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Estima-se que os edifícios representem um terço dos consumos de energia final do país. (Foto: Nuno Ferreira Santos)

O Fundo de Eficiência Energética abriu candidaturas a um pacote de 3,5 milhões de euros dirigido a projectos de poupança dos consumos em edifícios ou indústrias, como por exemplo para a instalação de janelas eficientes ou de painéis solares.

Até 28 de Setembro estão abertos dois avisos, os primeiros do instrumento financeiro do Plano Nacional de Acção para a Eficiência Energética.

O aviso Edifício Eficiente tem alocados dois milhões de euros para projectos que promovam a eficiência energética em edifícios de habitação multifamiliares, como a instalação de colectores solares térmicos e de janelas eficientes. Estima-se que os edifícios representem um terço dos consumos de energia final do país.

Segundo uma nota da Adene – Agência para a Energia divulgada hoje, a iniciativa é dirigida às Empresas de Serviços Energéticos, “que servirão de interface com os condomínios e proprietários dos edifícios”.

O outro aviso diz respeito às indústrias e tem um financiamento disponível de 1,5 milhões de euros. “O objectivo é apoiar a competitividade e a eficiência energética através da realização de auditorias, instalação de equipamentos e sistemas de gestão e monitorização dos consumos de energia”, segundo a nota da Adene.

“Este é um primeiro passo em linha com a estratégia de eficiência energética até 2020” e para “eliminar pequenas barreiras”, disse hoje ao PÚBLICO Filipe Vasconcelos, director-geral da Adene.

A maior parte das fontes de financiamento deste Fundo vem da taxa sobre as lâmpadas incandescentes. Assim, “estamos a taxar a ineficiência e a devolver os fundos à sociedade, para investir na eficiência”, acrescentou.

Actualmente mais de 500.000 edifícios em Portugal já estão certificados do ponto de vista da eficiência energética. “O nosso objectivo é chegar aos 3,5 milhões de fogos no mais curto espaço de tempo possível.” A certificação é obrigatória para edifícios novos de grande dimensão desde 2007 e de pequena dimensão desde 2008. Para os já existentes, a certificação é exigida desde 2009, mas apenas quando o imóvel é vendido ou arrendado.

A vantagem da certificação está nas medidas que são sugeridas, após a vistoria da casa. De acordo com as contas da agência, por exemplo, “a instalação de painéis solares térmicos pode reduzir até 70% os custos em energia para a produção de água quente para uso doméstico”. Mas a necessidade de financiamento tem sido um dos maiores obstáculos à concretização das alterações, uma situação que Filipe Vasconcelos acredita que pode mudar com a utilização do Fundo.

Até ao final do ano deverá ser aberto um terceiro aviso de candidaturas mas, segundo o responsável, ainda não há uma data concreta prevista.

Autor: Helena Geraldes
Fonte: Ecosfera / Público
Original: http://goo.gl/zTcE7


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Os frigoríficos são uma das oito categorias de produtos abrangidas pelo projecto. Foto: Rui Gaudêncio

Os automóveis, electrodomésticos e aparelhos electrónicos que consomem menos energia vão passar a ter mais destaque no mercado, depois de 16 marcas terem aderido hoje ao Selo Topten, da Quercus.

A iniciativa Selo Topten, lançada hoje em Lisboa, conta, para já, com as marcas Ford, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Renault, Toyota, Mazda, Tensai, Gorenje, LG, Liebherr, Whirlpool, Miele, Canon, Oki e Philips, segundo um comunicado da Quercus. Estas comprometeram-se a “divulgar, no mercado, os produtos distinguidos pelo projecto Topten, como os mais eficientes em termos de consumo energético”.

De momento, o selo abrange oito categorias de produtos, desde as máquinas de lavar roupa e loiça, passando pelas lâmpadas de baixo consumo, frigoríficos, arcas e congeladores, até às impressoras e multifunções, monitores e ainda automóveis.

“Este selo é uma ferramenta para divulgar as marcas mais eficientes, com mais preocupações em desenvolvimento tecnológico e boas práticas ambientais dos consumidores”, disse Francisco Ferreira, da Quercus. “Será mais uma útil ajuda para os consumidores identificarem, directamente nos suportes publicitários e nos pontos de venda, os produtos menos consumidores em termos energéticos.”

A Quercus começou a trabalhar no projecto Topten em 2007, iniciativa que está a ser implementada em 19 países europeus e que recentemente foi alargada aos EUA e China.

