IKEA Invests $2 Billion in Renewables
IKEA Group, the largest home-furnishings retailer, just announced plans to double its investments towards wind farms and solar parks—an upwards of $2 billion.
By 2015, the company hopes to achieve 70 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources and 100 percent by 2020. Increasing its investment goal from an earlier commitment of 590 million euros to 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion) is set to secure those goals.
“Efficiency makes sense and it makes more sense now than ever before,” Chief of Sustainability Officer Steve Howard told Bloomberg. “We’ve got rising costs of raw materials and rising costs of energy and a really strong need to decarbonize.”
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Starting in 2016, IKEA said it will only sell LED lighting in its stores in addition to making its electrical products more efficient, which will ultimately save customers money. The company will also only use cotton certified from the Better Cotton Initiative, verify that the palm oil used in candles and products is sustainable and recycle 90 percent of waste from its stores.
IKEA's goals for 2020 encourage sustainability across the board, setting targets for its products, raw materials and over 1,000 suppliers in some 53 countries—a move expected to attract more investors for decades to come.
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.