TED Talk: Amory Lovins and His Unified Plan to Revolutionize Energy
With 2014 being the hottest year on record, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the environmental drawbacks of our modern society.
The evidence that the problem is getting more severe are ever-present, with droughts, severe storms (both tropical and blizzards) and glacial melting getting worse by the day. It’s so obvious, in fact, that according to the Financial Times today, Statoil CEO Eldar Saetre openly acknowledged that the oil and gas industry is part of the problem and called on the sector to help remedy it.
But how easy is it to decide to go green and then just do it? Well, not very.
There are a myriad of obstacles to making that dream a reality, including high investment costs, inefficient energy production compared to fossil fuels and the overall land mass needed to generate enough electricity with renewables. At the same time, major overhauls would be needed in the automotive, mining and agricultural sectors. And perhaps the most challenging obstacle, people would need to change their habits in big and small ways, ranging from ditching Hummers to remembering to turn the lights off when leaving a room.
In the face of so many dizzying variables that all have to be in perfect synchronization, what the world seems to need most is a unified plan.
In the following TED Talk from March 2012, physicist, environmentalist and chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute Amory Lovins presents his own version of just such a plan which he says could not only take the world into a safer, cleaner and more sustainable future, but could make the private sector a lot of money in the process, influencing faster change and creating jobs.
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.