MEAT & SUSTAINABILITY: PART 1

This article looks into meat and sustainability. This is the first in a multi part series looking into meat consumption and how sustainable this is.

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I was recently reading the book Meat the Truth, which is a compilation of essays by various authors and is edited by Niko Koffeman. This is an excellent book, with many interesting perspectives on meat consumption and sustainability. I learned a lot from reading this book and I would encourage anyone who is interested in this topic to buy the book and read it for themselves.

There is also a documentary that goes alongside the book, that is also interesting and well worth watching.

I was extremely pleased to see the news last week that the IPCC’s August report Climate Change and Land brought up the impact that meat consumption had on driving climate change. With the corollary being that more people enjoying plant-based lifestyles would reduce the food sectors impact on climate change.

Global meat consumption will double in the next 50 years

This 4-part series looking into meat and sustainability will be broken down into a number of themes. This week’s article will look into the FAO prediction that meat consumption will double in 50 years. This is a truly stunning prediction that is worthy of further investigation.

One of my favourite chapters in Meat the Truth was chapter 2 by Kirsten Oleson titled, The Hidden Environmental Costs of Meat Trade. In it she delivers the following stunning critique:

All phases of livestock production result in significant environmental impacts, whose costs are rarely factored into the market price of the products sold.”

Chapter 3 was also very interesting; it was by Danielle Nierenberg and it was titled Impact of Growth in Factory Farming in Developing World. She highlights the following:

The strongest rise in farm animal production has been in the developing world.

Much of the current demand for meat, egg, and dairy products is being met by industrial animal operations that are spreading across the developing world.

Mark Bittman also contributed to the debate with his offering on Overconsumption for chapter 8. Of the FAO prediction that meat production will double by 2050, he had the following to say:

The truth is that to meet these numbers, the world needs factory farms. There is no other method that can produce these quantities of meat, eggs, and dairy. It follows then, that the only way to reduce fact0ry farming is to demand less meat.”

What you need to know

This article looked into meat and sustainability. It is the first part of a multi part series looking into this topic and is based around the conclusions of the book Meat the Truth.

Meat consumption and climate change has been in the news again recently, and rightly so. It is therefore important that this topic is explored to its fullest extent.

This particular article explored the FAO prediction that global meat consumption will double in the next 50 years and what that means.

It unquestionably means more factory farming; it means more environmental impacts and it means the spreading of a misguided western diet to billions of people in the developing world.

This is something which needs to be brought to the public’s attention and the benefits of alternatives more heavily promoted.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. What do you think of the relation between meat and sustainability?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby

INTEGRATIVE DESIGN & SUSTAINABLE INDUSTRY

This article looks into integrative design and how it can be used to make industry more sustainable.

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The last 3 weeks we have looked into integrative design as the leading idea within energy efficiency and how it applies to buildings and mobility. You can find links to all of these articles below.

THE MOST IMPORTANT IDEA IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY

INTEGRATIVE DESIGN & SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS

INTEGRATIVE DESIGN & SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY

This week looks into how integrative design can be applied to industry. It is based on the Amory Lovins 2018 paper How big is the energy efficiency resource?

If anyone was in any doubt as to how important it is to make industry more sustainable, Amory’s opening statement would leave you in no doubt:

“Upwards of half, perhaps three-fifths, of the world’s electricity runs motors, chiefly in industry.”

Amory also makes it clear that standard off the shelf sustainable solutions offer far less potential than integrative design can offer:

“The two standard improvements—more-efficient motors and adjustable-speed drives—save 2× less electricity at 5× higher unit cost than a whole-drivesystem retrofit, because 28 of its 35 improvements are free byproducts of the first seven.”

Amory explains that:

Even bigger improvements are available in the most common systems that motors drive, and should be done first to make their motor systems smaller, hence cheaper.

Based upon the fact that half the world’s drivepower runs pumps and fans, Amory points towards evidence which shows the following:

Making their pipes and ducts fat, short, and straight rather than thin, long, and crooked can save 8090+ % of their friction, and typically pay back in less than a year in retrofits and less than zero in newbuilds.

