A tale of two conferences

Posted by on Jan 16, 2019 in News, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Just before Christmas I took part in two very different conferences, which brought into to stark relief the challenges facing those of us promoting a substantial and rapid reduction in global emissions.

The first event was the prestigious “EngTalk – Excellence in Engineering & Factory Management” event in Berlin, which was attended by over 50 very senior global executives in leading manufacturing firms with roles such as “Director of Innovation”, “VP Manufacturing”, “Industrial Director”, “Head of Engineering” from organisations as diverse as Airbus, Bayer, GE,  Philip Morris International, Philips, Pirelli, Magna, Novartis,  Siemens and Volvo. Although there were presentations, it was less of a conference and more of a networking and idea-sharing event taking place over two days with a strong emphasis on one-to-one meetings and discussions.

My role in the conference was to support Arne Springorun the MD of HE Consulting, an efficiency consultancy based in Prague with which I have had a long and enjoyable collaboration on successful projects such as an energy efficiency programme at SKODA CARS Mlada Boleslav Plant in the Czech Republic. I shared a presentation with Arne and it fell to me, as you can see below, to communicate the urgency of our response to climate change.

 

For a conference that was focusing on the major technical challenges facing manufacturing, the critical – dare I say it, existential – topic of “how to do more with less” was conspicuously absent. The big themes were Automation 4.0, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual and Enhanced Reality, Digitilazation and Big Data. With the exception of the pitch from some innovative compressed air systems manufacturers, energy efficiency was not mentioned by other presenters.

In the 20+ one-to-one conversations I held with these senior executives, there was acknowledgement that climate change is part of the manufacturing agenda. But I got the impression that this was very much taken for granted, placed in the “problem solved” or “in hand” category; an issue to be dealt with in due course, but considerably lower priority than responding to the rapid changes coming about due to technological innovation.  And yet it is these folks – the people who help shape the strategic and investment decisions for their organisations –  who have a commanding role in solving the climate change challenge in industry.

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SustainSuccess is a finalist in the edie 2019 Consultancy of the Year Awards

Posted by on Oct 28, 2018 in News | 0 comments

We are delighted to have been selected as one of the 10 finalists in the edie 2019 sustainability awards in the category of “Consultancy of the Year”.

Our submission spoke passionately about the “need to do more with less” and our belief that our profession – as sustainability practitioners – has a unique and privileged role in solving some the most pressing challenges of our times.

It is a huge honour to have been shortlisted. Being invited to celebrate the enormous contribution of the other finalists is both humbling and inspiring – the calibre of work, outcomes and people involved are truly astonishing.

The main motive behind our entry was to make colleagues aware of the helpful tools we have made available to support energy and resource efficiency. If you are unfamiliar with us, I would invite you to explore our website and take advantage of these resources. These include Niall Enright’s free 840-page textbook on energy and resource efficiency and the lighting hours tool which fills an important data gap for driving better operation of lighting systems.

The award winners will be announced on the 6th of February 2019.

 

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2050 Pathways

Posted by on Sep 13, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

As part of the update of my book, and in preparation for a two-day energy management training course I am delivering shortly,  I revisited the 2050 pathways model for decarbonisation of the UK economy by 80% by 2050.

I took the plunge and completed my own 2050 scenario, achieving an 81% reduction, summarised in the actions illustrated above. My model is heavily focused on the demand-side, as you can see from the red colours in the upper section of the screenshot above. This brings home the fact that no matter how many wind-farms we put up, unless we change our heating and transport to electricity, the supply-side changes will have little effect.

One particular quandary I had was how much land to dedicate to biomass. When I reached 78% emissions reductions, one of the few remaining ways to reach the 80% target was to increase the land use for biomass from 5% to 10%, or start to import biomass, neither of which I wanted to do. In the end, I achieved the target by turning down the average temperature in homes beyond what I really think is feasible. These kinds of decisions bring home the complexity of the energy system and the fact that no single technology can achieve the goal.

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EREWTT Update – v1.3 Sept 2018

Posted by on Sep 9, 2018 in My Book, News | 0 comments

Just to let folks know that I have updated my Book Energy and Resource Efficiency without the tears – the complete guide to adding value and sustaining change in an organisation.

The ability to change the text frequently is one reason why we have chosen to go with “print on demand”. The other is that it has a lower environmental impact as supply matches orders.

The chapter on ISO 50001 has been completely updated as the standard has moved from 50001:2011 to 50001:2018. There have been other updates and corrections throughout the text including checking and updating all the web links in the 800+ bibliography at the end of the book.

The free PDF has been updated as well as the print editions. Please do download the free PDF rather than buy a print version – not only is that more resource efficient but you will always have the up to date version! However, if you absolutely insist on buying a print version, then please do order it through this site.

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Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) – details emerge

Posted by on Jul 20, 2018 in Blog, News | 0 comments

SustainSuccess participated in the government consultation on on the future of streamlined energy and carbon reporting (SECR). The government’s response was published on 18th July. This is our summary:

The new reporting regime follows the abolition of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) at the end of the second phase (31st March 2019 – although Annual Reports will still need to be submitted and allowances paid, so the administrative requirements will continue for a few months).

