Friday, 24 August 2012

The New Era Of Energy Efficient Technology

Energy Efficient Technology on the rise as sustainable growth picks up momentum

Spending all my days on the net writing about energy efficiency and renewable technologies, I am constantly amazed at the amount of passion and energy that is put into this industry. New technologies are emerging daily and governments are creating more and more legislation to make sure that sustainable growth is here to stay.

While our own government is in internal conflict with the Treasury and George Osborne, about expenditure into renewable technologies, it has not stopped the rest of the industry from soldiering on in the face of adversity. We are now in a time when sustainability is paramount, as the old ways of generating energy are becoming redundant, as research has shown time and time again, that they are no longer ecologically or economically viable.

Our resources are running lower by the day and no matter what the politicians would have you believe, we are in the midst of not just an economic crisis but an ecological one of giant proportions. Climate change is not going to go away and the best we can hope to do is to try and slow it down. Renewable technologies are the way forward and while there are many people who dispute this, the facts speak for themselves.

In the UK, energy efficiency has really taken off and with news that we are number one in the global energy efficiency league table, we should give ourselves a well deserved pat on the back. However, this does not mean that we can afford to be complacent, as there is still a tremendous amount of work to do before we can even think of slowing down the pace.

Renewable technologies are advancing every day and new and innovative designs and systems are appearing on the market at a rapid rate. Only the other day there was an article in the press that covered new solar thin-film technology, that can be stuck to windows and doors and is 70% transparent to the human eye. The technology utilises infra red rays that humans cannot see, to create electricity and it has a higher output than traditional solar panels. This technology will revolutionise the solar market and while solar panels will still continue to be used, thin film solar cells will undoubtedly become the norm as the price drops and more people see the benefits.

As the technology is changing at such a rapid rate, it begs the question as to whether anything will stay on the market long enough before it is overtaken by something more advanced, compact, powerful, faster, sleeker and stronger.

A great invention to be released next month from Ireland is the latest energy efficient Iameco laptop tablet that is 80% recyclable and has an extremely low carbon footprint. My favourite part of the tablet is the fact that it has a wooden casing that is made from sustainably sourced off-cuts from factories. Wood you believe it?! (groan)

Vertical axis wind turbines are another little known advancement on wind technology, that destroy the usual complaints associated with normal turbines. The latest version of the McCamley MT101 MK2 turbine makes very little noise, is clearly visible to animals so they do not get caught in them, can be erected in urban areas owing to it's size and it is self starting, requiring very little maintenance, a huge cost for normal turbines. Furthermore, It has no cut-out speed and can continue to operate in storm winds. It will allow residential blocks and urbanised areas access to clean energy. This should put the 'wind' up George Osborne as he battles to install gas plants and nuclear stations all over our country. Who is he really working for I wonder?

Developments for commercial energy efficiency are always cropping up on the market and with the Commercial EPC ( Energy Performance Certificate ) now being a compulsory standard in the commercial property sector, energy efficient building design and practice have become paramount. The UK's building stock accounts for almost half of our total carbon emissions, so energy efficient re-fits are now essential to help commercial properties reach carbon neutral emissions targets.

The same can be said for the domestic property market, as landlords have been taking advantage of government grants to re-fit their properties. As with commercial properties, the Landlord EPC is now also compulsory in order to market a property for sale or rent and the attached sheet of recommendations, drawn up by the energy assessor, on how to raise the energy efficiency rating of a property, has provided invaluable information. Cavity-wall and loft insulation, upgraded central heating systems, Solar PV installations and underground heat pumps are just some of the upgrades that landlords are implementing in their re-fits and tenants have reported greater comfort and significant reductions in their fuel bills, as a result.

So the tide of energy efficiency, backed up by innovations in renewable technology and government legislation continues to grow as we move into a new, sustainable future. The moves we make now are crucial to our survival as a race, yet there are those out there who would still hang on to outdated ideas and selfish ambitions, in their attempts to control the world's energy resources for their own, hollow ends. With that in mind it is important to keep raising awareness through any means available, about the benefits of renewable technology and sustainable growth and warn against the dangers of staying as we were and destroying the fabric of our environment.

Article written for Just EPC by Paul Patane

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