Autor: Helena Geraldes
Fonte: Ecosfera – Público
Original: http://bit.ly/Ix5V3U


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Russell Sadur / Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

When New Yorker writer David Owen moved his family from Manhattan to a small town in northwestern Connecticut in 1985, it seemed like a green decision. Their tree-shaded house had been built in the 1700s and sat across from a nature preserve. Deer, wild turkeys and even bears could be seen in their yard; woods surrounded their neighborhood. It was a bucolic country existence, something out of a nature poem.

Yet for the global environment, the move was a minidisaster. The Owens’ electricity consumption went up more than sevenfold, and the lack of both public transportation and dense housing that’s typical of Connecticut (and much of the rest of the U.S.) meant the family had to buy several cars. And those cars got driven — a lot. Owen notes that he and his wife now put some 30,000 miles a year on their odometers, burning carbon with every gallon. Access to trees and wildlife and cleaner air in Connecticut was great, but for the climate, it’s dense and efficient Manhattan — where cars are optional and living space is much tighter — that does less damage per capita.

To Owen, the move was a lesson: what looks environmentally friendly isn’t always the case. That’s an idea he explores in his new book The Conundrum, which argues that energy efficiency, scientific innovation and even good green intentions are actually making our climate and environmental problems worse. While we rush to buy a Prius hybrid or fetishize local organic food, we’re doing little to actually reduce the carbon emissions that are warming the planet — and we may even be going backward. “We’re not actually making the problem better, we’re making it worse,” says Owen.

He centers his argument on energy efficiency, which simply means reducing waste and getting more economic output per unit of energy, and is one of the few environmental-policy options that nearly everyone can agree on. Democrat or Republican, climate scientist or climate skeptic, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’d be against reducing wasted energy. That’s why paeans to efficiency find their way into every energy stump speech, including those of President Obama, who noted in the State of the Union speech that “the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy.” One of the White House’s most heralded green accomplishments this term has been an increase in automobile fuel-efficiency standards, tightening them from 25 m.p.g. now to 54.5 m.p.g. for cars and light trucks by 2025.

But Owen notes improved efficiency doesn’t always translate to reduced energy use, thanks to something called the “rebound effect.” It’s pretty simple: as we become more efficient at using energy, we can save money — which then allows us to use more of that energy than we did before. Picture it this way: you trade in your gas-guzzling SUV for a new efficient hybrid, end up paying less per mile for gasoline, and use some of the savings to drive more than you did with the SUV. The efficiency has rebounded.

It’s not clear how big the rebound effect really is. Efficiency advocates say that the effect, when it exists, is limited. Amory Lovins, the head of the Rocky Mountain Institute and an efficiency evangelist, has written that “no matter how efficient your house or washing machine becomes, you won’t heat your house to sauna temperatures, or rewash clean clothes.” There’s a limit to how much more I would drive after buying a hybrid even as my gas bill shrinks.

But Owen argues that the rebound effect is much broader than a one-to-one relationship. I might drive a little bit more using the savings from my more efficient car, but I might also take the rest of those savings and spend it on something else — perhaps a vacation flight, or a new television. And nearly everything we buy and consume today requires energy, from appliances to holidays. Perhaps that’s the reason American electricity production grew 66% between 1984 and 2005 even as the economy overall became much more efficient. And things are likely to be even worse in a rapidly growing nation like China, where a lot of people are acquiring consumer goods and other luxuries for the first time. “Energy efficiency by itself is not a sufficient green strategy,” says Owen.

Hopes that we might simply run out of fossil fuels before we’ve cooked the sky now seem unfounded, thanks to the discovery of new unconventional supplies like oil sands or shale natural gas. We can decarbonize the energy we use by replacing fossil fuels with solar, nuclear and other alternatives, but that will take decades at best, and we’re moving far too slowly.

So if we want to bring down carbon emissions, we have to use less energy — even very efficient energy — and that likely means we’d have to live with less growth. Good luck trying to explain that to voters, though. “There is a fundamental conflict between the idea of propagating growth and the idea of reducing carbon emissions,” says Owen. “But if you’re in a public-policy position, it’s almost impossible to say that.”

That doesn’t mean energy efficiency can’t be a useful environmental tool — it can, provided it’s coupled with policies that effectively increase the cost of energy, so savings from efficiency are conserved rather than being spent on additional consumption. We can also change policy to promote sustainable, dense urban living. (Hong Kongers are well-off, but they use only one-third as much energy as Americans largely because they live in one of the densest cities on the planet.) And we can focus on the environmental policies that really matter. Buying local food is fine, but what matters much more is how far you drove to get to the market — or whether you needed to drive at all. “What we need to do is make more big cities like Manhattan,” says Owen. “But that’s a tough sell.”

