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Energy Efficient Buildings are a tribute to the Environment


It is being foretold by many experts, that it would be innovative business strategy and restructuring of the Corporate conduct which would help stop Global Warming.  The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and The CII -ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development (CIICESD) are perhaps the vanguard for abatement of Climate Change, should one agree to the statement above.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The CIICESD which generates awareness & thought leadership, and builds organization capacity to achieve sustainability and the WBCSD which is a CEO-led organization of forward-thinking companies that galvanizes the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment. These organisations, soon be able to convince all business to morph into what is now becoming popular in the USA and soon would encompass the World, the B-CORP . It is not only the matter of Salvation of the Earth, but deeply entwined with Earth’s fate is the survival of the Business community and thus by default the modern society itself.

Close cooperation between all stakeholders in society is essential to creating a sustainable future for business, society and the environment. And the key elements of all business revolve around 3 fundamental needs of humans – Food, Clothing and Shelter.

Se below

Se below (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Sustainable village would be one which is fashioned such, that it ultimately provides near self sufficiency in most areas and excel in some; which become the  core trading with other self-sufficient towns but lacking expertise or sufficiency in those which the other has. Thus a perfect symbiosis and balance can be achieved. But the first step to obtain the desired level of sustainability and making it norm, would require us to build the new cities and retro-fit, where possible the old ones in accordance to the ideas of sustainability.  Below is an attempt to provide a very brief over-view of what should be achieved.

THE BUILDING SECTOR

The building sector can be viewed as being comprised of two broad elements:

Residential buildings — housing the population; and

Commercial buildings — housing a range of activities including retail trade, accommodation, business services, government and government agencies, recreation and cultural services and industry, which represents around two thirds of national employment.

Component parts of the building sector are noted in chart

Residential Building Commercial Building
Detached housesAttached dwellingsBuildings containing two or more sole occupancy units Wholesale tradeRetailAccommodation, cafes and restaurantsCommunication servicesFinance and insuranceProperty and business servicesGovernment administration andDefense

Education

Health and community services

Cultural and recreational services

Personal and other services

The estimate of greenhouse gas emissions due to energy consumption in the building sector takes account of:
1. The amount of energy consumed; [inclusive of embodied energy in materials]
2. The mix of fuels used;
3. The average greenhouse gas emissions from the different fuels (electricity is treated as a fuel); and
4. Upstream emissions from transmission and other activities.

The electricity consumed within a building is only a part of the energy used to support that demand. A large amount of electricity and greenhouse gas emissions is also involved in distribution, transmission and generation. When reducing demand for electricity it is practical to eliminate the need for this upstream energy use and GHG emissions. A larger proportion of GHG emissions are attributable to the building sector than its share of energy use because the building sector uses greenhouse gas intensive energy. Notably the building sector energy end use is dominated by electricity consumption which is dominated by coal fired generation located at the end of long transmission networks.

Emissions from the building sector are broadly of the same scale as emissions produced by the entire transport sector.

Facts
• Buildings’ share of final energy consumption: 30-40%
• Global CO2 emissions from energy in buildings (2005): 9Gt
• Estimated growth by 2050 in all 6 EEB regions: 76%
• Growth in global population by 2050: 2.7 billion or 42%

Many energy efficiency projects are feasible with today’s energy costs. Building energy efficiency investments in the six EEB regions (Brazil, China, Europe, India, Japan and the US) studied, totalling US$ 150 billion annually, will reduce related energy use and the corresponding carbon footprint in the range of 40% with five-year discounted paybacks for the owners. A further US$ 150 billion with paybacks between five and 10 years will add 12 percentage points and bring the total reduction to slightly more than half.
(WBCSD-2010)

THE ABATEMENT POTENTIAL

The building sector could reduce its GHG emissions by 30–35 per cent by 2050 on an economic basis. Economic in this context means that the initial costs would be offset — and in many cases be more than offset — by subsequent energy savings over time.

In the residential sector changes can be achieved through:
1. Substitution for more energy efficient light fittings;
2. Greater use of natural light;
3. Substitution for more efficient refrigeration;
4. Adoption of more efficient hot water appliances with solar where possible;
5. Adoption of appliances with a low standby energy use;
6. The introduction of more efficient heating and cooling mechanical systems; and better insulation.
7. Where possible use of Renewable Energy solutions as feasible.

