Your source for new events and information on climate change and energy efficiency.
Your source for new events and information on climate change and energy efficiency.
Christmas Lights: The Benefit of Using LEDs | December 21, 2012
Every year in St. John's the area outside of Confederation Building and Memorial University is decorated with about 60,000 Christmas lights. In 2008, they were changed from incandescent lights, to new LED lights. These new LED lights are a lot more energy efficient than the old ones. How much more efficient? We've done the math and the answer is amazing. It turns out that the LEDs are about 98% more efficient than the old incandescent lights. While the incandescent lights cost about $10,211 to run for the holiday season, the new LED lights cost only $251, which is a huge saving!
If you're interested, here's how the math breaks down:
Total Strings of Lights: 2,400 (25 lights per string)
|Energy Use per String|
|Incandescent Lights:||162.5 watts per hour|
|LED Lights:||4 watts per hour|
|Energy Use for 2,400 Strings of Lights|
|Incandescent Lights:||390,000 watts per hour|
|LED Lights:||9,600 watts per hour|
|Total Energy Use
(The lights are on for 11 hours a day for 30 days, a total of 330 hours)
|Incandescent Lights:||128,700 kilowatts|
|LED Lights:||3,168 kilowatts|
|Total Operating Cost
(The commercial rate for electricity is $0.07934 per kilowatt.)
Note: Energy use numbers are based upon best available estimates. Incandescent lights were tested using a power meter.
Progress Report on Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Action Plans, 11 December 2012 | December 19, 2012
The Provincial Government committed to update the House of Assembly each year on the progress with implementing 'Charting Our Course: Climate Change Action Plan 2011' and 'Moving Forward: Energy Efficiency Action Plan 2011'. The Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister Responsible for the Office of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, made the following statement on 11 December, 2012:
MR. HEDDERSON: "Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to give you an update on the great work being done to implement our Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Action Plans released in 2011. These plans established a strategic approach to climate change and energy efficiency, and set out government's vision and goals for the next five years for adapting to climate change, increasing energy efficiency, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
We have made great strides such as meeting our greenhouse gas target for 2010 by reducing provincial emission levels below 1990 levels, while at the same time, real economic growth increased by 63 per cent. We provided grants to approximately 4,000 low-income homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient, allowing them to save on average $775 per year on their home heating costs. We launched a pilot Hurricane Alert Program in 2012-13, under which more than 4,700 storm forecasts were generated for 40 communities, providing 55 flood alerts. We have also shown leadership by reducing energy consumption and operating costs in government's own operations by installing occupancy sensors in place of lighting controls, upgrading fluorescent fixtures, and procuring energy efficient appliances, computers and vehicles.
Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, we launched the province's first public awareness campaign on climate change and energy efficiency, Turn Back the Tide, receiving more than 9,200 visits to our campaign website in the first two and a half months. We also commissioned an independent study on how we can increase jobs in the green economy by 30 per cent by 2020, and are in active dialogue with business on the next steps.
Mr. Speaker, this is just a brief overview of some of the important work being done in this province on these important issues. I am also delighted that our efforts received national recognition in September when we won a Clean16 award for our outstanding work.
Without ongoing action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change, our communities will be at risk from adverse impacts such as extreme weather events and coastal erosion. But, Mr. Speaker, there are also significant opportunities such as utilizing our vast clean energy resources like Muskrat Falls, enhancing energy efficiency, and improving our province's resilience. This is why we must ensure we are well-placed to seize the opportunities and minimize the risks associated with the transition to a low-carbon global economy.
I look forward to the continued implementation of our action plans as we do our part to help tackle climate change in our province.
The official press release can be found here: http://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2012/exec/1211n06.htm
12 Days of Climate Change: Facebook Trivia Contest | December 4 - 15, 2012
Enter to win daily prizes and the grand prize of an iPad Mini by testing your knowledge of climate change. All the answers can be easily found on www.turnbackthetide.ca.
There will be 12 questions over 12 days, with daily prizes and a grand prize draw on December 17, 2012, for an iPad Mini.
To enter, visit www.facebook.com/turnbackthetide and:
- Like our page
- Comment on each question with your answer
- Share the question with your friends
For the complete set of contest rules, see: 12 Days of Climate Change Contest Rules
International Climate Change Negotiations, Qatar: November 26 - December 7, 2012 | November 26, 2012
Every year the countries that are party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol meet to negotiate the rules governing the global approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change. That's over 190 countries, including Canada.
