Science Based Targets initiative approves Danfoss’ climate targets
NORDBORG, Denmark, 23 June 2022: Danfoss said its science-based target has been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Elaborating, Danfoss said the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has validated that the corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets submitted by Danfoss A/S are in conformance with the SBTi Criteria and Recommendations (version 4.2).
According to Danfoss, the science-based target provides a clearly defined pathway for companies to reduce GHG emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement and to help prevent the worst impacts of climate change.
The SBTi’s Target Validation Team has determined that Danfoss’ scope 1 and 2 target ambition is in line with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C. As part of the science-based target, Danfoss said, it will reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by at least 46.2% by 2030 from a 2019 base year. In addition, Danfoss has committed to being carbon neutral in scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030. Danfoss said it will reduce absolute scope 3 GHG emissions by 15% in the same time frame.
Kim Fausing, President & CEO, said: “We have built a strong foundation to achieve our science-based target, an important pillar of Danfoss’ new 2030 ESG ambition. Our science-based target expands our GHG emissions reduction goals beyond our own business, across the entire value chain. It reflects our continued dedication to taking action on climate change and becoming the preferred decarbonization partner to our suppliers and customers.”
Danfoss announced in March 2022 that it had reached its 2030 target of doubling the energy productivity in its factories globally – nine years ahead of time. Energy productivity improved by 104% in 2021 from the baseline year 2007, and energy intensity was halved between 2007 and 2021, Danfoss said, adding that it produced twice the output in 2021 as in 2007, with the same energy consumption. Subsequently, Danfoss had said it would put sustainability at the centre of its Core & Clear 2025 strategy and has the ambition to take leading positions in decarbonisation, circularity, diversity and inclusion.
Martin Rossen, SVP, Head of Group Communication & Sustainability, Danfoss, credited by the company as responsible for developing Danfoss’ ESG strategy and setting the ambition for reducing emissions across the business, said: “The validation of our science-based target confirms that Danfoss’ climate ambitions are in line with science and the goals of the Paris Agreement. But it’s more than order in our own house. Customers, employees, and the public increasingly demand transparency and reward action on ESG. For good reasons. Companies can’t simply get away with saying that they act, they need to document it. The science-based target provides a level playing field. It gives a competitive edge to the companies that truly care and take action. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan once said, ‘Who cares wins’, and we believe that companies that care will win.”
Danfoss said it is on track to making its 250,000 m2 headquarters in Nordborg, near the city of Sønderborg, carbon neutral in scope 1 and 2 in 2022 by implementing available energy efficiency solutions and sourcing renewable electricity and heating.
The Danfoss headquarters campus was one of the field trips taken by ministers during the International Energy Agency’s 7th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency in the City of Sønderborg, Denmark, which ran from June 7 to 9. Dubbed “The Global Capital of Energy Efficiency” by Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director, IEA, Sønderborg acted as a global showcase of energy-efficient solutions when more than 300 leading politicians, government officials and business leaders joined the conference on energy efficiency.
eurammon Symposium 2022 again online
FRANKFURT, Germany, 22 June 2022: eurammon, an association of companies, institutions, and individuals committed to the promotion and use of natural refrigerants, will hold its annual Symposium, titled ‘Journey to a naturally sustainable future’, from July 4 to 8 on a digital platform. Making the announcement through a Press release, eurammon said that as the digital format has been well received by participants in previous years, the event will again be held online over 5 days from 9am to 11.30am each morning. Registration for the Symposium is now open via e-mail to email@example.com.
Through online lectures and a virtual panel discussion, the industry will look at the importance of its products for a sustainable and energy-efficient economy, eurammon said. “Natural refrigerants will play an important role in creating a sustainable future for our planet,” said Rob Lamb of Star Refrigeration Ltd., and Chairman of the Steering Committee of eurammon e.V. “The eurammon 2022 online symposium builds on the success of last year and looks at the use of natural fluids for cooling and heating applications across a wider range of industries.”
According to eurammon, the subjects on Day One will help set the scene for the rest of the week. They will include the European Green Deal, the UK Institute of Refrigeration’s ‘Beyond Refrigeration’ initiative and developments in the use of ammonia as a fuel. Day Two will focus on regulatory news, dealing with the proposed changes to the EU F-gas regulation and providing updates on the IEC 60335-2-40 and EN378 standards, eurammon said. The remaining three days will look at the new technologies and case studies that are helping the industry move to a sustainable future, eurammon said.
“With the online symposium, we are reaching out to a global audience interested in natural refrigerants,” Lamb said. “The symposium is a chance to learn, ask questions and share knowledge. We look forward to many participants joining us from the 4 to 8 July.”
According to eurammon, the programme agenda is as follows…
4 July – Keynote speeches
9:00 Welcome & greeting, Michael Freiherr, Chairman eurammon e. V.
9:10 Green Deal in Europe, Andrea Voigt, Danfoss A/S
9:55 Beyond Refrigeration, Graeme Maidment, Institute of Refrigeration
10:45 Ammonia engine development for marine propulsion, Johan Kaltoft, MAN DK
11:30 Concluding remarks, Michael Freiherr
5 July – Policy and regulations update
9:00 Introduction, Michael Rabenstein, Evapco Europe GmbH
9:10 F-gas regulation, Cornelius Rhein, European Commission
9:45 IEC 60335-2-40, Asbjørn Vonsild, Vonsild Consulting
10:15 European standardization for refrigerating systems using flammable refrigerants, especially standard series EN 378, Carsten Hoch, TÜV Süd Industrieservice GmbH
10:50 Panel discussion: Cornelius Rhein, Asbjørn Vonsild, Carsten Hoch, Moderator: Michael Rabenstein
11:20 Concluding remarks, Michael Rabenstein
6 July – Natural refrigerants for the cold chain
9:00 Introduction, Lambert Kuijpers, A/genT Consultancy
9:10 Industrial refrigeration production plants: “Heat recovery, reduced CO2 emissions!”, Michael Elsen, Kreutzträger Kältetechnik GmbH & Co. KG
9:45 Heat pump integration in a plant based meat solution factory and needs to achieve decarbonization from an end-user perspective, Vincent Grass, Société des Produits Nestlé S.A.
10:15 Predicting annual refrigeration energy consumption in temperature-controlled facilities, Robert Lamb, Star Refrigeration Ltd.
10:50 “Waterloop“ solutions for sustainable supermarkets – 100% propane for natural and efficient cooling and heating, Herbert Schupfer, Güntner Group Europe GmbH
11:20 Concluding remarks, Lambert Kuijpers
EU finance ministers welcome EIB Group’s scaled up climate action
LUXEMBOURG, 17 June 2022: European finance ministers today welcomed the European Investment Bank’s unprecedented backing for business investment to support recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, record climate action and enhanced development engagement around the world through EIB Global.
At the Annual Meeting of the EIB Board of Governors, taking place in Luxembourg, EIB President Werner Hoyer confirmed details of the EIB Group’s record EUR 95 billion financing last year, including an unprecedented response to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
Hoyer also confirmed the EIB’s largest ever support for climate action and environmental sustainability and the successful launch of EIB Global to strengthen development finance outside Europe.
Hoyer said: “I am grateful to the EU Bank’s Governors for their support and endorsement of the EIB Group’s work over the past year. Today’s discussion confirmed the importance of our work in support of EU policies around the world. The EIB Group has been part of the European Union’s response to every crisis over the last decade, from climate to energy security, the financial crisis, the COVID pandemic and, most recently, Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. The commitment and professionalism of EIB and EIF colleagues will continue to assist us as we tackle the challenges ahead. These are all connected: War in Ukraine is the strongest argument in favour of accelerating investment in green energy, to make Europe less dependent from imported fossil fuels. Global partnerships are key to winning the fight against global heating. And the Governors’ support has been crucial in setting up EIB Global, our development and partnership arm, working with other institutions in a genuine and effective “Team Europe” spirit. And last but not least, the EIB’s strong investment in innovation will help ensure we develop new tools capable of resolving the problems created by yesterday’s technology.
“I wish to thank Minister Annika Saarikko for her deft and sure-handed year at the helm of our Board of Governors, and it is a huge pleasure to welcome our new Chairman, Minister Mikael Damberg.”
The European Investment Bank Board of Governors comprises the 27 European Union finance and economy ministers and was chaired by Saarikko, Minister for Finance of Finland.
During the meeting, Damberg, Minister for Finance of Sweden, was formally confirmed as new Chair of the EIB Board of Governors, thereby replacing Saarikko, Minister for Finance of Finland. Damberg said: “As new Chair of the EIB Board of Governors I look forward to working with fellow EU finance and economy ministers to further enhance the impact of the European Investment Bank Group’s unique financial experience and technical skills to better support priority investment challenges, including scaling up climate action, accelerating innovation and enhancing sustainable development.”
Last year, EUR 27.6 billion of EIB financing supported climate action and environmental sustainability, representing 51% of EIB business. Hoyer confirmed that the EIB is currently scaling up support for climate action in developing countries most vulnerable to a changing and more extreme climate. During today’s meeting, Hoyer highlighted how the successful launch of the EIB’s new dedicated development branch, EIB Global, earlier this year, was enhancing the impact of renewable energy, clean transport, water, health, food security and business investment in the Balkans, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific.
The Luxembourg based European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank.
AHRI, Alliance Seek Senate Support for Kigali Amendment
ARLINGTON, Virginia, 16 June 2022: Leaders of member companies of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy today issued a letter to the leadership of the United States Senate urging expeditious action to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. The Amendment, approved in May by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is currently awaiting floor action, AHRI pointed out. The Kigali Amendment provides for a global phasedown of hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants, an action AHRI and its 320 HVACR and water heating manufacturers have sought for more than a decade, the Institute said.
According to AHRI, the letter informed Senate Leaders Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that ratification “will secure a position of strength for American companies in a highly competitive global market for next-generation refrigerant technologies by creating new U.S. manufacturing jobs and stimulating further investment in the U.S. economy”. It noted that “failure to ratify would close these markets to U.S. manufacturers after 2023, because the Montreal Protocol prohibits trade with countries not party to [it] or its amendments.”
According to AHRI, if the Amendment is ratified by the Senate, the United States will join some 129 other nations as full parties to the treaty, approved in October 2016, with the United States as a signatory.
Empower wins two golds at IDEA 2022
DUBAI, UAE, 15 June 2022: Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower) won two gold awards at the International District Energy Association (IDEA) Annual Conference 2022, which took place from June 6 to 9 in Toronto, Canada, the District Cooling company said.
Making the announcement today, Empower said its winning the two gold awards – for the categories, ‘Number of Buildings Committed’ and ‘Total Building Area Committed’ in IDEA 2022 – is the eighth of its kind, as the company has won the same awards in the years 2005, 2007, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021. In addition, it has received various other awards from IDEA – numbering 17 – in other categories, Empower said. Moreover, the company said, it has been honoured with many other awards and titles from various conferences and exhibitions around the world, in recognition of its distinguished achievements in developing the District Cooling industry, worldwide, as the world’s largest District Cooling services provider.
Empower said its winning represents a renewed international recognition of the company’s efforts to promote the District Cooling concept worldwide, and to encourage decision-makers to adopt this environmentally friendly cooling solution and apply the best integrated green practices.
Speaking on the occasion of winning the awards, Ahmad Bin Shafar, CEO, Empower, said: “The winning of these two global awards reinforces the company’s international recognitions by the global industry leaders for the pioneering and pivotal role that Empower plays in innovating the highest practices in this vital industry, both in terms of optimising energy consumption and cost or in protecting resources and the environment. It also honors our continuous efforts in spreading the culture of District Cooling systems, and appreciates our unremitting endeavors and constant quest to employ the techniques of the 4th revolution in production, control, distribution and customer service operations, in a way that enhances the District Cooling sector worldwide.”
Bin Shafar explained that the awards are the fruits of government policies that support the expansion of the District Cooling sector to put Dubai on the map of global cities in District Cooling. “Empower,” he said, “is proceeding towards achieving many advancements in District Cooling systems in pursuit of its mission to bring an added value at national and global levels.”
Bin Shafar CEO indicated that the company would keep developing its District Cooling systems to a level that surpasses international standards, in order to provide high-quality services in response to the large and increasing demand for District Cooling for a variety of projects in different fields, in line with the strategic direction of the Emirate of Dubai. “The IDEA 2022 and the agenda it tackled, including the trends of the reality and future of the energy industry and its technologies, contribute to strengthening international efforts to shape a more flexible and effective humane future that is also less exposed to carbon emissions,” he said.
Empower said that last week, Bin Shafar was appointed as a member to the Board of Directors of IDEA for the fourth time in a row, making him the first Emirati Arab to hold such a prestigious position in US-based IDEA, which is an international non-profit organization, for over a decade.
IEA: ‘We can avoid 95 exajoules a year of final energy consumption by end of decade’
SØNDERBORG, Denmark, 8 June 2022: Global energy and climate leaders are gathering in Denmark for a major ministerial meeting that could drive urgently needed improvements in energy efficiency, with new analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA) showing that stronger efficiency measures can reduce energy bills, fuel imports and greenhouse gas emissions quickly and significantly.
The IEA’s 7th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency in Sønderborg, Denmark, from June 7-9, is bringing together more than 20 Ministers from countries around the world, including Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, New Zealand, Nigeria, Panama, Senegal, Sweden and the United Kingdom – as well as African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Amani Abou-Zeid and European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson. Ukrainian Energy Minister, Herman Halushchenko will address the Conference live via video link. Decision-makers from industry, finance, international organisations and civil society will also participate in the discussions.
With the world contending with its biggest energy crisis since the 1970s, the focus of the Global Conference is on how to implement measures quickly to reduce energy use, with the aim of easing cost pressures on consumers, cutting reliance on fuel imports and driving progress towards climate goals – while supporting job creation and economic growth. The new IEA analysis, published to coincide with the Global Conference, underscores the vital role of energy efficiency and energy saving in meeting today’s crises by immediately addressing the crippling impacts of the spike in energy prices, strengthening energy security and tackling climate change.
Fatih Birol, Executive Director, IEA, said: “Energy efficiency is a critical solution to so many of the world’s most urgent challenges – it can simultaneously make our energy supplies more affordable, more secure and more sustainable. But inexplicably, government and business leaders are failing to sufficiently act on this. The oil shocks of the 1970s set in motion major advances in efficiency, and it is utterly essential that efficiency is at the heart of the response to today’s global energy crisis. The leaders meeting at the IEA Global Conference on Energy Efficiency need to make this the moment when the world hits the accelerator on efficiency – or we may fail to respond to the current energy crisis properly and pay the price for years to come.”
This year’s Global Conference is jointly organised by the IEA and Denmark’s Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities, with support from Danish engineering company, Danfoss.
Dan Jørgensen, Denmark’s Minister of Climate, Energy and Utilities. said: “It’s no longer a question of whether we should implement more energy-efficient solutions and technologies, globally – it’s a question of how we are going to do that. By increasing our energy efficiency, we can reduce our dependence of Russian oil and gas completely and move closer to achieving climate neutrality. The conference in Sønderborg and the gathering of energy and climate leaders from various sectors and all parts of the world is an important step in the right direction.”
Kim Fausing, CEO, Danfoss, said: “If the world is to meet climate goals to limit global warming, energy efficiency measures must be prioritized. A third of the reduction needed in CO2 emissions this decade, according to the IEA net-zero scenario, must come from improvements in energy efficiency. The good news is that the solutions are there to improve energy efficiency in all sectors. We don’t need to wait. We need action because the greenest energy is the energy we don’t use.”
On the main conference day, on June 8, leaders in industry, government and civil society are discussing issues, such as buildings of the future, the role of consumer behaviour and how to unlock financing for efficiency measures. The following day will include a unique closed-door session, where Ministers from around the world will share best practices on how to accelerate progress. The town of Sønderborg will also host a number of technological showcases for the leaders to visit.
According to the new IEA analysis, doubling the current global rate of energy intensity improvement to four per cent a year has the potential to avoid 95 exajoules a year of final energy consumption by the end of this decade, compared with a pathway based on today’s policy settings. This is equivalent to the current annual energy use of China. That level of savings would reduce global CO2 emissions by an additional 5 billion tonnes a year by 2030, about a third of the total emissions reduction efforts needed this decade to move the world onto a pathway to net-zero emissions by mid-century, as laid out in the Net Zero Roadmap the IEA published last year.
These extra efficiency efforts would cut global spending on energy. For example, households alone could save as much as USD 650 billion a year on energy bills by the end of the decade compared with what they would have spent in a pathway based on today’s policy settings. The amount of natural gas that the world would avoid using as a result of this would be equal to four times what the European Union imported from Russia last year, while the reduced oil consumption would be almost 30 million barrels of oil per day, about triple Russia’s average production in 2021. Compared to today, this global push on efficiency would help create 10 million additional jobs in fields including building retrofits, manufacturing and transport infrastructure.
The new IEA analysis shows the significant opportunities for rapid energy efficiency gains in all sectors of the global economy. Most of these opportunities involve readily available technologies and would fully pay for themselves through lower running costs, especially at today’s high energy prices. By 2030, around a third of the avoided energy demand comes from deploying more efficient equipment, ranging from air conditioners to cars. About a fifth comes from electrification, such as switching to heat pumps or electric cars. Digitalisation and use of more efficient materials in industry provide much of the rest.
