Is Trump actually Quite Smart?

USA pulls out of Paris Agreement. The world is aghast, Trump is denounced. Climate Change action is doomed.

But…….is Trump actually playing a smart hand? Does anyone (including Trump) really believe that there will be any major increase in coal mining in the US? Coal is old, coal is dead – renewable s are growing at a staggering rate in the US and some forecasts suggest that they will breach their Paris Agreement commitments well in advance of 2030.

So – he can play to his hard right wing base and declare that he kept his promises and then, at a suitable time, show that the US is delivering anyway. The challenge for his detractors is not to be caught looking like fools as they jump to condemn him.

What is the real issue? It’s the funding the US was meant to bring to the table to help developing nations to avoid fossil fuel growth and focus on renewables. This is the real challenge the rest of the world faces. This is where the condemnation should focus on – his move away from supporting those less well off……..and then you remember that this is who he is…..he does not care about the less well off – he only cares about his wealthy friends – if you are less well off its your fault! (sic)

The rest of the world will continue on and by default the US will deliver – it actually makes smart business sense – so stop getting hot and bothered and start working out how to use tariffs on carbon to create an international fund to support developing countries.

Energy bills to jump as plans unveiled for ‘massive’ hike in levy

What does this mean for Irish Businesses?  MIC = 100 kVa  – Current Annual Cost @€3.33/kVa/Month = €3,996 – Future Annual Cost @ €3.74 = €4,488 – an increase of €492 per annum.

Note:  As Ireland fails to achieve its targets in reducing C02 all the talk is that the country will be fined.  What does this mean?  It means levys such as the PSO one will be increased because of course Ireland will not pay this fine – consumers will.   Failure by the business community to hold government to account is one of the reasons we will end up paying more for our energy.

GHP.ie commentary

Energy bills to jump as plans unveiled for ‘massive’ hike in levy

 

Householders and businesses are facing higher electricity costs after the regulator for the sector proposed a massive hike in a levy on bills.The Commission for Energy Regulation has proposed that the public service obligation (PSO) levy goes up by 40pc for consumers.

The levy is mandated by the Government and is mainly used to cover the cost of subsidy schemes to support the generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as wind farms.

Some of the levy goes to ensure that there are power stations on stand-by when demand for electricity goes up. It is also partly used to subsidise peat-generated power.

The regulator has proposed that the charge go from €80 a year for domestic customers to €112, when value added tax is included.

This is a rise of 40pc. A 12pc rise is proposed for businesses.

The regulator has sought the views of the public, with a final decision likely in July. The new levy would then be imposed on energy bills from October.

Last year, the Commission for Energy Regulation proposed a massive increase in the charge, but it scaled this back after objections.

“The increase is the second largest in the history of the PSO levy and the reason is mainly due to subsidies for renewable energy,” said Simon Moynihan, from price comparison site Bonkers.ie.

He said this country now produces more than 40pc of its electricity from renewable sources, according to the latest numbers from the regulator. “That’s up from just 12pc in 2010 and the steady increase in the PSO levy reflects this increase in the renewable electricity production,” Mr Moynihan said.

The price comparison expert said that the PSO levy now makes up some 10pc of the average domestic electricity bill. “We need to ask how much is too much?” he said.

Eoin Clarke, of price comparison site Switcher.ie, said that the proposed increase would mean that households would be paying €112.64 a year on this levy from October, compared with €80.30 per year at the moment.

“The standard electricity bill for an average customer in Ireland is already a whopping €1,136 per year,” he said. “So any increase in the PSO levy – which all electricity customers have to pay – will be unwelcome news for anyone already struggling to make ends meet.”

He said that more ­households could save money if they looked to switch energy suppliers. “Energy bills are one of the biggest costs to Irish households. But still only 15pc of us switch energy every year, which means most of us are missing out on a better deal.”

He encouraged people to take a look at their energy bills and at the deals that are out there, and switch if they can find a better offer.

Source – The Irish Independent

Naughten determined to weather the storms on climate

Naughten determined to weather the storms on climate

 

Denis Naughten has endured a torrent of abuse from environmentalists.

The first climate change minister ever appointed, his National Mitigation Plan aimed at tackling global warming was roundly pilloried for being more a discussion document than a roadmap for reducing emissions.

He’s not fazed by the criticism, saying he’s committed to taking action and putting Ireland on the path of a low-carbon future.

However, the public has to be part of the solution, and it must be convinced. “One of the biggest problems I have with the issue of climate is the lack of connection between the scientists, environmentalists and the public,” he says.