Amory also points towards eye watering inefficiencies in the power sector:

Compounding losses—in power plant, wires, inverter, motor, pump, piping—lose 90% of the power plant’s fuel energy. But reversing those compounding losses into compounding savings, from downstream to upstream, enables one unit of friction or flow saved in the pipe to leverage 10 units of saved fuel, cost, and emissions at the power plant. Thus full global optimization of pipe and duct systems could in principle save, with enticing profits, enough pump and fan energy to displace roughly a fifth of the world’s electricity or half its coal-fired electricity. Probably no official climate assessment includes this major opportunity.”

It should be clear that there is a lot more work to do to communicate the benefits of integrative design so that these opportunities can be seized upon.

Amory points to the similarities between integrative design when applied to vehicles and industry:

Applying integrative design across sectors reveals common themes. The 10× downstream-to-upstream amplification of energy saved in pipe/pump systems is analogous to the 57× amplification of reduced tractive load back to fuel savings in autos.

What you need to know

This article looked into integrative design and how it can be used to make industry more sustainable.

One thing that this entire series on integrative design should have made clear, is that there is an enormous well of untapped potential energy efficiency savings. They are left untapped, because people focus on parts of the system, but not how the system as a whole functions. Integrative design can address this.

We looked at how massive amounts of the world’s electricity is used to power motors.

We also looked at how merely optimising pipework to reduce friction can make a significant difference in saving electricity, which has cascading benefits both upstream and downstream.

Overall, integrative design could be the missing link that is needed to make industry more sustainable. But it is held back by being a design method and not a technology in itself.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. What do you think needs to be done to make industry more sustainable?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby

 

INTEGRATIVE DESIGN & SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY

This article looks into integrative design and sustainable mobility.

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The last 2 weeks we have looked into integrative design as the leading idea within energy efficiency and how it applies to buildings. You can find links to both of these articles below.

THE MOST IMPORTANT IDEA IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY

INTEGRATIVE DESIGN & SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS

This week looks into how the idea behind integrative design can be applied to sustainable mobility. It is based on the Amory Lovins 2018 paper How big is the energy efficiency resource?

The paper’s section on mobility opens by citing evidence from Loveday that highlighted the success of BMW’s 4×-efficiency i3 electric car (pictured above). This vehicle used integrative design and pays for the carbon fibre in its passenger cell by needing fewer. This made the lightweighting free and recharging faster.

Amory emphasises that a smaller powertrain is most valuable in electric vehicles, at least until batteries or fuel cells become much cheaper.

Amory also emphasises the need to persevere with integrative design, even if initial experiments are unsuccessful. As with buildings, small savings can cost more than big savings, whose marginal cost at first rises, but can decline again as whole-vehicle synergies emerge at very high savings. The actual potential is considerably larger and cheaper with integrative design.

Amory also points towards evidence that shows that since 2000, integrative design has more than doubled potential auto efficiency, which you can see in the figure below.

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Amory also points towards some of his own writing that shows that tripled to quintupled aeroplane efficiency also looks feasible and worthwhile based on authoritative virtual designs by Boeing, NASA, and MIT—even more with liquid hydrogen or electric propulsion. With savings on the order of half or more have been designed in a variety of ships. It looks like there is no type of vehicle that integrative design cannot make more sustainable.

Amory highlights further evidence that shows that shared, connected mobility systems enabled by wireless infomatics offer further design integration for people and freight. Energy efficiency savings from vehicles can also be increased further with improved urban form and density.

What you need to know

This article looked into integrative design and sustainable mobility.

It was based on the Amory Lovins 2018 paper How big is the energy efficiency resource?

We looked into how leightweighting can make electric cars cheaper and more energy efficient.

We also looked into how it is important to pursue integrative design and design the vehicle as one system and not through a series of ad hock energy efficiency initiatives.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. What do you think needs to be done to make mobility more sustainable?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby

INTEGRATIVE DESIGN & SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS

This article looks into integrative design and sustainable buildings.

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Last week’s article which you can access via the link below explored the most important idea in energy efficiency. Which we identified to be integrative design.

THE MOST IMPORTANT IDEA IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY

This week looks into how the idea behind integrative design can be applied to buildings. It is based on the Amory Lovins 2018 paper How big is the energy efficiency resource?

One of the first examples he gives, is the well-known 2010 retrofit of the Empire State Building. The integratively designed whole-building retrofit cut site energy use 38%, from 277 kWh m−2 yr−1 (slightly below the US office median of 293) to 173 kWh m−2 yr−1.