In commercial buildings substantial savings to both costs and greenhouse gas emissions could be generated by:
1. Improving air conditioning systems efficiency and including ‘economy’ cycles;
2. Use of natural ventilation where possible;
3. The use of more efficient office appliances;
4. Better insulation;
5. Improved heating and ventilation;
6. The use of efficient light fixtures;
7. Upgrading to more efficient water heating systems; and
8. Where possible use of Renewable Energy solutions as feasible.

Under each area, detailed topics have been sorted out according to time span to wide adoption in construction:
1. State-of the art [current situation]: technologies that are already commonly used in the industry form the baseline for future development,
2. Short term […2013]: technologies that are available and are ready for being used in construction;
3. Medium term […2020]: technologies that offer beneficial opportunities for construction but need to be adopted or further developed for construction.
4. Long term […2030]: emerging new technologies that are deemed to offer benefits to construction in ling term in applications that still need to be identified.

STATE-OF THE ART & SHORT TERM ACTIONS:

1. Design and demonstrate energy positive new building solutions:
1. RE -driven µCHCP [“combined heat, cooling, and power production”]
2. Smart & small AHU
3. Passive energy storing construction materials/design
4. LED/Induction Lighting
5. Smart glazing
6. E&C [effective daylight capture through ceiling]
2. Design and demonstrate prefabricated and modular energy retrofit solutions, like:
1. Multifunctional building envelope solutions
2. Low temperature heating and cooling solutions [ LowEX ]
3. Hybrid ventilation solutions
4. Advanced lighting solutions
5. Building and community systems
3. Develop performance indicators and criteria for sustainability, environmental impacts and GHG reductions in buildings [ low energy class, energy star , etc]
4. Develop advanced control system, sensor networks, user-interfaces and information management technology to improve energy efficiency and reduce negative environmental impacts in buildings and communities : wireless sensor/ actuator network; smart meters; dynamic heat and power grids.

Note:
End-use efficiency gains are likely to take the lion’s share of energy reductions, and in many cases will be the most economically viable option. Analysis of the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from energy shows that substantial reductions are needed both in energy generation and consumption.

There are three elements:
1. Use less energy – cut buildings’ energy demand by improved design, using insulation and equipment that is more energy efficient
2. Make more energy locally – produce energy locally from renewable and otherwise wasted energy resources
3. Share energy – create buildings that can generate surplus energy and feed it into an intelligent grid infrastructure to balance the energy needs of other buildings

MEDIUM & LONG TERM ACTIONS:

5. Design and demonstrate more solutions for energy positive buildings [new & retrofit]:
1. Vacuum frame
2. Cabrio-facades
3. Lego (retrofitting) building elements & interior furbishing
4. Compact seasonal heat/cold storages
6. Demonstrate Zero -or Plus-Energy communities
1. Intuitive, educational, self-learning E & C ms
2. HRU-bank for HHA [and waste water]
7. Develop more solutions for energy positive new buildings and retrofit:
1. Thermo-chemical material for heat storage
2. Daylight storage
3. H2produced from the sun
4. Vacuum envelope
8. Develop solutions supporting energy positive communities:
1. Energy -HUB; economic driven buildings [industry] & transport
2. DC grids
3. PV&T wipe & pipe free
4. Wireless energy exchange
9. Demonstrate Sustainable communities
1. Economic efficiency by integrated system optimization [optimal use of energy]

It is now time that all stake-holders, should enter the market, there are opportunities for architects, engineers, property developers, the finance community and others in the building sector to capitalize on energy efficiency opportunities to build the “hybrid house”.

Private Sector Jobs - April 2011

Private Sector Jobs – April 2011 (Photo credit: Leader Nancy Pelosi)

Business which are totally moribund can be revitalized with new energy and direction. Architects should be ready to take the responsibility to act as the integrator of different systems, building parts and services into a solution that fulfils the end-user’s needs. And create Buildings that are G.O.L.D (Globally Optimised Locally Designed). Instead of components or buildings, offering integrated and performance based solutions for energy efficient & environmentally friendly buildings and communities that support sustainability.

Courtesy: WBCSD

 

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Renewable Energy is viable..period.


The preamble

The power of raw sunshine at midday on a cloudless day is 1000 W per  square meter. We can turn this raw power into useful power in four ways:

1. Solar thermal: using the sunshine for direct heating of buildings or water.

2. Solar photovoltaic: generating electricity.

3. Solar biomass: using trees, bacteria, algae, corn, soy beans, or oilseed to make energy fuels, chemicals, or building materials.