“That disconnect has led to a situation where it’s not seen as a priority overall, and it’s not happening in conversations. There is a far greater appreciation of climate now in my own part of the country because of the severe flooding in 2015/2016.

“People are conscious of it. Farmers and rural communities are now at the coalface. This is not just an issue affecting Bangladesh or sub-Saharan Africa. It’s here and now.”

Part of the effort will be a National Dialogue on Climate Action, due to begin later this year. It will involve a series of debates across the regions, where views on how best to reduce emissions will be heard and collated to help inform policy.

“The whole idea of the climate dialogue is we need good national debates, bringing in the type of expertise which can provide the detail and effectively communicate it and bring it down to a local level.

“It’s to explain to people, for example, the connection between our peat-fired power stations and need to transition to sustainable sources of energy and maintain employment levels in the region, which I believe is possible.

“That gets buy-in, and allows communities to drive the agenda rather than a top-down approach.

“This Government has decided to make it a priority by having a single minister in charge (of climate change) and my job is to co-ordinate it across departments, to set out where we’re at and, come budget time, see progression in terms of actions.”

The Independent TD for Galway-Roscommon points to the link between transport emissions and air quality. Some four people a day die from poor air quality, while one-in-five children suffers from asthma, and it not only has a link with poorer health outcomes, tackling the problem will also reduce emissions.

He also says that EU 2030 targets to reduce emissions are currently under negotiation – we will miss our 2020 targets – and that his National Mitigation Plan will be a “living document”, informed by the national dialogue and debate.

Incentives will be used to drive change. On top of his plans for an electric car sharing scheme, he also wants to link motor tax with emissions.

“Every vehicle has a microchip in it. The NCT contract is coming up for renewal in three years’ time. We’re looking to see if the emissions data on that chip can be accessed. Based on that, people would go to the NCT and get feedback on the performance of the vehicle over, let’s say, the last three months, and their motor tax would be based on that emissions output.

“It would incentivise people to convert diesel engines to LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), encourage them to avoid congestion and to drive in a more energy-efficient manner.”

Electricity generation and heating is also high on the agenda. Next month, a public consultation begins on the renewable electricity support scheme where the amount to be paid to power generators using onshore and offshore wind, solar, biomass, ocean and other renewables will be set out.

A Renewable Heat Incentive is also planned over the coming months, where industrial users of heat are incentivised to switch to energy crops.

“But there isn’t much point putting in place an incentive for renewable heat and then have all of this product imported from abroad. I’m determined to make sure we establish a biomass industry.

“In the next couple of weeks I’ll be bringing a memorandum to Government for the establishment of a new semi-State company called BioEnergy Ireland. It will put the infrastructure in place to support growers, ensure there is a market and that logistics are there for chipping and transport. It’s not a quango – it’s a joint venture between Coillte and Bord na Móna and there will be no cost to the State.”

New guidelines on wind farm development are also planned in the coming weeks, which will include detail on how far they must be set back from homes and new measures around noise monitoring.

And way down on his list of priorities are questions about his political future – will he rejoin Fine Gael, and which leadership contender does he support?

“I’m supporting the new candidate for taoiseach and will sit down with the new candidate and repeat the conversation I had with the outgoing Taoiseach. The deal I have is with the Fine Gael party, not with Enda Kenny, and it’s the same for the other Independents.”

Source – The Irish Independent

Cutting Carbon Emissions

Energy prices will be ‘far higher’ without action on climate

1

Paul Melia Environment Editor – Irish Independent

ELECTRICITY prices are likely to increase by up to 15pc as Ireland deploys more renewable energy in a move to a low-carbon economy, but the costs will be far higher if we continue with business as usual.

A report setting out how the State can dramatically reduce emissions from power generation, residential heating and the transport sector also says the cost of retrofitting homes to make them warmer and cheaper to heat will be as high as €25bn, but that the costs will be repaid over a period of up to 12 years.

The PwC report, commissioned by the Electricity Association of Ireland, says that rapid deployment of electric vehicles, a possible ban on conventional cars and hikes to the carbon tax will all be needed to reduce emissions and prevent dangerous climate change.

While the cost of electricity is likely to rise by 10pc-15pc, investment in energy efficiency and transport will result in average household energy spend falling by 20pc. An 11pc hike in electricity costs would add €220 a year to bills, but business as usual with a high carbon price would add €510.

