Tag Archives: co2

Recent Reading …

This is the first in a regular series covering pieces I have been reading online that I think are worthy of further sharing. Followers on twitter, linkedin and to a lesser degree on Instgram will be aware that I regularly share items relating to sustainability, the built environment and our relationship with the outdoors and nature. However posts there can be flitting and often difficult to track down and return to. They will hopefully have a longer life here.

Articles, papers and images that catch my eye, or as a result of a search I move into my ever growing Instapaper (and occasionally Evernote) Library. This enables me to read offline, and importantly to keep and or return to for reference: here are a few recents:

Sustainability

Patagonia is in business to save our home planet  For the past 45 years, Patagonia has been a business at the cutting edge of environmental activism, sustainable supply chains, and advocacy for public lands and the outdoors. Its mission has long been “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”But for Yvon Chouinard, that’s not enough. So this week, the 80-year-old company founder and Marcario informed employees that the company’s mission statement has changed to something more direct, urgent, and crystal clear: “Patagonia is in business to save our home planet.”

Chasing the Sun by Linda Geddes review – why we don’t get enough natural light. Guardian review of Linda Geddes book exploring the importance of sunlight and circadian rhythms for our wellbeing. Chasing the sun is an interesting insight to add to the current interest in biophilia thinking.

Ten lessons for embedding sustainability across the business Sue Garrard, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership Senior associate and Unilever’s former EVP Sustainable Business, was responsible for leading and embedding the company’s ambitious USLP (the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan) into the business and ensuring progress against its 70-plus time bound targets. Here she provides 10 lessons for embedding sustainability across the business.

To get to a circular economy we have to change not just the cup, but the culture. Lloyd Alter explores the circular economy in the ‘coffee delivery system’ from the CE 3 principles (to Design out waste and pollution, to Keep products and materials in use, and to Regenerate Natural Systems)


Image food for thought: Disturbing images like this emphasis the need for urgency in our sustainability actions. The Pastoruri glacier, part of the Cordillera Blanca.

Built Environment

Net Gain: A developer’s commitment to enhancing biodiversity. Natural England blog from Louise Clarke, Head of Sustainable Places at Berkeley Group, outlining the organisation’s approach to biodiversity net gain

Manchester commits to making all new buildings ‘net-zero’ by 2028. Edie Article: The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has pledged to ensure that all new buildings erected in the city region will be ‘net-zero’ carbon by 2028

Concrete responsible for 8 per cent of all CO2 emissions. Research by the think tank Chatham House underlines the need for drastic changes in the production and use of concrete, the world’s most used man-made material, because of the way in which cement is made.

Outdoors / Nature

Plantwatch: is sphagnum the most underrated plant on Earth? Sphagnum is probably the most underrated plant on Earth. This humble little moss makes up the bulk of our peat bogs and holds up to 20 times its weight in water. That makes boglands huge sponges that store water, slowing its flow and helping prevent flooding downstream.

What I’ve Been Reading Online Recently. Chris Townsend’s blog that inspired this approach to reshaping what I have been reading.

Image food for thought: Human Modification v Ecological Integrity. Shared at #Rewilding2019

The Search for England’s Forgotten Footpaths.  Article by Sam Knight in The New Yorker on our English footpaths “The Countryside and Rights of Way Act created a new “right to roam” on common land, opening up three million acres of mountains and moor, heath and down, to cyclists, climbers, and dog walkers. It also set an ambitious goal: to record every public path crisscrossing England and Wales by January 1, 2026”

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So what was / is Climate Week Paris and how relevant to the built environment?

You couldn’t have missed the #CWParis hashtag and tweets from the Business Climate Summit in twitter streams over the past few days. The Climate Week Paris business meeting hosted by The Climate Group was scheduled six months before Paris hosts the UN conference where almost 200 countries are set to seal a (yet another) global climate change pact.

Key events included a Business & Climate Summit and Climate Finance Day, with world’s leading companies and policymakers brought together to demonstrate that low carbon makes good business, and good environmental sense

There were calls from many company executives at Paris urging governments to introduce more carbon pricing systems, such as a carbon tax or emissions trading schemes.

Relevance to built environment

With the Built Environment contributing the (rule of thumb) 40% of Carbon emissions, and a huge influence on business operation the sector had a presence through advocacy organisations and businesses with large built environment assets, but from reports seen and feeds followed, there was a very low presence from built environment providers – if any!