4. Food: the same as solar biomass, except we shovel the plants into humans or other animals.

David JC MacKay

With the run-up to Rio+20 Summit and the UNEP driven Future Cities program the use of RE especially Solar becomes more and more important.

With the tremendous pressure all Nations are facing over Environmental Impacts from their citizens, who are getting more and more aware about the disasters non-sustainable living; Bangkok would be a very recent example; RE in all form would have to be accepted and assimilated main-stream. Let there be no confusion that the Economy of the world are driven by three basic needs from time immemorial – Food, Clothing & Shelter. I will deal separately the issues of Energy -Water in detail later.

Food – Requires energy, from plantation to processing to cooking.

Clothing – Textile industry are considered one of the high energy usage sector.

Shelter – About 40% of GHG (green house gas) comes from building related activities.

In many countries Sustainable Building design have been adopted in form of BREEAM, LEED, IGBC etc. Nations have committed to the UNFCCC agenda of keeping the world temperature from rising another 2°c. All that requires tremendous dedicated effort from all sectors.

And most importantly, busting the myth of negative Return on Investment (RoI) put forward by the fossil fuel industry.

The Argument

In my opinion, if the home I live in sinks under the sea because I refused to pay a little more now to avail RE sources for my energy needs over coal/oil, I don’t think myself much of an economist.

An economist is a person who plans for the welfare of generations to come, albeit his own. Given the fuel lobbyist are pandering to this very self agenda, however there is a small flaw – their path would just sink the landmass; not much of an economic playing field will be then left, for the future generation !

Having said that, let’s see if we can still make a case of RoI with using RE in its present economic form. Today the cost of generation of power is “compared to” the cost of generation of power via fossil fuel. This in itself is a flawed argument. As I’m not an economist, my examples would be simple. Also I would perhaps not be 100% accurate in my assessment.

Now to begin with my theory – Fossil fuel has been used as a primary source of energy since man learned to control fire; however it was during the industrial revolution with the advent of steam engine did the consumption of fossil fuel jump exponentially. But if documents are researched, energy from fossil fuel driven carts would not have been cheaper than horse driven carriages in the then predominantly agrarian era. Neither was flying over ship when its time came!

It was only by economy of scale that these things became “cheaper”. Also because they became popular, flying though costlier than travel by ship saved time, thus the merchant could do more business within the allotted time, than waste more of it via land/sea travel. So even if flying (even today) is costlier than sea/land travel, the business person calculates his RoI in the form of time saved! Now if for some reason the venture fails, then the RoI becomes bad. So for a successful business person air-travel is good RoI and for the other bad! So in lay-man terms RoI is a subjective matter. It depends on what is the datum of your argument. I have as yet to see any person who buys a fuel guzzling car ever calculate RoI. Therefore RoI is a concept which needs to be researched better.

Further warming up to this argument, how does one say that the cost of generation from Thermal power is cheaper than Renewable Energy? Does it factor in the destruction – ecological, social & physical (pollution leads to host of diseases)? Moreover, it can but consumed only once. You burn the coal or oil, it would not come back to you, and you can’t replenish it via any natural process. It can be argued that the paradigm of Business is different from literally logic which perhaps is what I’m professing. However with “Eurocracy” in serious danger perhaps all business models need to be restructured.

The Solution

Now, having vented my exasperation on the fossil fuel lobby’s clever wining technique, let us dwell on the subject of improving the reach of Sustainable energy production. Just as any new technology in its infancy faces teething trouble, so is the RE industry.

Amongst all, Solar is the most promising and perhaps therefore faces most challenges. Its plant efficiency factor is very low, it uses large surface area and the present technique of trapping the solar rays are perhaps cumbersome. But given dedicated research and analysis, it is perhaps the best bet. Because there are two things one can bet his last dollar on, the Sunshine and the Breeze. As long as the Earth is there these two would be available for sure.( so would geothermal & wave, but that’s another story) Having understood that, what can we do to make this industry stand on its own? For that we would need changes in mass thinking. Once that is achieved the political class would seal the deal.

To change the mass thinking we need to bring RE into their everyday lives. In India we have the Prime Minister driven Nation Action Plan on Climate Change. Through these the Government is trying to make at first the 9 Industry sectors energy efficient. However the Building Industry is untouched at the moment. Even then if amongst the 9 sectors (Aluminum; Cement; Chlor-alkali; Fertilizer; Iron & Steel; Pulp& Paper; Power; Textile & Railways) have role of the Building industry; as each need their HQ and other Administrative blocks for operations.

