The National Gallery in London, home to some of the world’s most treasured artwork, has achieved and 85% energy saving on lighting through a combination of highly efficient LEDs and a digital control system installed by UK company Open Technology.
LEDs are an ideal choice for museums because they don’t produce UV light, which can be harmful to artworks and with the LiGO system they work in harmony with the natural light which pours into the building.
The innovative Open Technology’s LiGO control system reacts in real time, making automatic adjustments to roof blinds according to the angle of the sunlight; Which in turn, works in conjunction with low energy LED lighting. The whole LiGO system is in tune with it’s surroundings, making a series of fine adjustments throughout the day and producing improvements which are estimated to achieve annual energy savings for the Gallery of 765,000 kWh at a saving of around £53,600.
“The LiGO control system has enabled us to integrate a digital dimming system for our lighting. With our previous system we could only switch on and off, whereas LiGO has enabled us to progressively dim and bring up the light in conjunction with daylight levels,” explains Steve Van Dyke, Head of Building and Facilities, The National Gallery, London.
This high profile projects showcases the ingenuity of 21st century lighting systems and the cost and energy savings that can be made in large public spaces.
Story via Clickgreen.org.uk
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Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings are those that consume only as much energy as they generate within a year, and they are on the increase according to a report published by BCC research last month.
Zero Net Energy Buildings: Global Markets states that the global market for ZNE commercial buildings was valued at $30.9 million in 2013, increasing to $44.5 million in 2014; should total $239.7 million by 2018, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 50.6% between 2013 and 2018.
Although the market is at an early stage, ZNE has become one of the prime focuses of the building and energy services industry and planners in most major geographic markets are getting involved.
The European Union (EU) targets for energy reduction in government, commercial and residential buildings is driving the green building industry in the UK. Europe is the 2nd largest (AsiaPacific, mainly China being the 1st) and fastest-growing region in the market and is projected to reach to nearly $75 million in 2018 and register a CAGR of 47.5%.
In April, Honda unveiled its net zero energy “Smart Home” on the University of California, Davis campus. The building, which includes a charging facility for a Honda Fit EV and is intended to demonstrate Honda’s vision for zero-carbon living and personal mobility, will on average generate more electricity from on-site renewable energy than it receives from the local utility.
We’re looking forward to this catching on, over the pond!
Story via Sustainablebrands.com
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Re-blogged from Forbes.com – 19 November 2014
SunEdison, the St. Louis, MO-based solar power juggernaut, said today that it would acquire First Wind, one of the largest wind power developers in the United States, for $2.4 billion.
The acquisition of First Wind, which is based in Boston, MA, will make SunEdison the leading renewable energy development company in the world.
TerraForm Power, an indirect subsidiary of SunEdison that owns and operates renewable energy projects acquired from SunEdison, is also involved in the transaction.
TerraForm Power is SunEdison’s “yieldco” platform, a new type of investment vehicle that went public in 2013. Yieldco companies like TerraForm Power are similar to Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs), but do not possess assets that qualify for pass-through tax treatment. Like MLPs, Yieldco companies are designed to appeal to investors seeking stable and growing dividend income from a diversified portfolio of lower-risk high-quality assets.
The First Wind acquisition will expand SunEdison’s project installation pipeline for 2015 by an estimated 500 megawatts. In addition, the acquisition will expand the total capacity of TerraForm Power’s power generating portfolio by more than 50%, which should have a favorable impact on future dividend payments for investors.
“The acquisition of First Wind transforms both SunEdison and TerraForm Power into diversified renewable energy companies and will make SunEdison the leading renewable power plant developer in the world,” said Ahmad Chatila, President and Chief Executive Officer of SunEdison.
The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2015.
Watch as The Rainforest comes to life and reminds humans that rainforests make life possible. “I have always been there for them and I have been more than generous. Sometimes, I’ve given it all to them, now gone forever,” states The Rainforest.
“Nature’s message is clear: we can’t keep doing what we’re doing now. Clean sustainable energyis crucial and cannot wait … we have to start listening to nature now,” said Spacey.
Did you know rainforests filter water, offer medications and release oxygen.
According to Conservation International:
- Every second a slice of rainforest the size of a football field is mowed down.
- Deforestation accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the cars and trucks on Earth combined.
- Forests are the lungs of the Earth. They absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen.
Conservation International is working to ensure important forests are protected, including an area of about 99 million acres close to the size of the state of California. However this isn’t enough, Conservation International is working to change the global economic framework that currently tells us trees are worth more cut than standing.
Nature Is Speaking is a series of short films voiced by some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Penélope Cruz, Harrison Ford, Edward Norton, Robert Redford, Julia Roberts, Ian Somerhalder and Kevin Spacey.
Help share this great film by using the #NatureIsSpeaking hashtag on social media platforms. HP will donate $1 to Conservation International each time the hashtag is used.
