Archive for November 2011
According to statistics, Australia is ninth in the world with the amount of greenhouse gas emissions they put into the air. In the year 2000, it was estimated that Australia was responsible for putting as much as 25.9 tons of carbon emissions into the air. The fact that Australia was ranked as ninth in the list of who produces the most emissions that are put into the air per year is not very good. This is a fairly clear indication that something must be done about the emissions being put into the air by Australia and this needs to be done now.
What can we do to reduce our emissions? There is plenty that an individual can do. An individual can do some simple things around their home that could help in saving electricity and the bonus with doing this is that it can save the individual money as well. Keeping the home maintained, purchasing highly efficient electronics, turning things off when they are not in use and using alternative transportation are all simple ways that an individual can help reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses they normally contribute to the atmosphere. Businesses can also do a lot by encouraging alternative transportation and car pooling, as well as keeping the building well maintained and having machinery turned off when not in use are all things that can greatly help in reducing greenhouse emissions; however, getting the government to give incentives for becoming more green and enforcing it can go even farther. By writing to the government, voting on parties that are in favor of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, getting thousands to sign petitions to show support for the reduction of emissions as well as educating others about the need for the reduction of these emissions can all go a long way in bringing the change that is necessary.
Especially with government support, incentives and enforcement can push the country to start becoming more progressive and change to using renewable forms of energy that will aid in stopping the emissions from being put into the air.
Another effective strategy to reduce carbon emissions is to purchase carbon offsets. Carbon Offsetting is an efficient and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint.
There is much that can be done if just one person puts their mind to it, but it is amazing what many people can do if they work together. If enough emphasis is put onto the problem with emissions and the government is pressured enough to realize that this is an important concern for their people, changes can be made.
My printer is a nice man. He cares a lot for his customers and even more for the environment. He recently was awarded the ISO 14001 accreditation for environmental management. My printer is also a very curious man. Because he took great pride in his achievement, he decided to share the good news with his clients. He did so by producing a full colour 2 page leaflet, printed on heavy paper and send in snow-white envelopes, delivered by Royal Mail using a fleet of Royal Mail vans to deliver some 1000 letters to his customers, who read and binned it, so it can be collected by a fleet of London dustmen with their lorries and be burned or taken to landfill sites.
I wonder how much energy and raw material the production and delivery of this promotional piece has consumed and how much CO2 it will produce during its short life-cycle. I think, what ever it was, it was too much and just shows the problem with environmental standards and a false eagerness to behave politically correctly.
What are certifications worth that attest your company best practice in environmental terms but do not set up standards s keeping you away from producing useless marketing collateral, which goes, after having consumed raw materials, added to your carbon footprint and have gone straight to the bin after reading it? It’s not worth the full colour paper it is printed on, and it seems to me rather a warning sign that says “beware of this supplier, he has gone through great length, consumed a lot of energy and left a carbon footprint size 13 to get his environmental management certification”.
How clever is your marketing thinking? Does everything you do interest your customers? Is it not, that the only thing your customers is interested in, is “what’s in it for them”, and do they care a carrot about how great their suppliers feel they are doing? Had the friendly printer celebrated his achievement by combining his leaflet with an offer to order recycling copy paper, and instead of having a full colour leaflet in a separate envelope, had it be a postcard on recycling paper, or even better, an email campaign – I would have understood.
How intimidated are we and how compelled do we feel to adhere certain policies and standards, if we apply so much rigor in meeting them that we violate the very idea by doing so? It seems like we are “going green, no matter what cost to the environment”. A trend, a fad or just another example of skipped common sense?
Perhaps it also shows that even for small businesses the cost of using a consultant can save them from suffering far greater damage as a result from self-harming, image-damaging campaigns.
As of today (September 27) 2,598 firms have signed up out of more than 5,000 organisations estimated to be affected by the scheme.
The scheme, which starts officially on Thursday (September 30), could have been put off because it’s too ‘complex’ according to an influential committee’s report.
According to the Committee on Climate Change the CRC should be overhauled before its second phase gets underway in 2013.
Chief executive of the committee, David Kennedy, said: “The CRC scheme has the potential to make an important contribution towards meeting carbon budgets.
“However, current proposals risk making the scheme unnecessarily complex, we are therefore proposing that Government modifies its design to make participation in the scheme easier to for companies and public sector organisations.”
