a framework to support the introduction of sustainable low carbon advanced fuels and the requirements beyond 2020 to engender investor confidence in the fuels sector.

Developing the opportunity for micro-vehicles; linking innovators with SMEs

The LowCVP will report on the findings of its ‘L-Category’ (micro-vehicles) study later this year and work to further develop this market opportunity for the UK.  The Partnership aims to continue working with the innovation community to identify solutions and opportunities for the small business sector, supporting the development of a robust, healthy UK low carbon supply chain.

Commenting on the new work programme, LowCVP chairman Darran Messem said: “The Paris agreement has made it absolutely clear that the world is on a rapid carbon-cutting trajectory. The successful countries in this low carbon future will be those whose businesses, both large and small, embrace the opportunities and prepare for a decade of rapid change between 2020 and 2030. 

“We aim to continue doing everything possible to ensure the UK’s road transport community is best placed to seize and lead these opportunities.”

LowCVP’s Managing Director Andy Eastlake said: “The opportunity to engage in low carbon transport has never been greater or more diverse.  Through our member’s commitment and support we aim to keep the UK transport community at the forefront of future developments and deliver on lower carbon and cleaner air.”

For further details about the LowCVP’s 2016-17 work programme, please visit the website.

Environment

Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations

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green housing techniques

Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?

The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.

New Construction Options

One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.

In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.

The Simple Retrofit

From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?

Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.

Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.

Big Innovations

Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.

In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.

Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.

It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.

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Environment

How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions

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auto industry to clean air pollution

Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

Public Health Crisis

It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.

Eco-Friendly Vehicles

It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.

Used Cars

Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.

Public Perception

With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.

Progress

The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.

With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.

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