A high level session on transition to a ‘Low Carbon Built Environment’ (with a panel led by Christiana Figueres @CFigueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and chaired by Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Director of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership) discussed how “architect, town planners and engineers, collaborating with the construction, real-estate, materials & technology and financial communities, could showcase solutions for the built environment that can be deployed in Europe and inspire worldwide action”

One of the main points addressed was the lack of visibility suffered by the construction sector, as topics like energy efficiency and net positive standards are often seen as highly-technical and not understood by the general public.

Key to meeting the global goal of decarbonisation by 2050 is seen as the transition of new and existing buildings to EU Net Energy Standards . The EU Standard Requires “Member States shall ensure that by 31 December 2020 all new buildings are nearly zero-energy buildings; and after 31 December 2018, new buildings occupied and owned by public authorities are nearly zero-energy buildings”

Marks and Spencer (M&S) announced that they joined RE100, a global initiative for major companies committing to 100% renewable power, through their Plan A programme to lower carbon emissions from their activities and building operations.

The World Green Build Council promoted and launched its BuildUpon report during Climate Week Paris, aiming to create a building renovation revolution in Europe. See the Imagine a Built Environment that Enables a High Quality of Life for All  report

The BuildUpon report includes two notable actions,

  • identifying and engaging with ‘Unusual Suspects’, those not as yet engaged in the low carbon built environment dialogue.
  • A proposed open source wiki for information, the RenoWiki, a comprehensive summary of renovation initiatives across the 13 project EU countries, “to bring clarity on how national renovation strategies can strategically build upon the current landscape and how identified solutions might be scaled-up across other countries”

And, as reported in the Guardian Article “in an unprecedented alliance, 25 global news publishers have agreed to share climate change content to raise awareness in the runup to the next UN summit and agreed to scrap licensing fees for climate change content so that members of the alliance can freely republish articles.”

A call then to the Built Environment news publishers to do similar, to share climate change content and bring that content out from behind paywalls?

(I am grateful for informative tweets, sharing news and links from Climate Week Paris from friend , @WeMeanBusiness, @GuardianSustBiz, @SDDecleve @ClimateGroup and others in Paris)

Managing Construction Carbons

Managing construction carbon is an essential part of successful project management.

If you are not already using constructco2, here is our latest update release for the ConstructCO2 carbon monitoring toolkit…

As part of the annual review of the ConstructCO2 toolkit’s conversion factors we have updated the Modes of Transport to match those published this year by DEFRA and the Carbon Trust. These updates ensure that we are in line with industry standards and reflect the emission improvements declared by DEFRA every year.

We are aware that many users are now using ConstructCO2 carbon footprint in connection with ISO 14001, Carbon Trust  Standard, ISO 9001 and other standards. You may be interested to know that we offer an independent audit and verification service to verify the accuracy of your data within ConstructCO2. Please do get in touch to discuss

We are also aware that some early adopters may not be fully using some of the more recent additions and improvements to the toolkit, therefore we will be running webinar refresher sessions in the autumn. More news and dates soon.

To assist in publicly demonstrating your commitment in measuring and reducing your projects carbon footprint we have developed:

Reducing Construction Carbon - InfographicA Reducing Carbon Action Planning Infographic to assist strategic and operational carbon reduction:

 

Project Carbon Performance Posters to communicate carbon progress and engagement with those on site:Ashford School CCO2 A2 Poster

 

 

 

 

 

and ConstructCO2 Banners, with QR codes allowing progress checks on performance:cco2 banner

We are very keen to hear your improvement suggestions to incorporate, or you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact us.  Also if you are not currently using ConstructCO2 but would like a free trial just ask!

Construction virtual trade show for Europe

60199455601729109971916966764nfSave money!  Reduce CO2 emissions!  and visit leading innovative sustainable construction solutions and projects from across the European continent.

UPDATE: Construction21 Chapters and Green Building Councils from France, Spain, Italy, Poland, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia and Montenegro have joined Construction21EXPO, with many more to be announced shortly.

Construction21EXPO EUROPE be held the 18th & 19th of February 2014 and will bring together 500 exhibitors and 20,000 participants including architects, engineers, project managers, investors, and other essential stakeholders.

Exhibitors will be able to reach the most active green building professionals across Europe with a very small investment. Exhibitors can gather high quality sales leads from EXPO visitors from both existing and new markets for sustainable construction solutions.

Booth setup is very simple but will create very attractive exhibits with your desired branding. Review the website and watch the video at Construction21EXPO.eu to see the conversational features and rich interactive experience our virtual tradefair will provide.  Fees are explained in the Exhibitor section of the EXPO website.