And it says the transition will provide economic opportunities. Development and deployment of clean technologies will provide job opportunities and create health benefits through cleaner air quality. Businesses will also gain a competitive advantage due to a reduction in energy and use of raw resources including water. Companies which have committed to drawing all their energy from renewable sources, like Apple, will be encouraged to invest here.

“Ireland’s ability to attract Apple and its €850m data centre investment could be an insight into future opportunities,” it says. “The marketing of Ireland’s favourable climate, which reduces air conditioning requirements for data farms, when coupled with a low-carbon energy system could give Ireland a comparative advantage in the competitive market for FDI technology related investment.”

The Paris climate deal, signed by 195 countries, commits to limiting average global temperature rises to no more than 2C which will require emissions to fall by up to 80pc in developed nations including Ireland.

The Government’s draft National Mitigation Plan has been roundly criticised for failing to set out meaningful policies to reduce emissions in the short term, which the report warns will eventually add to costs.

“Failure by policy makers, consumers and businesses to prioritise mitigation action now will only serve to increase future cost and risk,” it says, adding that failure to make efforts to decarbonise between 2020-2030 could impose additional costs globally of up to €5.6trn in the period up to 2050.

On transport, it says mass adoption of electric vehicles from 2025 – when they reach price parity with conventional motors – coupled with fuelling HGVs with biogas will help reduce transport emissions by up to 94pc. Biofuels may have to be imported to avoid impacting on food production.

Emissions from residential heating will drop by 80pc through extensive retrofitting of older homes and stringent building regulations on new-builds. It would take up to 12 years to repay the typical cost of a ‘deep retrofit’ costing €30,000, but average household energy consumption would drop by 71pc. The bill to retrofit all households could be €25bn.

A 92pc reduction in the electricity sector can be achieved by building a power system largely based on onshore wind and solar, with back-up to be provided by lower-emitting gas-fired power stations.

There should be limited supports for solar, and farms should be located beside wind developments to make use of grid connections. More interconnection will also be required, and coal and peat use phased out by 2025. The Government should also introduce a system of “continually-reducing” carbon budgets, where the amount which can be emitted over a particular period of time is set out. This already applies in the UK.

Irish Independent

Booking.com Reveals 2017 Sustainable Travel Intentions, Goals and Considerations

NEW YORK - 19 April 2017 – To celebrate Earth Day on 22 April, Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travelers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, has released findings from its global Sustainable Travel Report[i]. In a year that the United Nation’s has designated as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, this new research points to some promising signs when it comes to the eco-considerations weighed by both travelers and accommodations.

Sustainable travel intentions

The number of travelers staying in an eco-friendly or ‘green’ accommodation at least once could double this year with 65% of global travelers expressing this intention versus 34% who stayed in one or more last year. In addition, 68% confirm they are more likely to consider choosing an accommodation knowing that it was eco-friendly, with Chinese (93%), Brazilian (83%) and Spanish (80%) travelers the most likely. For a large 79%, sustainable considerations also impact their mode of transport when traveling, with 43% taking public transport whenever possible, 42% trying to walk, bike or hike as much as possible and nearly one fifth (18%) flying less to reduce their carbon footprint.

When it comes to making luxury adjustments in order to stay somewhere eco-friendly, the vast majority of global travelers would be more than happy to accept these, with 94% willing to stay in a property with energy saving lightbulbs, 89% in one with AC/Heating units that only run while you’re in the room and 80% in one with low flow showerheads. Below is an overview of the luxury adjustments global travelers would be willing to make to stay at an eco-friendly accommodation:

Luxury adjustments travelers would be willing to make to stay somewhere eco-friendly:

Energy saving light bulbs

94%

AC/Heating units that only run while you are in the room

89%

Low flow showerheads

80%

Recycled toilet paper

79%

Less frequent toiletry replacement

79%

Linen and towel changes less frequently

75%

Higher cost for food because its’ all locally produced

64%

Sustainable travel goals

The term ‘sustainable travel’ continues to mean many things to many people, but the role of accommodations in helping travelers to achieve their sustainable travel goals is clear. The research shows that over half (56%) consider staying in eco-friendly accommodation as sustainable travel, topping the list of what travelers think when they hear the term. For well over a third, it means conserving water by reusing towels and bed sheets (38%) and conserving the environment by reducing use of amenity goods such as shampoo, soap, toothbrush, shaving razor (35%).

