Thursday, 20 March 2014

Temple does Climate Week - Part 2

by Robert Slatcher (Principal Consultant) & Sam Dawson (Graduate Consultant)

This is the subsequent edition of “Temple does Climate Week”; a blog describing the activities in which Temple Group participated in during Climate Week, encompassing particular causes and effects of climate change and the small things we can all do in everyday life to help combat this issue.

Thursday Energy

The main focus of Thursday was a fracking debate. It is believed that trillions of cubic feet of shale gas is recoverable from underneath parts of northern England, which could significantly boost domestic oil production and drive gas prices down. It is reported that the US and Canada are generating electricity from fracking at half the CO2 emissions of coal. This debate included heated discussions with arguments posed about whether the act of fracking was shifting the focus and monetary resources away from the effort to decarbonise the economy; distracting the attention of government and large energy firms away from investing in renewable sources and encouraging reliance on fossil fuels. The need to address fuel poverty was also a hot topic, with both teams arguing the case well. The event culminated in a tie between those for and those against fracking… the debate continues.

Friday - the 1 hour Challenge

Following on from Thursday’s fracking debate a film entitled “The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil” was shown. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba's economy went into a tailspin. With imports of oil cut by more than half and food by 80%. The film looks at how a country has already managed an energy crisis and how they adapted without readily available alternative fuel sources. Can we draw inspiration from this to look at an alternative approach to our future attitude to peak oil? Do we change how we fundamentally live our lives or do we continue in the pursuit of hydrocarbons?

The final day of Climate Week also saw a selection of Temple employees from various sectors in the company competing in the Climate Week 1 hour Challenge.

This year’s Climate Week Challenge was “Get us out of hot water: come up with an idea that helps people use less energy heating buildings and water.”

The hour started with a discussion about the challenge, bringing about ideas such as developing non-diuretic coffee beans to reduce toilet use and hence minimise water usage; putting solar panels on the moon to enhance capture of suns radiation; Use of graphene to insulate buildings (this is an extremely strong material made up of densely packed carbon atoms, it could be described as a one-atom thick layer of graphite); use of the desert to store heat; and use of PV celled glass in office windows.

But the winner was “Cycling for future resilience” this is an idea whereby two bike dynamos are attached to each wheel of the bicycle (one to heat water and one ‘chargeable’ battery pack). Office workers would cycle to work, charging the dynamos on their commute. The dynamo powering the heating filament to heat the water can be used for the morning tea/coffee as employees get to the office; this would reduce the energy used heating water in the morning. The battery pack can be removed from the bike and plugged into the mains at the office; which would supplement the office’s energy supply to heat the building and hence reduce reliance on the main grid.

Stage 2 of the idea was that the bikes could be hooked into an office unit/rack; workers can utilise these bikes during breaks and can supplement energy generation at the same time.

Stage 3 was an idea for a “future resilience Box” (FRB) to be fitted to the offices mains supply; this would monitor both the energy used and energy generated for each appliance by each employee – this could be used to inform a reward scheme whereby the employee who generates the most energy is rewarded with an extra day in lieu for example. The box would also be able to calculate how much energy is offset and saved in order to raise awareness of energy use amongst employees.

As we are all aware Climate Change cannot be battled in a week, but we hope we have inspired you to grow your own food, reduce your carbon footprint and make even one small change to your lifestyle that can be applied all year round.

1 comment:

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