Schools, which make up nearly half of all public buildings in the UK, are wasting millions of pounds each year because of poor energy efficiency. Only 29 out of 11,993 schools in England and Wales earned a ‘A’ rating for energy efficiency last year and 1,703 were given the lowest ‘G’ ranking according to a survey from energy efficiency group Lessen. Camden Council in London ranks bottom. Shame on them! A spokesperson for the group said that it wan’t enough to install ‘fancy new technology’ or install low energy ligtbulbs – what was needed were behavioural shifts – to a ‘turn off and save’ mentality with heating and lighting. Dorset was the top performer and the Council there has a dedicated energy officer. When school repairs are undertaken the Council makes sure that energy efficiency is built into plans – for example insulating buildings at the same time as repairs works. The council estimates it saves £4.6 million annually through eergy saving measures.
Access All Areas (www.access-AA.co.uk ) the trade magazine for the live music, hospitality and events industry, has an excellent Green News page this month in issue 147 and one of the main strories highlights a new campaign from Frank Water at UK festivals in the summer where ticketholders will be encouraged to buy a branded hardwearing BPA-free plastic water bottle which they can then top up for free from charity FreeFill’s water stations on site. Frank Water hopes to raise monies from the project and they have already funded 58 clean water projects in India (for more see www.frankwater.com) .
Edie.net reports that Energy minister Chris Huhne is worried about large-scale solar farms soaking up funding meant to help communities green their homes. According to Mr Huhne there is ‘growing evidence’ showing large scale solar farms could ‘soak up money’ intended to help homes, communities and small businesses generate their own electricity. However, the Lib Dem coalition minister also said the comprehensive review of Feed in Tariffs (FITs), will also pave the way for fast tracking planning for the same big solar parks and farm-scale Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants. Huhne said “Large scale solar installations weren’t anticipated under the FITs scheme we inherited and I’m concerned this could mean that money meant for people who want to produce their own green electricity has the potential to be directed towards large scale commercial solar projects.”
A new guide has been produced to help UK consumers make green choices in their purchases. The Green Claims Guidance, published by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), is aimed at protecting consumers from false and misleading claims about the environmental credentials of products – greenwashing. The guide sets out advice to companies on how to describe the environmental benefits of their products in a clear and accurate manner. See more at http://ww2.defra.gov.uk/environment/economy/green-claims-labels/ .
Edie.net also reports that a new study for the journal Science has shown that the Amazon suffered a second serious drought last year, making it two severe droughts within 5 years which has had a dramatic effect on CO2 levels – instead of the rainforest absorbing huge amounts of CO2, droughts cause the reverse effect, with the forests releasing emissions. Figures show that the drought last year may exceed the 5 billion tonnes of CO2 that the last drought in 2005 caused. This is roughly equal to the annual emissions of the US. Lead author Dr Simon Lewis, from the University of Leeds, said: “Having two events of this magnitude in such close succession is extremely unusual, but is unfortunately consistent with those climate models that project a grim future for Amazonia.” Amazonian droughts are meant to be a ‘once in a century’ occurrence. worrying.
The European Parliament wants tighter rules on waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) while keeping red tape to a minimum for companies. MEPs have proposed new targets ) for collecting, recycling and re-using waste. They also recommended tougher measures to prevent the export of e-waste to developing countries, where it can pose a health and environment hazard. See www.edie.net
The UK coalition government is to review plans to sell of publicly owned woodlands in the face of fierce opposition. Caroline Spelman, the Environment Sectretary said that sales would be put on hold whilst plans are reviewed. The review will look at how ancient woodlands would be protected and how charities would be enabled to buy and protect woodland before it is offered to the commercial sector – but sales will still go ahead. The Government plans to sell 100,000 acres, 15% of the publicly owned forests, and hopes to raise £100 million.