“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” —Jane Goodall
While Ms. Goodall may be known more for her expertise on chimpanzees than as an environmentalist, her thoughts on making a difference and an impact on the world speak to what we are trying to accomplish at Envari. While many lenses can be applied to a statement such as this, it is the direct impact we as humans are having on the earth that I am most interested in looking at here.
Climate change is one of the most important environmental issues of our time. The steady warming of the Earth has been caused by the increase in concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere. We have essentially thrown a blanket over the world that absorbs and traps heat, preventing it from escaping into outer space. There are many things contributing to GHG emissions such as the burning of fossil fuels; the release of methane from cattle farming and waste dumps; and hydrofluroncarbons which were introduced to replace ozone-depleting substances in aerosols, air-conditioning and refrigeration. What you may not know is that buildings produce 17% of Canada’s GHGs, including emissions from generating electricity that buildings use.
We spend most of our lives in buildings – at home, at the office, community centres, shopping malls, movie theatres; the list goes on and on. These buildings require heating, cooling and lighting, all of which contribute to emissions. While Canada has made great strides in reducing the amount of electricity generated by fossil fuels, this still exists, meaning there is an immediate need to reduce the amount of electricity we are using. Heating and cooling our buildings results in short-lived climate pollutants such as the hydrofluroncarbons I mentioned and ground-level ozone.
We all need to look for ways to reduce how we are contributing to the overall warming of the planet. Envari is an exciting and innovative solutions provider for energy and infrastructure management. What that means behind the scenes is that our team tackles inefficiencies in energy and infrastructure for large-scale businesses, organizations and municipalities. By identifying inefficiencies we can work with businesses and municipalities to reduce their overall contribution to GHGs. While Envari has many services to offer, Smart Buildings and Smart Cities are two ways which are helping to reduce the effects of GHGs on the environment.
Envari’s Smart Buildings solutions offer a complete range of energy management turnkey services. Energy audits, demand response/reduction analysis, and engineered designs are integral components in helping identify and manage energy and water consumption. Energy efficient upgrades can result in substantial savings for companies and reduced energy waste. By making buildings more energy efficient, we are helping to reduce GHG emissions that are impacting climate change.
Envari’s Smart Cities bring cities into the future, and that future is LED lighting. Studies show that switching to LED streetlighting technology will cut electricity and maintenance costs by more than 50% as well as reducing GHG emissions. The use of LEDs to illuminate buildings and outdoor spaces reduced the total carbon dioxide emissions of lighting by an estimated 570 million tons in 2017 – roughly the equivalent of shutting down 162 coal-fired power plants. LEDs have a longer life span than traditional bulbs which means fewer are produced, so the emissions and pollution associated with production, shipping, sales and disposal of the product is lower than with traditional bulbs. Interested in more than just studies? The City of Ottawa is halfway through its own streetlight conversion and will see a 60% reduction in energy use and the LEDs will decrease carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1,000 metric tonnes annually. Electric vehicles (EV) are another way cities and their residents can work together to reduce GHG emissions. Traditional gasoline vehicles are a proven contributor to GHG emissions; EVs offer consumers not only a more economical option but an environmentally friendly one. This is why sales of electric vehicles in Canada have risen drastically in the last year; it’s now not a question of “if” but “when” EVs will pass the point of inflection. In the interim, condominiums, hotels, and private enterprises, along with residential customers, are assessing their readiness level. Envari’s EV Readiness Assessments can help to determine what upgrades are necessary to support an increase in EV ownership and ensure buildings are EV ready and future proof.
Small changes can have a big impact when it comes to reducing GHGs. Innovation is key to reducing the harmful effects GHGs have had on the planet. It is becoming more important for both the municipal and private sectors to develop and implement strategies and programs that improve the efficiency and operations of our facilities, and do it in an environmentally sustainable fashion. We have many tools to help us do this, but we still need innovation and commitment to bring it all together. We at Envari are here to help with smart solutions.
Ready to make a change? Contact us today.
Published on August 7, 2018
Chief Energy and Infrastructure Services Officer