The new analysis complements the insights on the critical role of energy efficiency and energy-saving measures in addressing today’s global energy crisis that were highlighted by the IEA’s recent 10-Point Plan to Reduce the European Union’s Reliance on Russian Natural Gas and 10-Point Plan to Cut Oil Use, as well as Playing my part: How to save money, reduce reliance on Russian energy, support Ukraine and help the planet, which was developed in cooperation with the European Commission.
Johnson Controls appoints new VP and Chief Commercial Officer
CORK, Ireland, 26 May 2022: Johnson Controls (JCI) has named Rodney Clark as Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, effective June 1, 2022. Making the announcement through a Press release, JCI said that in this role, Clark will lead global sales excellence efforts across the company, replacing Chief Commercial Officer, Brian Young, who retired at the end of last year. Clark also will take on a portion of the role being transitioned from Michael Ellis, Executive Vice President, Chief Customer and Digital Officer, who will retire at the end of the year.
“I am excited to welcome a proven, strategic leader such as Rodney to Johnson Controls,” said George Oliver, Chairman and CEO, Johnson Controls. “As we deliver on growth platforms, such as decarbonization in smart, healthy buildings, Rodney will build on our progress, collaborating with customers on outcome-based solutions and service offerings through OpenBlue, while expanding our market, building scale, capacity and capability.”
According to JCI, Clark most recently held the role of Corporate Vice President of Global Partner Sales and Channel Chief at Microsoft. In this role, Clark led a team responsible for customer and partner relationships, accelerating growth through the Microsoft partner ecosystem, as well as cross-partner strategy and outcomes through the Microsoft partner network, JCI said. Prior to this, he served as the Corporate Vice President of the Internet of Things (IoT) and mixed reality sales, responsible for building intelligent systems and mixed reality capability, through sales and go-to-market execution, JCI said.
Earlier in his career, Clark held other notable roles at Microsoft, including General Manager, Samsung Alliance; General Manager, Global Operations; and General Manager, Small and Medium Business, JCI said. Additionally, he spent eight years at IBM and has held roles throughout his career in strategy, sales, marketing, mergers and acquisitions, and digital transformation. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from California State University, Fresno.
“I’m delighted to be joining Johnson Controls, they have an incredible team that is driving innovative technology that transforms ordinary buildings into dynamic, healthier, safer spaces for all of us to enjoy,” Clark said.” Adding intelligent cloud and intelligent edge solutions to their traditional offerings creates an enormous opportunity and will help customers address their most critical challenges – including the achievement of sustainability targets with agile, flexible and scalable solutions.”
Frascold, Solid Energy in district energy initiative
MILAN, Italy, 19 April 2022: District heating systems could be a key technology in achieving the international climate mitigation goals, both those laid out in the Paris Agreement and the more stringent ones set by the European Green Deal. Saying so, Frascold, which manufactures semi-hermetic compressors for the industrial refrigeration and air conditioning sectors, said it has combined with Solid Energy, which specialises in heat pumps powered by renewable energy sources, to contribute to the diffusion of district heating and pave the way to an ecological transition by signing up to numerous projects in Denmark.
Amongst the most recent partnerships, upgrading the Galten plant in the Scandinavian country stands out, Frascold said. The plant has been in operation since 1964 and is capable of powering approximately 2,130 homes, Frascold highlighted.
The collaboration between Frascold and Solid Energy for the Galten facility began in 2019 with the creation of a system able to produce 45,000 MWh per year, obtained from 6 Frascold CXH screw compressors, suitable for use with HC, for 3.5 MW of overall power. The subsequent expansion, in 2021, saw the addition of 12 CXH compressors for an increase in power of 7 MW, Frascold said.
The installed air-water heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air with 34 air coolers for a total of 3,215,000 m3/h and cover 98% of the district heating system’s power consumption – that is, 44.343 MWh – with a SCOP (Seasonal Coefficient of Performance) of 3.11, Frascold said. The plant provides a discharge temperature of 70 degrees C with a return of 38 degrees C, thus achieving a COP of 3.4 calculated by considering an outside air temperature of 8 degrees C, which is the annual average in Denmark, Frascold said.
“We think HC heat pumps are ideal for helping reduce the comfort sector’s environmental impact,” said Karsten Pedersen, Technical Director, Solid Energy. “Cascade systems with R290 and R600a guarantee the best balance of lowering direct and indirect consumption, flexibility of use and costs.
So, for this project, we relied, once more, on Frascold, which has supported us throughout each phase, and thanks to the constant dialogue with the Competence Center team, we have designed the ideal system to respond to the three challenges: Sustainability, performance and efficiency.
The partnership with Frascold is also based on the certified reliability of its wide range of hydrocarbon solutions: It is, in fact, the only manufacturer on the market with compressor sizes around 1,000 m3/h, which are perfect for our project and comply with ATEX directives for use in zone 2.”
Fabrizio Diotallevi, Frascold Sales Area Manager, North Europe, said: “Denmark is one of the most advanced countries in terms of district heating, and approximately 1.7 million homes, or 64% of the total, are powered by these systems, of which 61% already use energy from renewable sources.
A continuous improvement process is in line with the objective to completely eliminate fossil fuels in the segment by 2030. With the numerous plants brought online with Solid Energy, we are proud to contribute to this ambitious project, which we hope will be replicated in other countries.
This new success story with Solid Energy is another example of our expertise in building heat pump compressors, which we have gained through years of international partnerships using this technology that, in the near future, will be the basis for virtuous heating and zero environmental impact.”
Frascold SpA – www.frascold.it/en
Frascold is a leading player in the development, production and marketing of semi-hermetic, piston and screw compressors, at the service of the refrigeration and air conditioning industry. A company in continuous evolution, with its gaze always directed toward the future, which has built, over time, its competitive positioning on the value of the dynamic efficiency paradigm in which the company becomes the very engine of change, playing a propositional and proactive role towards the demand.
With headquarters in the province of Milan, in a facility occupying 53,000 m2 in total. Frascold Spa closed 2020 with a consolidated turnover of 55 million Euro. The Company boasts a well-balanced competitive position, thanks to the complete control of the value chain and a careful internationalisation strategy, which is expressed in significant investments in direct bases in China, India and the USA and agreements with Distributors in 86 countries.
Solid Energy A/S https://www.solid-group.dk/en
Solid Energy A/S is a cleantech company founded in 2015 in Denmark. It specialises in designing and installing heat pumps for district heating power stations and for large plants in, for example, the industrial sector. Solid Group has 35 employees and implemented 13 turnkey projects, for an overall total power of 40 MW.
Frascold, Solid Energy in district energy initiative
MILAN, Italy, 19 April 2022: District heating systems could be a key technology in achieving the
international climate mitigation goals, both those laid out in the Paris Agreement and the more
stringent ones set by the European Green Deal. Saying so, Frascold, which manufactures semi-
hermetic compressors for the industrial refrigeration and air conditioning sectors, said it has
combined with Solid Energy, which specialises in heat pumps powered by renewable energy
sources, to contribute to the diffusion of district heating and pave the way to an ecological
transition by signing up to numerous projects in Denmark.
Amongst the most recent partnerships, upgrading the Galten plant in the Scandinavian country
stands out, Frascold said. The plant has been in operation since 1964 and is capable of
powering approximately 2,130 homes, Frascold highlighted. The collaboration between
Frascold and Solid Energy for the Galten facility began in 2019 with the creation of a system
able to produce 45,000 MWh per year, obtained from 6 Frascold CXH screw compressors,
suitable for use with HC, for 3.5 MW of overall power. The subsequent expansion, in 2021, saw
the addition of 12 CXH compressors for an increase in power of 7 MW, Frascold said. The
installed air-water heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air with 34 air coolers for a total of
3,215,000 m 3 /h and cover 98% of the district heating system’s power consumption – that is,
44.343 MWh – with a SCOP (Seasonal Coefficient of Performance) of 3.11, Frascold said. The
plant provides a discharge temperature of 70 degrees C with a return of 38 degrees C, thus
achieving a COP of 3.4 calculated by considering an outside air temperature of 8 degrees C,
which is the annual average in Denmark, Frascold said.
“We think HC heat pumps are ideal for helping reduce the comfort sector’s environmental
impact,” said Karsten Pedersen, Technical Director, Solid Energy. “Cascade systems with R290
and R600a guarantee the best balance of lowering direct and indirect consumption, flexibility of
use and costs. So, for this project, we relied, once more, on Frascold, which has supported us
throughout each phase, and thanks to the constant dialogue with the Competence Center
team, we have designed the ideal system to respond to the three challenges: Sustainability,
performance and efficiency. The partnership with Frascold is also based on the certified
reliability of its wide range of hydrocarbon solutions: It is, in fact, the only manufacturer on the
market with compressor sizes around 1,000 m 3 /h, which are perfect for our project and comply
with ATEX directives for use in zone 2.”
Fabrizio Diotallevi, Frascold Sales Area Manager, North Europe, said: “Denmark is one of the
most advanced countries in terms of district heating, and approximately 1.7 million homes, or
64% of the total, are powered by these systems, of which 61% already use energy from
renewable sources. A continuous improvement process is in line with the objective to
completely eliminate fossil fuels in the segment by 2030. With the numerous plants brought
online with Solid Energy, we are proud to contribute to this ambitious project, which we hope
will be replicated in other countries. This new success story with Solid Energy is another
example of our expertise in building heat pump compressors, which we have gained through
years of international partnerships using this technology that, in the near future, will be the
basis for virtuous heating and zero environmental impact.”
Danfoss implements planned generational shift in ownership
NORDBORG, Denmark, 23 March 2022: Former Danfoss CEO, Jørgen Mads Clausen has informed the Board of Directors that he will resign as Chairman of the Board of Danfoss A/S with effect from the Annual General Meeting to be held on March 25, 2022. Making the announcement through a Press release, Danfoss said Clausen will remain a member of the Board of Directors until the Annual General Meeting on March 25, when his current term expires.
According to Danfoss, the Board has nominated current Vice Chairman, Jens Bjerg Sørensen to succeed Clausen as Chairman of the Board after the Annual General Meeting.
Clausen said: “Danfoss is now a stronger, bigger and more global company, but also one with a clear goal of contributing to the green transition and combatting climate change with our energy-efficient products and solutions. This is a result of our business strategy, which is now being updated with an ambitious sustainability strategy. It has been a pleasure to safeguard my parents’ life work for the benefit of Southern Jutland, Denmark and the world. Now it’s time for the next generation to take the lead. The timing is right for me.”
According to Danfoss, Clausen was CEO of the company from 1996 to 2008 and Chairman of the Board since the 2009 Annual General Meeting. Despite stepping down from the Board, he intends to maintain his strong commitment to Danfoss, the company said. This follows the tradition that started with Bitten Clausen, who was one of the world’s first female board chairs from 1966 to 1971 and, later, Danfoss’ Vice Chair until 1989, the company added.
Clausen said: “I will continue to be available to the company and represent the family to employees and business associates. But both my siblings and my wife and I are delighted that the third generation of the family is showing their commitment to Danfoss by taking on greater responsibility. At the same time, we couldn’t ask for a better chairman than Jens Bjerg Sørensen. Jens has the right skills, experience and understanding of Danfoss and our culture. He can take Danfoss to new levels, together with the rest of the Board, management and our employees.”
Sørensen said: “I am honored to be nominated as the new Chairman of the Board. Danfoss has an impressive history. The foundation based long-term ownership and the family’s strong values are one of the main reasons why Danfoss now has a decisive influence on whether the world succeeds in the green transition. Danfoss is financially stronger than ever and has developed significantly during Jørgen’s time as Chairman. As Vice Chairman, I have followed the close collaboration between Jørgen and Danfoss’ CEO, Kim Fausing, which I consider crucial to Danfoss’ success. I intend to maintain this together with the new Board of Directors.”
Johnson Controls joins World Business Council for Sustainable Development
GENEVA, Switzerland, 23 March 2022: Johnson Controls joined over 200 companies as the newest member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
Making the announcement through a Press release, Johnson Controls said it continues to take significant steps to further improve its environmental impact and has committed to achieving net zero Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement goal. By 2030, the company said, it aims to cut its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 55% and reduce Scope 3 emissions by 16%. These ambitious 2030 emissions reduction targets have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative, it added.
Johnson Controls said it also recently became the first S&P500 industrial company to release an Integrated Sustainable Finance Framework as well as issue a Sustainability-Linked Bond. This, it said, builds on its green finance initiative, following its prior green bond issuance and the linking of its senior credit facility to sustainability metrics. As part of its Integrated Sustainable Finance Framework, Johnson Controls said, it further committed to achieving interim absolute emission reduction targets by 2025.
Johnson Controls said it is a member of both the WBCSD decarbonization and circular economy working groups for the Built Environment. With an integrated focus on designing buildings with low to no carbon, standardizing measurement across the industry and delivering nature-positive solutions, the two working groups are on the forefront of designing the future of sustainable, equitable cities, it said.
“We are delighted to join WBCSD”, said Katie McGinty, Vice President and Chief Sustainability and External Relations Officer, Johnson Controls. “The building sector accounts for nearly 40% of global annual CO2 emissions, so there is no tackling climate change without substantial investment in buildings. We look forward to working with, and learning from, fellow WBCSD members, leading the way to a low carbon, nature positive, sustainable economy, together.”
Peter Bakker, President and CEO, WBCSD, said: “WBCSD is working to accelerate the system transformations needed for a net-zero, nature-positive, and more equitable future. To achieve our vision of creating a world in which nine+ billion people are living well, within planetary boundaries, by mid-century, we need to engage executives and sustainability leaders in business. Therefore, I am delighted to welcome Johnson Controls as the newest member of WBCSD. As a global leader in the built environment sector, with an ambitious goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, we are excited to work alongside Johnson Controls to solve the intertwined sustainability challenges of the climate emergency, biodiversity loss, and mounting inequality.”
UNIDO, European Investment Bank sign climate change joint declaration
LUXEMBOURG, 23 March 2022: Gerd Müller, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), signed a Joint Declaration to enhance cooperation, related to investment operations in the field of private sector development, with a particular focus on inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and innovation and resilient infrastructure.
Making the announcement through a Press release EIB said joint areas of cooperation include circular economy, notably through the switch to Circular Economy Value Chains programme; clean energy and climate change action; small and medium enterprise development; access to finance and investment support; pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing; sustainable transport and e-mobility; and digitalisation and the fourth industrial revolution.
Müller told Hoyer: “We have a long-standing and excellent personal and professional relationship. I am very glad to strengthen the partnership between our two organizations to provide innovative and concrete solutions for a global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and a green energy transition. Together, we can build bridges between developing countries, emerging markets and European partner countries and foster global solidarity. This is urgently needed.”
Hoyer said: “Multilateral cooperation is vital to leverage private investment and make economies across the world resilient and sustainable. I am delighted to renew our collaboration with UNIDO, who is a key partner to promote an inclusive green transition globally. Via EIB Global, our new branch for international development and partnerships, we will join forces to reduce poverty and enhance investment in sustainable infrastructure. I look forward to continuing our long and fruitful cooperation in your new role as Director General of UNIDO.”
According to EIB, the two institutions intend to explore cooperation opportunities, especially in Africa, in the countries of UNIDO’s Programme for Country Partnership (PCP), as well as in the context of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, where the EIB is particularly active. Other possible geographical areas could include Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, Central Asia, Asia and Latin America, where both institutions already operate.
EIB said UNIDO and the EIB also agreed to develop and implement crisis- and fast-response operations when needed, such as COVID-19 support initiatives or activities to ensure resilient industrial production and sustainable economic growth.
IEA: Global CO2 emissions rise to all-time high
BERKELEY, California, 11 March 2022: As You Sow, an advocacy non-profit that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility, quoted the International Energy Agency (IEA) as saying that global carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from energy combustion and industrial processes rose to their highest ever level in 2021. Making the announcement through a Press release, As You Sow added that a six per cent increase in 2021 pushed emissions to 36.3 gigatonnes, erasing the five per cent reduction in 2020, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As greenhouse gas emissions continue to climb higher when the effects of climate change are increasingly being felt it highlights the need to go beyond targets and implement immediate tangible emissions reductions, As You Sow said.
More than 70 countries, accounting for more than 80% of global CO2 emissions and 90% of global GDP, have committed to net-zero, as have more than 5,000 companies, As You Sow said. In order to see progress critical for keeping global temperatures from rising beyond 1.5 degrees C, there is a need for companies to pursue ambitious near-term targets, robust transition plans detailing steps to achieve targets and leadership in advocating for sweeping climate policy, As You Sow added.
As You Sow’s recent report, Road to Zero Emissions scores companies on net-zero progress and is in step with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s findings that near-term action is needed by prioritizing year-over-year emissions reductions aligned with 1.5 degrees C.
