White House Announces New Energy Initiatives Ahead of Climate Summit
The White House announced a slew of new renewable energy initiatives yesterday ahead of next week’s UN Climate Summit in New York. The 50-plus public and private efforts are focused on solar and energy efficiency.
$68 million in funding was announced for 540 renewable power and energy efficiency projects, 240 of which were solar, in rural areas. It’s also proposing stricter regulations for commercial air conditioners and is partnering with military bases to launch a program that aims to train veterans for jobs in the solar industry.
These efforts, the White House said, will help reduce energy bills and reduce carbon emissions by roughly 300 million metric tons by 2030. This would be the equivalent of taking 60 million cars off the road.
In the private sector, 19 companies and two industry groups committed to reduce the use of a popular coolant that is a major contributor to greenhouse gas via its emitting of hydroflurocarbons (HFCs). HFCs replaced ozone-depleting chemicals such as Freon, though it’s still roughly 10,000 more potent gas than carbon dioxide.
Other companies and cities are taking steps to ensure lower emissions and boosted renewable usage. Cisco Systems aims to get at least 25% of its power from renewable sources. New York is also looking to update its buildings with more efficient technologies.
“The good progress we are making on restoring the earth's ozone layer would not have been possible without a strong public-private partnership," Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said. “By working together again, we can tackle the challenges of climate change.”
The U.N. Climate Summit kicks off next Tuesday.
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.