Web Summit 2019: Schneider Electric drives event's sustainability
This year’s Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, saw over 70,000 attendees mixing with tech’s biggest names as the latest products, strategies and solutions were unveiled. At such a major event, the largest of its kind in the world, there are clear and obvious challenges from a sustainability perspective.
Along with a sustained effort to minimise the prevalence of single-use plastics at the four-day conference, Web Summit’s organisers partnered with Schneider Electric, the world’s largest corporate renewable energy consultancy, to drive it towards net-zero emissions.
Through a combination of energy attribute certificates and carbon offset initiatives, Schneider Electric is working to both reduce the emissions of the event itself and mitigate the impact of the attendees’ flights.
“As one of the most sustainable companies in the world, Schneider Electric is committed to helping clients and partners in their own sustainability pursuits,” said Emmanuel Lagarrigue, Chief Innovation Officer at Schneider Electric, in a press release on the matter. “We recently announced that we will reach our own carbon neutral goal by 2025, five years earlier than expected, and are looking forward to working with Web Summit to help them achieve their goals.”
Schneider Electric, through collection and analysis of relevant data, is calculating the total carbon footprint of the event and associated travel, and will leverage carbon offset solutions, such as tree planting and landfill gas capture, to nullify the added environmental impacts of the event.
“Our global network of entrepreneurs and leaders presents us with an enormous opportunity to provide trusted guidance, inspiration and thought leadership in order to help us stand together in trying to solve the world’s biggest social, economic and environmental issues,” said Peter Gilmer, Chief Impact Officer of Web Summit. “We believe in leading by example and are pleased to have Schneider Electric with us, taking significant steps to continually improve the sustainability of our event.”
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.