 If 10% of energy use for these industries on their above mentioned assets is made mandatory along with offsetting another 5% of energy use by their respective employees residence, we will begin with a massive program, which will truly bring in the scale required to make RE viable. Most importantly, it would act as a compromise. A compromise between the Government who would want NMEEE and PAT to be viable as soon as possible and the said Industrial sectors which is putting forth their argument of the trails & tribulations.

India should lead the SAARC nations in providing  Solar -RE for its rural and most importantly Tier-II, III & IV towns and cities. This is because, availability of roof-top to pattern of consumption; is complementary to each-other. That is, most of the residential buildings are single owner 1-3 storied buildings with ample roof and land area. Along with it the residents are yet to be “spoilt” by the crass consumerist life-style which the mega-cities of India have taken to, in its quest to become more “western”. They by default consume less energy and this itself becomes an advantage to put small systems on their roof-tops to amply fulfill their energy needs.

Already most countries are familiar with “Green Building” concepts through LEED / GRIHA / BREEAM etc. Energy efficiency is becoming important to sustainable living and the concept of “Green Power” is getting introduced by these rating systems. Here too through local legislation or voluntary CSR 25% of a residential complex (min 100 flats) power needs could be through Solar PV. This would translate to the power consumed by the lift, gate/boundary lights and other common space lighting. Though the need for space to power the demand may not get fulfilled by the roof-tops alone, innovative and practical ideas are available! In sustainable terms if say each & every society of say, a city like Mumbai, more importantly the affluent districts in the city adopt the Solar roof-top solution the State of Maharashtra can better manage its Energy problems.

Translate this concept to New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore or Hyderabad and we can already see RoI of solar extremely practical.

Perhaps it can also inspire other countries to love Ra – the Sun God, as Civilization did when it began its journey!

 

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Green House Gases: Reduce it to earn Carbon Credits


Clean Development Mechanism, earn you Carbon Credits. It also helps reduce the pollution which is an invisible killer. And no, the earth dust & wood smoke we all see in films on African & Indian documentaries don’t kill. The killer gases are slick city dwellers.

Having said that, let us understand what is “pollution” to appreciate the immediate and urgent need for each one of us to act to reduce it in every sphere of our life-style.

Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution became a popular issue after World War II, due to radioactive fallout from atomic warfare and testing.Till then a non-nuclear event, “The Great Smog” of 1952 in London, killed at least 4000 people. (which is a very small number in todays unprecedented and urgent situation, hurtling headlong towards us and expected to hit by 2017, as per the SREX report.)

Pollution control is a term used in environmental management. In the hierarchy of controls, pollution prevention and waste minimization are more desirable than pollution control. In the field of land development, low impact development is a similar technique for the prevention of urban run-off.

Let us examine in brief the top 5 GHG : 1.CO2 :Carbon Dioxide. 2.CH4 :Methane. 3. N2O: Nitrous Oxide. 4. O3: Ozone 5. SP: Suspended Particles . A detailed report of the effects of these can be found in the internet, should one chooses to read. The chart shows how much GHG is emitted sector wise. However I think SO2F2: Sulfuryl Fluoride should also be included in the top 5 as its more harmful than CO2.

Now there are also Naturally occurring greenhouse gases. They include water vapour, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and ozone (O3). Several classes of halogenated substances that contain fluorine, chlorine, or bromine are also greenhouse gases, but they are, for the most part, solely a product of industrial activities. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are halocarbons that contain chlorine, while halocarbons that contain bromine are referred toas bromofluorocarbons (i.e., halons). Some other fluorine containing halogenated substances—hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)—do not deplete stratospheric ozone but are potent greenhouse gases.There are also several gases that, although they do not have a commonly agreed upon direct radiative forcing effect, do influence the global radiation budget. These tropospheric gases— referred to as ambient air pollutants—include carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and tropospheric (ground level) ozone (O3). Tropospheric ozone is formed by two precursor pollutants, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the presence of ultraviolet light (sunlight). Aerosols—extremely small particles or liquid droplets—often composed of sulfur compounds, carbonaceous combustion products, crustal materials and other human induced pollutants— can affect the absorptive characteristics of the atmosphere.

We live in and work in buildings which use various types of building materials most of them are cause of Environmental degradation which the average person is not aware of.  About 40% of the Global Green House Gas (GHG) is emitted through building related activities and 60% of this pollution occur post occupancy in form of municipal waste etcetera to indirect pollution via consumption of electricity, which generally coming from Thermal Power plants which burn coal & is high on emission of pollution .