This conference is the main annual international event on climate change. It brings together all the key players with an interest in tackling climate change in one place. This year's conference is taking place in Doha, Qatar from November 26 to December 7, 2012. Thousands of people will attend the conference, including delegates from countries around the world, observers drawn from intergovernmental organizations, civil society and business, and the media.
So what are all these countries trying to achieve? They are trying to agree on a new long-term treaty to provide the framework for global action on climate change to 2020 and beyond. There are two equally important parts to this:
- Addressing how communities around the world can adapt to the impacts of climate change that are now unavoidable; and
- Agreeing how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit or avoid worse impacts of climate change in the future.
As a result of the greenhouse gas emissions that have accumulated in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, the Earth is committed to a certain amount of warming and some impacts are now unavoidable. These impacts will affect people and the environment in many ways, and they will differ depending on where you live in the world. Some of these impacts, like stronger hurricanes and severe heat waves, could be life-threatening. Others, like spreading weeds, will be less serious. And some effects, like longer growing seasons for crops, might even be good. However, as the Earth keeps getting warmer, the negative effects are expected to outweigh the positive ones.
Adaptation is the term used to encompass those actions by governments, communities, businesses and individuals to understand, plan for, and respond to unavoidable changes in the climate. In Newfoundland and Labrador, this could include new planning practices to avoid areas at risk of sea-level rise and flooding, building infrastructure to higher standards to withstand more extreme weather, and exploiting economic opportunities such as the growing demand for environmental and water monitoring.
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Life on Earth is sustained by naturally occurring gases in the atmosphere that allow the sun's rays to pass through to warm the Earth, while trapping some of the warmth by preventing it from escaping out into space. This is known as the natural greenhouse effect and, without it, the Earth would be too cold to support many forms of life. But human activity has disrupted that balance. Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have released massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from activities like burning fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) and cutting down a lot of forests. Now there is too much of these greenhouse gases in the air. All the gases act like a blanket surrounding the earth, retaining too much of the sun's heat and fundamentally changing the Earth's climate. As a result, the Earth's average surface temperature on land and in the sea has started to rise, affecting the complex web of systems that support life on Earth.
Positively, the adverse impacts of global climate change will be less severe in the future if people reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we're putting into the atmosphere. There are strong economic imperatives to devise a clear path forward; the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is the world's most authoritative source of information on climate change, has found that the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is significantly less than the cost of responding to the negative impacts associated with climate change.
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today. As it is a global problem, it needs a global solution, which is why it is important that countries meet to discuss and agree how jurisdictions can work together to all do their fair share to tackle the problem. In Charting Our Course: Climate Change Action Plan 2011, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador reaffirmed its commitment to ensure our province plays its part.
Top 5 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint | November 23, 2012
Your carbon footprint is your individual contribution to climate change. It's calculated by adding up the total greenhouse gas emissions you generate during an average day, and takes into account the energy you use at home, the waste you produce and your transportation needs.
Understanding your carbon footprint and where your greenhouse gas emissions come from is the first step in identifying how you can take action on climate change. You can calculate your carbon footprint by using our Carbon Calculator and for those looking to reduce their footprint, here's a list of the top 5 ways you can take action:
- Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your House
- Ensure your home is well insulated, including the basement and attic
- Invest in high-efficiency windows and doors
- Seal air leaks to avoid unnecessary heat loss
- Install programmable thermostats
- Go ENERGY STAR
- ENERGY STAR-certified products are typically in the top 25% in their class when it comes to energy efficiency
- Some of the products covered under ENERGY STAR are:
- Refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers and dishwashers
- Windows and doors
- Computers, monitors and printers
- Cordless phones
- Light bulbs and fixtures
- Reduce Your Waste
- Reuse items like plastic containers and glass jars, and avoid disposable products
- Recycle your beverage containers and check with your town council to see what other recycling programs are available in your area
- Compost your food scraps
- Be an Efficient Driver
- Avoid idling and turn off the engine if you're parked for more than 60 seconds
- Decrease your speed from 120 km/h to 100 km/h and use up to 20% less fuel
- Keep your tires properly inflated to improve your fuel efficiency
- Drive smoothly by avoiding quick acceleration and hard stops
- Choose an Efficient Vehicle
- Remember the second price tag, which is the cost of fueling the vehicle over its lifetime
- Right-size your ride by not buying a model that's larger than you need
- Use Canada's Fuel Consumption Guide to compare the fuel efficiency of vehicles
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Upcoming Events: BuildGreen Atlantic NL Conference, LEED Workshop | November 8, 2012
BuildGreen Atlantic NL 2012 - Conference and Trade Show
When: November 21, 2012 (11:30am-4:30pm)
Where: Delta Hotel, St. John's, NL
BuildGreen Atlantic NL is a half-day conference, trade show and networking event that will focus on the design, construction, and operation of greener buildings in Atlantic Canada.