Potential exhibitors will also want to visit the Construction21EXPO EUROPE Community to download theIntroduction document highlighting more details on the event plan.

Related on isite: Living Building Challenge UK is UK Partner for EXPO

Construction CSR – A Clients View

At the launch of the British Land Corporate Responsibility Report 2013,  Head of Planning and Corporate Responsibility, Adrian Penfold, gave people the chance to quiz him on our approach to corporate responsibility and on our plans for the future.

Here are Adrian’s responses to the questions we received via Twitter@BritishLandCR (original wording kept for all questions, including abbreviations).

Of course, I was particularly interested in my question:

Adrian, What do you see as key drivers for Corp Responsibility in built environ. over next 5 yrs? By Martin Brown @fairsnape

At a corporate level, we have identified three key drivers for corporate responsibility in general over the next five years:

  • Resource shortages and unpredictable climate patterns posing ever-greater risks to wellbeing and economic stability in developed and developing nations.
  • Public concern about how businesses operate leading people to ask questions about the role of business in shifting to more sustainable models of consumption and supporting wider societal needs.
  • Local, national and global issues stemming from low economic growth, challenges in accessing employment and skills shortages.

For the built environment, I think regulation will play an important part, particularly Minimum Energy Performance Standards and Building Regulations. But I believe the real changes are coming through in the attitudes of our customers. In our recent experience, Marks & Spencer and UBS are for example both very challenging in the environmental criteria that they require, particularly on new buildings. We welcome this, as we are well positioned to work with them in this area, and we expect to see more of this kind of requirement from other businesses.

Do read the whole article for similar comments on the built environment current challenges of wellbeing, energy, co2, green leases and green deal.

In addition to the comments this is another brilliant example illustrating the maturity of twitter in the built environment / corporate social responsibility sector, and why it should be a key tool for construction boards strategy planning.

The Carbon Cycle: Transition Event

In 2006 Kate Rawles cycled 4553 miles from Texas to Alaska. Along the way she talked to ordinary Americans about their views on climate change and saw for herself some of what’s at stake.

In 2012 she published a book about her amazing journey. The Carbon Cycle

Now Kate’s coming to Garstang to give a first-hand account of the trip and talk about its lessons and implications. Admission is free but space is limited; if you can, please confirm your attendance by email to carbongarstang@icloud.com

Carbon Cycle Poster Web

Carbon taxes to deliver ‘free’ #GreenDeal home improvements? #CSR

Reducing carbon emissions and lifting home owners out of fuel poverty traps were central to the development of Green Deal.  Reducing CO2 through Green Deal was part of the government’s fourth Carbon Budget to deliver the Climate Change Act 2008.

Yet amidst all the financial  assessment and standards debates over the last 12 months, these drivers seem to have taken second place.

I have commented elsewhere that if the Government were serious on these two aims they would fund home improvements directly, rather than through complex repayment schemes. In addition to reducing CO2 it would of course create employment and have other financial spending knock ons. After all if our social housing stock was still within local council or government control would this not be the approach taken?

Good then to see the report and study from Consumer Focus, showing that a Government carbon tax based energy efficiency infrastructure investment could:

  • Generate up to 71,000 jobs and boost GDP by 0.2% by 2015 and create up to 130,000 jobs by 2027.
  • Lift up to nine out of ten households out of fuel poverty, reducing energy bills in all treated homes by at least £200 per year
  • Cut household energy consumption by 5.4 per cent by 2027 and quadruple the impact of the government’s energy savings schemes – Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation
  • Cut overall carbon emissions by 1.1 per cent, including household emissions reduced by around 5.6% by 2027

Mike O’Connor, Chief Executive at Consumer Focus, said:  Using carbon taxes to ensure our homes leak less energy represents a triple-whammy. This would simultaneously improve the quality of life of millions of people, slash carbon emissions and generate greater economic growth than other measures.

Government has the opportunity to use the large and stable revenues from carbon taxes to deliver the most breathtaking and transformative energy efficiency scheme that we have ever seen.’ 

But why wait? This could be a hugely powerful CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility, opportunity. Construction projects and organisations could voluntarily offset CO2 emissions (if offset is the right word here) by improving the energy performance of badly insulated homes and families trapped in fuel poverty, within their community or neighbourhoods.

A rough calculation shows that if we value carbon tax at 20/tonne, a carbon tax scheme or voluntary CSR scheme would generate 2000 for each million of construction value, (based on Constructco2 construction project emissions)

Certainly enough to improve a good number of fuel poverty trap homes across the UK