“The committee also set out options for a more fundamental redesign of the scheme, that Government could consider in the context of a strengthened carbon price.
“These included, reviewing the wider regulatory system and reforming the current method of revenue recycling and, dropping the requirement to purchase allowances.”
The Committee’s main recommendations are:
The sale of an unlimited number of allowances at fixed price should be extended from the first phase into the second phase, rather than introducing a second phase cap and complex auctioning scheme.
Separate league tables and revenue recycling should be established for the public and private sectors, and public sector financial budgets should be set to allow upfront investments in energy efficiency improvements – this will
Allow for the fairer treatment of the two sectors, as the current scheme is at risk of transferring funds from public to private sector organisations.
Participants should have to purchase CRC allowances to cover renewable energy generation, including heat.
A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency, who oversee the scheme, said: “We welcome the report.
“We are aware that some organisations believe the CRC is complicated and we’ve been working with them to explain it and help them register.
“The Energy minister has already made it clear he wants to simplify the scheme. We’ll be sharing our ideas based on our experience as the scheme’s operator.”
Social responsibilities lay in business framework
Most people think of business simply as a way to generate money. While this may be a primary motivating factor for some, it also carries many underlain responsibilities. Business owners become part of the infrastructure of the community. They supply a service or product which fills a need of the community.
The common bond linking community and business lies in each others realization of shared assumptions. Business realizes they fill a need, desire or fixation of the community and the community realizes who their contributor is. While community can survive without business, business on the other hand cannot exist without community. No community is self sufficient and no business is customer free.
Business must develop social programs and policies that can be seen as responsive to social expectations, but not necessarily limited to socially demand. A firm having social awareness is in tune to its customer’s requirements as well as its’ viewpoint.
There are three main driving forces between business and society:
1. The idealistic outlook: primarily relates to principles and social responsibility,
2. the institutional outlook: Its’ expression of social responsiveness
3. the organizational orientation: primarily relates to policies and management of social issues.
There are four Basic Models of Business Relationships
1. Humanitarian – adhere to principles of compassion and reinvesting into the community
2. Ethical – adhere to principles of honesty and decency
3. Legal – adhere to all laws and regulations
4. Economic – adhere to making a profit.
While a certain responsibility lies in being a good corporate partner and citizen, the most fundamental business responsibility is that of economics. The primary reason for being in business is to make a profit. Business exist for generating revenue for the business and in so doing, provides revenue for its employees. All other business responsibilities are based or established upon economic assumptions which is the responsibility of the people in charge. Without this statement the prognosis of future success becomes nothing more that arguable considerations.
While plotting a course of action, businesses are expected to operate within the framework of societal law, thus carrying the burden of legal responsibility. Likewise, legal responsibility is restricted to the “letter” of the law, while the “spirit” of law is
reserved for ethical reasoning.
Next, businesses are expected to have an ethical responsibility which is defined as “any and all activities or practices which are either expected or prohibited by society members even though they are not written into law.” Ethical classifications are further separated from legal activities by use of negative definition: ethical responsibility relates to those social expectations and norms not yet codified into law. In the same line, philanthropic responsibility designates those areas of voluntary social involvement not specifically
prohibited or demanded of companies because of their economic, legal, and ethical responsibilities.
Business also carry as a philanthropic obligation to contribute to its community. This responsibility is discretionary in nature and seen as an investment in future growth. Even though this is not a requirement it is a necessary and sufficient obligation that socially expects from responsible businesses.
If the economic role of the business is reduced to the narrow emphasis of profit it then could become blinded to making of contributed economics. This posturing leaves out the need for community relations.
There is another scenario to consider which is in contrast to the ordinary view, the so-called separation thesis. This is when businesses focus either on profits or social
concerns but not on both. This rises a question of debate that businesses can not only be profitable and ethical, but they should fulfill these obligations simultaneously. Can a business be profitable and disconnected from community? In today’s world, franchising brings business into a community while being completely detached from community needs.
The clear-cut separation of business from community raises the problem of coexisting within a harmonious environment. Even though a business may appear to be separated the burden of responsibilities still apply. The business provides a tax revenue as well as product, service and employment. There are interwoven responsibilities which represent the stimulus for economic considerations.