For many, sustainable travel is also synonymous with a more authentic, local experience. 38% perceive the buying of locally-made products and supporting local artisans as sustainable travel, while 36% would choose an eco-friendly accommodation because it provides a more locally-relevant experience. Below is an overview of the top reasons why global travelers choose eco-friendly accommodations:

Top-5 reasons global travelers choose eco-friendly accommodations:

To help reduce environmental impact

52%

They provide a more locally-relevant experience

36%

They treat the local community better

31%

They tend to provide more locally-sourced/organic food

30%

An interest in experiencing new trends in travel accommodations

24%

“Just as where we stay on holiday plays a pivotal role in the enjoyment of our trip, so it also plays an increasingly important role in helping people to travel sustainably,” comments Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com. “Whether by serving locally grown food, using or selling local crafts, conserving water and energy, recycling or connecting guests with the local community, accommodations today are working on a range of sustainability efforts and it’s heartening to see travelers so keen to explore and embrace these. Since adding eco-based interests and destination endorsements to our Passion Search tool at Booking.com, we’ve also seen a growing number of endorsements left by travelers, so the sustainable appetite is there.”

Sustainable travel considerations

Even though only 5% of global travelers actually believe it is easy to travel sustainably, 46% of globally travelers consider themselves a sustainable traveler, with Italy, Germany and China seeing a rise in those identifying this way since last year but in markets like Australia, Brazil, Japan and the US there has been a fall (down 5%, 8%, 4% and 4% respectively). Below is an overview of the top green/eco-friendly practices that global travelers are taking into account when considering a property to stay in:

Top-5 most important green/eco-friendly practices when considering a property to stay in:

Solar Energy

67%

Sustainable water system

43%

Low-flow showers/toilets

36%

Organic restaurants/food options

31%

Recycling baskets in room

29%

“At Booking.com we have a mission to empower people to experience the world, a world that should not be taken for granted,” adds Pepijn Rijvers. “We are continually exploring improved ways to uncover and share the sustainability efforts of our accommodation partners with those searching and selecting on our site, and as part of our own commitment to improving destinations worldwide, we recently launched Booking.com Booster. Through this accelerator program for start-ups in sustainable tourism, we will help maximize the impact that these different ventures across the globe can have. Ensuring a sustainable future is a collaborative effort, one that means sharing our expertise and working together, whether destinations, accommodations, travel providers or travelers.”

-ENDS -

About Booking.com:

Booking.com is the world leader in booking hotel and other accommodations online. It guarantees the best prices for any type of property – from small independents to five-star luxury. Guests can access the Booking.com website anytime, anywhere from their desktops, mobile phones and tablet devices, and they don’t pay booking fees – ever. The Booking.com website is available in over 40 languages, offers over 1.1M hotels and accommodations including more than 590,000 vacation rental properties and covers over 105,000 destinations in 225 countries and territories worldwide. It features over 112M reviews written by guests after their stay, and attracts online visitors from both leisure and business markets around the globe. With 20 years of experience and a team of over 13,000 dedicated employees in 187 offices worldwide, Booking.com operates its own in-house customer service team, which is available 24/7 to assist guests in their native languages and ensure an exceptional customer experience.

Established in 1996, Booking.com B.V. owns and operates Booking.com™, and is part of The Priceline Group (NASDAQ: PCLN). Follow us on Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest, like us on Facebook, or learn more at http://www.booking.com.

[i] Data was collected across 11 markets, with over 1,000 respondents in each. Respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have travelled at least once in 2016 and be planning at least one trip for 2017. All respondents had to be at least part of the decision-making process when planning most of their trips. Data was collected in March 2017 by Booking.com with the assistance of an international panel provider.

New Hotels – Near Zero Energy Building Challenge

GHP.ie comment:  The current flurry of new hotel build in Dublin is reminiscent of the boom in construction more than a decade ago.  Now, as then, there appears to be little flavour by architects and developers to build super-efficient buildings – more of the same appears to be the order of the day.  GHP.ie does not believe that any new hotel build in Dublin has set out to be built to LEED Gold or Platinum. Yet any simple internet trawl will identify that building to these standards is marginally more expensive but delivers substantially reduced operating costs.

Help is at hand though – if the sector will not demand these energy standards, regulations will force them on developers.  Near Zero Energy Building (NZEB) standards are on the way.  GHP.ie suggests hoteliers start to understand what this means for development – and the smart ones will demand this level of quality from their current builders/architects/developers.