Danielle Fugere, President, As You Sow, said: “Investor value is being put at greater risk as emissions continue to rise. It is imperative for the safety of human society and the global economy that emissions are reduced immediately in line with the Paris Agreement. When it comes to climate change, we will not be given second chances, so the private sector must create climate transition plans that prioritize accountability and transparency.”
French transport refrigeration rental company aims for UAE market-share
DUBAI, UAE, 7 March 2022: French transport refrigeration rental company, Petit Forestier, announced its intention of garnering market share in the UAE’s food cold chain sector.
Speaking to Climate Control Middle East, Petit Forestier, which also manufactures its refrigerated boxes, pointed out that its entire fleet of vehicles is ATP-certified, which enhances food safety, and ensures a low carbon footprint and cost-savings for the customer. ATP stands for “Accord Transport Perissable” (Agreement on the International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs and on the Special Equipment to be Used for such Carriage). It comes under the purview of the Transport Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
Stanislas Przyklang du Chassin, its Managing Director for UAE operations, highlighted that the company is the first to supply ATP-certified boxes in the UAE. “We are trying to push everybody and explain to everybody that it is really important for food safety that we install these here,” he said. “These boxes are between 900 kilograms and one ton lighter than locally available boxes.
Imagine how green they are. Lighter means they consume less petrol – the fuel consumption is 20-30% less than locally available boxes – which means lower CO2 emissions. So, we are working on the cold safety and the green side of the vehicle.”
Przyklang du Chassin admitted that ATP-certified boxes are 25-30% more expensive that locally available boxes. However, when all aspects are considered, they would guarantee greater cost savings for clients. “Yes, the cost of purchasing is higher, but at the end, the vehicle is one ton lighter, which means we can save 20-30% on fuel costs,” he said. “We have customers who are doing one petrol tank per day, which means they get their money back in one year. Also, a lighter vehicle means you don’t have to replace your brakes that often, which will mean a reduced cost of maintenance.”
Petit Forestier, which has factories in France and Poland, manufactures 7,000 insulated boxes a year. It said it is the only rental company that has an innovation department, working every day to find solutions related to green transportation and food safety. Dimitri Doinet, its Sales Director, said innovation is a key strength of the company.
Pointing to the vehicles, he highlighted the use of fewer metallic parts in the chassis, which make them lighter and, hence, more fuel efficient. He also highlighted that the insulation of the boxes is six centimetres in thickness, as compared to 10 centimetres in boxes available in the country. This, he said, allows for carrying more foodstuffs per load. He further highlighted the use of door sensors, which cut off the cold units on opening the doors of the truck, thus preventing exposure to hot ambient conditions.
From a food safety perspective, Doinet pointed to the use of unique antimicrobial air strips for preventing the ingress of hot ambient air to the vehicle. This, he said, was only the beginning, though. Adding to this, Przyklang du Chassin said the company offers vehicles fitted with mechanical air curtains, They are currently available only in Europe, though. He said customers are happy with the innovation, for they do not have an obstruction while entering the vehicle.
Przyklang du Chassin said the company would eventually offer air curtains in vehicles in the UAE. “This is something we have to test,” he said. “We have plans of bringing them here in the next five years.”
Speaking on the rental model of the business, Przyklang du Chassin said the company was proposing renting its vehicles for 5-6 years, during which it would offer commitment to the customer to manage every aspect of the assets. That way, he said, the customer would know that cold safety is respected. Petit Forestier, he said, offers a full complement of aftermarket services, including maintenance, repair and replacement.
Speaking on the speed of service and reaction time, Przyklang du Chassin said the company has the ability to give a replacement vehicle within a short duration. “If the client has any issue on the road, we can give a replacement vehicle in 20-30 minutes, so as to be able to continue delivering perishable foodstuffs,” he said. “With refrigerated vehicles, if you have a breakdown, you can lose everything, especially here. So, we have developed a full service to replace vehicles very quickly.”
European Investment Bank, Solas in energy efficiency initiative
LUXEMBOURG, 22 February 2022: The Solas Sustainable Energy Fund ICAV, a new EU-focused fund targeting energy efficiency investments, has reached its first close with €140 million. Making the announcement through a Press release, the European Investment Bank (EIB) said it has committed a €30 million cornerstone investment to SSEF, backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. EIB said that as one of the largest providers of climate finance, it supports projects that promote the priorities and objectives of the European Union.
According to EIB, the SSEF also signed an agreement with the Private Finance for Energy Efficiency (PF4EE) support scheme, a joint initiative launched by the European Commission via the LIFE programme and the EIB.
One of the goals of PF4EE is to encourage private institutional investors, such as insurers and pension funds, to invest in European energy efficiency infrastructure, particularly in the small- and medium-sized (SME) sector. Further cornerstone investors of SSEF are the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), IDEAL insurance as well as MEAG, the asset manager of the Munich Re group.
EIB said that by virtue of being a specialist investment advisor in the energy efficiency sector, Solas Capital will advise the fund. EIB said Solas Capital partners with a wide variety of leading energy service companies, project developers, equipment manufacturers, and public-sector bodies across the European Union to help facilitate their access to tailor-made financing and enable new investment in energy efficiency.
According to EIB, SSEF will offer funding for energy-saving business models focusing on the renovation of existing infrastructure, particularly buildings, using established and reliable energy-efficient technologies, such as modern heating and cooling systems, combined heat and power units, solar rooftops, building fabric, LED lighting, etc. Projects in both the public and private sectors will be supported, including the SME sector, which faces more challenges in securing finance, EIB said.
According to EIB, the project would entail an initial investment into a project portfolio of energy efficiency measures in buildings. It added that buildings are responsible for 40% of the European Union’s energy consumption, and 36% of its CO2 emissions.
To achieve near zero emissions in buildings, crowding-in private institutional capital will be essential, as public funding is not sufficient. SSEF, EIB said, is offering the market a unique financing solution and is closing the gap between energy efficiency funding needs and institutional investor requirements.
Kadri Simson, The Commissioner for Energy, said: “Investing into energy efficiency, renewable energy generation and building renovation is at the core of the European Green Deal and key to bringing down energy bills. The Solas Sustainable Energy Fund will combine the financial support from EFSI and PF4EE to mobilise affordable private financing for investments in the energy performance of buildings, including onsite renewable energy production.
The PF4EE guarantee will set the gold standard for equity investment fund initiatives and engage institutional investors in green assets. This will bring us one step closer to achieving the EU’s Green Deal ambition of becoming climate neutral by 2050.”
Thomas Östros, Vice-President, European Investment Bank, who is responsible for energy financing, said: “As Europe’s climate bank, the EIB is proud to be a cornerstone investor in the Solas Sustainable Energy Fund, which will help bridge the major financing gap for energy efficiency projects. Reducing the energy use in buildings is crucial to achieving a carbon-neutral economy in Europe by 2050. We believe that our commitment in this fund will catalyse further investments to meet the immense building renovation challenge.”
Siemens to acquire EcoDomus’ digital twin software
Switzerland, 3 December 2021: Siemens Smart Infrastructure signed an agreement to acquire digital twin software for buildings from EcoDomus, a US-based company, the company said through a Press release. The move, the company said, helps it expand its digital building portfolio, including its cloud-based building operations twin software and its flagship building management platform, Desigo CC.
The EcoDomus software creates, maintains and visualizes Building Information Modeling (BIM)-based digital building twins, making design and construction data available for building operations and maintenance, the company said.
Customers can generate digital replicas of their real buildings and assets, creating a common data environment that integrates BIM, Building Management Systems (BMS), Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) and Internet of Things (IoT) systems, the company said. The solution enables BIM-driven workflows and digital twin-based lifecycle management, complemented by 3D visualization, the company added.
“The way we operate buildings is fundamentally changing, thanks to the power of digitalization and digital twins,” said Henning Sandfort, CEO, Building Products, Siemens Smart Infrastructure. “By enhancing our existing offering for digitalized buildings with EcoDomus’ software, we are strengthening our leading-industry position in that dynamic market, offering our customers the full-spectrum benefits of BIM-based operations.”
According to the company, in the past, BIM data usage has mostly focused on a building’s construction phase. Today, it said, its benefits can also be leveraged in the operations and maintenance phase. This is crucial, because this is where 80% of a building’s total lifecycle costs will occur, it said.
Leveraging the acquired data creation and visualization capabilities, Siemens’ digital building software portfolio will bring substantial benefits to customers: Enhanced insights into the performance of their building, real-time issue identification and resolution, better space and energy utilization and many others, the company said.
Customers will be able to turn their buildings into more sustainable, comfortable and safe places to live and work, while at the same time streamlining processes and reducing operational costs, it said.
According to the company, EcoDomus is a privately held US company. The closing of the deal, it added, is expected in the next few months and subject to the conditions agreed by both parties.
ASHRAE addresses climate change solutions at COP26
ATLANTA, Georgia, 11 November 2021: ASHRAE addressed climate change solutions at the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, held from October 31 to November 12.
ASHRAE said it formally participated as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and an official COP observer. The United Nations granted permission for select organizations to participate in COP26 activities.
More than 60 of the largest and most influential international architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, planning and construction firms, along with two dozen organizations representing over one million building industry professionals worldwide, issued a Communiqué to government leaders headed to COP26 challenging them to step up their emissions reduction targets for the built-environment. The firms and organizations are signatories of the 1.5°C COP26 Communiqué — an open letter to sovereign governments demonstrating the firms’ and organizations’ commitment to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C carbon budget and demanding governments do the same.
ASHRAE said its focus at COP26 was to emphasize the importance of the building community’s participation in addressing the climate crisis. Architecture 2030 and ASHRAE hosted a COP26 Official Side Event on November 10, featuring the 1.5°C COP26 Communiqué and its signatories. The event, titled ‘65% by 2030 / ZERO by 2040: Top 200 Global Firms and Organizations Lead With 1.5°C Climate Actions’, highlighted ways in which the signatories are responding to the urgency of the climate crisis and specific actions to decarbonize the built world and meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C carbon budget.
At the side event, 2021-22 ASHRAE Treasurer, Ginger Scoggins, highlighted the world’s growing building stock and the role of built-environment organizations, such as ASHRAE, in assisting both policymakers and industry leaders in better understanding their impact on our climate change solutions.
“ASHRAE signed onto the 1.5°C COP26 Communiqué, and we are here today because engineers and scientists involved with HVACR and building systems have been, and will continue to be, advancing solutions to address climate change,” Scoggins said. “We are here, because we recognize that the built-environment is a key source contributing to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and with the building stock continuing to expand and doubling by 2050, solutions from the buildings community is ever more critical.”
Additionally, Scoggins spoke about the credibility of ASHRAE’s technical resources and global standing in the development of consensus-based standards. “ASHRAE’s flagship Energy Conservation Standard 90.1 is the benchmark for commercial building energy codes in the United States and has been a key basis for codes and standards around the world for more than 45 years, reducing energy consumption by 50%, yet only 38 countries have specifically named building standards and codes in their Nationally Determined Contributions,” Scoggins said. “Many of the countries where the building stock is expected to grow do not require energy standards for buildings. ASHRAE signed the buildings industry’s communique, and we are ready to help policy makers and the buildings industry around the world transform our building stock into one that is sustainable, resilient, and healthy. We are here to be part of the solution and we are up to the challenge.”
In a separate statement, 2021-21 ASHRAE President Mick Schwedler, commented on ASHRAE’s participation at COP26 and shared additional ways that the Society is addressing climate change. “ASHRAE’s climate action efforts exemplify the Society’s core dedication to engineering excellence in environmental stewardship,” Schwedler said. “The ASHRAE Global Headquarters building renovation project demonstrates that existing buildings can be transformed into net-zero-energy structures cost-effectively, using current, off-the shelf technologies. Our Advanced Energy Design Guides, developed with our partners, provide zero energy K-12 schools and office buildings guides to equip designers in achieving zero energy and significantly reducing carbon. ASHRAE is proud to work with other world leaders to not only raise awareness of the issues surrounding climate change, but collectively seek to redefine the built environment for the times and continually explore what is possible through industry leading innovation.”
UN: Pandemic causes dip in building emissions
NAIROBI, Kenya, 19 October 2021: The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic caused CO2 emissions from buildings and construction to fall significantly in 2020, but a lack of real transformation in the sector means that emissions will keep rising and contribute to dangerous climate change, according to the 2021 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction.
The report, published by the UN Environment Programme-hosted Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC), finds that in 2020, the sector accounted for 36% of global final energy consumption and 37% of energy related CO2 emissions, as compared to other end-use sectors.
While the level of emissions within the sector are 10% lower than in 2015, reaching lows not seen since 2007, this w333as largely due to lockdowns, slowing of economies, difficulties households and businesses faced in maintaining and affording energy access and a fall in construction activity. Efforts to decarbonize the sector played only a small role, the authors of the report said.
With large growth projected in the buildings sector, emissions are set to rise if there is no effort to decarbonize buildings and improve their energy efficiency, the authors said. In Asia and Africa, building stock is expected to double by 2050, they said, adding that global material use is expected to more than double by 2060, with a third of this rise attributable to construction materials.
“This year showed that climate change is an immediate direct threat to every community on this planet, and it is only going to intensify,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UNEP. “The buildings and construction sector, as a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, must urgently be decarbonized through a triple strategy of reducing energy demand, decarbonizing the power supply and addressing building materials’ carbon footprint, if we are to have any chance of meeting the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C.”
Some progress, but not enough
The GlobalABC’s Global Buildings Climate Tracker found that there have been some incremental improvements in action to decarbonize and improve the energy efficiency of the sector.
In 2015, 90 countries included actions for addressing buildings emissions or improving energy efficiency in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. This number has now hit 136, although ambition varie, the authors of the report said.
Since 2015, an additional 18 countries have put in place building energy codes – a move that is crucial to shift emissions downwards – bringing the total to 80, the authors said. Local cities and governments have also developed codes, they said. Investment in energy efficiency rose to over USD 180 billion in 2020, up from 129 billion in 2015. Green building certification has increased by 13.9% compared to 2019, they said.
Overall, however, the report finds that these efforts are insufficient, both in terms of speed and scale. Other key findings of the report include: Two-thirds of countries still lack mandatory buildings codes; most of the increase in energy efficiency spending came from a small number of European countries; too small a share of finance goes into deep energy retrofits, and there is a lack of ambitious decarbonization targets in NDCs.
What comes next?
Energy demand in the buildings and construction sector is likely to rebound, as economic recovery efforts take hold and as pent-up demands for new construction are realized, the authors said.
By 2030, to be on track to achieving a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, the International Energy Agency says that direct building CO2 emissions would need to decrease by 50%. Indirect building sector emissions will have to drop through a reduction of 60% in power generation emissions. To achieve these goals, the report finds, the sector has to take advantage of every lever.
While pandemic recovery spending has not sufficiently prioritized climate-friendly approaches to the level required, the authors said, there is still an opportunity to invest in decarbonizing our buildings while increasing their resilience:
- Countries need to harness the sector’s transformative potential for achieving the energy transition.
- Governments need to commit to further decarbonizing the power, as well as heating and cooling energy supply. This includes stepping up ambition in NDCs to include building decarbonization targets that contain the so-far largely overlooked embodied carbon and the emissions from the production of building materials.
- The rate of growth of investment in building efficiency needs to double to over 3 per cent per year, and must expand beyond direct government investment to private investors.
- Scope and coverage of building energy codes need to increase. All countries need to have in place mandatory building energy codes, and these would ideally address performance standards for building envelopes, design, heating, cooling, ventilation systems and appliances, and ensure links with integrated urban planning.
Buildings’ resilience needs to increase to futureproof our homes and workspaces. A typical building constructed today will still be in use in 2070, but the climate it encounters will have changed significantly.
- The necessary interventions to reduce the climate impact of existing buildings should be combined with investing in adaptation and resilience measures.
- In addition, both public and private sector need to seize the tremendous investment opportunities this sector offers – for example, through green bonds or through banks increasing green building construction and mortgage finance.
Johnson Controls issues USD 500 mn sustainability-linked bond
CORK, Ireland, 16 September 2021: Johnson Controls (JCI) said it has issued its first Sustainability-Linked Bond offering of USD 500 million in 10-year senior notes. The offering of the bond, the company said through a Press release, is in conformity with the company’s recently published integrated green, social and sustainability-linked finance framework. The publication of the framework and issuance of a bond mark two new sustainability milestones for Johnson Controls, which has become the first S&P500 industrial company to complete both accomplishments, it said.
Earlier, in January 2021, Johnson Controls adopted a new set of ambitious environmental goals, which it said, were approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative. The company said it has committed to cut operational emissions by 55% and reduce customers’ emissions by 16% before 2030. Based on the commitments, the company said, it issued the bond, which ties the interest rate on the bond to the achievement of the environmental goals. This means that Johnson Controls will pay a higher interest rate to bond investors if it fails to meet its interim targets for reducing Scope 1 + 2 and Scope 3 carbon emissions by September 16, 2025.