The social pressures imposed on today’s business are decreasing in importance, whereas economic and legal responsibilities are a requirement and ethical practices are vaguely expected, charitable contributions although desired, are completely voluntary.
A good business citizen, while striving to fulfill all its responsibilities, will actually apply
the necessary priorities to secure its status in the community.
Businesses have a responsibility that goes well beyond the demands of law and common morality. They set as examples of good moral judgment and community responsibility.
Calculating carbon emissions is a complex process. The different types of emissions need to be identified and collected company wide. From this information, the amount of each type of gas released into the environment needs to be calculated. In addition, tracking methods need to show the daily use of refrigerant gas. The end result will show the global warming potential for each facility with a refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) system or heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Refrigerant systems use high levels of greenhouse gases, so the EPA established the Climate Registry Protocol for calculating carbon emissions on a regular basis. The international equivalent of this requirement is outlined in the Montreal Protocol and Kyoto Protocol. The main purpose for calculating carbon emissions is to begin reducing the damaging effects that refrigerant gas has on the environment. Commercial refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) systems or heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems operate on refrigerant gas, which is made up of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs). When broken down, these substances contain carbon, chlorine, fluorine and hydrogen. These gases are major ozone depleting substances. By calculating carbon emissions, government environmental agencies will be able to better understand the situation. Companies who fail to report their carbon emissions will be issued a substantial fine. Various carbon emissions reporting protocols have emerged from the EPA, ISO, World Resource Institute, and Climate Registry protocols. All of these documents define in great detail how organizations must collect data, calculate carbon emissions, and report the results. In short, the monitoring, tracking, and reporting requirements mandate that all locations where refrigerants are being used or serviced must collect, organize, and calculate as part of an enterprise’s carbon emissions. Some volume of carbon is released into the environment by any company with a refrigerant system. Trying to determine how much carbon is emitted is an intricate process. Calculating carbon emissions begins by collecting data across the entire company and all its locations and identifying the gases. From there, a determination on how much of each gas is released must be made. Then various reports that include tracking methods need to be completed and submitted. Refrigerant management programs can best handle the tedious process of calculating carbon emissions. With so many components involved, a computerized refrigerant management program is much more effective than manually handling and reviewing paper reports. A refrigerant management program that includes a solution for refrigerant gas tracking and an automated way to calculate carbon emissions is important. Solutions like this make is easier to handle calculating carbon emissions for all AC/HVAC systems operated by a company. There are several reasons that led to the EPA and international environmental agencies to require companies to include calculating carbon emissions in their reports. It is an important step to define your organizational boundaries, where you do business, and to identify the refrigerants you own or other sources of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Equally important is to establish a tracking mechanism for determining how much harmful gases are released at any given time. The information and data collected for the emerging refrigerant management programs will enhance and improve atmospheric conditions with specific requirements for reducing carbon (CO2) emissions. By calculating carbon emissions, companies will be able to recognize the extent of their carbon footprint. For companies with multiple locations using refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) systems or heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, the task becomes even more critical. But there is help to address this challenging issue. Emerging software provided by clean-tech development firms track carbon dioxide gas emissions across all sites so companies can do their part to ensure a healthy environment for years to come.
The Financial Times have stated that the UK government has underestimated by as much as 6 times the number of corporate businesses affected by the Carbon Reduction Commitment. The scheme having started on April 1st, it is now suggested that as many as 30,000 businesses may be affected.
The legislation may seem onerous and complex but generally a thorough energy audit can identify easy wins with little capital cost outlay that can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of an organisation.
At Go Green we are able to undertake Building services design consultancy & Energy consultancy commissions throughout the UK. Our Building Services consultants are experienced and specialist areas of expertise.
Growing environmental concerns, the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) and the steady rise in fuel prices have made energy efficiency a key driver for many organisations to consider for sustainable building services design solutions. Enforcement of the Kyoto Agreement and the introduction of policies such as the climate change levy, carbon emissions trading, Part L of the building regulations, and the EPBD have put focus on the energy conservation, sustainable development, and renewable energy sources
Our Building Services design & energy consultants can work direct to private clients, or as part of a corporate multi-disciplinary design team, offering expert strategic advice on infrastructure design(electrical services, public health services, mechanical services), energy procurement, alternative renewable technology options, and meeting sustainability goals. Our approach and design solutions helps to reduce operating costs without impacting on clients’ strategic objective aspirations. Key areas offered are as follows:
Mechanical & Electrical Services Consultancy
Public Health Consultancy
Specialist Lighting Design
Low Zero Carbon (LZC) feasibility studies
Intelligent Building Consultancy
Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Consultancy
Energy Grant advice
For recently constructed projects, we can also carry out a range of post-occupancy energy audits, utility tariff reviews, surveys, and monitoring studies that assess performance and identify wastage. We evaluate operational conditions and put in place procedures to ensure plant and BMS and other service/systems are maintained and set up to maximise energy efficiency, including whole-life cycle commissioning and risk-based maintenance strategies.