There is an immediate and urgent need to reduce this pollution to keep our health and comfort to the optimum. To do this we must design Energy Efficient Buildings (EEB) which is low on pollution. Let us see what are the types of material we use in buildings.

 If we just take one example SF6;Now other than SF6 being 4,800 times worse than CO2 in the global warming scale, Sulfur fluoride is a gas fumigate that has been used — since the 1950s — to kill bugs and rodents in indoor structures, such as homes, warehouses, and railroad cars. It is also used in the Electricity sector, the magnesium industry, the electronic industry even as an adiabatic property applications, notably in tennis balls, shoe soles and other applications, such gas-air tracer in research and leak detectors, for medical purposes, electronic applications, sound proof windows ( Double Glazed), de-gassing aluminum specialties etc.

 If we look more closely at global industrial emissions of CO2, CH4, N2O, and the ‘new’ gases HFCs, PFCs and SF6, then it shows that about half of them stem from CO2 emissions related to cement – clinker – production, ( a major product required for the building industry) about one-fifth can be attributed to adipic   acid (CH2)4(COOH)2  and nitric acid production and one-third stem from the three new gases, each with approximately equal contribution of about 10%.

The building industry is perhaps the biggest consumer of all that is produced in all other industrial sector, be it steel, cement, stone, wood, leather, paper, paint, ceramic, glass, plastic, electrical & electronics; think of a product either in finished good or raw material, the building industry more often than not has a use for it. Thus emitting some form of pollution in the process.

Purely from a Building Industry perspective without Sustainable Building design practice however high we build, we will fall prey to the catastrophe the GHG will bring in its wake in form of Global Warming & Climate Change.

 To do this we need to develop life-style which is sustainable. Act without weighing the “additional cost factor” of going Green, which actually is very nominal and becomes Zero Sum within a very short time span. Internationally we have Green Building programs such as LEED, BREEAM and GRIHA which is the Indian National rating system. India also has a Confederation of Indian Industries driven – Indian Green Building Council which is doing spectacular work.

With the new Global Climate Fund (GCF) more or less operationalized to a decent sum this year at the UNFCCC  COP17 at Durban, South Africa. Reducing pollution would be a Bankable word.

Some of the references   has  been condensed for easy read and adapted from Source(s):Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia; Observations of CAPIEL-UNIPEDE concerning the Revised IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories ; IPCC ; the U.S. EPA’s Global Warming web; Fluoride Action Network and others.

 

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Green House Gas:the invisible Killer


Total greenhouse gas emissions in 2000, includ...

About 40% of the Global Green House Gas (GHG) is emitted through building related activities and 60% of  this pollution occur post occupancy in form of municipal waste  etcetera to indirect pollution via consumption of electricity, which generally coming from Thermal Power plants which burn coal & is high on emission of pollution . There is an immediate and urgent need to reduce this pollution to keep our health and comfort to the optimum. To do this we must design Energy Efficient Buildings (EEB) which is low on pollution.

Now let us understand what is “pollution” to appreciate the immediate and urgent need for each one of us to act to reduce it in every sphere of our life-style.

Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution became a popular issue after World War II, due to radioactive fallout from atomic warfare and testing. Then a non-nuclear event, “The Great Smog” of 1952 in London, killed at least 4000 people.

Pollution control is a term used in environmental management. In the hierarchy of controls, pollution prevention and waste minimization are more desirable than pollution control. In the field of land development, low impact development is a similar technique for the prevention of urban run-off.

Per capita anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissi...

Let us examine in brief the top 5 GHG : 1.CO2 :Carbon Dioxide. 2.CH4 :Methane. 3. N2O: Nitrous Oxide. 4. O3: Ozone  5. SP: Suspended Particles . A detailed report of the effects of these can be found in the internet, should one chooses to read. The chart shows how much GHG is emitted sector wise. However I think  SO2F2: Sulfuryl Fluoride should also be included in the top 5 as its more harmful than CO2.

Now there are also Naturally occurring greenhouse gases. They  include water vapour, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and ozone (O3). Several classes of halogenated substances that contain fluorine, chlorine, or bromine are also greenhouse gases, but they are, for the most part, solely a product of industrial activities. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are halocarbons that contain chlorine, while halocarbons that contain bromine are referred toas bromofluorocarbons (i.e., halons).  Some other fluorine containing halogenated substances—hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)—do not deplete stratospheric ozone but are potent greenhouse gases.There are also several gases that, although they do not have a commonly agreed upon direct radiative forcing effect, do influence the global radiation budget. These tropospheric gases— referred to as ambient air pollutants—include carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and tropospheric (ground level) ozone (O3). Tropospheric ozone is formed by two precursor pollutants, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the presence of ultraviolet light (sunlight). Aerosols—extremely small particles or liquid droplets—often composed of sulfur compounds, carbonaceous combustion products, crustal materials and other human induced pollutants— can affect the absorptive characteristics of the atmosphere.

