At the recent 2011 Carbon Reduction Conference in London, attendees were faced with the question: how do we reduce emissions while ensuring economic growth?
This raised an interesting debate about the transition to a low carbon economy. While there were varying opinions, I think there was a belief that current green technologies will allow us to reach 2050 goals and that carbon reduction is still of top priority for political support, plans & future budgets.
As the day progressed, I attended some interesting talks, especially one which addressed how Facility Management can achieve a greener organisation through a strategic approach and a joined up management plan. In simple terms, organisations need to take a step back and identify what areas they need to improve, how they will do it and then what is needed for this improvement to take place. There is not one solution that fits all but a great place to start is to introduce smart meters. Practical examples were then provided from new build universities to refurbished hospitals that introduced energy efficient lighting. The talk finished with an answer to a top three of most important changes to improve energy use in buildings:
- introduce controls
- full stakeholder buy in
- power distribution
It was great then to listen to Balfour Beatty, the engineering & construction firm and hear how they were managing energy consumption and integrating sustainability in the design, construction and operation of infrastructure. They explained some practical energy performance measures they have taken to date, and one in particular, highlighted how a simple street lighting dimming control system can deliver startling energy efficiency.
The effect of sustainable outdoor lighting solutions was further examined by Mike Simpson, in particular the role of lighting in a livable city. Mike shared his belief of how the outdoor environment should be an extension of our living space. He progressed to discuss the concept of the sustainable building and the effect of changes in legislation like Part L of Building Regulations and the need for more transparency. He exposed the need for new legislation to address the consumption of energy (a carbon tax) and detailed how lighting control and presence detection technologies can contribute to energy consumption reduction. He also called for the UK to follow the US governments in producing such initiatives as setting manufacturers with the task of producing the most energy efficient lamp possible.
All in all, an interesting day with much to muse over. I look forward to the Society of Light and Lighting’s next event on December 13, 2011, which introduces a new Code for Lighting. Mike Simpson will argue that we need the Code and other standards as they give key guidance while Tim Downey will put the opposing view that we shouldn’t design by numbers and Jeff Shaw will explain why we need the Code but why we also need to move away from it. Much to debate!