Boeing Makes a Move Toward Green Energy
While green air travel is still in its early stages, aircraft manufacturer Boeing is looking to make its operations a bit more sustainable.
The company plans to purchase renewable energy credits to replace fossil-fuel power at its factory in Washington State. This factory is particularly notable since it’s where Boeing assembles its 737, the best selling airliner in the history of air travel.
In conjunction with Puget Sound Energy, Boeing will move the factory toward an all-renewable energy mix, particularly utilizing wind and solar energy from the nearby Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility. In 2013, the utility’s energy mix comprised of at least 50 percent renewable sources, with natural gas and coal making up the other half.
"It will cost us a little more in the short term. We think the investment makes sense for the environment, our employees and the community," Beverly Wyse, vice president and general manager of the 737 program, said.
Boeing didn’t talk specifics in terms of cost, but it’s a pretty safe bet that it’ll be quite a bit. The factory assembles 42 planes a month and the building itself is roughly 4.3 million square feet.
Still, some energy may come from coal, as it can’t entirely be tracked where the plant’s energy comes from. Electricity generated is pooled onto a regional grid.
"You can't direct an electron to any one location. It goes to the power pool," Heather Mulligan with the utility, said. She said that renewable energy credits "are a way to basically put some ownership on that green electron at the point of use."
Any transition to green energy is a good one, though.
"They're basically turning their fossil power green, and that's laudable," Marc Krasnowsky, a spokesman for NW Energy Coalition, said.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.