Friday, May 22, 2015

Church of England cut its investment in fossil fuel companies

To address the issues of climate change, one of the world's wealthiest religious institutions, the Church of England is to sell of investments in coal and tar sands.

The withdrawal from the most polluting fossil fuels such as coal burnt for energy and oil from tar sands is a success for campaigners suggesting institutions to get out of such investments. Different church dioceses worldwide follow the divestment.

The lead bishop on the environment at the Church of England, Bishop Nick Holtam states that climate change is the most pressing moral issue in our world.

Deputy Chair of the Church's Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) Richard Burridge claims that climate change is already a reality, and the Church has a "moral responsibility" to speak and act on environmental issues to protect the poor, who are the most vulnerable to climate change.

Burridge added that this responsibility involves not only the Church's own move to reduce their own carbon footprint, but also how the Church's money is invested and how they engage with companies on this vital issue.

The Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board announced in a statement that the institution is to sell £12m in holdings in thermal coal and tar sands.

It said no direct investments should be made in any company where over ten percent of revenues come from extracting thermal coal or the production of oil from tar sands.

Furthermore, the Church of England's national investing bodies on ethical investment - the Church Commissioners, the Church of England Pensions Board and the CBF Church of England funds, are to increase their low-carbon investments, and it will engage with companies and policy makers ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Director of Investments at the Church Commissioners Tom Joy said that they need governments meetings in Paris at the end of this year to agree long term global emissions targets with a clear pathway to a low carbon future.

The Church of England announced last December that it was in the process of filing shareholder resolutions on climate change at BP and Royal Dutch Shell.

The owner of approximately £9 billion in investments that fund its work and clergy pensions, the institution previously led a shareholder push to urge oil and gas giant British Petroleum (BP) to be more open about how climate change might affect its business.

The announcement comes before Pope Francis' release of an encyclical setting out Roman Catholic doctrine on environmental issues, which is likely to make waves on the global warming debate.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Haney Energy Saving Group: Solar-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 finally takes-off in China

The Swiss-engineered aircraft Solar Impulse 2, which aims to travel around the world using only solar power, has finally taken off on its sixth flight from Chongqing to Nanjing China according to The Haney Energy Saving Group report. It arrived at Chongqing airport from Myanmar on March 31.

The flight was delayed for three weeks due to bad weather conditions. The plane isn’t meant to fly in stormy weather so the team must wait for weather forecasters to give the go-ahead.

Bertrand Piccard, co-founder of the project, is piloting the plane for the 1,190-kilometer flight to the eastern city of Nanjing.

The journey is expected to take 20 hours and 29 minutes, depending on weather conditions that could force the aircraft to change its direction from the straightest path between the two cities. It is expected to arrive in Nanjing about 9pm Abu Dhabi time.

Nanjing will be the last stop of the aircraft in Asia before Andre Borschberg, chief engineer and co-pilot, is set to make a trans-Pacific crossing to Hawaii that is expected to take at least five days.

Solar Impulse 2 is capable of flying over oceans for several days and nights and is expected to travel 35,000 km around the world and is scheduled to take in 12 stops, with a total flight time of around 25 days over the course of roughly five months. It will pass over the Arabian Sea, India, Myanmar, China and the Pacific Ocean.

The team behind Solar Impulse 2, which has more than 17,000 solar cells built into its wings and fuselage, hopes to promote green energy with its round the world attempt.

The aircraft store up energy during the day, in order to power the motors that carry it through the night.

After traveling around the globe, the aircraft is expected to arrive back in Abu Dhabi, UAE in late July or early August where it started its voyage on March 9.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Haney Energy Saving Group: Energy saving tips for spring

After months of winter, it finally comes to an end. Everyone is now expecting lovely flowers to bloom everywhere and there will be an increase in the temperature. Recently, the The Haney Energy Saving Group revealed some energy saving tips to improve the energy efficiency of your home:

Choose window treatments – Each morning, switch off artificial lights and use windows and skylights to take advantage of natural light to brighten your space while reducing heat loss and gain. This also allows you to naturally cool your space without using air conditioners when the temperature is mild. When the temperature rises, you can use window blinds, films, and shades to reduce heat gain.

Use a programmable thermostat – Use a programmable thermostat to save at least 10% per year on your heating and cooling costs.

Install ceiling fans – Use ceiling fans to increase cooling efficiency. It allows you to raise the thermostat setting to 4°F with no reduction in comfort thus helping you to lower your electricity bills. It creates a wind chill effect because the moving air makes it feel as if it cooler on your skin. Remember to turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room because it doesn't cool rooms.

Perform a regular maintenance on you air conditioner – Regular maintenance such as cleaning or replacing air filters keeps your air conditioner functioning as efficiently as possible. This can lower your cooling system’s energy consumption by up to 15%. The air conditioner’s evaporator coil should always be cleaned annually to guarantee the system is functioning at optimal levels.

Reduce energy for water heating – Decrease your water heater's temperature and installing low-flow showerheads to lessen your water heating bills.

Use an electronic power strip – Lots of electronics go into standby mode when you turn them off. Help lessen “phantom loads” or leaking electricity by plugging electronic devices into a power strip and turn it off when not in use. This can save you up to $100 per year.

Cook outdoors – Use an outdoor grill instead of indoor ovens or stoves to keep out the heat from your home.

Seal ducts – Air loss through ducts can lead to high electricity costs up to 30%. Insulating and sealing ducts can lower your electricity bills.

Caulk air leaks – Use a low-cost caulk to seal cracks and openings to keep warm air out and save money.

Visit The Haney Energy Saving Group for additional tips on improving your home’s energy efficiency.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Haney Energy Saving Group: Nest thermostat saves energy, says research

Nest Labs has recently announced the results of 3 energy-savings research which apparently prove that their Learning Thermostat can save users as much as 15% on cooling bills and 12% on heating bills. That's roughly USD150 in savings annually and a return of investment in just 2 years.

The two studies were apparently designed and funded independently -- one of them was done by a utility company in Indiana called Vectren and the other one by Energy Trust of Oregon. The third one was done by the Nest company itself on a national scale. They all monitored users' energy consumption before and after the installation of Nest Thermostat.

According to the general manager Ben Bixby, "With this information in hand, customers can feel even more confident about investing in a Nest Thermostat, and our energy partners can be assured that energy-efficiency programs involving Nest will have an impact."

Nest's thermostat is supposed to 'learn' as it is being used; for instance, it can remember certain temperatures that the user usually sets, sense how long it takes to cool or heat up a room then adapt accordingly. It's also designed to detect if the user is home so it can automatically turn itself off if not, as The Haney Energy Saving Group found out.

Nest's founder Matt Rogers said in his post, "Nest is constantly improving. Some saved less on their energy bills, some saved more ... that affected their energy bills more than switching thermostats ever could. But on average, after people installed Nest they saw real savings." In fact, in the last couple of years, Nest developers have updated the system over 30 times to add new features.

The Haney Energy Saving Group reported that Nest users will be given additional support starting this month: an access to a live Energy Advisor that they can consult about energy savings using their Nest Thermostat based on their particular circumstance.

Various thermostat makers, along with the Environmental Protection Agency of the US, have previously claimed that a programmable thermostat can potentially save homeowners around 20% on cooling/heating bills. However, most of their calculations were simply based on correctly-programmed thermostat settings as opposed to a thermostat that's left at one temperature constantly. Because of such difficulty in acquiring actual savings data, programmable thermostats lost the Energy Star rating in 2009. Now, with three studies actually determining how much energy savings thermostats are capable of when programmed well, they might just get it back.