In plain and simple English,
WE SAVE OUR CLIENTS TIME & MONEY, WE WILL SAVE YOU TIME & MONEY!
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) tracking and reporting will soon become mandatory in the United States, with the first reports due in early 2011 for the emissions data collected for the 2010 calendar year. The proposed federal law affects businesses and governments with heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems or refrigeration and air-conditioning systems, as well as those who produce industrial chemicals, fossil fuels, cars and engines, and any organization consuming electricity. It is the responsibility of companies to review and comply with the new EPA GHG regulations or face substantial fines down the road.
Greenhouse Gas tracking is outlined in The Climate Registry Protocol, which details the requirements for mandatory monitoring and tracking. The premise around greenhouse gas tracking are included in the U.S. Clean Air Act, aimed at improving air quality and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes mandatory reporting of the gases contributing to global climate change from about 13,000 facilities nationwide. These facilities account for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions within the United States and present a logical starting point for emissions reductions in the US. The regulation would cover companies that either release large amounts of greenhouse gases (GHG) directly or produce or import fuels and chemicals that when burned emit large amounts of carbon (CO2) gases.
One of the major focuses of the Greenhouse Gas tracking protocol is refrigerant gases used in refrigeration and cooling systems by numerous facilities, including manufacturers, food processors, retailers, grocery stores, office buildings, municipalities and hospitals, just to name a few. Because of their chemical makeup, refrigerant gases contain significant levels of carbon in the form of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs). Emission and/or venting of these chemicals were regulated under the U.S. Clean Air Act for several years.
Greenhouse gases (GHGs) as the name implies lead to an increase in heat trapping atmosphere and an ultimate increase in global average tempatures. The intent and overall goal of GHG tracking relates to better collection and management of the emissions data now so informed decisions can be made about future carbon trading schemes. The tracking protocols also help government entities to more accurately inventory the amounts of emissions reaching the atmosphere. The new GHG legislation puts in motion the data collection, organization, and first stage reporting mechanisms to allow the US to accurately calculate and maintain a GHG emissions baseline across the entire economy. This will allow for better understanding today as well as to determine progress for future Cap and Trade programs. With this accurate information, it can be determined if the guidelines are effective in lowering the harmful effects of these substances to the ozone layer.
Greenhouse Gas tracking involves measuring direct and indirect emissions and keeping extensive records on its usage, maintenance, leak containment and disposal. Heating and cooling systems, as well as other energy consumption, are defined as direct emissions.
Better and more effective GHG management is an objective of the current US government. No longer will the US sit by and watch the world attack the issue of climate change. The US is now taking action to lower carbon emissions to the betterment of future generations. By taking no action, the earth’s makeup would significantly change, with humans and animals adversely affected and marine and plant life severely damaged.
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) management and reporting is now falling under the EPA regulations contained within The U.S. Clean Air Act because the causes of global climate change is now well know. Human activities and the use of global warming substances, like refrigerant gases, are all leading to increased global warming. The substances are carbon dioxide, chlorine, bromine, nitrous oxide, chloroflurocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, methane, methyl bromide, methyl chloroform, sulfur hexafluoride, hydroxyl, perfluorocarbobs, halons, carbon tetrachloride, fluorine, and the fluorinated gases hydrofluorinated ethers and nitrogen trifluoride. The mandatory law is aimed at reducing the use of these substances to lower the effects of global warming.
Beginning in 2010, GHG management, tracking, and reporting will be environmental law for the highest emitting facilities. Part of the management will revolve around better tracking and reporting of refrigerant gases. Entities must submit usage reports and service records for all refrigerants having high GWP. Special calculations are applied to refrigerants when any leads occur. The GHG emission reporting rules and related protocols allow for progressive companies to take advantage of software already created to help with carbon emissions reporting. Some web applications allow organizations to track GHGs to the asset level across global, distributed facilities.
