Last week’s read focused on Energy Security and how it is linked to Energy Poverty, Energy access and what role they all play in the Climate Risk Matrix.
We can reveal that for a nation to be energy sufficient, the country’s Climate Policy should seek to optimise Energy Security in a manner that can sustainably support industrialisation.
To achieve this optimisation at scale national policy interventions are critical. Technology and ongoing research shows that adoption of efficient energy technologies plays a significant role on climate. To this end, Energy Performance Contracts and Green Buildings policies have often been employed as a form of Climate Action.
Recently, a Not-for-profit Organisation called Green Buildings Council of Zimbabwe (www.gbczw.org.zw) was formed. Its objective is modernise existing and new the real estate developments to be adaptive and responsive to the environment with special emphasis and advocacy on development of policies, tools and regulations for Green buildings and energy efficiency in Zimbabwe.
The council strongly believes in sustainability which delivers the present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs
This articles interrogates the fundamentals of Green Buildings, and Energy Performance contracting in relation to Climate and Energy Efficiency.
The Environmental Protection Agency (USA) defines Green Building as “the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction” This concept covers the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort with a view to achieve a sustainable high performance building.
Energy Star ® defines Energy efficiency as “using less energy to get the same job done – and in the process, cutting energy bills and reducing pollution.” Most of the gadgets we have at our homes, offices and industry use more energy than they actually need as a result of inefficiencies and energy waste. Energy efficiency eliminates energy waste and lowers energy costs.
If energy losses are reduced, consequently we put less strain on the current power generation assets and hence less fossil fuel usage.
The use of energy efficient technologies is Climate Action in the sense that it reduces carbon emissions, cleans the air we breathe, help families meet their budgets, and help businesses improve their bottom lines.
Energy Performance Contract
The European Energy Efficiency Platform defines Energy Performance Contracting as “a form of ‘creative financing’ for capital improvement which allows funding energy upgrades from cost reductions.
This is how it works; A certified contractor implements a project to deliver energy efficiency, or a renewable energy project, and uses the stream of income from the cost savings, or the renewable energy produced, to repay the costs of the project, including the costs of the investment.
The contractor guarantees energy savings from the project and will not receive payment unless the project delivers energy savings as per contract. For example, a hotel may contract a professional firm to implement technologies that reduce its lighting and heating bill by 40%.
The contractor guarantees at least a 40% saving and payment for their services will only come on condition that the promised energy savings are met.
Once the contractor has been paid, the excess funds from the energy savings can be ploughed back to fund other capital projects like the generation of cleaner and renewable energy sources that have a direct impact on climate.
Current technology and research efforts point to energy efficiency as a pathway for carbon mitigation, limiting energy use, improving buildings’ enhancing energy performance, and reducing energy consumption to achieve sustainable buildings. Sustainable buildings have become a key issue for many developing and developed countries in the twenty-first century.
The global population is expected to be 9.7 billion by 2050. This increase in the global human count is supposed to be matched with corresponding demand for water, energy, and natural resources.
The shift in these dynamics will put pressure on the ecosystem’s equilibrium and consequently on energy utilisation on the built environment. With building sector energy requirements of around 30%–40% of global energy demand, it is critical to embed sustainability in buildings as a way to objectively reducing these negative impacts.
A case in point, China has adopted two energy performance benchmarking methods—the Evaluation Standard for Green Building and the National Public Buildings Energy-efficiency Design Standards.
Research has shown that these measures have reduced energy consumption in public buildings, thus promoting and developing low-carbon economy.
Energy performance Contracts present an attractive business opportunity for the real estate, construction and energy industry. Energy performance Contracts help build capacity to invest into Climate Action without the need to look for external sources of funds.
Power utilities should also start leveraging on technologies that improve the power plant energy conversion efficiencies. Most power generation assets are operating below their name plate capacity. If energy conversion efficiencies are addressed, utilities will be able to generate more power with the same amount of emissions.
Our online research portal is still under construction. In the next few weeks we will also launch a social media platform where we can share trending articles and views in the Climate space. Next week we take a look at pathways to sustainable industrialisation and its impact on Climate.
Your feedback is important to us. You can reach us on firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, peer reviews or suggestions on any hot topics on Climate Change that you would want us to feature on your favourite column.
Till next week, let’s always be conscious of our actions and how they impact on Climate Change.
Mike Eric Juru is the Chairman of the Green Building Council of Zimbabwe. He writes in his personal capacity. You can reach us on email@example.com with comments, peer reviews or suggestions on any hot topics on Climate Change that you would want us to feature in the column.