 

Gearing-up for nZEB

 

Every building constructed in Ireland after 31st December 2020 must be built to achieve the requirements of nZEB – the nearly Zero Energy Building standard. This mandate comes from the European Performance of Buildings Directive.To ensure that the industry can achieve this task, nZEBRA is holding a series of nationwide one-day courses on nZEB commencing 22nd May. The courses will be held at nine locations across the country and cost just €175 including light lunch and 7 CPD points.To view details of the courses – and to register – Click HerenZEBRA is a solution provider for all your nZEB needs. The nZEBRA team has been operating in this area for over a decade and has the right balance of science and real-world application.

nZEBRA has a proven track record of delivering fast-track affordable nZEB projects for both private and public sector. nZEBRA provides training, consultation and technical assistance to all parties involved in the nZEB process – including buildings large and small, building designers & architects, as well as developers.

Source:  www.enviro-solutions.com

PLASTIC IS NOT FANTASTIC: TIME TO CURB ITS USE

GHP.ie Comment: What actions are the hospitality sector in Ireland taking to support reducing the use of plastic and its consequent pollution impacts.  It would appear logical that  businesses that rely on the great natural beauty of the Irish Environment would be aware of potential negative impacts and lead in minimising their impact.  Some leading hoteliers are engaging with the GHP.ie partner Clean The World who collect soaps and toiletries and create hygiene products for disadvantaged communities whilst also recycling the plastic containers. Other hotels provide bulk refillable toiletries which eradicate the plastic almost completely.  Many others do nothing – Do they care?  Do they even think about the environment?  If they think, do they care enough to do anything or is it someone else’s challenge?  Unfortunately too many hospitality providers do not take the time to assess what they should be doing and are solely interested in chasing the Euro – profit trumps sustainability.

Do our leaders lead?  The simple answer is no – there is no environmental code of practice promoted by any of our leadership organisations.  Sustainability means improving profit.

This is a challenge for responsible hoteliers – many provide bottled water for guest use and the easiest way to do this is in plastic bottles – especially in the countryside.  You have to think through what service you are trying to do and probably should sell re-usable containers (perhaps branded with your logo) that can be filled from water fountains.  Iyt needs you to change your approach, without reducing the quality of your service.

This article is mind opening…..

PLASTIC IS NOT FANTASTIC: TIME TO CURB ITS USE
Single-use plastic is everywhere. We must ban it from homes and industries
Sylvia Thompson, Irish Times, 20/5/2017

Environmentalist Duncan Stewart remembers when he encountered plastic for the first time. “My father brought it home to us when I was about seven, telling us how plastic would become a very important material.”  Now, more than 50 years later, Stewart won’t use single-use plastic containers. “Plastic is still an important material but we are producing and consuming it in an incredible unsustainable way, and plastic packaging often costs more than the item it contains.”

Stewart says that, for example, he refuses bottled water. “If someone gives me a bottle of water, I will give it back to him. I never buy single-use plastic bottles and cups, and we have a policy of not allowing single-use plastic items into our home.”

The use of plastic has increased twentyfold in the past half-century, and now nearly everyone, everywhere, every day comes into contact with plastic. If current production and consumption patterns continue, it is expected to double again in the next 20 years.

Shelflife

Once-off plastic packaging – which accounts for about 25 per cent of all plastic produced – is used principally because it extends the shelf life of food (arguably reducing food waste) and reduces the fuel consumption of transportation because it’s lighter than other materials.  But, with an estimated 32 per cent of plastic packaging escaping collection systems entirely, the high levels of wastage and litter from single-use plastic packaging has become a campaigning issue around the world.

For example, many national parks in the United States now ban the sale of plastic water bottles. In 2016, the San Francisco city board banned the expanded polystyrene used for coffee cups and food packaging. Also in 2016, the French government passed a law banning all plastic cups, cutlery and plates from 2020.  In September 2016, 90 non-government organisations joined forces for the Break Free From Plastics campaign. The group claims that plastic is a human-rights issue because when sold into markets with inadequate waste management systems, it can damage local communities.

In Ireland, campaigns such as the Trócaire-led “Have you #gotthebottle” encourages young people to switch from disposable plastic bottles to reusable bottles. “Over 152 million litres of bottled water are sold every year in Ireland – most of which is in plastic packaging,” says Ellen Donnelly of Trócaire.  Producing plastic bottles creates 100 times more greenhouse gas pollution than turning on the tap for fresh water, according to the “Have you #gotthebottle” campaign. And, although this form of plastic is recyclable, these single-use plastic bottles form large parts of litter, as reported by the Dodder Action Group following its clean-up along the river in April.

