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Economy

The Blue & Green Marbles: the 2015 shortlist – #sustainpersonoftheyear15

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We asked a small jury of 12 friends, readers and supporters to come up with a short list of the people we all think have made the biggest difference to sustainability in 2015. You can read more about the background of the award here. This is the short list. You can download a PDF of both articles, short list and citations.

 

Anthony Hobley, CEO of Carbon Tracker

For leading the delivery of overwhelming and incontrovertible evidence on unburnable carbon, which underpins the work of so many other organisations and negotiations, not least COP21. Vote here.

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, Green Party of England and Wales

For campaigning on fracking, environmentalism, and being an exceptional constituency MP. She may be a party of one in Parliament, but has a more positive impact than much larger parties when it comes to sustainability. Vote here.

Catherine Howarth, CEO of ShareAction

For the patient and painstaking work on raising awareness and driving action for responsible ownership amongst institutional investors. The pension funds who are responsible for the vast majority of investment in the UK. Vote here.

Charles Middleton, CEO of Triodos Bank UK

For leading a company that makes it simple for people to invest sustainably, responsibly and ethically and through its own activities supporting responsible, sustainable and ethical organisations. A firm that runs two of the small group of 3D Investing’s 5-star rated funds. Vote here.

Dale Vince OBE, Founder & Owner of Ecotricity

For building an energy company that makes it easy to switch to limitless, clean energy. Also for Vince’s campaigning work – not least on electric vehicles and his call for charging point road signs – makes him a leader in the transition to a sustainable future. Vote here.

Sir David Attenborough, naturalist

Sir David Attenborough has been the foremost champion and chronicler of the natural world for more than six decades. This citation specifically relates to his work with the Global Apollo Programme – a 10 year project to make renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuels. Vote here.

Jamie Hartzell, Founder & Chair of Ethex

For creating the Ethex platform, enabling community energy and social enterprises to raise money easily, not least the £4.8 million raised for six community energy share offers before tax relief was cancelled at the end of November. Vote here.

Jeremy Leggett, Founder of SolarCentury, Chairman of SolarAid, Chairman of CarbonTracker and Author

For sharing the process of writing his latest book, ‘The Winning of the Carbon War’ – and all the other things Jeremy does which are too long to list here. Vote here.

Juliet Davenport OBE, Founder & CEO of Good Energy

For leading a company that makes it simple for people to switch to clean energy while providing clear leadership and commentary on developments in the renewable industry. The company she leads consistently comes top for customer service. Vote here.

Karl Harder, Louise Wilson & Bruce Davies, Joint Managing Directors, Abundance Generation

For enabling everyone’s investment in clean energy through innovative products, but also for the launch of the innovative peer-to-peer pension. Vote here.

Mark Goyder, CEO of Tomorrow’s Company

For championing enlightened business and share ownership and providing a clear vision of what responsible enterprise and investment can achieve. Vote here.

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

For making Scotland a beacon of green in the United Kingdom and across Europe. With all the hot air that comes out of Whitehall and Westminster, Holyrood provides a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively speaking. Vote here.

Roger Harrabin and Tom Heap of the BBC

For their consistently impartial and excellent coverage of environmental issues, specifically Changing Climate (Harrabin) and Costing the Earth (Heap) respectively. Two journalists who have made sustainability, the environment and climate change easier for everyone to understand. Vote here.

Sarah Butler-Sloss (Ashden Trust) and Mark Sainsbury (Mark Leonard Trust) for Divest Invest (Europe)

For successfully leading the charge in Europe on divestment from fossil fuels, but also investment in more sustainable and positive options. To both divest (which isn’t enough on its own) and invest. Vote here.

Dame Vivienne Westwood, fashion designer and businesswoman

For her consistent campaigning on climate change and human rights, specifically her support for renewables and vocal opposition to fracking. Vote here.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

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

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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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.”

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