On this project, the majority of the efficiency gains were paid for by $17.4 million capital savings from making the cooling systems one-third smaller to match the reduced cooling load, rather than replacing them with larger new ones (plus bigger electrical risers).

Amory Lovins points towards the impressively efficient Rocky Mountain Institute Innovation Center in Basalt, Colorado that records an efficiency rating of 51 kWh m−2 yr−1 in a much colder climate. It manages to do this with no-boilers, no-chillers and provides more energy to the grid than it uses. net-positive.

Amory Lovins also points towards evidence from the IPCC which suggests that superefficient new and retrofitted buildings need not raise construction cost until energy savings reach at least∼80%–90% if then.

The paper also looks into Zimbabwe’s largest office and shopping complex, the 31 600m2 1996 Eastgate Centre in Harare, which uses biomimetic passive cooling and ventilation design (modelled on termite mounds) to save 90% of mechanical energy and deliver normal or better comfort at normal construction cost.

One of the key takeaways of Amory’s paper is that integrative design makes order-of magnitude building efficiency improvements inexpensive (or even cheaper than normal), mainly by eliminating or shrinking and simplifying HVAC equipment.

He explains that this enables total demand reductions of around 4–6×, not the usual <2×, thus expanding cost-effective energy savings by >2×.

Amory also points to how major building systems and functions often reveal hidden opportunities to do the right things in the right order and thus save even more energy at lower cost. He uses the example of LED lighting, which as you can see below is only the sixth priority in the steps recommended in the Illuminating Engineering Society’s Handbook of Fundamentals.

  1. Improve the visual quality of the task
  2. Improve the cavity reflectance and geometry of the space
  3. Improve lighting quality to cut veiling reflections and discomfort glare
  4. Optimize lighting quantity
  5. Harvest and distribute natural light; and then
  6. Raising source efficacy
  7. Optimize luminaires
  8. Improve controls, maintenance, and training.

Amory also points towards the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, Handbook of Fundamentals, whose top advice below is  widely ignored.

  1. Cool the people, not the building
  2. Exploit all comfort variables to expand the range of conditions in which people feel comfortable
  3. Minimize unwanted gains of heat and humidity into the space
  4. Passive cooling (ventilative, radiative, ground—or groundwater-coupling
  5. Active non-refrigerative cooling (evaporative, desiccant, absorption)
  6. Coolth storage and controls

Amory also points out that the capital savings from shrinking or eliminating HVAC equipment in new buildings can also be largely obtained in retrofits by timing deep retrofits to match routine major renovations, such as renewing HVAC systems or façades.

He points towards smart building examples that apply advanced glazings that insulate better, look clear, pass abundant daylight, but block unwanted heat transfer, and are spectrally ‘tuned’ to each direction.

What you need to know

This article looked into integrative design and sustainable buildings.

It is based on the Amory Lovins 2018 paper How big is the energy efficiency resource?

The key takeaway is that savings were achieved through integrative design, not by adding more widgets, but by leaving more out.

This week looked at buildings, subsequent articles will look at mobility and industry.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. What do you think the most important idea in integrative design is?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT IDEA IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY

This article looks into the most important idea in energy efficiency. Also notice the way I said idea rather than technology as that is exactly what we are going to look at today.

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I have been a fan of Amory Lovins and the work that the Rocky Mountain Institute put out for a while. This week I was reading his paper How big is the energy efficiency resource? It was published in Environmental Research Letters in 2018. I was totally blown away by his findings, which could have a really big impact on sustainability.

Amory debunks the commonly held perception that energy efficiency is plagued by a problem of low hanging fruit, where easy gains will be made early on and gains will become progressively harder as time passes. This is based on a theoretical construct, that works well in textbooks, but is not born out in reality.

I am minded to quote the great Yogi Berra who once remarked that: “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” This is why it is important to test theories to see if they are actually correct.

I could not do it justice by paraphrasing, so I have pasted Amory Lovins’s research finding in full below:

“The efficiency resource far exceeds the sum of savings by individual technologies because artfully choosing, combining, sequencing, and timing fewer and simpler technologies can save more energy at lower cost than deploying more and fancier but dis-integrated and randomly timed technologies. Such ‘integrative design’ is not yet widely known or applied, and can seem difficult because it is simple, but is well proven, rapidly evolving, and gradually spreading.”

This finding that integrative design and not more and fancier widgets is the key to energy efficiency is extremely powerful. Unfortunately, it goes against a lot of our human instincts which probably explains its slow uptake. But there is always time to turn that around.