The event is being presented by the Atlantic Chapter of the Canada Green Building Council, which is a national not-for-profit organization whose mission is to advance green building and sustainable community development in Canada.
The keynote address over lunch will be delivered by John Crace of WHW Architects on "Connecting Buildings to Climate Change in the Energy Warehouse of North America."
There will be 3 sessions in the afternoon with an impressive array of speakers from architectural, engineering, building, property development and consulting firms, as well as from an industry association, and both provincial and municipal government.
The trade show will feature green building materials, technologies and services available in Atlantic Canada. Sponsors and exhibitors confirmed to date include: Morrison Hershfield, Firestone, Enermodal, CMHC, NLAA, Fortis Properties, Marcor, InterfaceFLOR, Viessmann, Tandus Flooring, DMP Furniture Marketing, ThermalWise, Soprema, Forbo Flooring, Bird Stairs, Aquatherm, Controls Equipment, TakeCHARGE, Chandler Office Environments and Ancamna Sales.
To find out more and register, visit: www.buildgreenatlantic.org.
BuildGreen Atlantic NL 2012 - Workshops
When: November 21, 2012 (8:30am -11:30am)
Where: Delta Hotel, St. John's, NL
Preceding the BuildGreen Atlantic NL conference and trade show, individuals have the option of registering for one of two pre-conference workshops.
Workshop 1: Green Buildings That Work: Lessons Learned from Great Performing Buildings
There is a high demand for more energy-efficient buildings and understanding what makes a green building work is very important. In this workshop, you will hear about several types of buildings (including a school, retail store and office) that have achieved significant energy savings. Details of the innovative methods these buildings employed to reduce their energy consumption will be provided, along with practical strategies to become a leader in designing energy-efficient buildings in Canada.
Workshop 2: Developing a High-Performance House
This session explores the strategies and tools used to develop an energy-efficient house and may be of interest to homeowners, builders, real estate agents and others involved in the residential sector. The workshop will provide an introduction to:
- Residential design principles
- High-performance building assemblies
- Designing for air tightness
- Evaluating heating and cooling options
- Designing hot water systems
- Managing lighting and plug loads
To find out more and register, visit: www.buildgreenatlantic.org.
Speed up Your LEED Canada Course: Getting It Right the First Time
When: 22 November 2012, St. John's (8:00am-5:00pm)
Where: St. John's (location to be determined)
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a certification program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. Many buildings across Canada are being built to achieve this certification to meet the demand for more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly buildings.
This interactive one-day workshop provides tips and strategies for preparing for certification under LEED Canada that will minimize the time, money and energy spent on gathering documentation during the certification process.
The course was developed by LEED reviewers to provide documentation guidance and key direction on the common problems and specific information that reviewers are looking for.
To find out more and register, visit the Canada Green Building Council website.
Protect Our Poles and Our Province, by Emily Walsh | November 1, 2012
Emily Walsh is a 17 year old Level 3 Honours student from Holy Spirit High School in Conception Bay South. She is one of 75 students from around the world who participated in the Students on Ice Arctic Expedition from Nunavut to Greenland this past summer, an amazing trip that brought her face-to-face with the impact that climate change is having on our planet. The post below is about her experiences during the trip.
During the past summer, I had the privilege of participating in an expedition to the Arctic with the Students on Ice organization. A group of 75 students and 42 adults from all over the world travelled from Nunavut to Greenland to experience the Arctic environment and northern Indigenous cultures. The purpose of the trip was to gain a new understanding of our planet and explore solutions to global challenges, such as climate change. The experience made us see how we could change our lifestyles to reduce the negative impact we are having on the world and realize how young people can be a powerful force in advocating for positive change.