“Experts say that an additional USD 1-2 trillion/year must be invested in sustainability and cutting greenhouse gases if we are going to have any chance of meeting the steep carbon reductions science tells us is urgently required,” said George Oliver, Chairman and CEO, Johnson Controls. “Governments alone will not be able to mobilize this sum of money, so private sector capital needs to get sustainable, and fast. Building the market for sustainable finance is, therefore, an imperative; and ensuring that the highest standards are met so that dollars flow to projects that truly accelerate decarbonization, is also critical. With our continued commitment to sustainable finance and aggressive sustainability targets, we are showing our leadership in the field.”
OECD: Climate finance from developed to developing countries totalled USD 79.6 bn in 2019
PARIS, France, 17 September 2021: Climate finance provided and mobilised by developed countries for developing countries totalled USD 79.6 billion in 2019, up two per cent from 78.3 billion in 2018, according to new figures from the OECD.
The small increase was driven by a rise in public climate finance provided by multilateral institutions, while bilateral public climate finance commitments dropped, as did climate finance mobilised from private sources, OECD said through a Press release, issued for the purpose of sharing the new figures.
‘Climate Finance Provided and Mobilised by Developed Countries: Aggregate trends updated with 2019 data’ is the OECD’s fourth assessment of progress towards the UNFCCC goal of mobilising USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to help developing countries tackle and adapt to climate change.
“Climate finance continued to grow in 2019, but developed countries remain USD 20 billion short of meeting the 2020 goal of mobilising USD 100 billion,” Mathias Cormann, OECD Secretary-General, said. “The limited progress in overall climate finance volumes between 2018 and 2019 is disappointing, particularly ahead of COP26. While appropriately verified data for 2020 will not be available until early next year, it is clear that that climate finance will remain well short of its target. More needs to be done. We know that donor countries recognise this, with Canada and Germany now taking forward a delivery plan for mobilising the additional finance required to reach the USD 100bn a year goal.”
The report finds that public climate finance from developed countries reached USD 62.9 billion in 2019. Bilateral public climate finance accounted for USD 28.8 billion, down 10% from 2018, and multilateral public climate finance attributed to developed countries accounted for USD 34.1 billion, up by 15% from 2018, the report revealed. The level of private climate finance mobilised was down four per cent at USD 14.0 billion in 2019, after USD 14.6 billion in 2018. Climate-related export credits remained small at USD 2.6 billion, accounting for just three per cent of total climate finance, the report said.
The report also shows that out of the overall climate finance in 2019, 25% went to adaptation (up from 21% in 2018), 64% went to climate change mitigation activities (down from 70% in 2019), and the remainder to cross-cutting activities. More than half of total climate finance targeted economic infrastructure – mostly energy and transport – with most of the remainder going to agriculture and social infrastructure, notably water and sanitation, the report said.
Asia has been the main beneficiary of climate finance over 2016-19, with 43% of the total, on average, followed by Africa (26%) and the Americas (17%), the report said. Climate finance for Least Developed Countries rose strongly in 2019 (up 27% on 2018), but funding for Small Island Developing States fell back to 2017 levels (from USD 2.1 billion to 1.5 billion) after a temporary increase in 2018, the report pointed out.
The data confirm that SIDS face specific challenges in accessing climate finance. The international community needs to consider financing for climate that is appropriate for the challenges that SIDS face, less fragmented, easier to access, predictable and long-term, the report said.
Cormann said: “It is more urgent than ever that developed countries step up their efforts to deliver finance for climate action in developing countries, particularly to support poor and vulnerable countries to build resilience against the growing impacts of climate change.”
In terms of public finance instruments, public grant financing jumped by 30% from 2018 to reach USD 16.7 billion in 2019, after having remained stable the three previous years. In contrast, the volume of public loans, which had increased significantly up to 2018, fell by five per cent in 2019. As a result, the share of grants in overall public climate finance was 27% in 2019, while loans (both concessional and non-concessional) represented 71%.
Cooling to the Green Deal with natural CO2 refrigerant systems
WELSHPOOL, United Kingdom, 17 August 2021: Invertek Drives showcased its dedicated VFD, Optidrive Coolvert, for use on CO2 refrigeration display cases used in the retail sector. The company added that its Optidrive Eco operates on larger current refrigeration compressor racks and cold rooms.
Invertek make the announcement against the backdrop of the European Commission’s Green Deal, also referred to as Fit for 55, which sets out proposals to cut EU net greenhouse emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This could mean the current target of reducing fluorinated greenhouse gas (F-Gas) emissions by two-thirds by 2030, compared with 2014 levels, will be adjusted and tightened further.
The EU F-Gas Regulation brought a 44% reduction in the amount of available HFCs in the EU, compared to 2015. By 2030, the current regulation allows only 20% of HFCs being available, with stepped drops between then and now. This could change in the recast.
According to Invertek, the impact of both means there is a need to ramp up the use of natural refrigerants, such as CO2, in cooling and refrigeration systems. And this isn’t just in the EU but throughout the world as part of the existing Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, it said.
Variable frequency drives (VFDs), the company said, are playing an important role in reducing emissions and energy use in HVAC&R systems. Optidrive Coolvert, it said, is one of the smallest VFDs in its class providing OEMs with opportunities to reduce panel space and lower machine costs. It fits directly into refrigeration display cases alongside a CO2 compressor, it added.
This is in addition to end-user savings of up to 25% using CO2 refrigerant condensing systems, which it is specifically designed to work with, the company claimed. A combination of meeting EU F-Gas Regulations and cutting energy use is a significant benefit for the end-user as well as for the environment, it said.
Mike Carman, Head of Sales, Invertek Drives, said: “The recast of the F-Gas Regulation comes as the EU sets out its new and wider environmental ambitions through the Green Deal. It’s widely believed this is the precursor to a significant adjustment in the F-Gas Regulation timeframe.
“With either more cuts in the amount of HFCs available in the EU or increased limits on emissions, it’ll impact on the manufacturers and end-users of refrigeration and wider HVAC/R systems”
According to Invertek, the Optidrive Coolvert also has the widest ambient operating range of between -20 degrees C and +60 degrees C, making it ideal for use in a wide range of environments. It can be used for the control of CO2 rotary or scroll, BLDC compressors used in supermarkets and convenience store display cases; heat pumps, and condensing units, the company said. This is in comparison to the Optidrive Eco VFD, which operates on larger-capacity semi-hermetic and screw compressors used in industrial and food retail refrigeration racks, and chillers, the company added.
According to Invertek, Coolvert is compatible with all motor types, including induction motors, permanent magnet motors, brushless DC motors, synchronous reluctance motors and Line Start PM motors ranging between Single Phase (Active PSE) 7A and 20A, and Three-Phase 14A to 24A (input of 200V to 480V).
Its open Modbus RS485 communication, the company said, ensures seamless connection to any external application controller, allowing the OEM freedom to select which components to use, which again helps lower manufacturing costs.
With an IP20-rated front and an IP55-rated rear, its panel mounting allows the drive’s power electronics to be cooled by the chilled air of the condenser, the company said, adding that this allows OEMs to select the smallest panel size for the control of the electronics, while removing heat generated by the drive and maintaining the IP rating.
IEA releases ‘roadmap to net zero’ report
BERKELEY, California, 18 May 2021: The International Energy Agency (IEA) said it has published its first ever comprehensive roadmap to net-zero emissions by 2050. The report, it added, provides guidance for governments, companies, investors and the public on what is necessary to fully decarbonize the energy sector and lower greenhouse gas emissions to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The report, it said, comes after it received widespread criticism for systematically underestimating the pace of adoption of clean energy technologies, such as solar and wind, and substantially overestimating their costs. Critics, it said, argued that IEA projections had effectively acted as support for the fossil fuel industry’s business-as-usual operations.
In a significant shift, the IEA said, it today recognizes that on a net-zero pathway there can be no investment in new fossil fuel supply. This, it said, includes oil, gas and coal projects. The IEA said, it confirms that with the introduction of policy to achieve climate stabilization at 1.5 degrees, the fossil fuel sector will face significant demand reduction.
Danielle Fugere, President, As You Sow, responding to the release of the report, said: “This new net-zero scenario from the IEA finally aligns with investor expectations and makes abundantly clear to fossil fuel companies that they must set net-zero targets, develop a clear transition strategy, and evolve in step with the decarbonizing global economy. Standing in the way of progress is no longer acceptable for companies’ own enterprise success or for the global economy.”
Daniel Stewart, Senior Research Associate, As You Sow, said: “Until now, the IEA’s research has been used to play down transition risks faced by the fossil fuel industry and as a support for inadequate energy and climate policy. IEA’s new scenario firms up what investors already knew about the steps needed to achieve climate stabilization by mid-century. It demonstrates without a doubt that it is difficult but absolutely possible to contain the catastrophic impact of runaway climate change, and signals major disruption on the horizon for industries reliant on fossil fuels.”
JCI named to FT European Climate Leaders list
CORK, Ireland, 18 May 2021: Johnson Controls (JCI) said it has been named to the inaugural FT Climate Leaders in Europe list.
Europe’s Climate Leaders 2021 is a list of companies across Europe that have shown the highest reduction of their emission intensity – that is, core greenhouse gas emissions in relation to revenues, between 2014 and 2019. Johnson Controls reported that it was one of only 300 companies selected from 4,000 across Europe.
“We are extremely proud to be recognized by the Financial Times as a European climate leader,” said George Oliver, chairman and CEO, Johnson Controls. “Sustainability has long been at the heart of everything we do, and it is an honor to be included on this prestigious list. With COP26 approaching at this critical moment in the battle against climate change, it is important that companies continue to play their part in cutting emissions and delivering clean, sustainable solutions across the entire value chain.”
According to JCI, companies on the list – compiled by research firm, Statista – were invited to submit emissions reported following the emission categories of the greenhouse gas protocol (scope 1, 2 and 3). In addition, Statista scrutinized publicly available data, mainly from financial and non-financial reports as well as from CDP (formerly the “Carbon Disclosure Project”).
Although JCI reports all three emissions scopes, the ranking only considers scope 1 and scope 2 emissions, since not all companies publish their scope 3 emissions, it said. Since 2002, JCI said, it has reduced its emissions intensity by more than 70% – equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 17,000 acres of forest. The company said it has also helped its customers save more than 30.6 million tonnes of CO2 globally and $6.6 million through guaranteed operational savings.
At the European level, JCI said, it has been effectively supporting the EU’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2050. The European Commission recently committed to at least 55% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels) by 2030 under the European Green Deal. Decarbonizing Europe’s building stock through the European Commission’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive has a crucial role to play in this effort – 40% of greenhouse gases come from buildings, the company said.
According to JCI, digitalization has been recognized as a key enabler for the building renovation wave in Europe and the rest of the world. Already, JCI said, it has been deploying its OpenBlue digital platform for optimizing buildings sustainability across its entire value chain – drastically improving the company’s own environmental impact and helping customers consume less energy, conserve resources and identify pathways to achieving healthy, net zero carbon communities.
Katie McGinty, Vice President & Chief Sustainability, Government and Regulatory Affairs Officers, JCI, said: “We are making positive change within our own corporation and believe we are uniquely positioned to help customers and suppliers achieve their sustainability goals. By driving global change, we are ultimately creating an environment for healthy people, healthy places and a healthy planet.”
JCI said it is also helping meet the growing demand for energy-efficient technologies. It said it has provided heat pump solutions for customers at more than a dozen district heating and cooling applications in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy and Norway.
Heat pumps, it said, have an important role to play in decarbonizing buildings and industry. They have long been in the DNA of industrial refrigeration – utilised in food and beverage, dairy and other process industries for reclaiming low-temperature waste heat and turning it into low-cost, high-temperature heat.
VC funds, Hollywood stars invest heavily in climate change innovation
CHICAGO, Illinois, 18 May 2021: The year 2021 has already seen multiple climate-focused fund launches. London-based One Planet Capital launched a fund for green tech, fintech and sustainability-based B2C businesses, while Hollywood ‘Iron Man’ actor, Robert Downey Jr has founded FootPrint Coalition Ventures to invest in high-growth, sustainability-focused companies.
The financial world used to think environmental issues couldn’t generate viable rewards, but another climate-focused fund, Congruent Ventures, believes a tipping point has been passed.
Congruent raises investment specifically for Climate Change solution start-ups and, with USD 300 million under management after closing its second fund at USD 175 million, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Abe Yokell, said: “If you brought up the word ‘cleantech’ to any institutional investor allocating to venture 10 years ago, they would do their best to avoid the meeting, but now, there’s a fundamental belief there will be significant financial returns investing broadly in climate tech over time.”
Congruent’s portfolio includes electric vehicle-charging provider, Amply, which raised USD 13.2 million last year from investors, including Soros Fund Management and Siemens. Digitally controllable electrical panel company, Span raised USD 20 million in January through Congruent, with investors including Munich Re Ventures’ HSB Fund and Amazon’s Alexa Fund.
And Congruent itself is well-founded, with investors including UC Investments, the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, Three Cairns Group, Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust and Surdna Foundation, among other institutions, foundations and family offices.
Regulation A+ crowdfunding companies are also seeing investment, such as digital twins company, Cityzenith, who recently launched their international ‘Clean Cities, Clean Future’ campaign as part of the Race to Zero movement.
Cities worldwide generate 70% of the world’s carbon emissions, but Cityzenith’s AI Digital Twin platform technology can help property asset management groups, city planners and developers reduce emissions and move to carbon neutrality in the next 10 years.
Michael Jansen, CEO, Cityzenith, said at the launch of the ‘Clean Cities – Clean Future’ initiative: “We have to help the most polluted urban centers become carbon neutral, and we plan to do this by donating the company’s Digital Twin platform, SmartWorldOS to key cities, one at a time, after every USD 1 million we raise. We’re able to do this because of the recent surge of investment we’ve had as part of our USD 15m raise.”
Cityzenith is already benefiting from the funding shift, reportedly attracting USD 2.5 million in investment since late 2020 through Regulation A+ crowdfunding and a surge in shares from USD 0.575 to USD 1.50 in just five months. The US company has raised USD 10 million to date.
Jansen said: “In the past decade, investors struggled to justify backing Climate Change solutions, but global demand for net-zero carbon by 2050 and a sustainable future means a tipping point has been passed.
“Products, such as our own SmartWorldOS™, which monitors and collects data on future and existing building assets, so construction and maintenance can occur at optimal efficiency, will be essential to reducing carbon emissions and energy waste. We must invest in climate solutions now so that we can protect our planet sooner and more effectively.
“We’ve seen a significant amount of interest in our current USD 15m raise from accredited investors in recent months, as there are tangible, financial upsides in the built-environment to going climate-friendly, and carbon credits are going to become an enormous part of this in the next few years.”
European-based fund 2150 also launched this year, investing €200m (USD 240 million) into start-ups developing sustainable technologies to lower carbon emissions in Europe’s cities.
Co-founder Christian Hernandez has seen a shift in perceptions, too. He said: “There are enough proof points now that those two (profitable investments and investing in climate solutions) can coexist.”
AHRI Board approves decarbonization general position statement
ARLINGTON, Virginia, 18 May 2021: The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) on May 14 released a General Position Statement on Decarbonization, advancing the association as a resource for states and localities grappling with how to successfully, sustainably and affordably reduce emissions related to the built-environment.
AHRI revealed the paper as noting, “The air conditioning, heating, ventilation, refrigeration, and water heating industry has a long history of providing innovative, high-quality, energy-saving, affordable products that enhance the comfort, safety, health, and productivity of businesses and people around the world”. It expresses AHRI’s support for “the ongoing, science-based transition to a lower carbon society, in which consumer choices for heating, cooling, water heating, and commercial refrigeration are the most energy efficient, environmentally beneficial available anywhere in the world, while maintaining appropriate and adequate levels of safety, health, comfort, and affordability”.
Stephen Yurek, President & CEO, AHRI, said: “Our member companies – which have more than 100 years of experience and expertise in product solutions, technology, and innovation – can serve as a valuable resource in helping the nation achieve a lower carbon society.”
The statement, AHRI said, comes on the heels of the success of the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, passed by Congress in 2020, which provides authority to the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the production of high-global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons and establishes a national phase down structure for the refrigerants that are widely used in air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. That effort, AHRI said, more than 10 years in the making for the industry, is forecast to ultimately result in a 0.5 degree reduction in global temperatures over the next 30 years, even as it creates jobs and helps the industry’s global trade posture.
Valmet to deliver multi-fuel boiler plant to Veolia
ESPOO, Finland, 2 May 2021: Valmet will deliver a multi-fuel boiler plant to Veolia Energie ČR, in Prerov, in the Czech Republic, the Finland-headquartered company said through a Press release. The new boiler will replace an old coal-fired unit and strengthen Veolia’s strategy to move toward more environmentally friendly production of district heat and electricity, Valmet added. Valmet said the order was included in its orders received in the first quarter of 2021. Typically, the value of this kind of order is EUR 35-40 million, it said. The boiler plant will be taken over by the customer in January 2023, it added.
“We chose Valmet based on the criteria of public procurement, in other words, on the combination of price and operational costs for 15 years,” says Jaromir Novak, Head of Technical Department, Veolia Energie ČR. “Valmet has a high number of running references and long experience with boilers. That is why we trust Valmet and already cherish our future relationship.”