The damage to marine life caused by plastic microbeads in cosmetic products and microfibres from fleeces and polyester clothing has also driven campaigns such as the UN #Clean Seas to end marine litter. According to recent estimates, more than eight million tonnes of plastic leak into the oceans each year. This is equivalent to dumping a truck of plastic into the sea every minute. It is now predicted that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish and that 99 per cent of seabirds will have ingested plastic.

Zero-waste home movement

So, what can we do to combat our high usage of plastics – some of which isn’t recyclable and more of which when recycled once is here for forever and a day?

The founder of the zero-waste home movement, Bea Johnson, says she refuses anything made from plastic and avoids its use at home completely. Here, in Ireland, we proudly initiated the first plastic bag tax in the world in 2002. Since then, many European and African countries now also ban or charge for single-use carrier bags, resulting in an over 90 per cent drop in their usage.

Environmental campaigner Caitriona Rogerson carried out a survey into the amount of non-recyclable plastic packaging on fruit and vegetables in Irish supermarkets recently. “I found that between 80 and 87 per cent of fruit and vegetables were wrapped in plastics, the majority of which are non-recyclable. Only 2 per cent of 90 products surveyed were wrapped in plastics that were fully recyclable,” she explains. Rogerson set up a Facebook page, End Plastic Plague Ireland, and got 5,000 signatures on a change.org petition to ban the single use of non-recyclable plastic packaging. “We are planning a national plastic protest to encourage people to leave their plastic packaging at the check-out counters in supermarkets.”

While avoiding single-use plastic containers and leaving your plastic packaging at supermarket check-out counters will raise awareness of the issue, to really tackle the unsustainable production and consumption of plastics will require an industry-wide and/or Government-led initiative.  The United Nations Environment #CleanSeas campaign is urging governments to pass plastic-reduction policies while also targeting industry to minimise plastic packaging and redesign products.

But the groundbreaking New Plastics Economy report from the Ellen McArthur Foundation is perhaps the best source of hope. Published in 2016, it is a comprehensive analysis of what the industry must do to transform the production and consumption of plastic.  It starkly points out that if the current strong growth of plastics usage continues, the plastics sector will account for 20 per cent of the total oil consumption and 15 per cent of the global annual carbon budget by 2050.

Circular economy model

In line with the circular economy model (where materials are brought back into use as secondary resources), the Ellen McArthur Foundation wants plastics to be reused, recycled and redesigned in an economically and environmentally sound way.  Suggestions include compostable plastic packaging for organic waste from fast food outlets and canteens so that organic contents can return nutrients to the soil, and reusable dispensers for household and personal cleaning products. The foundation also proposes that recycled plastic is used to make new plastics instead of petrochemicals.

The report calls for a global protocol on plastics to reduce the use of harmful and non-recyclable plastics, to standardise labelling and improve collection, sorting and reprocessing systems. And it clearly states that the topic of plastics is coming to a head.  The key question is this: will people gradually reject plastic because of its negative effects (and forgo its benefits) or will plastic survive in reusable ways that have yet to be imagined?

See more at www.irishtimes.com

Names of Green Hotelier Awards Winners Released

LONDON—The names of the winners of the 2017 Green Hotelier Awards have been released as part of Responsible Business Week.

The annual Awards invite applications from hotels of any size anywhere in the world; judging them on their efforts to reduce energy and water consumption, their waste output, their roles as responsible businesses to their employees and in the local community, as well as looking at how they communicate their sustainable and responsible ethos to guests.

This year brought the largest number of applications yet from a diverse range of properties from eco-lodges to five star luxury resorts, from city boutiques to spa retreats and even a distillery inn. Locations spread across the globe reaching from Peru to Ukraine, Australia and China to Tanzania.

Editor of Green Hotelier and Awards judge Siobhan O’Neill said: “We were delighted to receive so many fantastic applications this year and reading them all has been wonderful. Every single hotel which entered is performing well above average and it’s truly heartening to see so much effort and commitment to being a responsible business taking place all around the world.

‘They are All Truly Making a Difference’

“Judging has been harder than ever as the standards continue to rise, and there have been long conversations between the judges about which hotels made the cut when some missed out by the smallest margin,” O’Neill added. “Many hotels are striving to do their best to take care of the environment, their staff and their community even when local conditions make it difficult to do that. It’s incredible to see them leading the way on sustainability and they should all be justly proud of their impressive efforts. They are all truly making a difference and their positive impacts on local people will be felt for generations.”

The Awards suggest that more hotels than ever are measuring their performance on energy, water and waste, and setting themselves new targets each year. Around the world owners are investing in new technology as well as simple solutions to reduce their environmental impact. Meanwhile they’re taking their responsibility as fair employers very seriously and investing in the development of their staff. They all value their contributions to their local communities.

Interestingly more hotels are getting braver about communicating their actions more widely to guests and inviting them to be a part of their initiatives. Several hotels are incentivising guests to behave more sustainably during their stay via a range of innovative programs.

Awards judge and Program Manager of the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), Nicolas Perin said, “It was a great surprise to receive so many applications this year—almost 60 percent more than last year’s edition of the awards—and we were even more delighted to see that quality came with quantity. Hotels around the globe are innovating for the environment; taking action on such sensitive issues as modern slavery, and creating solid trends on how to provide fair and meaningful employment for their staff. Some of the applications we received were really off the chart. Congratulations to all our applicants for their initiatives and setting the bar on what a sustainable hotel looks like.”

The winners of the 2017 Green Hotelier Awards are:

Europe Winner: Landgut Stober, Germany—The owner/operator of this hotel set out with the ethos of environmental sustainability and a commitment to the local community built into the renovation of the property and leads by example. They’ve created a nurturing ‘family’ around their employees which includes a number of refugees. They are energy self-sufficient and collect rainwater for flushing toilets, and they’ve found fun and engaging ways to share their green innovations with their guests.

Highly Commended: Novotel London Blackfriars, U.K.; Ritz-Carlton Berlin, Germany

Africa & Middle East Winner: Chole Mjini, Tanzania—This unique island property is off-grid, providing their own energy but working with guests to reduce their consumption as much as possible, cooking with wood and using small amounts of kerosene for hot water. They avoid competing with the local community for drinking water by using non-potable in their outdoor showers and their toilets are dry compost. Their commitment to sustainable rural development includes investment in the education of local people, and they work with the local community to determine their priority focus for upcoming projects.

Highly Commended: Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge, Kenya; Radisson Blu Kigali, Rwanda.

Asia Pacific Winner: Soneva Fushi, Maldives—
This island resort has been carbon neutral for all activities including guests’ flights since 2012, investing in renewables as well as carbon-offset projects. They are also self-sufficient in water using both rainwater collection and desalination. Incredibly they operate a “Waste to Wealth” program converting 90 percent of their waste into an income, including turning Styrofoam and glass waste into lightweight bricks for construction. They operate a Youth Career Initiative program offering employability training to local young people, as well as teaching hundreds of children to swim, saving lives.

Highly Commended: Crystal Creek Meadows, Australia; Jetwing Yala, Sri Lanka

The Americas Winner: El Albergue Ollantaytambo, Peru—This unique property recognised that a majority of negative environmental impact and waste was caused through agricultural practices and food waste so they solved both issues by creating their own organic farm. The sustainable farm not only provides food for the restaurant but is used as a school with an alternative education model which aims to give children the skills, values and knowledge to be successful but also positively contribute to society. The farm is also used as a communication tool on sustainability to guests who are invited to a special Pachamanca (earth-oven) farm lunch where they can watch and take part in the eco-friendly ancestral farming practices.

Highly Commended: Marble Distilling Company & The Distillery Inn, Colorado, USA; Novotel Jaragua, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Responsible Business Week is an initiative of Business in the Community (BITC) and an opportunity for companies in the United Kingdom and around the world to showcase their sustainable and responsible actions, as well as take part in a variety of events which further the understanding of what it means to be a responsible business. Discussions and workshops are taking place for businesses to learn more about the challenges they face as well as the issues which are looming on the horizon. The theme for this year’s #RBWeek examines how businesses can ensure an inclusive digital revolution that’s fair for all members of society. Visit the website to learn more or follow the hashtag on Twitter.

Prestigious nomination for Burrenlife Project

 

Ireland’s BurrenLIFE project has been shortlisted as one of the top 5 Nature Conservation Projects in Europe over the past 25 years as part of a competition celebrating the impact of the EU LIFE funding programme.Over 4,300 LIFE projects across Europe have been supported through the LIFE fund since 1992 at a cost of over €3.4b. The BurrenLIFE is the only Irish project to make the shortlist, which also includes projects from Bulgaria, Spain, Belgium and Slovenia.

Judges cited the BurrenLIFE project for its ‘phenomenal impact on a unique landscape…this Irish project pioneered a novel approach to farming and conservation’.

There is a Facebook vote to select the top 2 projects and people are being asked to support BurrenLIFE project by ‘liking’ it on the following link before 10 May.