During the expedition, it became clear to me that we are all interconnected and the things that affect the climate in one part of the world will affect all parts of the world eventually. Dr. Eric Galbraith, an oceanographer from McGill University, delivered a lecture during the expedition in which he noted that "the Arctic is warming faster than any other place in the world" and the huge glaciers around us are melting at a quicker rate than ever before. If the entire Greenland ice sheet melted, global sea levels would rise by 7 meters, which would devastate many coastal areas. Yet the Greenland ice sheet is only the second largest in the world; the Antarctic ice sheet is much larger and is also melting.
Newfoundland and Labrador has a seemingly endless water supply, a temperate climate controlled by the ocean, and a lack of noticeable air pollution-all of which might make us feel like we are not seeing an impact on our climate. However, rising sea levels would have a direct impact on our coastal areas, a warming ocean would have a negative effect on our fishery, and more extreme effects will happen around the world. We are no more immune to the effects of climate change than any other place, and we are no less the cause of the problem than any other group of people.
While in the Arctic, I was able to visit both the urban area of Iqaluit, as well as the rural town of Qikiqtarjuaq. Evidence of Western life is abundant in Iqaluit, with satellite dishes, cell phones, and cars. Perishable goods are out of reach for many because of the high cost of transporting them (two liters of milk cost $14) and as a result, many people still hunt and fish traditionally. When I visited the more remote community of Qikiqtarjuaq, I found that traditional living was practiced mostly by the elders in the community who always remembered to respect the land that allowed them to survive. I think that these are philosophies on sustainability from which we can learn.
Many parts of Newfoundland and Labrador once had a situation similar to the Arctic, whereby sustainability was a necessity for survival. Today, our situation is very different. Many of us commute to larger centers on a regular basis and we have created very high individual carbon footprints from transportation alone. Our access to goods and services has grown substantially, causing a significant increase in the waste we produce. One environmental issue we discussed during the expedition was the controversy surrounding the bottled water industry. Canadians consume more than 2 billion litres of bottled water a year and 85% of those bottles are not recycled. The pollution caused by this alone is astounding, never mind the fact that it takes about 125 mL of oil to produce one 500 mL plastic bottle.
When I embarked on the Students on Ice expedition this summer, I wasn't sure how big a problem climate change was. After my trip, I am no longer in any doubt of the severity of the problem and the fact we all need to do our bit to tackle it. Young people in Newfoundland and Labrador and around the world are growing up to lead this world into a new direction--hopefully into the right one. If we all commit to doing our part, we can make a difference.
Are you interested in applying to participate in an expedition with the Students on Ice program?
The Research and Development Corporation (RDC) offers Research Inspired Student Enrichment (RISE) Awards to high school students in Newfoundland and Labrador as an opportunity to attend educational programs, including Students on Ice. If you're a high school student between the ages of 14-18 with a passion for adventure, education and the environment, check out the Students on Ice website to learn about the eligibility requirements and visit http://www.rdc.org/ to apply for a RISE Award. The deadline for application for the current RISE Awards is November 8, 2012.
Government launches Turn Back the Tide; a public awareness campaign on climate change and energy efficiency | September 17, 2012
On September 17, 2012, Government launched its Turn Back the Tide campaign. This is the Provincial Government's first-ever public awareness campaign on climate change and energy efficiency. The campaign is intended to promote a better understanding of climate change and energy efficiency, why these issues are important to Newfoundland and Labrador, and all the ways that households, businesses, communities, schools and governments can take action.
The development of the campaign fulfills a commitment made in the 2011 Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Action Plans. Government made that commitment following consultations on climate change and energy efficiency, where participants voiced concerns that a lack of public awareness and understanding of these issues in the province was a key challenge to progress.
This website is a key pillar of the campaign, but there are also television ads, newspaper advertisements and longer videos that will be useful for schools or special learning events.
The Turn Back the Tide slogan was developed to not only bring a single message through all elements of the campaign, but to also link an overall call to action with the impacts of climate change in our coastal province, particularly sea-level rise and the prospect of more storms.
For more information, contact the Office of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency at email@example.com or (709) 729-1210.