Indeed it is. Owen notes that he likes living in small-town Connecticut, even if it isn’t great for the planet. And while everything from highway construction to zoning regulations seem designed to induce sprawl, I suspect many Americans simply don’t want to live in New York City, just as they don’t really care about climate change enough to accept more expensive energy or slower economic growth. “We already know what we need to do and we have for a long time,” Owen writes. “We just don’t like the answers.” That’s the conundrum — and the solution won’t be easy.

Author: Bryan Walsh
Source: TIME
Original: http://ti.me/wM5BdY


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Lady Bird Johnson Middle School foi construída em uma área de 45.600 metros quadrados; construção inclui turbinas eólicas, painéis solares e outras tecnologias avançadas


As grandes turbinas eólicas produzem apenas 1% da energia necessária para abastecer toda a estrutura. (Fotografia: Divulgação)

O estado do Texas é conhecido nos Estados Unidos como o centro das tradições “countries”. Agora ele também está famoso por abrigar a primeira escola do país a produzir de maneira limpa toda a energia necessária para o seu funcionamento.

A Lady Bird Johnson Middle School foi construída na cidade de Irving em uma área de 45.600 metros quadrados, que facilitou a produção de energia renovável de diversas maneiras: eólica, solar e outras tecnologias avançadas que foram incluídas na construção.

O escritório Corgan Associates, de Dallas, liderou a equipe de arquitetos que construiu a escola, usada não apenas como sala de aula, mas também como referência em sustentabilidade e eficiência energética. Esses diferenciais da instituição de ensino são percebidos em cada detalhes, desde as 12 turbinas eólicas gigantes instaladas na lateral do prédio, até a grade curricular.

Por mais incrível que possa parecer, as grandes turbinas eólicas produzem apenas 1% da energia necessária para abastecer toda a estrutura. O restante é obtido a partir de 2988 painéis solares instalados no telhado. Eles são equipados com tubos cilíndricos que captam a luz do sol em 360 graus, aumentando potencialmente a capacidade de aproveitamento energético. Toda a produção excedente é direcionada para a rede de distribuição local.

Ter energia limpa disponível não seria suficiente para tornar a obra sustentável. Por isso, os arquitetos se preocuparam com a eficiência de todo o edifício. As bombas de calor geotérmicas auxiliam o sistema de arrefecimento, tornando-o 30% mais econômico. A equipe usou paredes isoladas e construiu um grande dossel nas laterais do edifício para bloquear o sol quente do Texas, mesmo assim, foram usadas muitas janelas para permitir a iluminação natural dentro das salas de aula.

Como a escola é considerada um laboratório de aprendizagem, a grade curricular inclui aulas sobre eficiência energética. Assim, os alunos do ensino fundamental podem estudar as diferenças na produção de energia solar em um dia nublado, em comparação a um dia ensolarado. Enquanto isso, os estudantes de ensino médio podem aprender a calcular a produção média geotérmica da escola. A instituição é equipada com uma plataforma de observação, onde os alunos podem examinar as placas fotovoltaicas, e monitores de energia estão espalhados por todo o corredor, para que os estudantes possam ver exatamente a quantidade de energia utilizada pela escola.

A Lady Bird Johnson Middle School está em busca do selo LEED, concedido às construções sustentáveis pelo Green Building Council.

Fonte: Exame / CicloVivo
Original: http://bit.ly/yxyqL2


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With the green deal announced to improve home energy efficiency, we look at Tracey Hillyard and her retrofit experience


Retrofit for the Future is a nationwide government programme trialling innovative energy-saving technologies. (Photography: Morley von Sternberg)

Tracey Hillyard and her three teenage children live in a small, 1990s terraced house whose leaky walls and roof were leaching heat out of the home. Concerned about escalating energy bill, Tracey approached her housing association, East Thames, about the problem.

As luck would have it, East Thames had been invited to participate in a nationwide government programme, Retrofit for the Future, trialling innovative energy saving technologies. So Tracey’s home was put forward as a case study.

Architects Penoyre & Prasad spent a lot of time with Tracey and her family finding out about their concerns and lifestyle in order to identify the right solutions. Project architect David Cole says: “Although the main room had good daylight, the hallway, stairs and landing were dark, with an oversized landing that nobody used.