Until the end of the 20th Century, most scientists thought they understood the nature of our climate system. As the very foundation of their science, geologists cherished the “uniformitarian principle” that held that the fundamental forces that molded the Earth’s features and climate were gradual, natural, stable processes that did not vary over time scales less than tens of thousands of years.
This idea became central to their training through a century of debate over natural catastrophes such as the biblical account of Noah’s flood. The concept of catastrophic climate change became ‘tainted by association’ with creationist zealots seeking scientific backing for fundamentalist interpretations of Bible passages. And so, such stories came to be considered as purely supernatural events, with no place within the objectivity of science.
Any evidence to the contrary…and there was, in retrospect, plenty of it… was at first readily dismissed. Sudden climate change in the Earth’s past was blurred by imperfect data and lack of refinement in early scientific methods. Where abrupt changes in the geological record were indisputable, these were written off as regional curiosities, arising from purely local impacts – such as a forest fire or the introduction of agriculture – impacts that had nothing to do with climate.
Until dating methods were perfected, chronological correlation of data collected at different locations around the globe was not possible, and even when it was possible, was not at first even pursued. Global changes in climate had different effects in different areas, further complicating the issue and obscuring the true scope of abrupt, world-wide climate shifts.
In fact, the uniformitarian climate paradigm was scarcely doubted until the 1950′s when a group of scientists set up a physical ocean system model that demonstrated that circulation could flip rapidly from one stable state to another. Scientists began to concede that change may only take thousands of years.
This view of the change-rate capacity of climate was reduced to mere hundreds of years in subsequent decades, beginning in the early 1960′s when mathematical models that incorporated climate feedback factors such as snow and ice cover (albedo effects) suggested that global climate really could change enormously in a relatively short time.
In the mid 1960′s deep sea sediment cores finally revealed that the planet had experienced several ice-age cycles of gradual glacial buildups over 90,000 year intervals, punctuated by more rapid 10,000 year de-glaciations. Because of the huge lag between global climate shifts and deep sea temperature responses, even this data belied the extreme magnitude of changes on the surface oceans, land masses and atmosphere.
However, with their old ideas now challenged by these new theories, scientists began to notice the evidence of abrupt changes in their data. Pollen records and improved carbon dating techniques in the 1970′s depicted stable climate periods interrupted by radical discontinuities that took only one or two centuries to totally change the vegetation of a region.
Since then, evidence from other studies such as cores of glacial ice and ocean sediments, has continued to accumulate as methodologies have been progressively refined. This has further built justification for heroic research, by intrepid teams braving hazardous conditions on heaving oceans or bitter, high altitude polar ice sheets, to win samples deep and distinct enough to provide an unambiguous picture of the Earth’s geological and climatic past, a picture that shows that violent, spectacular short-term shifts were common.
As a result, scientists en masse were beginning to entertain the possibility of abrupt change, this new attitude reflected in a statement from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in a 1996 report that concluded that ‘climate surprises’ were possible. The point was not emphasized at the time, and received little press attention. Many scientists also passively rejected the facts by refusing to revise their accustomed ways of thinking about climate.
Not until 2000 did paired ice-cores, extracted by competing teams in Greenland, match to show irrevocable proof of abrupt climate shifts taking effect over mere decades (see R.B. Alley’s book ‘The Two-Mile Time Machine’). Similar cores were drilled in Antarctica and revealed the global scale of the shifts. This forced the climate community to arrive at consensus.
Now respected climate scientists concur that the potential for fast climate change evidently does exist, and could surprise humanity with a climate shock within the lifetimes of you and I. However, the new paradigm has not extended beyond geoscientists to the impacts community – economists and other specialists are slow to turn their attention to the consequences of climate change, and policy makers and the public are even more ignorant of the risks humanity faces.
Because science has been late to wake up to climate change, crucial information about the potential behavior of our climate has only very recently come to light. Relentlessly emerging climate surprises have thrown into painful relief just how inadequate our understanding of the climate system remains. Like a snowball rolling down a mountain, climate change is gathering momentum, racing ahead of even the most pessimistic predictions.
Will you be ready?