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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.

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.

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.

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.

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