Jari Niemelä, Director, Boilers and Gasifiers, Valmet, said: “This is yet another great example of how Valmet can support decarbonization in the energy sector. We will even reuse the existing boiler house to help reduce not only CO2 emissions from energy production but also from constructing the power plant. With flexible use of biomass and waste in all possible mixtures, the plant is fit for the challenging energy transition.”
Valmet said its delivery scope includes a 40 MWth Valmet BFB Boiler, utilising bubbling fluidised bed combustion technology. The boiler steam production is 52 t/h at 4.2 MPa(g) and 420 degrees C, it said. The multifuel boiler is designed to run from 0 to 100% on refuse-derived fuel (RDF) and/or biomass, it added.
Additionally, Valmet said, the delivery includes a flue gas cleaning system, refurbishment of an existing steel structure and its modification, electrification and instrumentation as well as an upgrade of an existing automation system.
Green Building Alliance, UN’s partners receive International Climate Initiative Award
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania, 21 April 2021: Green Building Alliance (GBA) announced an international collaboration led by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to develop a USD 24 million project to improve the energy efficiency of the global building supply chain and its products to deliver high performance buildings. The International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety awarded this project, signaling the advancement of a planning phase and full proposal. The launch of the project was announced on April 21 by Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker at the UNECE’s 69th Commission meeting.
According to GBS, the award solidifies the Greater Pittsburgh region as a global leader in the expeditious innovation of technologies, products and training aimed at curbing carbon emissions and creating healthy, sustainable buildings. The project presents an opportunity to work with international leaders in the field to identify solutions and strategies, and then implement best practices for the Pittsburgh region. GBA said the IKI award, in conjunction with Pittsburgh’s designation as a UN International Center of Excellence on High Performance Building, confirms GBA as a leader in providing solutions to improve the built environment thereby positively impacting climate change, human health, social equity, and a thriving economy.
“Funding high-performance buildings and retrofitting existing buildings can rapidly reinvigorate local economies, supporting or creating quality jobs through the entire building supply chain while delivering on long-term quality of life for everyone,” said Scott Foster, Director of Sustainable Energy, UNECE, about this innovative work. “Given its size and its history both as a coal-mining and steel-making center and as an example of urban rebirth, Pittsburgh has a lot to offer the cities of the world in terms of its experience and know-how.”
GBA said it is eager to begin the important work. “It is an honor to play such an important role in the US commitment to climate and infrastructure and the need to rapidly transform the building industry,” said Jenna Cramer, Executive Director, GBA. “We have an opportunity to build upon our 28-year history of making Pittsburgh and the Western Pennsylvania region a leadership hub for green buildings and sustainable products. This project is part of our efforts with the Greater Pittsburgh International Center of Excellence, a public private partnership that uniquely positions organizations, researchers, companies, and governments to collectively problem-solve for our region’s future while also connecting on a global platform to share best practices and advance solutions.”
According to GBA, the building and construction sector plays a key role in addressing global issues, including significant emissions reductions, improved energy security and increased circular economy. The sector is integral to achieving the Paris Agreement goals, as it is responsible for approximately 40% of energy- and process-related emissions. The project kick-off will take place in May 2021. Led by UNECE, other partners include UN Environment, UN Development Programme (UNDP) offices in select countries, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), Passivhaus Institute (Germany), and the Technical University of Denmark. GBA is the only partner in the United States.
The Greater Pittsburgh Center of Excellence current partners include Allegheny County, City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, PJ Dick, Fourth Economy, Duquesne Light, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Covestro, Partner4Work, Innovation Works, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, other nonprofits, and professionals.
President Biden invites JCI’s CEO to speak at Leaders Summit on Climate
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, 21 April 2021: Johnson Controls (JCI) announced that George Oliver, its Chairman and CEO has been invited by U.S. President Joe Biden to participate in the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate.
Making the announcement through a Press release, JCI said the summit will bring together leaders of the world’s major economies and other vital partners for an urgent and open dialog on ways to strengthen collective efforts to address the climate crisis. President Biden has made tackling climate change a top national priority since taking office and is urging other world leaders to attend the summit to discuss how their governments will help drive the goal of limiting global temperature rise.
“I am honored to accept President Biden`s invitation to join him and other world leaders calling for urgent climate action,” Oliver said. “It is especially important to establish a roadmap to limiting the rise of global temperatures as we get closer to the COP26 climate conference, scheduled for November in Glasgow. Transitioning to a lower-carbon economy is an opportunity to build back better, as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Providing clean, sustainable and energy-efficient solutions creates jobs while building strong, resilient global economies.”
According to the White House, a major theme of the summit will be the broad economic benefits of climate action, with a strong focus on job creation. This will explore both the economic benefits of green recovery and long-term decarbonization and the importance of ensuring that all communities and workers benefit from the transition to a clean energy economy.
Representing both Business Roundtable and Johnson Controls, Oliver will address these topics in a session on April 23 as well as the role buildings can play to slash both emissions and costs, JCI said.
Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies. According to JCI, Oliver was named Chair of the Business Roundtable Energy & Environment Committee in January this year. The Committee is dedicated to advancing policies that encourage innovation and support an environmentally and economically sustainable future.
The vast majority of Business Roundtable’s 223-member CEOs have made public commitments to reduce their companies’ greenhouse gas emissions/carbon footprints, are making serious progress and reporting on it publicly. Nearly half of those commitments are for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, if not sooner.
According to JCI, Business Roundtable members are playing a significant role in driving ambitious climate action and the policy needed to spur low-carbon economic growth. Last September, JCI said, the organization endorsed the goals of the Paris Agreement and proposed aggressive policies to achieve those goals.
JCI said its own ambitious emissions reductions targets were recently approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative – an independent organization that assesses corporate sustainability claims. JCI said that as part of its environmental sustainability commitments, it aims to cut operational emissions by 55% and reduce customers’ emissions by 16% before 2030. It said it believes its OpenBlue platform for optimizing building sustainability will be central to fulfilling these goals and ultimately creating an environment for healthy people, healthy places and a healthy planet.
JCI said it also recently joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign and is a signatory to The Climate Pledge, an initiative of business leaders co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism. Signatories to the pledge commit to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement goal.
Eurovent Middle East joins Cool Coalition
DUBAI, UAE, 20 April 2021: Eurovent Middle East has become a member of the Cool Coalition, a global initiative led by UN Environment and the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Programme, the HVACR industry association said through a Press release. The initiative promotes a holistic and cross-sectoral approach to meet the cooling needs of industrialised and developing countries through better building design, energy efficiency, renewables, and thermal storage as well as phasing down refrigerants with a high global warming potential, Eurovent said.
The Cool Coalition is a global multi-stakeholder network that connects a wide range of key actors from governments, cities, international organisations, businesses, finance, academia and civil society groups to facilitate knowledge exchange, advocacy and joint action towards a rapid global transition to efficient and climate-friendly cooling. The Cool Coalition is currently working with over 100 partners, including 23 countries.
Markus Lattner, Managing Director, Eurovent Middle East, said: “The Middle East stands like no other region for the essential role of cooling and refrigeration for a successful socio-economic development. Eurovent Middle East has been established to provide crucial coordination between governments, industry and service providers and to build up competence in cooling and refrigeration within the region. We have joined the Cool Coalition, as we fully believe that it will be by cooperation and collaboration that we are able to transform societies towards a responsible and sustainable use of resources. We are proud to join other organisations from our region and strengthen the role of the Middle East in this global initiative.“
Lily Riahi, Cool Coalition Coordinator at UNEP, said: “To put the cooling sector on a path to net-zero emissions, we need everyone on board. The Cool Coalition is thrilled to welcome Eurovent Middle East among its members. Together, we can transform the sector and put it on a path to decarbonisation, in line to global climate targets and sustainable development goals.”
Johnson Controls releases 2021 Sustainability Report
CORK, Ireland, 10 April 2021: Johnson Controls on April 9 published its 2021 Sustainability Report, highlighting its new environmental, social and governance commitments and progress towards the company’s sustainability goals, the company said through a Press release.
George Oliver, Chairman and CEO, Johnson Controls, said: “At Johnson Controls, sustainability is our business. This year saw us continue to pioneer new and important paths to sustainability, including our issuance of a green bond in the U.S. capital markets – among the very first industrials to do so.
“We welcome and embrace the enhanced attention and urgency around tackling climate change and making gains across environmental, social and governance pillars. We are determined to strengthen and further build our culture of diversity and inclusion.
“Our bold new sustainability commitments demonstrate we are all-in to help drive healthy buildings, healthy people and a healthy planet for our employees, shareholders, customers and all of our stakeholders.”
According to Johnson Controls, highlights of the report include:
- New ambitious sustainability commitments that outline the company’s priority to make positive changes in lowering its company footprint, such as achieving net zero carbon emissions before 2040.
- Its first-ever Sustainability Report that includes and fully integrates its first-ever diversity and inclusion report, highlighting its D&I commitment, mission, vision, pillars and progress.
- Its goal to double its customers’ emission reductions through implementation of its OpenBlue digitally enabled solutions by 2030.
- Its intention to double the representation of women leaders globally and minority leaders in the United States over the next five years.
- Its green financing initiatives, including a green bond – one of the first industrial companies to issue a green bond in U.S. debt capital markets – and a senior revolving credit facility tied to specific sustainability metrics
- Executive compensation that is linked to sustainability and diversity performance goals
- The appointment of the company’s first Chief Sustainability Officer and the formation of a Governance and Sustainability board of directors’ committee
- Performance contracting projects that have helped its customers avoid more than 30.6 million metric tons CO2e and save USD 6.6 billion through energy and operational savings since January 2000.
- Greenhouse gas emissions intensity reduction of more than 70% since 2002.
- Our commitment to The Climate Pledge, co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism, to reach net-zero
UAE, US commit to jointly tackle climate challenge
ABU DHABI, UAE, 5 April 2021: The United Arab Emirates and the United States announced their joint commitment to tackle the climate challenge in a Joint Statement that stresses the importance and urgency of raising global climate ambition. Both countries announced their intent to cooperate on new investments in financing decarbonisation across the MENA region and beyond, and to focus on assisting the most vulnerable adapt to the effects of climate change.
H.E. Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and the UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, said: “Together with the US, the UAE has affirmed that decisive, proactive climate action can be an engine for economic growth and sustainable development. Building on the legacy and experience of the UAE, which has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to sustainable development and today operates three of the world’s largest solar facilities, we will focus, together with the US, on joint efforts on renewable energy, hydrogen, industrial decarbonization, carbon capture and storage, nature-based solutions, and low-carbon urban design.
“The UAE is rich in opportunities with the world’s lowest solar power costs, and significant carbon capture investments. We look forward to sharing our experience with the international community to turn climate action into economic opportunity.”
Noting the progress made by many leading companies, both countries agreed to work closely with the private sector to mobilize the necessary investment and technology resources needed to stem the climate crisis and support the economy.
At the national level, the United States and the United Arab Emirates confirmed their intent to work towards decarbonising their economies according to their national circumstances and economic development plans, including reducing carbon emissions by 2030.
The United States and the United Arab Emirates stressed their commitment to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and promote the success of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.
The Joint Statement emerges from the UAE Regional Dialogue for Climate Action, held on April 4. The event convened climate leaders from across the MENA region and unveiled a new era of cooperation in the region for a future focused on prosperity through climate policy, investment, innovation and sustainable economic growth.
The Dialogue drew the participation of high-level dignitaries from across the region as well as critical global partners and organisations. Participants included COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma and US Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, together with ministers and high-level representatives from the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Iraq, Sudan and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The event further reinforced the UAE’s regional climate leadership, providing a common ground for participating nations to build a shared vision for climate action ahead of COP26.
UAE to host GCC and MENA regional climate dialogue
ABU DHABI, UAE, 1 April 2021: The United Arab Emirates will host the Regional Climate Dialogue for climate action on April 4 in Abu Dhabi, in advance of the Leaders Summit on Climate, to take place in Washington DC later this month and in the run up to COP26. The UAE regional dialogue will include the participation of John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, and Alok Sharma, COP 26 President, together with ministers and high-level climate representatives from the GCC and Mena regions.
As part of its well established role as a convener on climate action, the UAE has also invited International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Director-General, Francesco La Camera, to attend the Dialogue. The event will focus on national and regional preparations for the 26th United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), set to run from November 1 to 12, 2021. The COP26 Summit, hosted this year by the United Kingdom in Glasgow, will bring together countries from across the globe to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
His Excellency Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, said: “We look forward to welcoming Special Envoy Kerry and COP26 President Alok Sharma, along with Ministers and high-level representatives of the key economies of the GCC and MENA region to Abu Dhabi for this important dialogue. The UAE has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to progressive climate action and sought to promote sustainable development throughout the region. By coming together for this dialogue, I believe we can create greater momentum for progress. The UAE views climate action as an opportunity for economic development, while contributing practical solutions to a global problem that affects us all. As the world seeks new pathways to ‘building back better’ in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Special Envoy Kerry’s visit will help consolidate efforts on smart sustainable solutions with tangible benefits for the global community.
“We are already seeing great examples of climate leadership throughout our region, including the recently announced initiative by our brotherly neighbors in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The regional climate dialogue will provide a constructive platform for the MENA region to unite around progressive, practical solutions that can help the world reach global climate goals, while also fostering innovation for sustainable growth.”
Speaking in advance of the meeting, COP 26 President Alok Sharma said: “It is vitally important that the world works together to tackle climate change. That means countries coming forward with net-zero targets and near-term emissions reduction targets (the 2030 NDCs) that keep 1.5 degrees within reach. The transition to a clean economy is one which can benefit us all: through creating jobs, spurring sustainable development, and cleaning our air. We are already beginning to see progress, and countries in the MENA region are well placed to take advantage of the economic opportunities of this transition. However, the consequences of climate change are already being felt across the region, and the UK will use its COP26 Presidency to build momentum on adaptation to help to keep countries, communities and people safe from the impacts of climate change.”
The Regional Climate Dialogue will provide an ideal platform for the participating countries to exchange experience in their responses to climate change and build momentum for increased global ambition in the run-up to COP26. In addition, it will enable the United States and the MENA region to examine new areas of collaboration in the field of climate change mitigation and adaptation with the aim of transforming the climate challenge into an economic opportunity.
Core themes will include accelerating the deployment of renewable energy solutions, exploring the potential of new zero-carbon-energy sources, such as green and blue hydrogen, maximizing the impact of mitigation technologies, including carbon capture, and reducing the carbon emission intensity of hydrocarbon fuels, on which the world will still rely during the energy transition. The conversation will discuss policies for adaptation to the impacts of accelerating climate change trends that are of particular concern to the region, such as food and water security, desertification mitigation and environmental conservation.
The participants will seek to develop a common understanding of climate action priorities, as well as a roadmap for cooperation towards COP26 and related milestones.
Supreme Court in Canada endorses climate action to protect future generations
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada, 25 March 2021: Not-for-profit legal firm, West Coast Environmental Law applauded the March 25 decision by the Supreme Court, upholding Canada’s price on carbon pollution, which confirmed the ability of all levels of government to take action to address the climate crisis, consistent with the overarching responsibility of the Canadian government to ensure that youth and future generations inherit a healthy atmosphere.
In light of the decision, the legal organization urged the Canadian government to ramp up its climate ambition and to strengthen and enact Bill C-12 without delay to ensure that Canada meets its future climate goals.
“Canada has missed every climate goal it has set for itself, in large part because of inconsistent and half-hearted efforts by both federal and provincial governments,” said Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer at the firm. “This decision makes it clear – the buck stops with the federal government. The Canadian government must work cooperatively to encourage provincial action, but it can also step in when provinces fail and take the steps required to protect Canadians from climate change.”
Lawyers at the firm said the legal victory has the potential to result in environmental benefits well beyond climate action. “It is a landmark decision for the environment,” said Anna Johnston, Staff Lawyer. “By rejecting the provinces’ attempts to minimize federal authority over climate, the Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear that when it comes to environmental protection, we need all hands on deck.”
Warned Dr Silvie Harder, Climate Scientist: “Canada is warming at twice the global average – leading to increased floods, wildfires and other climate disasters. With today’s decision, the Canadian government is well placed to increase its climate ambition, bring our fossil fuel addiction under control and align with what the global scientific community says is needed to keep Canadians safe.”
Lawyers at the firm urged the Canadian government to press forward with its Net Zero Emissions Accountability Act, Bill C-12, which it said, has been languishing in Parliament. “Carbon pricing is good,” Gage said, “but a strengthened Bill C-12 will ensure that current and future governments keep working to achieve our climate targets.”
Rubber World Industry launches AED 90mn HVAC production unit
DUBAI, UAE, 21 March 2021: Rubber World Industry, which manufactures and supplies HVAC and MEP products and accessories in the UAE, has launched ‘United Air-Conditioning’, a specialised company with an investment of AED 90 million (approximately USD 25 million), which includes a production plant in Al Jurf industrial area, Ajman, to meet what it described as a growing demand for its environmentally friendly products. Rubber World made the announcement through a Press release.