What you need to know

This article looked into the most important idea in energy efficiency.

It was based upon Amory Lovins’s 2018 paper How big is the energy efficiency resource?

His finding that integrative design unlocks far more potential than individually targeted initiatives may be the most important idea in energy efficiency.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. What do you think the most important idea in energy efficiency is?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby

 

WHAT MAKES AN EVENT A SUSTAINABLE EVENT?

This article looks into what makes an event a sustainable event. It is based on the analysis of Meegan Jones, who has a great book titled Sustainable Event Management. You can find a picture of the cover below.

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Meegan picks out 5 themes that make an event a sustainable event and we will look into them in turn.

1.     Purchasing

Events like other activities consume resources. But the temporary nature of events means that sustainability is often sidelined in favour of other parameters. Lots of important decisions need to be taken in the run up to the event to make it as sustainable as possible.

Where possible all products should be purchased with responsible sourcing schemes. This provides third party assurance of their sustainability credentials.

If possible, all materials should be sourced locally so that the event contributes to the local economy and it cuts down on unnecessary miles being travelled.

2.   Waste Management

The waste generated by events is probably more visible because of large volumes of people in a small area without permanent waste management infrastructure. But those people would have also generated waste if thy were at home and not at any event. That being said, the propensity for people t0 eat out of takeaway packaging means that the per capita waste generation is probably higher for someone who is at an event, rather than in their daily life.

The key for waste management is really communication and making recycling as easy as possible for people at the event. Work also needs to be done to streamline the amount of different types of packaging that vendors bring to the event. As mixed messaging will confuse attendees.

I am a big fan of cup and bottle deposits and you can read more about my thoughts on this topic below. I think it is a good way of incentivising people to recycle and getting them involved in the process.

ARGUMENTS FOR CUP AND BOTTLE DEPOSITS

3.   Energy production

The nature of events means that they are large consumers of energy. However, if procured sustainably this doesn’t have to be bad for the environment.

Making sure that contracts with generator suppliers are structured so as to incentivise sustainability rather than excess would be a start. Also, making every effort to get temporary power supplies to every corner of the site to cut down on generator use to the greatest extent possible would be another bonus for sustainability.

There are also lots of opportunities to use solar powered technology for perimeter fence lighting and for other purposes.

The main energy intake should also be sources from a 100% renewable supply and if this was done it would make a really big difference.

4.   Water management

Depending on the location of the event this could either be an important or extremely important consideration. In arid regions water scarcity could threaten the viability of an event.

Water conservation is therefore key. This can be done through water saving devices and other measures. Capturing grey water is also very important.

As with everything else, communication is key. If people are unaware water is scares, they are more likely to use it wastefully.

5.    Transport

Transport is a very visible sign of unsustainability at events. Rows and rows of cars parked in enormous car parks demonstrate that the vast majority of people did not come by public transport. Research shows that transport is often the largest contributor to carbon emissions for live events.

The main options for making the events transport more sustainable are encouraging public transport, walking or cycling, or incentivising cars with high occupancy rates.

As with most aspects of sustainability, these won’t happen by default. Large events can put on specialist busses from destinations to the event. There may even be scope for chartering trains from large urban areas to the event. Where this is possible it should definitely be explored.

Overall, all events need to come up with initiatives to make the most sustainable transport options the easiest and cheapest.

What you need to know

This article looked into what makes an event a sustainable event. It was based on the analysis of Meegan Jones, who has a great book titled Sustainable Event Management.

Overall, the sustainability challenges at events are not so different from the sustainability challenges elsewhere.

The temporary nature of events means that people will likely only have one chance to prepare for it each year and it means that there are fewer learning opportunities for everyone.

I would say that the overall trend for sustainability at events is positive, but there is a lot more work still to be done.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or reach out to me on social media. What do you think makes an event a sustainable event?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby

 

Kevin Anderson – Cut the Crap

This article looks into Kevin Anderson’s perspective on climate change.

I was lucky enough to see Kevin’s cut the crap talk at Glastonbury 2019 and I found it to be truly eye opening.

I had seen videos of his before, but it is always better to watch speakers live.

The link below takes you to a Kevin Anderson video on climate change.

Watch it and let me know what you think.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or reach out to me on social media. What do you think of Kevin’s perspective on climate change?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby