The Pyramid of Conservation is a visualization of a home energy efficiency to-do list. It is designed to prioritize steps and develop an appropriate action plan.
It starts with the basics – a home energy audit – followed by low cost items such as programmable thermostats and hot water settings, before moving up through lighting, air sealing, insulation, windows etc.
Interestingly, high-cost, slow-return investments such as solar panels and residential wind turbines are right at the top of the pyramid – very much the ‘cherry on the cake’.
Green manufacturing is not only about decarbonizing industry’s energy system. It is equally about using sustainable material flows that are at least carbon-neutral.
Reducing waste and recycling materials have to play a major role. But with increasingly complex, miniaturised products using multiple, composite materials, material recovery results in new challenges. Examples of such products are personal electronic devices, batteries, solar panels etc.
Low carbon material streams are likely to become one of the major remaining challenges in an 80-95% greenhouse gas reduction scenario.
While the circular economy is a hot topic today, its origins date back to the beginning of this decade when the Commission launched its roadmap to a resource-efficient Europe. Noteworthy in the roadmap are 18 milestones to be achieved by 2020, such as for example the phase-out of environmentally harmful subsidies, 1% annual reduction in GHG emissions, a 2% building renovation rate, and international action on resource efficiency. While several of these milestones are unlikely to be met, they all set a course that remains worth pursuing. The 2011 roadmap can be revisited through this link: https://copper.fyi/tip15