The new manufacturing unit, spanning over 10,000 square metres, is part of the company’s expansion plans backed by the rising demand for the company’s cooling, heating and now coronavirus-related products, Rubber World said through the Press release. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said it saw a sharp increase in health and environment-related products, such as disinfectant chambers, HVAC filters, air cleaners, optimised HVAC products, and configured rubber insulation and ducts to limit the spread of the virus.
Muzammil Shaikhani, Managing Director, Rubber World Industry, while attributing the new milestone to the company’s customers, said: “I am grateful to our local and international buyers, who have put a strong trust in us, which kept our growth not only intact but rising. In addition, during the pandemic, Rubber World thrived rather than survived and launched United Air Conditioning to cater to the increasing needs of its customers. Our R&D quickly responded to the new demand for health-related products that people and businesses need to maintain health [and] safety and [to] contain the spread of coronavirus and its variants, and started manufacturing this line, which helped doubled our growth and created the need for a specialized production line.”
The new entity, United Air Conditioning will complement Rubber World in manufacturing heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, cooling, mechanical, electrical and plumbing products, parts and accessories for commercial and residential use in the UAE, Rubber World said. United Air Conditioning will focus on health and environment-related products, modified HVAC and MEP parts, such as rubber insulation and ducting lines, which have become essential in the current environment, Rubber World said. It will help in reducing emissions, improve energy efficiency and contribute to the climate change agenda, it added. Rubber World has two units in the UAE and one in Sri Lanka. The company said it plans to set up six new production facilities in South Asia and the Middle East in the next three years to cater to the needs of its growing customer base.
Rubber World said that United Air-Conditioning has helped it increase its range of products, such as cooler tubes and sheets, which are CFC-free and are designed for exposed pipe area, as commonly seen in supermarkets, hospitals and schools. Another key area of demand for United Air-Conditioning’s products is all types of flexible ducts and ducting accessories with a broad range of adhesive tapes, Rubber World said. Rubber World said it currently serves several customers, including Leminar Air Conditioning Company, Century Mechanical Systems Factory, Gulf-O-Flex AC Spare Parts Trading, Gmark Middle East FZC and Al Emadi Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Equipment.
GEA speaks of improving plant efficiency, reducing carbon emissions
DUESSELDORF, Germany, 12 February 2021: Potential energy savings of up to 30% and a significant reduction in CO2 emissions by as much as 90% or even 100% – that’s what its Sustainable Energy Solutions (SEnS), which integrates processes and utilities (refrigeration and heating) solutions, can help in developing optimisation strategies for customers in diverse industries, GEA said through a Press release. Numerous successfully completed SEnS projects from GEA show that these optimisations reduce the customer’s energy footprint and running costs, without compromising output or the bottom line, GEA added.
According to the United Nations, energy efficiency offers a potential 40% of the emission reductions required to help meet global climate goals, GEA pointed out. Due to a growing number of rules and regulations and its own climate targets, there is an absolute need for the industry to reduce its carbon footprint and become more energy-efficient, overall, it said. With cooling and heating traditionally accounting for anywhere between 50% and 90% of a plant’s entire energy consumption, it’s the ideal starting point for GEA’s SEnS initiative, it added.
GEA said its SEnS offering is a culmination of a broad processing portfolio and years of industry know-how, combined with extensive refrigeration expertise. “SEnS supports customers in the food processing, dairy and beverage industries, helping them achieve their climate goals by making them more sustainable,” said Kai Becker, CEO, Refrigeration Technology Division, GEA. As a global industrial technology provider, GEA said, it will continue to strengthen its SEnS offering in 2021. Using the SEnS approach, GEA said it will promote the increased adoption of sustainable solutions, which drive down energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions while helping customers from diverse industry sectors slash their operational costs.
Ulrich Walk, Chief Service Officer (CSO) – Refrigeration Technologies, said: “GEA has developed a structured holistic and proven approach that begins with analysing the customer’s precise energy requirements, then making process optimizations and including utilities in the equation. By connecting heat pump technology to manufacturing processes, the GEA experts ensure energy is moving circularly, rather than being wasted.”
According to GEA, each SEnS project includes a single point of contact, enabling customers to achieve genuine and proven reductions in energy consumption and their carbon footprint. The SEnS process, the company said, is backed up by a cross-functional engineering team, with experts from dairy, food or beverage processing, as required, as well as team members with refrigeration (heating & cooling) expertise in diverse processing industries. Each project, it added, considers the customer’s business parameters and ambitions, formulated as measurable KPIs, against which the installation must deliver.
ENGIE in “sustainable” server cooling initiative
LINDAU ON LAKE CONSTANCE, Germany 5 February 2021: ENGIE Refrigeration spoke of how it intends to install a thermeco2 high-temperature heat pump of machine type HHR 130 with a heating capacity of 100 kilowatts at the Ludwigsburg District Office, in Baden-Württemberg, in Germany. The company added that the model is especially eco-friendly, partly because it utilises the natural refrigerant CO2 and partly because it provides cold and heat simultaneously. ENGIE added that it has also conceptually overhauled the thermeco2 – the heat pump now contains a filter dryer and more control options.
The administrative campus of the District Office is home to almost all the important specialist departments in the Swabian district. Various services for the citizens of Ludwigsburg are provided there with the aid of digital tools. This requires a powerful IT infrastructure, which is why the District Office maintains an in-house data centre, ENGIE said. Ambient temperature plays an essential role in reliable operation. As the server racks generate a large amount of heat, the refrigeration supply must function smoothly around the clock. In the summer of 2019, it became clear that action was needed here. “The existing R22 refrigeration system was outdated and needed to be fully modernized,” said Frank Glaser, Key Account Manager for Heating Applications at ENGIE Refrigeration. “As the Ludwigsburg District Office attaches great importance to a sustainable refrigeration solution, it chose the thermeco2 high-temperature heat pump from ENGIE Refrigeration.”
The District Office intends to operate in climate-neutral fashion from 2025, ENGIE said. To achieve this, it wants to use a photovoltaic system and a combined heat and power system to produce and consume its own electricity in future.
ENGIE said it is supporting the District Office on its path towards climate neutrality with sustainable server cooling. “The Ludwigsburg District Office requires heat uncoupling in a challenging temperature range: High outlet temperatures of up to 90 degrees Celsius, and a low inlet temperature of 38 degrees Celsius,” Glaser said. “Our thermeco2 high-temperature heat pump unfolds its full potential under these conditions, while alternative solutions could only achieve this with a great deal of technical and primary energy expenditure.”
The heat pump will be installed at the District Office in March 2021 and will then provide the baseload refrigeration for year-round server cooling, ENGIE said. Furthermore, the heat pump will cool the administrative building in the winter months and, thanks to its heat recovery function, simultaneously provide heat for heating the building, for heating drinking water and for conditioning the recirculated air in the server rooms, the company added. This makes the refrigeration solution especially sustainable, which is why it is subsidised by the state. Additional chillers and boilers are available for peak loads in hot or cold weather, ENGIE said.
With its machine design, the heat pump adapts easily to local conditions, ENGIE claimed. The heat pump uses the natural refrigerant CO2 as its refrigerant. It is extremely safe (safety class A1) and, therefore, involves few safety-related requirements for the installation space, the company said. In addition, CO2 is non-combustible and non-toxic, and it does not contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer or to the greenhouse effect, the company added. In total, the heat pump will save 38.4 tons of CO2 per year when compared to the existing refrigeration system – fully in line with the sustainability strategy of the District Office, the company further added.
ENGIE said it has subjected the heat pump to fundamental enhancements, which will now take effect for the first time in the machine for the District Office. “As of now, we will be relying on our tried-and-tested QUANTUM electrical components in the thermeco2 as well,” Glaser said. “In addition, the filter dryer will become the standard. It keeps the refrigerant circuit clean and dry and, thus, counteracts the decay of the chiller oil, corrosion and further contamination. This allows us to keep the performance of the system at a constant high level.” In addition, the company said, the heat pump weighs around 10% less than the previous model, thanks to its optimised design, smaller switch cabinet and soldered connections instead of flange connections.
JCI unveils sustainability commitments
CORK, Ireland, 29 January 2021: Johnson Controls (JCI) announced new environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments, science-based targets as well as a net-zero-carbon pledge to support a healthy, more sustainable planet over the next two decades. Making the announcement through a Press release, the company said its emissions reduction drive and that of its customers will be powered by its OpenBlue technologies and innovations, which leverage big data and artificial intelligence to optimise buildings sustainability.
“Sustainability is at the heart of our business and fundamental to everything that we do as a company,” said George Oliver, Chairman and CEO, Johnson Controls. “Today’s announcement reinforces our continued commitment to developing best-in-class climate solutions, and OpenBlue will empower our customers to streamline building operations and uncover energy efficiencies that will help meet their environmental goals. We continue to make sustainability a top priority for the company, our customers and our suppliers, and have set ambitious goals that will drive significant improvements in carbon emissions.”
The launch of the new commitments, the company said, will enable it to deliver quantifiable efforts to reduce carbon emissions, drive climate-focused innovation and work closely with customers and suppliers to meet sustainability goals as well as measurable impact against its three key OpenBlue healthy building pillars: healthy people, healthy places and a healthy planet. These commitments, it added, are:
Environmental Sustainability Commitments:
- Set science-based targets consistent with the most ambitious 1.5 degrees C Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scenario
- Reduce Johnson Controls’ operational emissions by 55% and reduce customers’ emissions by 16% before 2030
- Achieve net-zero-carbon emissions before 2040, in line with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Race to Zero and Business Ambition for 1.5 degrees C criteria
- Invest 75% of new product development R&D in climate-related innovation to develop sustainable products and services
- Achieve 100% renewable electricity usage globally by 2040
Customer and supply chain commitments:
- Double annual avoided emissions by 2030 through customer use of Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue digitally enabled products and services
- Create a supplier sustainability council with cohorts of suppliers, and their tier-one suppliers, and provide suppliers with training on sustainability best practices and OpenBlue digital tools in order to meet ambitious, public sustainability goals
- Weight sustainability equal to other key metrics in supplier performance evaluations and provide a preference for suppliers with excellent sustainability ratings
Social and Governance Sustainability Commitments:
- Intends to double the representation of women leaders globally and minority leaders in the United States within five years
- Launch an initiative to educate the next generation of diverse sustainable building industry leaders, in partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
- Include sustainability and diversity goals in senior leaders’ performance assessments, which are linked to executive compensation to drive accountability
- Launch an initiative focused on underserved markets and increase Johnson Controls’ spend with women- and minority-owned businesses
Katie McGinty, Vice President & Chief Sustainability, Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer, JCI, said: “Our commitments reinforce the urgency to make positive changes that will improve the health of our planet, and we believe we are uniquely positioned to help customers and suppliers achieve their sustainability goals, in addition to our own. We are excited to step up the role we play and will continue to innovate and uncover new pathways to meet our goals which will contribute to healthier people, healthier places and a healthier planet.”
Ministry of Climate Change and Environment launches policies to boost UAE’s sustainability agenda
ABU DHABI, UAE, 24 January 2021: His Excellency Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, launched new initiatives and policies to boost the UAE’s sustainability agenda, the Ministry said through a Press release. The launch happened during the annual Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), the Ministry added.
The Minister highlighted the importance of driving coordinated action to expedite the energy transition and increase the share of renewables in the countries’ energy mix at the opening ceremony of the 11th Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). He reflected on the UAE’s journey in deploying renewables at home and abroad, leading to a considerable surge in its domestic production capacity, as well as playing an effective and distinct role in reducing the cost of renewable energy worldwide.
At the Ministerial Plenary Meeting on National Energy Planning and Implementation for Fostering Energy Transition, Dr Al Nuaimi presented the UAE’s new climate ambitions, set out in its second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement. He noted that the NDC fell under the country’s national economic and energy diversification drive, manifested in its current energy transition.
Moreover, Dr Al Nuaimi delivered the closing remarks at the first joint meeting to prepare for two landmark UN summits that will take place in New York in September 2021 – the Food Systems Summit and the High-level Dialogue on Energy. The participants proposed targets, policies, initiatives, and other outcomes for the summits that have simultaneous food, energy and climate benefits.
At a panel session, titled ‘COP26 – a Crucial Stepping Stone on the Path to a Sustainable Global Recovery’, the Minister stressed that the UN Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP26) is a timely opportunity for leaders to resume climate negotiations and work on a shared vision for raising climate ambition in the context of a green recovery.
He pointed out that throughout the tough times posed by COVID-19, the UAE has remained dedicated to accelerating its transition to a green economy, as part of its recovery plans, and has taken great strides along this path, including moving forward with its renewables and nuclear projects.
At the third edition of the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum, His Excellency Dr Al Nuaimi announced the launch of the UAE Sustainable Finance Framework 2021-2031 in partnership with Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). Pioneered by the Ministry, the national framework supports the mobilisation of private capital towards low-carbon, environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient investments.
With the aim of ensuring the UAE emerges as a leader in climate knowledge, the Minister launched the UAE Climate Change Research Network that brings together a group of committed scientists and researchers to advance climate data collection and policy-relevant research on climate change impacts and adaptation. The Network presents opportunities for climate scientists in the UAE to engage with one another and with their peers from other countries as well as to facilitate research collaborations.
Dr Al Nuaimi also unveiled the inaugural edition of The UAE State of Climate Report, which provides an overview of the state of knowledge on historical and projected climate changes and their impacts on the UAE and the wider Arabian Gulf region.
On the sidelines of ADSW 2021, the Minister opened the winners’ announcement of the third edition of the Global Innovation Award (GIA), organised by Globally on behalf of MOCCAE. The competition aims to attract innovations from around the world to the UAE to support the country in its quest to become a world leader in sustainable development. This year’s GIA received a record number of applications – more than 1,200 from 65 countries. The winner was Cambrian Innovation, from the United States, with its innovative waste-to-energy solution that purifies wastewater while producing energy from the contaminants.
JCI CEO named Chair of Business Roundtable Energy & Environment Committee
CORK, Ireland, 19 January 2021: Johnson Controls (JCI) announced that George Oliver, its Chairman and CEO, will be serving as Chair of the Energy & Environment Committee of the Business Roundtable.
Making the announcement through a Press release, JCI described the Business Roundtable as an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies. Through research and advocacy, Business Roundtable supports policies to spur job creation, improve US competitiveness and strengthen the economy, the company said. Its Energy & Environment Committee is dedicated to advancing policies that encourage innovation and support an environmentally and economically sustainable future, it added.
As the incoming Biden administration prepares to put clean energy at the heart of the US economic recovery, such business-led initiatives will be key in helping the new administration meet its proposed goals, the company said.
“I am honored to be selected as Chair of the Energy & Environment Committee and look forward to working with my fellow CEOs to support policies that preserve our environment and maximize our energy options,” Oliver said. “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the planet today. Business Roundtable believes that businesses are an essential part of the solution and calls for collective action and policies to drive innovation, significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global temperature rise.”
Minister of Climate Change and Environment confirms UAE’s new NDC is part of its economic, energy diversification drive
DUBAI, UAE, 19 January, 2021: His Excellency Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, today participated in the Ministerial Plenary Meeting on National Energy Planning and Implementation for Fostering Energy Transition as part of the 11th Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Ministry said through a Press release.
The virtual session provided an opportunity to discuss emerging experience in reinforcing energy planning and implementation at the national level, and aligning it with global climate action and goals through the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the Ministry said.
Highlighting the new targets set as part of the UAE’s NDC, His Excellency Dr Al Nuaimi said: “With the support of our stakeholders, we were able to increase our ambition to reduce carbon emissions to 23.5% compared to business as usual for the year 2030. This translates into absolute emission reduction of about 70 million tons. Our clean power capacity is on track to reach 14 GW by 2030, from 125 MW in 2015 and 2.4 GW at present. To date, we have invested more than USD 40 billion in clean energy projects locally.
“While the approval and implementation of the NDC is a key milestone, it’s only one step in the right direction. The move falls under our national economic and energy diversification drive, manifested in the country’s current energy transition.”
The Minister reiterated the UAE’s commitment to doing its part to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, and joining forces with the rest of the world to fight climate change.
His Excellency Dr Al Nuaimi also participated in a press briefing organized by IRENA alongside His Excellency Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, and Her Excellency Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Permanent Representative of the UAE to IRENA.
Addressing members of the media, the Minister commended the role of IRENA in facilitating and guiding the decarbonisation efforts of its members around the world, and its significant contribution to the growth of the renewables market. Furthermore, he praised the Agency for providing its expertise to assist countries in revising their NDCs over the past year with a focus on increasing the share of renewables in national pledges.
He added: “The work of IRENA couldn’t be more important. Renewable energy holds the solution to many of the issues the world faces today, such as climate change, air pollution, and economic slowdown. Therefore, its deployment should be a key item on the world’s sustainability agenda, along with leveraging cutting-edge technologies and artificial intelligence to ensure we respond smartly, promptly, and efficiently to the most pressing challenges.”
Building for the “new normal”
As the world continues to grapple with an ever-shifting economic landscape, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, stakeholders in the building sector across the GCC region have observed how the pandemic has triggered an evaluation and reassessment of priorities. Ashok Jha, Head FM and Retrofit Projects, Universal Voltas, points out that the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19 has prompted many organisations to take actions they have been putting off for some time, including launching new digital services and evolving their business models, enabling greater flexibility in their working and implementing cost optimisation measures.
