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"Decarbonization" is Our Climate Emergency

Embracing the importance of the shift in smart city thinking and action in spite of National and International floundering started us on a journey of deep discussion of what "Decarbonization" and our Climate Emergency means to our industry?

Ken Sinclair
Founder, Owner, Publisher AutomatedBuildings.com

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Embracing the importance of the shift in smart city thinking and action in spite of National and International floundering started us on a journey of deep discussion of what "Decarbonization" and our Climate Emergency means to our industry?

Discussions started when our contributing editor wrote this article,

Buildings in the Age of the Climate Emergency   Brad White, SES Consulting Inc.

Decarbonization, Electrification, and Resilience are quickly becoming a common part of our lexicon as cities across North America and around the world start to take aggressive and urgent action to curb emissions from buildings. There has been a slew of recent legislation from municipal governments targeting commercial buildings, both new and existing, with aggressive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets. Here in Vancouver, it all started with the declaration of a “Climate Emergency” by our city council, joining over 400 other cities around the world. In response to this declaration, city staff developed a response plan consisting of six big moves.

The smart city reaction declaring a Climate Emergency with documented planned policy with actual action is a refreshing work around the foot dragging, denial and bowing to the carbon kings of both the National and International climate movements.

The UN talks that many had hoped would result in commitments  to tackle climate change has ended in bickering and disappointment with very little being achieved. “As time ran out, the COP looked more and more like a hostage situation inside a burning building – together with most negotiators, people and planet were held captive.

In August before this grim report, I provided this article, Building Climate Emergency - It has become clear that our countries' governments do not want to deal with the unpopular reality of a Climate Emergency.

Next, we added these
deep discussions as a new never before provided topic for our 12  free education sessions @ AHRExpo 2020 Orlando

Title: Building for a Climate Emergency  Description: The declaration of a “Climate Emergency” by over 400 global cities presents an enormous opportunity for the automation industry as local governments gear up to tackle this challenge. There has been a slew of recent legislation from municipal governments targeting residential and commercial buildings, both new and existing, with aggressive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets. The widespread deployment of state-of-the-art controls systems will be essential to achieving these targets. Join us in this session to hear about examples of successful deep carbon reduction retrofits and learn more about the role our industry will play in responding to the climate emergency.

We were extremely pleased when Casey Talon Research Director at Navigant Research agreed to speak with us to the emergency.

Casey Talon is a research director with Navigant Research, leading the building innovations program with specific focus on the smart buildings market. Casey has a background in economics, environmental science, and policy and deep experience as an analyst and consultant. Casey has provided consulting services for executive decision-makers on the business challenges related to climate change and sustainability, as well as the opportunities for investment in energy efficiency and smart buildings. Ms. Talon holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a BA in Economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison

She wrote these article speaking to the Climate Emergency,

Intelligent building technologies are critical to a low-carbon future   Rapid urbanisation and climate change are intertwined, making decarbonisation of the built environment paramount to stabilising the future. The technologies that will deliver significant emissions reductions there will deliver benefits for all those involved, writes Casey Talon.

Smart Buildings Will Catalyze Decarbonization  Intelligent building solutions offer tangible, universal economic benefits that can be a vital catalyst for decarbonization.  On November 5, 2019, 11,258 scientists from 153 countries signed a Warning of a Climate Emergency in Oxford Academic’s journal, BioScience. Citing their “moral obligation,” the authors explained critical actions to set a new course on climate change. An enormous opportunity for the built environment underlies their message: “The world must quickly implement massive energy efficiency and conservation practices and must replace fossil fuels with low carbon renewables and other cleaner sources of energy if safe for people and the environment.”

This raised the question from Poland Can BMS Save the World?

Which links to https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/ Climate Change: How Do We Know?

We know that energy consumption is directly influencing carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere and thus temperature rise. So the obvious solution for slowing down temperature rise is decreasing energy consumption. But how? Especially in the modern, urbanized world where every year the population is increasing by 82 million and expected to reach 8 billion in total in 2023. First of all we need to adjust our energy policy worldwide, all energy sources should be considered carefully and valued according to their efficiency and influence on the environment. Secondly we need to take care of current energy “wasters”. What do I mean by “energy wasters?” All the buildings and plants which were built 20-30 years ago and included minimum or no energy-saving technology. Modernisation of the retrofit buildings may cost owners huge investments, but still if done correctly may save them money and environment for the future generations.