So how does Pollution affect us, I mean the Human Body? The chart sums up most of it. However we live in and work in buildings which use various types of building materials most of them are cause of Environmental degradation which the common man is not aware of.

If we just take one example SF6;Now other than SF6 being 4,800 times worse than CO2 in the global warming scale, Sulfuryl fluoride is a gas fumigate that has been used — since the 1950s — to kill bugs and rodents in indoor structures, such as homes, warehouses, and railroad cars. It is also used in the Electricity sector, the magnesium industry, the electronic industry even as an adiabatic property applications, notably in tennis balls, shoe soles and also other applications, such gas-air tracer in research and leak detectors, for medical purposes, electronic applications, sound proof windows ( Double Glazed), degassing aluminium specialities etc.;

If we look more closely at global industrial emissions of CO2, CH4, N2O, and the ‘new’ gases HFCs, PFCs and SF6, then it shows that about half of them stem from CO2 emissions related to cement – clinker – production, ( a major product required for the building industry) about one-fifth can be attributed to adipic acid and nitric acid production and one-third stem from the three new gases, each with approximately equal contribution of about 10%.

The building industry is perhaps the biggest consumer of all that is produced in all other industrial sector, be it steel,cement, stone, wood,  leather, paper, paint, ceramic, glass, plastic, electrical & electronics; think of a product either in finished good or raw material, the building industry more often than not has a use for it. Thus emitting some form of pollution in the process. Purely from a Building Industry perspective without Sustainable Building design practice however high we build, we will fall prey to the catastrophe the GHG will bring in its wake in form of Global Warming & Climate Change.

To do this we need to develop life-style which is sustainable. Act without weighing the “additional cost factor” of going Green, which actually is very nominal and becomes Zero Sum within a very short time span. Internationaly we have Green Building programs such as LEED, BREEAM and GRIHA which is the Indian National rating system. India also has a Confederation of Indian Industries driven – Indian Green Building Council which is doing spectacular work.

I have condensed some of the references for easy read and adapted from Source(s):Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia; Observations of CAPIEL-UNIPEDE concerning the Revised IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories ; IPCC ; the U.S. EPA’s Global Warming web; Fluoride Action Network and others.

 

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Building A Low Carbon Economy with Energy Efficient Buildings


GHG emissions from building construction, reno...
Image via Wikipedia

The building sector can and should play a role in achieving the deep GHG reductions that science tells us are necessary to combat the threat of global warming. The building sector contribution to GHG emissions is mainly driven by its end use of, or demand for, electricity. This is a key difference from many other sectors where the main issue is emissions from the supply of energy. The building sector as a whole could reduce its share of GHG emissions by 30-35 per cent whilst accommodating growth in the overall number of buildings by 2050. This can be achieved by using today’s technology to significantly reduce the energy needed by residential and commercial buildings to perform the same services. For example, by replacing equipment with more energy-efficient models, at the natural replacement rate, and upgrading the performance of the building shell.

Detailed ‘bottom up’ analysis of energy efficiency opportunities suggests that net cost savings can be achievable in the medium to long-term. Rather than a cost per tonne of GHG abatement, many energy efficiency options have a positive financial payback in addition to providing abatement benefits. The payback period, can vary from a matter of months to many years. This finding is consistent with a large collection of case studies within the Country and overseas. When coupled with a broad-based GHG abatement target and a supporting policy environment, additional energy efficiency investments by the buildings sector would reduce the costs of change for the building sector and the economy at large.

Despite being cost neutral in the medium to long-term, achieving the additional GHG abatement action from the building sector faces challenges as well as opportunities.

1.Adopting energy efficiency strategies requires upfront investment by businesses and households to become more energy-efficient.

2.The benefits, or payback of these investments, are gradual, accruing over the medium to long-term, as savings on energy bills.

3.The building sector will need some additional incentives to overcome the impediments to change. These need to address a range of issues, such as the need to spur behavioural change, particularly to encourage adoption, and to offset the required upfront, direct capital expenditures.