However, Jha says, perhaps the most notable trend would be the move towards a greater number of retrofit projects in the region. “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the oil prices plummeted to one of the lowest levels and government revenues went down in the GCC region,” he says. “This has led to reduced spending across all sectors, including new construction, with the current market seeing greater push towards shallow retrofitting, deep retrofitting, energy conservation and reducing the building carbon footprint in the existing buildings to make them more sustainable.” Jha says that since the number of existing buildings in Oman, Kuwait and the UAE is very high compared to new buildings, there was also a need to address the physical deterioration of the buildings, due to functional and economic obsolescence, and to make them more sustainable. “Because of this, there is a surge in demand for the retrofitting of the existing buildings across the GCC region,” he says (see sidebar).
Andrea Di Gregorio, Executive Director, Reem, Ras Al Khaimah Municipality, also believes the region is poised to see a strong pipeline of retrofit projects. “More focus is being put in refurbishing existing buildings, to bring them up-to-speed with the latest best practices in sustainability,” he says. “We see an increase in interest from building owners in retrofit activities, and we expect this interest to further increase throughout 2021 and in the coming years.”
Energy efficiency and sustainability
Another major driver for retrofits is the move towards energy efficient and sustainable practices, which has long been heralded by experts in the sector. Jha points out that because of the detrimental impact of buildings on the environment, with occupied buildings and the construction sector accounting for 36% of the global energy consumption and nearly 40% of total direct and indirect CO2 emissions according to International Energy Agency (IEA), the UAE has begun to actively transition into smart and sustainable cities, which has turned the focus on the energy efficiency of the buildings, specifically existing ones.
In addition to its impact on overall sustainability efforts, much of the move can be attributed to growing awareness on return of investment in terms of reduced operational cost. As Jha points out, retrofitting primarily refers to the measures being taken to replace legacy energy and utility systems with new and energy-efficient technologies. “These technologies not only reduce energy consumption and decrease carbon emissions but also lower maintenance costs, improve safety, enhance productivity, boost property valuations and also prolong the useful life of the assets and the building as a whole,” he says. “In a nutshell, we can say that OPEX of the building reduces and the asset value increases. Hence, it is becoming important day by day to retrofit buildings to not only make them more sustainable for the future but also to derive economical value by reducing the operational cost and, in turn, optimise the rentals and make them more lucrative for the tenants.”
Weighing in, Di Gregorio says that sustainable buildings often result in lower life cycle cost of the building itself. “If sustainability features are carefully selected, operational savings – in terms of energy and water usage and equipment maintenance – typically exceed any incremental investments that those features require,” he says. “For this reason, in a perfect market, where developers are able to fairly monetise their investments in higher quality buildings, we would expect for tenants any rent premiums for more sustainable buildings to be exceeded by the value of operational savings.”
Jha adds that as energy prices continue to rise, the relative benefits of energy efficiency will become increasingly important, and this is leading to a huge surge in demand for equipment, such as Smart LED lights and motion sensors, air curtains and FAHUs, energy-efficient AHUs, FCUs or split units and VAV systems. This has also led to greater demand for water usage reduction through the use of low-flow fixtures, sensors, waterless urinals and low-flush WCs, and also for photovoltaic panels on rooftops to generate electricity from the solar power, among other solutions.
A renewed focus on IAQ
While the return on investment (ROI) from retrofitting for energy efficiency is becoming clear, stakeholders are hopeful that the new wave of retrofits would also accommodate enhancements of indoor air quality (IAQ), which has been typically overlooked over the past years. Di Gregorio says that he believes this would be the case. “There is increasing interest in IAQ, partly driven by COVID-19 concerns,” he says. “Some awareness and technical barriers are there; nonetheless we foresee development in this area in the future.”
Jha shares a similar opinion. He says: “Fear of pandemic is looming large in the minds of the people, and therefore, while carrying out the retrofitting of their buildings, owners are ensuring that retrofit projects also take into consideration IAQ of the buildings, where people are currently spending more than 90% of their time and also to reduce the chances of contamination through virus, bacteria, moulds and fungi.”
Di Gregorio says there is a lot of focus on safety and security from building owners, particularly in what concerns disinfection of common areas. “This sometimes adds to other measures, like filtration, turning into improved air quality,” he says. Jha adds that some of the measures that building owners are taking include Demand Control Ventilation through C02 sensors, fitting volume control dampers, ultraviolet lamps in AHUs, ultraviolet germicide irradiation and MERV 13/14 filters. He further adds that there has been an increase in the use of humidifiers and dehumidifiers to maintain humidity in the range of 40-60%, where the microbial and fungal growth is minimal.
Jha also says that the majority of the offices are allowing their staff to work from home and that people are spending more than 90% of their time indoors. “This further necessitates that apt measures are taken by the occupants to ensure proper lux levels, ergonomics and IAQ, as these will have a profound impact on their health and wellbeing and, in turn, impact their productivity,” he says. “Hence, there cannot be a better time than now to address the Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) issues, if any.” Jha says these are the factors driving a lot of investment being done by the property owners in the built-environment to retrofit their buildings to ensure proper IAQ against the traditional retrofit, where emphasis was mainly towards energy efficiency.
Making a case for retrofits
Keeping in mind the tangible and intangible benefits of retrofitting, Di Gregorio believes there is more than enough evidence to drive building owners to invest in such initiatives. “If building owners are not thinking about retrofits, they definitely should!” he says. “Retrofit projects tend to have very favourable returns. We are observing that for comprehensive retrofits of commercial buildings in Ras Al Khaimah, the payback time is 3-5 years. And the contracting standards that are being adopted often provide forms of guarantees for the investor on those returns.”
Jha, agreeing, says that in spite of the change in the occupancy profile of buildings, property owners must continue to retrofit within the built-environment. “Retrofitting of existing buildings offers tremendous opportunities for improving asset performance in terms of utilities,” he says. “Retrofitting also offers a potential upside in the overall performance of the building through improved energy efficiency, increased staff productivity, reduced maintenance costs, and better thermal comfort.” Jha believes that such key drivers should serve as a motivation and incentive for building owners, who are on the fence about investing in retrofit projects.
A complete 180
In view of the shifting political landscape, how will the new administration affect the country’s commitment to climate change mitigation?
It’s going to be a complete 180 from the [Donald] Trump administration. In [Joe] Biden’s plan, he mentions “a historic investment” in upgrading four million commercial buildings to return almost a quarter of the savings from retrofits to cash-strapped state and local governments. Specifically, it says that he will “mobilize a trained and skilled American workforce to manufacture, install, service and maintain high-efficiency LED lighting, electric appliances, and advanced heating and cooling systems that run cleaner and less costly”.
Given our focus on energy savings, I think that this will be great for business as well as for building owners. Some suggest that large rebates may be involved to directly incentivise businesses and make it affordable to pursue these upgrades.
That being said, although the Trump administration was not at all focused on energy conservation, I found that individual building owners and managers were still pursuing these measures during the Trump administration. Most organisations in the US are interested in conserving energy and saving money. With government focus and incentives, it will just accelerate the demand.
In view of COVID-19, do you see a greater uptake of IAQ equipment throughout the country?
Yes, for sure. However, these things come with a cost, and with COVID destroying the economy, there is going to have to be some kind of funding or incentives given to get these types of retrofits in place. I will give you an example. Two of our clients in the US requested ultraviolet lighting proposals to be retrofitted into their air handlers and FCUs. We put together the proposals and delivered them; however, neither has been approved yet due to the difficulties these buildings are facing financially due to delinquent tenant rent payments and occupancy.
Another interesting fact is that most of these IAQ retrofits are not intended to deliver energy savings. That is another hurdle to getting these projects approved. One last point – and I don’t think this is limited to the US – customers in the UAE have also asked for ultraviolet lighting to be installed, and it is still difficult to get the approval here, for the same reasons mentioned earlier.
Has there been a heavier-than-usual concentration on the air side of things from building owners, tenants and manufacturers?
The EPA has recommended that guidance provided by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) for managing IAQ during the current pandemic be followed. ASHRAE’s statement is as follows: “Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures.”
The two solutions we have seen implemented in the buildings we service in the USA are AHU filter upgrades and increasing the intake of outside air into the building. Both of these changes are very effective and relatively easy to implement as well as low cost.
How has the change in occupancy profile thrown everything into a state of chaos in terms of commercial and residential property requirements? Will this be a driving force towards more retrofit projects?
In terms of energy conservation measures, this has thrown everything into a state of chaos. One, the commercial buildings are hardly occupied, which has led to energy bills dropping dramatically. However, with less occupancy comes less rent, thus less money to invest in retrofit projects. In addition, building owners, who are still looking for energy savings, are hesitant to move forward, because they are not sure if and when tenants will be returning to the buildings, so to be honest, unless it’s a well-funded customer, this could actually slow the conservation efforts.
Residential buildings face the same issue. People are leaving the dense, populated cities, preferring the suburbs right now, leaving residential multi-family buildings unoccupied and no rents being paid. Until we get herd immunity with the vaccine, and people are comfortable returning to the cities to work and live, this will continue to be challenging.
How have these trends potentially influenced building owners?
As I stated earlier, most building owners are hesitant even if they want to move forward on new projects, given the current situation. However, some forward thinkers, with ability and the confidence that things will return to normal, are taking this time to invest in conservation efforts, so that when the buildings are occupied, they can take advantage of the maximum savings.
Have there been efforts to retrofit among specialised facilities such as healthcare?
At the moment, it is difficult to even get a meeting with a healthcare facility in the US. They are overwhelmed and have overcapacity with COVID patients and are focused on saving lives before anything else. Their priority right now is the conservation of life.
Has the pandemic finally trained the spotlight on the importance of having a balance between energy efficiency and IAQ?
I think that yes, people will be investing in IAQ, or at least investigating their options, especially healthcare facilities and the like. However, in my experience, to be honest, it’s a tough sale, unless there’s a Return on Investment (ROI) in the project. Having said that, UV lighting does have some energy-saving benefits, so maybe a combination of IAQ and energy savings should be highlighted to the building owners in the presentation of these retrofit solutions.
Retrofitting in Kuwait, Oman and the UAE
COVID-19 has had a significant adverse impact on organisations, people’s health, their livelihoods and the economy at large in the GCC region countries, says Ashok Jha, Head, FM & Retrofit Projects, Universal Voltas LLC. However, Jha is quick to point out that while the duration and severity of COVID-19’s impact on economies and sectors will undoubtedly vary, companies and governments in the GCC region have done well to set in motion a “look ahead, anticipate, innovate and adjust” roadmap, which has led the construction sector to focus on energy optimisation and retrofitting in existing buildings, which is a key to sustainable construction.
Citing figures from Global Data, a leading data and analytics company, Jha says that Oman’s construction industry contracted sharply in 2020, plummeting by nearly around -10.3%. “The industry is struggling with challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak, low oil prices, and the impact of sovereign credit rating downgrades,” he says. Further compounding the downside risks to the outlook for the industry, the Omani Government has had to rationalise spending.”
Jha adds that given the limited prospects for the government to boost investment in infrastructure and other investment projects, a recovery in the construction sector is expected to be very slow. “Global Data currently expects the construction industry to fall further in 2021, with output contracting by -5.8%,” he says. “The fiscal plan by the Oman Government is intended to reduce public debt, increase the state’s reserves, and diversify revenue away from the oil sector.”
Owing to these factors, Jha believes that new construction spend will be very minimal, and more impetus will be on the retrofitting, deep retrofitting, fit-outs and energy performance optimisation in the built-environment in Oman.
Kuwait has faced similar challenges, Jha says, adding that the construction market shrunk in the year 2020 at about -9.5% approximately, as per Global Data. “The construction industry is struggling with the challenges presented by the outbreak of COVID-19, low oil prices and the impact of sovereign credit rating downgrades,” he says. “Because of this, focus is more towards existing buildings in Kuwait.”
Jha adds that within the built-environment in Kuwait, residential buildings constitute around 81%, commercial buildings are 11%, whereas government buildings constitute four per cent; the remaining four per cent includes commercial, industrial, agricultural and services. “Also, Kuwait has one of the highest per capita electricity consumption and carbon footprint globally, which further necessitates the retrofitting of the buildings to make them more sustainable,” he says. “All the above factors, along with the economic strain, is forcing Kuwait to focus on energy conservation, deep retrofitting, retrofitting and fit-outs in the built-environment with a very minimal spending on new construction.”
Sharing observations on the UAE market, in particular, Jha says that the COVID-19 outbreak, coupled with low oil prices, has led the construction output in the UAE to contract by nearly 4.8% in 2020, but that a rebound is expected in 2021, as per Global Data. “New project opportunities are expected to be minimal in the coming quarters, as the government is consolidating its widening fiscal debt and COVID-19-related force majeure,” he said. “Over the medium- to longer-term, government investment will remain focused on upgrading physical infrastructure and reforming the financing and regulatory environment.”
Jha adds that the UAE has set high targets for building retrofit, which are reflected in the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy. “The latter targets an overall 30% reduction in energy and water use by 2030,” he says. “To support this, Etihad ESCO aims to retrofit 30,000 buildings in the next 10 years and generate 1.68TWh energy savings and around 5.64 BIG of water savings by year 2030.”
‘The UAE leadership has a view of the future – and it is not just tomorrow’
Congratulations on your appointment as Denmark’s Climate Ambassador. Could you speak on the potential areas of cooperation between the UAE and Denmark?
I think it’s remarkable the far-sighted leadership the UAE has taken as an oil- and gas-producing country. The leaders have a view of the future – and the future that is not just tomorrow, not just five or 10 years, but they are thinking ahead to 20 or 50 years from now.
We are talking about the major transformation of energy systems. The largest solar farms in the world are in the UAE, and a lot of investment is being done in this area. The country is taking energy efficiency in buildings seriously and addressing the challenge of having had, years ago, the highest carbon footprint per inhabitant.
In that sense, cooperation between the UAE and Denmark on energy and other topics related to food and maritime issues makes imminent sense. We are the country in the EU with the largest oil -production. We have oil and gas in the North Sea. But we are slowly ending our exploration of that oil and gas, and in December 2020, the Danish Parliament decided to end fossil extraction in the North Sea by 2050 with a plan for the just transition of impacted workers and a conversion of the oil and gas fields to Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS)].
There is also a huge market for renewable energy, globally, as this transformation [can be seen] worldwide. In Denmark, we are building better and taller wind farms and offshore wind farms, including over the next two years in two new energy islands. As a result, there has been global interest surrounding Danish windfarm operators and wind constructors, many of whom are now in demand in a number of countries such as the US, Korea and Australia.
Could you speak more about the competitive advantage that countries such as the UAE can have from specialising in sustainable cooling solutions, both in terms of developing the expertise within the country and in terms of pioneering solutions? Do you see this to be a growing market?
The world is undergoing an energy transformation, and the UAE is also very well positioned to be part of it and, in some instances, to lead this transformation. As such, a partnership with a country like Denmark makes great sense.
When it comes to the development of cities, it’s clear that if you look at trends as a whole, [the population] is moving from the countryside to cities at an increased rate. I think the latest figures from UN Habitat and other global organisations is that almost half of the human population lives in cities. We have been going from 30-40% of the population to half, and the trajectory is pointing towards a world where most of the people are in cities.
There have been large movements in the Global South. In China, you have more than 70 cities with more than one million inhabitants, and many are newly constructed with poor quality of buildings that need to be retrofitted and rebuilt. In India, you have a growing middle-class population, and this has led to growth of new buildings in new cities or more modern buildings in new parts of the city. The same trend can be seen in the Gulf region. For a very long time, Dubai was home to most of the cranes in the world. In Africa, large cities that are already big, continue to grow. In Indonesia, we see a population in the process of moving Jakarta to a new island, because it is sinking.
Basically, in many places, the built-environment is not a done deal. We are at the beginning, not at the end. It’s only in older industrial countries in the West that the city structure is permanent. I would think the opportunities for both new buildings and retrofitting are very large, especially in warmer climates, where expertise is needed in challenging environments.
For us, in Denmark, it’s more about reverse engineering our experience with energy efficiency and insulation, and usinge and applying them in the UAE. Also, there would be solutions we need to develop from scratch, based on the circumstances and the physical environment.
It’s clear that cooling also has some attributes different from heating. [In Denmark], some companies are experimenting with district cooling, but most are district heating, with a lot of combined power and heat plants. Also, some of them are doing this with garbage waste disposal and heat and power. With the more recent climate law, because of the move towards circular economy, we are now looking at recycling and reusing our waste rather than incinerating it.
What can further drive the development of expertise and solutions in the sustainability arena in a country?
A combination of energy pricing and embedding efficiency in building codes and regulation by central and local governments are key here. The building owner and operator might not be interested in building more efficiently because of the perceived cost, and they will try to defer the cost onto the tenants. That means rent goes up, bills go up, and they are not too happy either. That’s always a question for the less well off, that’s also the question of the fair and equitable distribution of the cost and benefit, [[when it comes to implementing sustainable solutions.].