This triggered a great discussion in the industry over 11,000  views at the time of writing this piece in this LinkedIn post of this article. I am extremely pleased that we are discussing this emergency as a global industry.

Progress is being made with Smarter Grid Solutions, First of all, we need to adjust our energy policy worldwide, all energy sources should be considered carefully and valued according to their efficiency and influence on the environment.

Pete Maltbaek, General Manager North America, Smarter Grid Solutions  With several significant developments in the climate and clean energy domain in America in the past 12-months, and with the clear onward march towards a renewable and decentralized electrical power system, it is likely that there will be many more positive developments made in 2020.


Zero Carbon Economy and Impact to HVAC Equipment, by Luke Leung who serves as a member of the AHR Expo Expert Council will host an industry  trend session titled, Pivoting Towards a Post Carbon World  and Impacts to the HVAC Industry. Monday, February 3rd from 12:30 pm -1:30 PM in W310A.

Grid-interactive buildings are the key to a decarbonised new energy future.  A district of grid-interactive commercial and industrial buildings is the key to a decarbonised new energy future. The decentralised nature of these microgrid enabled buildings is a vital distribution feeder asset especially when they can be harnessed by a smart grid.  Where managed correctly, no utility should fear the introduction of either C&I rooftop PV nor will microgrids - their energy flexibility in terms of local loads play an important part in the stability of the grid.  The building and construction sectors combined are responsible for 36% of global final energy consumption and nearly 40% of total CO2 emissions, according to the IEA. Building sector electrical energy demand is growing at ~5% per annum, and once buildings become home to charging stations for electric vehicles, demand may increase by a further 15 to 20% per annum. Therefore an added incentive to decarbonising a nation’s building stock by means of local generation is the economic benefit derived by individual building as they can then support the grid with services like voltage regulation, frequency response, and soon even synthetic inertia.

The Climate Group’s global EP100  initiative in partnership with the  Alliance to Save Energy  brings together  a growing group of energy-smart companies  committed to improving their energy productivity and doing more with less.
By integrating ambitious energy targets into business strategy, leading companies are  driving innovation in energy efficiency and increasing competitiveness while delivering on emissions reduction goals. The International Energy Agency (IEA)  estimates that improvements in energy efficiency can deliver over 40% of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to meet global climate goals. In addition to enabling a faster shift to renewables, energy efficiency improvements add enormous value to global GDP and boost companies’ bottom lines.

Dumb Buildings Are Stranded Assets In The New Climate Economy Published: December 5th, 2019  If we don’t address climate change and keep anthropogenic warming under the 2C threshold set out by the Paris Climate Accord, then we will face the wrath of nature through rapidly rising sea levels, increased drought and wildfires, and other trends that will make life on earth more difficult — this is the physical risk of climate change.

The Briefing is BSRIA’s annual flagship event, featuring industry-leading speakers who provide insight into new trends and innovation likely to impact the construction industry. On 15th November 2019 at the London Brewery venue BSRIA Executive Director Julia Evans introduced this year’s theme – a Climate of Change.  “We have upset Energy Balance of the Planet” – said Professor Chris Rapley CBE from University College of London in the presentation providing evidence that man-made climate change has become the reality. For several decades now, more energy has been absorbed than emitted at the top of Earth’s atmosphere. We have recently witnessed 14th consecutive month of record-breaking global temperatures on land. In the ocean, 2015 was recently analysed to have been the warmest year within the 136-year records of extended reconstructed sea surface temperature and the fourth such record-breaking year since 2005.

Faster 5G rollout could reduce cumulative carbon emissions by 0.5 billion tonnes of CO2 globally by 2030
How will accelerating 5G roll-out reduce carbon emissions from mobile networks?
5G technologies as drivers of sustainability

You need to be part of our discussion in Orlando  Building for a Climate Emergency Join us in this session to hear about examples of successful deep carbon reduction retrofits and learn more about the role our industry will play in responding to the climate emergency.

Here is a great example of action; NYC passes sweeping 'Climate Mobilization Act'


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