Sustainability - 10 Green Highlights

Eirini Matsouki
With sustainability and green initiatives an increasingly important part of the government's and business agenda we have prepared our next edition of 10 green highlights below to summarise a few of the current issues and up and coming events.

1.  Global Calculator shows how the world can 'prosper' while tackling climate change

The online tool shows how global prosperity can increase as emissions fall by 60 per cent from current levels by 2050 in order to avoid dangerous climate change. This would require a series of massive changes on how we use energy, while enjoying a European-style lifestyle, according to the UK's Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

2.  Why falling oil prices don’t hurt demand for renewable energy?

It means that investing in fossil fuels such as oil is an increasingly risky strategy and “is exactly one of the main reasons why we must move to renewable energy, which has a completely predictable cost of 0 for fuel.” - Christiana Figueres, U.N.’s climate chief.

3.  Microsoft’s former CEO takes a sip of innovative waste management

The Gates Foundation is funding an innovative sewage treatment plant. Gates details his visit to the company’s headquarters, touring a facility that turns human waste into water and electricity in a matter of minutes: “The water tasted as good as any I’ve had out of a bottle and having studied the engineering behind it, I would happily drink it every day. It’s that safe”.

4.  Heat network investment to reach £800m in next 10 years

UK government to invest in heat networks, which could provide 43% of buildings’ heating requirement. The system works by harnessing waste heat from a central power station and distributing it through pipes to buildings across an area, providing a low-carbon heating source. A capital investment of £400m - £800m is predicted in an attempt to meeting the UK’s CRC target of 80% carbon emissions reduction by 2050.


BRE will launch the New Homes Standard at Ecobuild 2015. The new voluntary sustainability standard has been developed for the UK new homes markets and could be adapted for specific local circumstances. It will use an easy to understand, consumer focused rating system, aiming to tackle the performance gap issue and ensure that the home is performing as designed.

6.  Mountaineers' hut is a 'data-driven' eco-building that's 90% self sufficient

Designed by the Swiss Federal Technical University in Zurich (ETH Zurich), this autonomous alpine shelter is situated 2,810 meters in Zermatt. The building is covered in a silver aluminium shell and has a photovoltaic system integrated in the southern facade to generate its own power and is expected to be at least 90% energy self-sufficient.

7.  Biomass installations exceeded expectations last quarter, triggering a cut from 1 January 2015

The government is set to reduce subsidies for biomass heat systems for homes after the amount of heating capacity installed in the last quarter of 2014 exceeded expectations; the cut forms part of the government’s planned system for lessening support for renewable heat technologies over time as their popularity increases. The reductions under the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will attract a 10% lower rate of subsidy for each kilowatt hour of heat that they produce. Industry professionals still raise concerns that there is no prerequisite to insulate (!), therefore it remains possible to heat an un-insulated warehouse and still receive RHI payments.

8.  Innovation to minimise waste along the food chain

WRAP, along with the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), also recently released a new tool — the Think.Eat.Save Guidance Version 1.0 — which provides guidance to governments, local authorities, businesses and households on designing effective food waste prevention programs.

9.  Sustainability Professional Certification

ISSP (International Society of Sustainability Professionals) announced it will be creating a Sustainability Professionals Certification Program and begin administering beta exams for ISSP members in the spring of 2015 with the goal of a formal launch in November 2015.

10.  Pope's Statement on Climate Change: 5 Things to Know

Pope Francis, is drafting a highly anticipated encyclical on ecology and climate change and he wants the document to be released in time to be read before the next round of U.N. climate treaty talks in Paris at the end of the year.