In Denmark, people have been investing in energy efficiency because of energy cost and due to strict regulation since the 1970’s. Because of the cost of energy, there are huge paybacks at a shorter time.
In what ways can the public sector in the GCC region incentivise sustainability initiatives in the built-environment, both in terms of introducing retrofit targets and also ensuring new buildings adhere to higher energy- efficiency goals?
For one, I would say that educating the general public is extremely important, in terms of the cost, economy, sustainability and potential social benefits.
The very practical education of engineers and economists, integrating energy efficiency into curricula in the built-environment, so that you have your own skilled engineers and technicians ¨to operate systems, do the buildings and learn from it. It is a mentality and way of thinking. We have done it for the last 50 or more years; we didn’t do it before that. It took us a long time and heavy regulation, strong incentives and a lot of private discussion among government and private sector and institutions of higher education to get that sector to operate in an efficient and integrated way. I would encourage public policy makers to think through different dimensions of how to establish a cluster of knowledge and expertise. The young students of today will be the leaders of tomorrow, and they have to make it work 10-15 years down the road.
Climate change and the larger picture of finances
Q&A: James Brainard, Mayor of Carmel, Indiana, United States
We have succeeded admirably in our fight against the depletion of the ozone layer through collective effort, through a cohesive, consensus-based approach of finding economically and technically sound alternatives to ozone-depleting refrigerants. How much confidence do you take from what has been a marvellous example of social cooperation?
We did the summit in the form of the Montreal Protocol over concerns of huge spike in cancer deaths, so it was a great example of world leaders coming together to study a problem, devise a solution and then go back to their countries to fix the problem. It shows diplomacy and recognition of common challenges can be good.
In the same way, could we not find a financially feasible, well-structured long-term plan to curb the widespread misuse of energy and general profligacy through steady and substantial investment in the infrastructure needed to achieve the goal?
You have identified the problem in the question, and we have to find the means of accomplishing this. We have to look at the larger picture of finances – the health impact of pollution; the cost of famines; the cost of relocation, if we have a rise in sea level, leading to the displacement of people from major cities; and the cost of possible conflicts arising out of this. But more specifically, we need to recognize many jobs are dependent on the fossil fuel industry. So, we can make those changes, but we have to recognize that we need to look out for investment of industry, we still need to fly airplanes. But, we have a saying in the US, ‘low- hanging fruit’. So, there are many easy things we can do to clean the environment and reduce fossil fuel use, and those are what we can focus on with recognising that we have to protect people’s jobs in the fossil fuel industry and that many are invested in the fossil fuel industry.
Would an approach of self-financing the fight against global warming by developing an energy budget in every city, town, state and country across the world be a possible way out, as propounded by George Berbari, the CEO of DC Pro Engineering? I am referring to a structured, long-term carrot-and-stick approach, where individuals and organisations occupying residential and commercial buildings could be rewarded for being energy efficient and penalised for being inefficient, with the penalty being slightly higher than the reward to create a positive budget, a surplus, which could be used for giving rebates to homeowners for improving insulation, glazing, etc., for developing infrastructure to lower primary energy use, for building thermal energy networks, even District Energy schemes… anything that would effectively fight climate change.
I think it would help. The colloquial shotgun approach, where we undertake to do a lot of small things. I think your idea of financial incentives and disincentives is good; and tied to that what needs to happen is disincentives need to increase over time and incentives need to go up and come down. It is certainly a system we need today. You could still pass laws, where each year, the incentives and disincentives change, to encourage disincentives to go up and incentives to go away. The tax system is also there. Or, it could be a separate tax, a carbon tax, and it has been discussed here since the late 1980s.
Economists believe such an approach to conserving primary energy is feasible, but democratically elected local and federal government leaders and local mayors have limited terms and, generally speaking, give priority to short-term problems, the solving of which gives them immediate political benefits, as opposed to decades-long and daunting task of curbing energy use through a financial mechanism and other initiatives, which might also be viewed by the city’s inhabitants that make the electorate, as adding to existing costs and impairing their personal and corporate competitiveness. In your case, you are one of the longest-serving mayors in the state, having been in office since 1996 over seven consecutive terms. Did that give you a canvas to paint a long-term vision? How effective was the approach? Did it help you shape regulation and enforcement at a city level? Were you able to raise greater awareness on the human impact on climate change and bring about a consensus-based change in energy use behaviour in Carmel?
We are a suburb of Indianapolis, which has a population of two million people. We are 100,000 people in Carmel. Now, places like Dubai and Doha require automobiles, owing to the urban sprawl. Generally, we need the automobile to go anywhere. We have looked at the problem and have a series of PPPs, where one can live, work, go to restaurant and engage in recreational activities without having to get into an automobile and, as a result, lower the consumption of fuel.
The average American spends two hours a day in automobiles, but in Carmel, businesses, houses, schools are all here. We have adopted land use development differently, so people can live, work and go to a restaurant all in the same area, and we tried to design our downtown not for automobiles, and it has cut down fuel use. In Carmel, it is 15 minutes to half an hour of automobile use per person, so it is much, much less [than the national average].
We have a legal structure in the state of Indiana that makes decisions on building codes, and they have done less than what I would like to see, but we have contract to have a much more efficient build. We have the example of the Energy Center in Carmel. We have cold winters and hot summers in Carmel, and we are using energy all year long to either heat or cool our buildings. And if you have an individual heating or cooling system, it starts and stops and is energy inefficient. And so, we have developed the Energy Center in the city, and it uses 50% less energy. And we would like to see this being applied across the city.
If energy is scarce and its excessive use damaging to the environment, should people be allowed to consume as much as they want to, as long as they are paying for it? Should affordability be a sole factor? Could we change that mindset and, at the same time, take care not to infringe on personal freedom and quality of life?
I have thought about it, and I believe in a capitalistic and free market approach. And there is a way to fix it, which is you pay USD 10, say, for 100 units of use, USD 15 for the next 100 units, and USD 20 for the next 100 units. And so the more you use, the higher the price. And it is a good system, because it penalizes the people to use it, and at the same time, they have the freedom to use it. In the case of steel production, maybe that may be very important for the economy and jobs, and so there should be a different model. You have to look at the situation where we can improve the environment, decrease carbon and increase quality of life.
Have you established a carbon neutrality goal for Carmel, like Copenhagen, for instance, where we are seeing a consensus-based approach involving all political parties, underpinned by the thought process that environmental action needs to be bipartisan in nature? Or are the political dynamics different in the United States?
It’s a good question. Our city is mainly Republican, and is fiscally and economically conservative. Some years ago, a seven-member council introduced a carbon neutrality goal, which is not mandated, however. We know we will get there, because the technology is there. It is not time bound. It is a legislative body that passed a law that laid out a carbon neutrality goal.
We have been measuring progress in reducing carbon. Every year, we are measuring how much energy the city is using on a per capita basis, because the city is growing. I don’t know if we have done enough yet, but we are making progress. I firmly believe technology will save us.
The fight against climate change needs to be a non-partisan effort within cities, states and nations. What we have seen is a vastly polarising view within the United States. With Joe Biden set to take the reins, how soon can we expect to see the United States aligning itself in a more profound manner to the Paris Agreement?
I am a Republican, and my undergraduate degree was in history, so I tend to think not today but historically. At the turn of the century, Ted Roosevelt, a Republican, set aside millions of acres in the US for the National Parks system. And President Eisenhower in 1952 established the Arctic Reserve in Alaska, and he was Republican, as well. And President Nixon was the one who set up the federal EPA. Republicans signed a law that amended our Clean Water Act. They passed a whole series of environmental laws. President Reagan led on the Montreal Protocol for the ozone protection initiative. George HW Bush and George Bush came from a state that produces a lot of oil, and yet they established a system of hundreds of windmills. Over 120 years, Republicans and Democrats have come together in a non-partisan manner. And they will come back; this anomaly has been only for a sort period of time. Clean air and water are non-partisan issues. Disagreement will come only in terms of jobs.
On December 11, 2020, the United States observed a new daily death record of 3,055 individuals, more than the number of people who died in Pearl Harbour or the September 11 attacks on the twin towers in New York City. The coronavirus cases have risen sharply in Carmel, as they have elsewhere in Indiana and across the country. What measures have you taken in Carmel to safeguard residents through better indoor air quality (IAQ), with science advocating more fresh air changes and maintaining Relative Humidity between 40% and 60% in buildings?
I think one good thing that has come from the pandemic is recognition of IAQ being important, and there are great many entrepreneurs in the US selling systems that clean the air. Our City Hall operates a new system that every few minutes recycles the air and filters and cleans the air in the building; and it is energy efficient. And building owners throughout the US are adopting this. I see this as a positive thing that has emerged.
I have put a taskforce in Carmel. We also have generated messages through emails and print newsletters and social media. We have used an entire gamut of ways to talk to people, not just about IAQ but also about things to do to handle the pandemic in a better way. Our city had done a good job till the first week of October, testing and quarantining people. It worked through summer, but when people came indoors when the temperatures fell, it went bad. We had our first set of vaccinations, yesterday (the interview with Mayor Brainard took place on December 15), so we hope to be in good shape by March or April 2021.
There are those that are saying building industry stakeholders simply need to reverse the polarity on their thinking when it comes to budgeting for indoor air quality and that we need to raise buildings fit for purpose.
Yes, it’s a good point. Energy for buildings is important, but I think IAQ is something that would work very well. We have tax incentive to make buildings more energy efficient, and over time if building owners do not take action, a penalty would start; and simultaneously, there will be a reduction in taxes for people who make more energy-efficient buildings. And that puts the burden away from the average taxpayer. Yes, I do believe in an incentive and disincentive system for establishing good IAQ.
AHRI applauds inclusion of HFC reduction language in Omnibus Bill
ARLINGTON, Virginia, 27 December 2020: The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) on December 22 expressed its gratitude to House and Senate negotiators who included language in the just-passed Omnibus bill to bring about a national phasedown of HFC refrigerants. Particular appreciation also is due to Senators John Kennedy (R-La.), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) as well as to Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Pete Olson (R-Tex.), and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) for their tireless efforts to see this bipartisan initiative through to completion, AHRI said.
The language included in the bill would bring about a national phase down of HFCs and allow for a market- and consumer-friendly transition to new and better performing refrigerants and related products and equipment, AHRI said.
“We are gratified that negotiators included this bipartisan, jobs-promoting language in the Omnibus bill, and we are grateful to the Senate and House champions who worked so hard to see it accomplished, and to the House and Senate for passing the bill,” said Stephen Yurek, AHRI President & CEO. “Our industry has been working toward this goal for more than 10 years, and it is very exciting to see our vision of an HFC phasedown reach the home stretch. We are hopeful that President Trump will quickly sign the bill, so we can pivot toward implementation.”
Quoting a 2018 study by Interindustry Forecasting at the University of Maryland (INFORUM), AHRI said an HFC phasedown will create 33,000 new manufacturing jobs, increase direct manufacturing output by USD 12.5 billion, and increase the US share of the global HVACR export market by 25%.
IRENA report charts pathways to further accelerate energy transformation
Berlin, Germany, 14 April 2019 – As the urgency to take bold climate action grows, new analysis by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) finds that scaling up renewable energy, combined with electrification, could deliver more than three quarters of the energy-related emission reductions needed to meet global climate goals. According to the latest edition of IRENA’s Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050, launched earlier in the month at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, pathways to meet 86% of global power demand with renewable energy exist. Electricity would cover half of the global final energy mix. Global power supply would more than double over this period, with the bulk of it generated from renewable energy, mostly solar PV and wind.
“The race to secure a climate safe future has entered a decisive phase,” said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera. “Renewable energy is the most effective and readily available solution for reversing the trend of rising CO2 emissions. A combination of renewable energy with a deeper electrification can achieve 75% of the energy-related emission reduction needed.”
According to the report, an accelerated energy transition in line with the Roadmap 2050 would also save the global economy up to USD 160 trillion, cumulatively over the next 30 years in avoided health costs, energy subsidies and climate damages. Every dollar spent on energy transition would pay off up to seven times, the report said. The global economy would grow by 2.5 per cent in 2050. However, climate damages can lead to significant socioeconomic losses, the report added.
“The shift towards renewables makes economic sense,” La Camera said. “By mid-century, the global economy would be larger, and jobs created in the energy sector would boost global employment by 0.2 per cent. Policies to promote a just, fair and inclusive transition could maximise the benefits for different countries, regions and communities. This would also accelerate the achievement of affordable and universal energy access. The global energy transformation goes beyond a transformation of the energy sector. It is a transformation of our economies and societies.”
But action is lagging, the report said. While energy-related CO2 emissions continued to grow by over one per cent annually on average in the last five years, emissions would need to decline by 70% below their current level by 2050 to meet global climate goals. This calls for a significant increase in national ambition and more aggressive renewable energy and climate targets.
IRENA’s roadmap recommends that national policy should focus on zero-carbon, long-term strategies. It also highlights the need to boost and harness systemic innovation. This includes fostering smarter energy systems through digitalisation as well as the coupling of end-use sectors, particularly heating and cooling and transport, via greater electrification, promoting decentralisation and designing flexible power grids.
“The energy transformation is gaining momentum, but it must accelerate even faster,” La Camera said. “The UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the review of national climate pledges under the Paris Agreement are milestones for raising the level of ambition. Urgent action on the ground at all levels is vital, in particular unlocking the investments needed to further strengthen the momentum of this energy transformation. Speed and forward-looking leadership will be critical – the world in 2050 depends on the energy decisions we take today.”
Biomimicry profiling reduces CO2 consumption
Kuenzelsau, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, 21 March 2019: Ziehl-Abegg said through a Press communiqué that it is further utilising biomimicry in a bid to bolster its efforts towards mitigating climate change. To further reduce CO2 consumption, the company said through the communiqué, the humpback whale served as the model for the latest composite material fan development, which also incorporates biomimicry features of owls and trees. This improves the carbon footprint equally in two ways – through a significant reduction in the material used as well lower energy consumption, when operating in climate control equipment and industrial ventilation systems.
Ziehl-Abegg, the communiqué said, is already at more than 70% peak efficiency with its centrifugal fans, so every opportunity for the optimisation of performance must be utilised. The new centrifugal impeller possesses features of three completely different approaches to Biomimicry: from both aerodynamics (ornithology) and hydrodynamics (marine biology) and biomechanics (trees), the communiqué said. Savings in material content and improved aerodynamics halve CO2 emissions associated with manufacturing, whilst maintaining the same ventilation performance, the communiqué added. Modern injection-moulding tools, each costing more than half a million euros, enable the company to implement the geometries, which have been optimised through the application of Biomimicry, the communiqué further added.
According to the communiqué, the trailing edges of the fan blades are modelled on the owl wing. “As the quietest bird of prey, the owl has already been used as a role model for several designs,” said Peter Fenkl, CEO. Serrated trailing edges of fans are now seen as a trademark of Ziehl-Abegg. In the new fan however, the design of the serrations was a little smoother, the communiqué said.
Evolution has optimised the flow efficiency of the humpback whale overall in such a way that, despite its body size, it is considered a very good and agile swimmer. If this had not been the case, it would also have been unable to make its long journeys through the world’s oceans without having to feed. The latest generation of centrifugal fans at Ziehl-Abegg is now benefitting from this knowledge of biomimicry, the communiqué said.
The developers at Ziehl-Abegg, the communiqué said, also drew inspiration from Professor Claus Mattheck. The “tree whisperer” or “tree pope”, “as the media call him, creates a bridge between nature and technology. The professor is, after all, a pioneer of the science of biomechanics. Trees are a prime example of optimum strength with minimum use of materials. The five blades of the centrifugal ZAbluefin fan, the communiqué said, merge into both the cover and back plate in exactly the same way as trees grow upwards – at a slight radius to the ground. This is scarcely visible with the naked eye, because the curves, which mimic a tree, are minimal. Nevertheless, these bionic approaches in the blade transition provide the same strength as heavy wings – enabling the use of materials to be significantly reduced. Less material consumption in production also means a lower carbon footprint, the communiqué said.
According to the communiqué, the air flow in centrifugal fans hits the fan blades at different angles, depending on the volume flow. The whale has to overcome similar challenges when swimming in the sea – the movement of the fins causes their angular position to constantly change. If its pectoral fins were to be positioned at too steep an angle to the opposing current, strong turbulence would result in the water separating from the fins. “High flow losses and noise are characteristic features of strong turbulence,” said Dr Walter Angelis, Technical Director, Ziehl-Abegg. The design of the fins on a humpback whale has been optimised over millions of years. That’s why the leading edges of the whale fins contain golf ball-sized nodules (technical term: tubercle). This allows an animal weighing 25 to 30 tonnes to swim very quickly and nimbly using its long pectoral fins. “We recreated this aspect at the leading edge of the fan blades and implemented it in the form of a rippled surface,” Angelis said.
The flow engineers also took a closer look at the whale’s tail fin, the “fluke”, the communiqué said. The V-shaped contour of the tail fin section, the communiqué said, delays any potential flow separation – which enables the fan to be used for numerous pressure ranges. The latest generation of centrifugal fans at Ziehl-Abegg, the communiqué said, is now benefitting from this knowledge of biomimicry.