4.Essentially, there is a need to encourage the rebuilding of our current building stock to upgrade the energy efficiency of assets within buildings to deliver a more   sustainable outcome.

5.The pay-off from investing in the energy efficiency potential of the building sector would flow through the entire economy by reducing the cost that others would face to  achieve their reduction in GHG emissions.

It is vital for government and the community at large to recognize the evidence showing the valuable role that demand side management and energy efficiency in the building sector can play in GHG abatement. Significant gains are available now without the need to invent and apply new technologies. They do not involve substantial risk or uncertainty and would provide significant gains now and into the future.

THE BUILDING SECTOR

The building sector can be viewed as being comprised of two broad elements:

Residential buildings — housing the population; and

Commercial buildings — housing a range of activities including retail trade, accommodation, business services, government and government agencies, recreation and cultural services and industry, which represents around two-thirds of national employment.

Component parts of the building sector are noted in chart

Residential Building Commercial Building
Detached housesAttached dwellingsBuildings containing two or more soleoccupancy units Wholesale tradeRetailAccommodation, cafes and restaurantsCommunication servicesFinance and insuranceProperty and business servicesGovernment administration and

Defence

Education

Health and community services

Cultural and recreational services

Personal and other services

The estimate of greenhouse gas emissions due to energy consumption in the building sector takes account of:

1.  the amount of energy consumed;

2. the mix of fuels used;

3. the average greenhouse gas emissions from the different fuels (electricity is treated as a fuel); and

4.upstream emissions from transmission and other activities.

The electricity consumed within a building is only a part of the energy used to support that demand. A large amount of electricity and greenhouse gas emissions is also involved in distribution, transmission and generation. When reducing demand for electricity it is practical to eliminate the need for this upstream energy use and GHG emissions.

A larger proportion of GHG emissions are attributable to the building sector than its share of energy use because the building sector uses greenhouse gas intensive energy. Notably the building sector energy end use is dominated by electricity consumption which is dominated by coal fired generation located at the end of long transmission networks.

Emissions from the building sector are broadly of the same scale as emissions produced by the entire transport sector.

THE ABATEMENT POTENTIAL

The building sector could reduce its GHG emissions by 30–35 per cent by 2050 on an economical basis. Economic in this context means that the initial costs would be offset — and in many cases be more than offset — by subsequent energy savings over time.

The potential for increased energy efficiency in the building sector has been estimated through a bottom up analysis to identify energy efficiency opportunities in the building sector. The analysis:

1.Examine like-with-like replacement of energy inefficient appliances and building services with more energy-efficient equivalents;

2.focus on additional application of existing technologies;

3.take into account the costs of change and the expected benefits from reduced energy costs; and

4.factor in expected population growth and sustained economic growth which tends to bring pressure for increased energy use.

For the potential energy efficiency investments a much wider range of options exits. This set, however, generally represents the diversity of existing, mature technologies.

In the residential sector changes can be achieved through:

1. substitution for more energy-efficient light fittings;

2. greater use of natural light;

3.substitution for more efficient refrigeration;

4.adoption of more efficient hot water appliances with solar where possible;

5.adoption of appliances with a low standby energy use;

6. the introduction of more efficient heating and cooling mechanical systems; and better insulation.

In commercial buildings substantial savings to both costs and greenhouse gas emissions could be generated by:

1. improving air conditioning systems efficiency and including ‘economy’ cycles;

2.use of natural ventilation where possible;

3. the use of more efficient office appliances;

4.better insulation;

5.improved heating and ventilation;

6.the use of efficient light fixtures;

7.upgrading to more efficient water heating systems; and

8.where possible use of co-, and tri-generation (that is, using heat discharged from on-site power generation for water heating, and for absorption air-conditioning etc).

Energy efficiency measures would take time to be adopted by households and business. Analysis of the technical possibilities suggests the potential for GHG abatement is between 57 Mt and 66 Mt per annum by 2030. This would increase to between 86 Mt and 98 Mt by 2050.

Facts

• Buildings’ share of final energy consumption: 30-40%

• Global CO2 emissions from energy in buildings (2005): 9Gt

• Estimated growth by 2050 in all 6 EEB regions: 76%

• Growth in global population by 2050: 2.7 billion or 42%

Many energy efficiency projects are feasible with today’s energy costs. At energy prices proportionate to oil at US$ 60 per barrel, building energy efficiency investments in the six EEB regions (Brazil, China, Europe, India, Japan and the US) studied, totaling US$ 150 billion annually, will reduce related energy use and the corresponding carbon footprint in the range of 40% with five-year discounted paybacks for the owners. A further US$ 150 billion with paybacks between five and 10 years will add 12 percentage points and bring the total reduction to slightly more than half.