Voting concludes on May 10th and the overall winners will be revealed in an Awards Ceremony to be held during the 2017 EU Green Week in Brussels, on May 30th.

€26m funding for energy efficiency upgrades in communities

 

Denis Naughten TD Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment has announced that grant funding of €26 million has been approved for 44 community energy projects across Ireland.

The projects were successful in their applications under this year’s round of the Better Energy Communities (BEC) scheme administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland on behalf of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

This year’s funding will provide for energy efficiency upgrades to more than 2,013 homes, of which 1,510 are energy poor, and a further 479 community, public and commercial facilities. The projects include a wide range of upgrades to fabric (insulation), heating systems, lighting and solar heating. The total investment in energy efficiency is almost €67 million, supporting more than 1,000 jobs in the construction sector right across the country.

Minister Naughten said: “Over 350,000 people across Ireland have improved the energy efficiency in their homes through Government grants and specifically 300 community energy projects have received funding and support over the past five years, resulting in 15,000 homes and hundreds of community, private and public buildings improving their energy efficiency.

“Engaging with communities is the best way to convince people of the benefits of energy efficiency and to support them in making the buildings they use in their daily lives more comfortable, healthier and cheaper to heat and light. Energy and Climate Action are inextricably linked. Using less energy, and using it more efficiently, is the most cost effective and accessible way for us all to take action on climate change.

“Last week I announced a new €5 million euro scheme for householders to financially assist them in deep retrofitting their homes to an ‘A’ BER rating. Works supported by my Department’s energy efficiency programmes also create jobs and support the local economy. Community based organisations are now training people to become experts in installing energy efficiency technologies and carry out energy efficient improvements to houses.

“There is now much more grounds for optimism about the potential economic opportunities of climate change, or more specifically, the transition to a low-carbon, climate resilient, economy. By doing this people will become more involved in the energy transition within their own communities and see the difference that moving away from fossil fuels can have on their lives and in their communities.”

Jim Gannon, CEO of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland said: “Building community activity is essential to our low carbon transition. This programme and our Sustainable Energy Communities network, which now has over 60 members, provide a growing number of communities with support, advice and confidence, alongside grant aid, to determine their own pathway to a lower carbon future.

“We must continue to grow these competencies as work in parallel to find more effective ways of funding energy efficiency and low carbon technologies.”

Some of the projects that have been successful in this year’s scheme include:

  • Energy Communities Tipperary Cooperative (ECTC) and beyond seek to extend and continue its endeavour to reduce CO2 emissions throughout Tipperary and neighbouring counties by retrofitting 95 homes and 4 Community buildings. ECTC’s projects are based in communities in Tipperary and adjoining counties.
  • Arranmore Island Donegal is part of a 5-Year Sustainable Community Development Plan. It is a partnership with Arranmore Island Energy Committee and SE Systems, experienced in delivering similar projects to Island Communities. The project is based primarily in Arranmore, a Gaeltacht that lies three miles off the Donegal Coast on the Northwest corner of Ireland. The application also includes Community partners with the broader mainland Donegal population. The project forms part of the Arranmore Energy Plan 2012-2032, a long-term vision for Sustainable Development on the Island.
  • Leitrim Sustainable Energy Community: This project is a collaboration of newly formed Sustainable Energy Communities (SECs) in the North West region. HSE Estates North West (Sligo SEC member) is acting as Lead Applicant, and working with North Leitrim SEC and Mohill Community Development Association (Mohill SEC) to deliver a pilot scale BEC project in Co. Leitrim. The pilot scale has been chosen to reduce project risk, financing, and to allow the SECs to learn from the process and to use the project as a demonstration platform to their wider communities. The objective will be to publicise and showcase this pilot scale project in order to develop more comprehensive and inclusive community energy projects in future BEC and SEC initiatives.

This year’s BEC scheme also made funding available for the first time for combined fabric upgrades in homes. This means that homes undertake to improve the energy efficiency of their home before moving on to install renewable heating solutions. Deep retrofit is a focus of SEAI’s work in 2017.

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  Ireland’s BurrenLIFE project has been shortlisted as one of the top 5 Nature Conservation Projects in Europe over the past 25 years as part of a competition celebrating the impact of the EU LIFE funding programme.Over 4,300 LIFE projects across Europe have been supported through the LIFE fund since 1992 at a cost of […]

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  Denis Naughten TD Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment has announced that grant funding of €26 million has been approved for 44 community energy projects across Ireland. The projects were successful in their applications under this year’s round of the Better Energy Communities (BEC) scheme administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland […]

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