The £700m income that the CRC provided to the government will be replaced through significant increases in the Climate Change Levy (CCL), which are set to rise from 0.583 p/kWh to 0.847 p/kWh for Electricity and 0.203 p/kWh to 0.399 p/kWh for Natural Gas supplies (45% and 67% respectively, note that CCL other fuels such as LPG will also increase, see this link).

The consultation response (available here) has answered a number of important questions about the new reporting regime. However a number of key issues remain unclear, as set out below.

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Peel Land and Property Group – ISO 50001 system certified for another 3 years

Posted by on Jul 2, 2018 in News | 0 comments

 

 

 

At SustainSuccess we are passionate about helping our clients achieve long-term value from their sustainability initiatives.

Back in 2014, we helped set up Peel Land and Property’s energy management system. When, in 2015, the system was formally certified to the ISO 50001:2011 standard, Peel Land and Property became the first major UK property company to gain this certification.

The Peel 50001 system has been very successful because it has focused on the value-adding aspects of the standard, and because it was built around the ideas and ways of working of the Energy Champions who have day-to-day ownership of the process. Peel’s success can be seen in the outcomes – the energy savings delivered by the team has reached £1.6m a year on a bill of just over £4m – that’s an improvement of over 30%!

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Paris Workshop – EPEE’s HFC Outlook Analyzer

Posted by on Jun 1, 2018 in Blog, News | 0 comments

It was a honour for Niall Enright at SustainSuccess to contribute to an important UNEP workshop in Paris in May.

The workshop involved participants from Gabon, Mali, Senegal, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Honduras, Guatemala and The Dominican Republic. The delegates had come together for an introduction and tutorial about a tool to help their countries forecast future emissions of F-Gasses. Here we all are, in the courtyard of the UNEP offices in Paris.

 

The background is that these F-gasses have a very high global warming potential, and so an international agreement has been reached to phase them out. This agreement is an extension to the Montreal Protocol which is seen as a remarkably successful example  of what can be achieved in global environmental collaboration. The deal on the F-Gases is also named after the city where it was agreed, is it the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

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Manchester Green Summit – Hosted by Andy Burnham

Posted by on Mar 22, 2018 in Articles, News | 0 comments

It was a privilege to participate in the Manchester Green Summit yesterday as the event was heavily over-subscribed. I found the meeting very stimulating with a wide range of views about how Manchester could become the “Greenest” City Region in the UK. Here are my semi-random thoughts on the event…

Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, started proceeding by setting out an aspiration for Manchester to become a zero-carbon city  – although he did not pledge a specific date to achieve this, he did suggest that we should be bold and commit to achieving this at least a decade earlier than the current 2050 target date.

The reason we need this level of urgency was starkly presented by Kevin Anderson from the Tyndal Centre. His brilliant talk cut through all the complexities surrounding emissions goals and reminded us that there is only one thing that matters – the absolute CO2 emissions that we put into the atmosphere. According to research by him and his colleagues we (Greater Manchester) have a budget of just 71 million tonnes of CO2 in order to meet the 2 ºC target we signed up to in the Paris Agreement.  At current rates of emissions we will spend this in just 5-6 years.

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UK Sustainability Expo – shame on you

Posted by on Mar 9, 2018 in News, Uncategorized | 0 comments

This Monday I received an email from John Bent, Event Manager with the The UK Sustainability Expo.

“I was wondering if you would like to discuss the possibility of speaking at The UK Sustainability Expo which is a conference and expo being held on the 26th June in the Ricoh Arena, Coventry”

I am quite regularly approached to speak at events and make a point of carving out the time to attend a few engagements each year. So I checked the date out and responded that I would be available to speak on that date and would look forward to discussing their requirements and seeing if I could cover the subject-matter. It was an event I was unfamiliar with and I like the idea of speaking to new audiences.

A couple of days later I received a phone call from one of the team and was told that “over 500 people had expressed interest in speaking” and that they could offer me a speaking slot as “part of an exhibition package“.

If the basis for their selection of speakers is who is willing to pay for the privilege, then I suspect the presentation will simply be one dull sales pitch after another. Which is sad given the importance of dialog around many of the challenges facing sustainability and efficiency practitioners.

I for one will definitely not be attending, and I thought it would be helpful to let colleagues know.

 

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EU Energy Efficiency – Governments resist the Commission’s vision

Posted by on Mar 6, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The notion of energy efficiency as an energy resource is now widely accepted. Indeed, since the widespread Demand Side Management programs of the 1970’s, these “Negawatts” (a term coined by Amory Lovins) have been quantified in financial terms and compared with supply-side infrastructure investments and shown in most cases to deliver the lowest cost per unit of energy (LCOE), as well a significant environmental benefits such as lower carbon emissions.