There are three key elements to

achieving progress:

– Use less energy

– Make more energy (locally)

– Share surplus energy (through an intelligent grid).

The most significant, long-term gains will come from using less energy.

Note: The data has been collected form various noted publications and condensed for easy understanding.

 

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Carbon Credit in Green Buildings


United Nations Framework Convention on Climate...

Carbon Credits are generated by enterprises in the developing world that shift to cleaner technologies and thereby save on energy consumption, consequently reducing their green house gas emissions. For each ton of carbon dioxide (major GHG) emission avoided, the entity can get a carbon emission certificate which they can sell either immediately or through a futures market, just like any other commodity. The certificates are sold to entities in rich countries, like power utilities, which have emission reduction targets to achieve and find it cheaper to buy ‘offsetting’ certificates rather than do a clean-up in their own backyard. This trade is carried out under an UN-mandated international convention on climate change to help rich countries reduce their emissions.

There is a great need to reduce energy consumption in all sectors of the economy. Building Construction consumes vast natural resources, and building account for 40% of Global Energy use. The pre-construction phase is the optimal time to implement Energy Efficient design with minimal costs. Some results indicate that savings realized during the first twenty years of operation can account for more than 15% of construction costs.

The above paragraphs sums up in brief the basics of this discussion. The first one is the need to build Energy Efficient Buildings ( EEB‘s ) and the second to find the additional expense. Every one knows that to build an EEB one has to spend more than normal. Now the idea is how to get back the additional money spent.

Both in GRIHA  & LEED  the return on the investment is proven over time on various projects Pan India. However most of the data I have seen point to Institutional or Commercial  or Corporate projects. It is comparatively easy to map and maintain year on year energy reduction of buildings where the user would normally conform to the same pattern of use and adhere to the building maintenance and use guidelines  stipulated by the owner.

Moreover it is comparatively easy to explain prospective Corporate or Commercial clients wanting to do a Green Building the advantages and returns as mostly it would be for self use and benefits accrued are directly debited to them. The difficulty lies however in convincing the Builder / Developer who by default would make a core & shell edifice and sell it. This format is true for both residential & commercial projects they undertake. So explaining this group to go for EEB is a little difficult. This does not discount the fact that almost all big and reputed builder developers are already adopting Green Building norms and getting their projects certified in one rating or the other. In India both GRIHA     ( Green Building for Integrated Habitat Assessment ) the National Green building rating system and the CII led IGBC – LEED Certification are prevalent.

The Indian Green Building Council guided and supported by the Confederation of Indian Industries has a larger building foot print  under their rating system than GRIHA as of today. Under IGBC a continuously evolving and user participation based organization, which is quick to understand the business opportunities in sustainable practice has under its command a host of rating systems for different typology and yet for the common good of reducing Global warming & abatement of Climate change. Certification & Rating such as LEED -India CS, LEED -India NC, IGBC – Green Homes, IGBC – Green Township, IGBC – Green Factories and the latest being IGBC -Green CO.

What I have been proposing is using this brilliant rating system for large projects called ” Green Township”   map the reduction in energy and apply the existing methodology approved by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ( UNFCCC ) for earning Carbon Credit. This money which one can earn through Carbon credit would not be sufficient to make profit, Carbon fund can be availed only by proving “additionality” which means the project must have incurred expense by which profit is diminished when compared to a base case;but it has been designed in such a way that it would definitely help offset part of the cost of going “Green”. I know I can do it and I propose other architects to do the same for builder/developers. In this manner we as professionals will be able to provide true value sustainable habitats for our country.

There are two methods by which one can earn Carbon Credits in Green Buildings. The first is mapping the reduction of materials used which is done when a building goes through the rating process; as each material has its own embodied energy, the reduction in its use would thereby help reduce the GHG emission. This however is quite difficult because the MRV (monitoring,  reporting and verification) process would be very cumbersome especially when applied to the way the construction process is in India. It could leave too many gaps which require careful thought and stringent process to be absolutely sure that the method applied is sound both academically and practically.

The next process is to map the reduction in electrical energy and water consumption.  This is a simpler method and use of RE which already has proven methodology helps getting the CDM process. As India is encouraging Solar Photo voltaic, both  roof-top or “green-power” wheeled from off-site location would qualify to earn Carbon Credits.

 

 

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