Last night, just weeks after the largest climate mobilization ever, the world’s two biggest polluters—the U.S. and China—announced their most ambitious climate action yet. That is not a coincidence: it’s a sign that our pressure is working, and that we need to apply much more.
Here’s my take on what the just-announced plan from President Obama and Premier Xi is, and isn’t:
1. It is historic. John Kerry was right to use the phrase in his New York Times opedannouncing the deal: for the first time a developing nation has agreed to eventually limit its emissions. This is a necessity for advancing international climate negotiations.
2. It isn’t binding in any way. In effect President Obama is writing an IOU to be cashed by future presidents and Congresses (and Xi is doing the same for future Politburos). If they take the actions to meet the targets, then it’s meaningful, but for now it’s a paper promise. And since physics is uninterested in spin, all the hard work lies ahead.
3. It is proof—if any more was needed—that renewable energy is ready to go. The Chinese say they’ll be using clean sources to get 20 percent of their energy by 2030—which is not just possible, it should be easy. Which they know because they’ve revolutionized the production of solar energy, driving down the cost of panels by 90 percent or more in the last decade.
4. It is not remotely enough to keep us out of climate trouble. We’ve increased the temperature less than a degree and that’s been enough to melt enormous quantities of ice, not to mention set the weather on berserk. So this plan to let the increase more than double is folly—though it is good to see that the two sides have at least agreed not to undermine the 2 degrees Celsius warming target, the one tiny achievement of the 2009 Copenhagen conference fiasco.
5. It is a good way to put pressure on other nations. I’ve just come back from India, which has worked hard to avoid any targets of any sort. But the lesson from this pact is, actual world leaders at least need to demonstrate they’re talking about climate; it makes the lead-up to the global negotiations in Paris next year more interesting.
6. It is a reason projects like Keystone XL and fracking make even less sense than ever. If President Obama is serious about meeting these kinds of targets, then we need serious steps; the surest way to undermine this commitment would be to approve new pipelines or authorize other new fossil fuel developments like fracking. If you pledge sobriety and then buy a keg of beer, people are going to wonder.
7. It is another reminder that it is past time to divest from fossil fuels. The burgeoning divestment movement has been arguing not just on moral grounds, but also making the point that the future will inevitably lead to a downsloping curve for the old energies. This is another warning—for anyone who looks more than a few quarters out, the writing is on the wall that the fossil fuel era is on its way out.
8. It’s not, in any way, a stretch goal. These numbers are easy—if you were really being cynical, you could say they’re trying to carefully manage a slow retreat from fossil fuels instead of really putting carbon on the run. The Germans, for instance, will be moving in on 60 percent of their energy from clean sources by the mid-2020s, when we’ll still be cutting carbon emissions by small increments.
9. It is—and this is the real key—a reminder that movements work. President Obama first endorsed the 80 percent by 2050 goal he enshrined in this pact when he was running for president in 2007, a week after 1,400 demonstrations around the nation demanded that goal. This comes seven weeks after by far the largest global climate demonstrations in history, and amidst ongoing unrest in China about the filthy air in its cities.
10. It isn’t, in other words, a reason to slack off one bit in the ongoing fight for a livable climate, a fight we must continue at all cost. If we want this to be a start, and not a finish, we’ve got to build even bigger and more powerful movements that push the successors of these gentlemen to meet what science demands.
Today is an achievement for everyone who’s held a banner, signed a petition and gone to jail—and a call for many more to join us going forward!
The evidence continues to mount that the U.S. economy’s tepid recovery is finally turning more robust. Growth figures are solid, the unemployment rate continues to drop, and wages are starting to increase—albeit very slowly. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to have some insurance, especially when other developed economies are on shaky ground. Say, for example, a tax cut? It wouldn’t hurt, but in this gridlocked political environment, it’s also a non-starter.
Enter the price of crude. Brent has been trending steadily downward since its high of $115 per barrel in June, and it currently sits at $85 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate has followed suit, dropping from $108 per barrel in June to $78 per barrel as of early November. Nor do the trends appear likely to reverse anytime soon.
Thanks in part to U.S. shale production, growth in supply from non-OPEC countries is exceeding global demand growth by as much as 1 million barrels a day. OPEC doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to cut production, and last week Saudi Arabia unexpectedly reduced the cost of crude it sells to the U.S. Coming at it from a demand perspective, oil prices have surely been constrained by sluggish growth in Europe and China. Altogether, Credit Suisse expects the price of oil to keep falling, and lowered its forecasts for Brent from $98 per barrel to $92 for the fourth quarter, and predicts an average of $87 a barrel for the first quarter of next year.