Thus it is with some alarm that I have read this morning that elements within the European Council are resisting formally prioritizing efficiency measures in the EU Energy Strategy. For those unfamiliar with how the EU works, here is a simplifcation:

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Book Review from BEC Green in Canada

Posted by on Jan 3, 2018 in My Book, News | 0 comments

Energy and Resource Efficiency without the tears has been reviewed by Cathy Rust on her great green buildings site BEC Green…. This site is a great resource for all things green buildings and sustainability-related.

What I like about Cathy’s posts is that they are so wide-ranging – recent articles have covered: a circular-economy incubator in Rotterdam (entitled “Blue Roof – A Roof Made From Sewage Products“); an update on Californian regulations requiring that out-of-state suppliers of specified building materials (carbon steel rebar, flat glass, mineral wool board insulation and structural steel) submit an Environmental Product Declaration confirming that the products meet the specified carbon emissions; a review of a no clog, low-flow toilet; through to her personal reflections on test-driving an electric car.

The site also has links to a wealth of other sustainability resources and sites, as well as other book reviews.

I must warmly congratulate Cathy on her terrific contribution to her fellow sustainability practitioners and would urge folks to sign up for her blogs which are thought-provoking, insightful and very useful.

 

 

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Key lessons from the EU-ETS BREXIT chaos

Posted by on Dec 6, 2017 in Articles, Blog | 0 comments

The complexity of disentangling the UK from European institutions has been put in sharp relief by the intricate manoeuvring taking place around the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Politicians have been at pains to talk up the simplicity of any transition and the ease with which existing EU environmental legislation will be translated to the UK statutes through a “Great Repeal Bill”. In practice the process is proving to be much more complex.

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Funding for Energy and Resource Efficiency

Posted by on Oct 18, 2017 in Blog, My Book | 0 comments

Survey after survey** of energy management professionals show that a lack of resources is the most commonly cited cause for rejecting investments in energy and resource efficiency projects.

At the same time, the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2012 reported that for their “Efficient World Scenario” that “Additional investment of US$11.8 trillion in more efficient end-use technologies is needed, but is more than offset by a US$17.5 trillion reduction in fuel expenditures and US$5.9 trillion lower supply-side investment.” 

Clearly, a key to success in achieving a more efficient world is down to our ability, as efficiency practitioners, to obtain funding.

The excuse given by decision-makers that “we don’t have the money” is rarely true. If we are honest with ourselves, this response is often due to our own inability as practitioners to create a sufficiently compelling business case – one that addresses the many non-financial barriers that exist. My 840-page book on energy and resource efficiency is largely dedicated to sharing my own experience of these barriers and how they may be overcome:

  • By properly quantifying the value that efficiency generates (e.g. dealing with hidden and missing costs, and valuing co-benefits)
  • By understanding structural barriers (such as split incentives, irreversibility and term issues)
  • By addressing psychological barriers (sunk costs fallacies, loss aversion, certainty bias etc.)

But let’s, for a moment, assume that there really is an availability barrier – i.e. no money.  What then? Well, my book also describes 12 methods, in addition to conventional outright purchase, which can fund efficiency projects. Click the link below for a poster setting out the financial flows, pros and cons of these methods.

For a practical, comprehensive exploration of these challenges, please do download the free PDF of the book available on my website, which also describes each funding technique shown in the poster in detail. The book is full of real-world case studies and useful techniques that can help efficiency practitioners in any organisation, small or large.

In time decision-makers will gain appreciation of the great skills and value that our profession brings to organisations and communities. Indeed it us – efficiency practitioners – who are the key to solving the major challenge of our age: “how to do more with less”. Please do share this link with others to spread the word and share the knowledge.


** see for example: Prindle, William, and Andre de Fontaine. A Survey of Corporate Energy Efficiency Strategies, ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry 5, 13 (2009) or Institute for Building Efficiency. 2013 Energy Efficiency Indicators (2013)

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Why I remain optimistic.

Posted by on Aug 4, 2017 in Articles, Blog | 0 comments

Several pieces of news have caught my attention in the last few days which have challenged my generally positive outlook on climate change issues. Despite this, I remain stubbornly optimistic about our ability to rise collectively to the challenges we face, as I will explain…. first though, the bad news…

 

Let’s start with the report from the BBC of a recent study by  Eun-Soon Im, Jeremy S. Pal, and Elfatih A. B. Eltahir. This considered an aspect of global warming which, I must admit, has passed me by – that is the impact of temperature on human survival. Not, I hasten to add, the conventional “dry bulb” temperature measurement we are all familiar with from weather forecasts (and which are hitting all-time highs in Europe in the last few days, in excess of 43 °C in Cordoba, in the south of Spain, for example) but rather the more esoteric “wet bulb” temperature.

This measurement is the lowest temperature that can be achieved by evaporating water from a surface. In a low humidity environment, the wet bulb temperature can be considerably lower than the dry bulb temperature (as heat energy – aka latent heat – is needed to evaporate the liquid water, so lowering the temperature of the surface). As the moisture in the atmosphere rises, however, the potential for further evaporation decreases and so the wet bulb temperature approaches the dry bulb temperature until we reach 100% humidity, when both temperatures are the same.  

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