For American drivers, this means celebration at the pump. On November 10, the average price of regular unleaded gasoline had fallen for 46 consecutive days, and on November 1 it dropped below $3 per gallon for the first time since 2010, according to the American Automobile Association. If oil prices follow the bank’s forecasts, nominal consumer spending on energy will fall from 3.2 percent in June of this year to 2.5 percent by March 2015, giving consumers an effective tax cut of about $80 billion, according to a report by Credit Suisse analysts James Sweeney and Jay Feldman. That would be the lightest aggregate gasoline bill for U.S. households in more than a decade. It would be especially positive for lower-income Americans: spending on gasoline accounts for 13 percent of pre-tax income in the lowest quintile of U.S. households, compared with 2.5 percent in the highest quintile.
The extra cash may also spur more holiday cheer, fueling greater consumer demand as Thanksgiving approaches. That’s especially the case since more Americans are earning a paycheck: the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 5.8 percent in October, the lowest level since 2008. Credit Suisse says lower energy costs have already helped consumer confidence, which rose 5.5 points in October to 94.5, the highest level in seven years. Chain-store sales also increased 0.6 percent last month, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. And while a prolonged period of low prices may put a damper on new investment in the U.S. oil industry, it’s unlikely to curtail job growth since only 0.6 percent of American jobs are in energy extraction.
And what of broader consumer prices? If oil stays low, headline inflation could slow to 1 percent by the end of the first quarter of next year and to as low as 0.5 percent in the second quarter, according to Credit Suisse. That might even persuade the Federal Reserve to postpone its highly anticipated interest rate hike, currently expected by Credit Suisse in June 2015—which would amount to yet another plus for economic growth.
Photo of U.S. currency courtesy of Shutterstock.com.
Could The World Be 100% Solar? [Infographic] by the team at CashEuroNetUK, LLC
The UK’s renewable energy industry launched a new initiative on 3rd November 2014, supported by the Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey, to give local communities the opportunity to invest in local renewable energy projects such as onshore wind farms, as well as solar and hydro power.
This is not all together a new idea, RenewableUK and the think tank ResPublica published a report in Sept 2013, “The Community Renewables Economy”, showing a 14-fold increase in the total capacity of community-owned renewable energy projects installed in the UK over the last ten years – up from just over 4 megawatts (MW) in 2003 to nearly 60MW in 2013.
However, the Community Energy Strategy announced in January 2014 aims to widen the community involvement and Mr Davey asked the renewables industry and the community energy sector to work together to establish a voluntary agreement on shared ownership.
The Shared Ownership Taskforce, led by RenewableUK published its report last week to the Secretary of State explaining how these objectives will be achieved.
Developers working on significant new schemes will consult with local people to ask if they would be interested in community ownership and investment in commercial projects. The stakes offered by developers are expected to vary in size and type and from scheme to scheme, but could range between 5% and 25% of a project.
There are different ways in which local people can invest. Developers of schemes will work with communities to explore what type of shared ownership best suits them. These include joint venture, split ownership or shared revenue approaches to shared ownership, or through other methods such as the purchase of bonds or debentures in a project.
Developers will start discussions with communities at an early stage in a project’s development – during planning or pre-planning consultation on each scheme – with final arrangements likely to be confirmed at a later phase, so that local investors aren’t exposed to the risks of a project not going ahead.
Mr Davey said: “Community energy is revolutionising renewable energy development in the UK, and shared ownership will offer people the opportunity to buy in to the green energy that their own communities are producing. By giving communities the opportunity to buy in and benefit from renewable energy developments in their area, they can play their part in generating power at a local level which could supply enough electricity for 1 million homes by 2020.”
For more information see the RenewableUK website
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Disney World is a place of magic and wonder, but it’s also a land of fast-food outlets and a lot of waste production. So it’s great to know that they have addressed this by installing a new biogas plant run by Harvest Power. Whilst not as glamorous maybe, as the Magic Kingdom or Epcot, and off limits to the public, the facility is using a magic all of it’s own to turn 350 tonnes of food waste, per day into energy for the park.
All the bits of burger, lettuce, buns and tomatoes are feed into the plant from selected outlets and broken down/eaten by naturally occurring micro-organisms. The by-product of the process is the production of carbon dioxide and methane, or biogas.
The biogas is then piped a short distance to run locomotive-sized generators, as well as being burnt by Harvest Power to produce electricity where eventually the biogas will serve rides, hotels and other needs at the Disney property.
Based in Massachusetts and established in 2008, Harvest Power has 40 operations in North America that perform some version of converting table scraps, restaurant grease, out-of-date supermarket produce, deli goods and yard waste into energy, fertilizer and mulch.
The Disney location is the most advanced, looks sort of like a refinery and cost more than $30 million.
“The Florida operation is profitable, and as we build the fertilizer business, it will be more profitable,” comments Chief Executive Kathleen Ligocki. The plant will process over 120,000 tons of organic material per year and produce 5.4 megawatts of combined heat and electricity, which is equivalent to fuelling 2,000 Florida homes.
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