“There was a lack of storage and nowhere to dry clothes. The tumble dryer was on constantly – accounting for one-fifth of all the house’s energy use. Also, doors and windows were being opened frequently because the family are smokers.”

The architects proposed creating a large lightwell in the roof, which floods the stairs and landing with daylight and creates a natural space for drying laundry on the newly-installed drying rack. Either side of the skylight, a loft area has been created with ample storage, accessed by a neat wooden ladder up to a mezzanine area. Below the mezzanine a tranquil, daylit resting spot has been created, complete with chaise longue.

The large rooflight opens and closes according to electronic temperature and humidity sensors, bringing a constant flow of fresh air into the house, which circulates down through to the ground via ventilation grilles placed alongside new triple-glazed windows. Slimline, with a tilt-and-turn closing mechanism, they are completely secure.

Tracey says: “I never shut the grilles. I’m a panicker and I get scared at night. But I leave them open. We get up in the morning and it’s beautiful, fresh air.”

The total cost of the works and materials (excluding research and design fees) was £72,500, including lightwell, new windows, and insulation of the roof, walls and floor. These measures have already brought energy use down by an estimated 69% and carbon emissions by 79%. Tracey and her family love the new sense of light and space, as well as the reduced bills. “I only have to put the heating on for an hour, and the house stays warm all day,” she says.

Author: Veronica Simpson
Source: The Guardian
Original: http://bit.ly/ur0mh1


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With the UK’s major energy suppliers bumping up their prices by up to 18% this winter, the belated arrival of the cold winds represents a great opportunity to look at ways of cutting your fuel bills.

The imminent announcement of a consultation on the government’s Green Deal, which aims to help you make your home more energy-efficient, should provide an added incentive.

And there are lots of ways you can save money – in some cases a great deal – just by making a few simple upgrades to your home.

Some improvements cost virtually nothing and can take a matter of minutes to install; others require a bit of capital and expert help. Others still require small changes in habits that should more than reward the effort.

All are well worth considering. According to the Energy Saving Trust (EST), the average household could save about £280 a year on its fuel bills by being more energy efficient. Bearing in mind the average bill is about £1,300, that’s quite some saving.

This equates to more than a tonne of carbon emissions every year, thus helping to combat rising global temperatures.

There are plenty of schemes around to help you get a better idea of what upgrading your home to make it more efficient actually involves.

Old Homes Super Homes is one such project, which is supported by the National Energy Foundation. Sarah Harrison, who takes part in the scheme, says it can help people understand not just the financial benefits of so-called retro-fitting, but also how upgrading homes can improve your quality of life.

Insulation

When it comes to energy efficiency, the smallest measures are often the most effective, so insulation is a good place to start.

For example, a simple hot water tank cover can cost as little as £10-£15 but it could save you three times this much in a single year.

Doors and windows can then be sealed quickly and easily using self-adhesive foam and rubber strips, and draught excluders. Seal up any gaps between your floors and skirting boards and, together, these measure could save you more than £50 a year, according to the EST.

Next look at insulating your loft and walls properly – about a third of an uninsulated home’s heat is lost through the walls, and about a quarter through the roof.

Walls will require varying degrees of works depending on their construction, but proper insulation can save hundreds of pounds a year. Just topping up your loft insulation can also shave a substantial amount off your annual bills.

Also look at secondary and double glazing – almost 20% of heat loss from the average home comes from windows.

Heating

Upgrading old electric storage heaters to modern alternatives can save you more than £100 a year, and in some cases considerably more.

Replacing an old, inefficient boiler with an A-rated condensing model could save as much £300 a year, although you will have to decide whether this is worth the £1,000 to £2,000 cost of buying and installing one.

Even fitting a room thermostat could save you more than £50 a year.

Energy-efficient behaviour

You may scoff at the point of turning off appliances when you’re not using them, but add up all the savings and they can be worthwhile.

For example, switching plugs off at the wall and avoiding standby mode on TVs, computers, stereos and the like, together with switching off lights when you don’t need them, could save you almost £50 a year.

Wash your clothes at 30 degrees instead of 40 and don’t use a tumble dryer in the summer, and you could save another £30.

Upgrading appliances/electronics

Replacing an old fridge freezer or dishwasher just to save on energy is not a particularly efficient way to spend your money, but if you need to replace any domestic appliance, then it may be worth spending a little extra to get the most energy-efficient model you can afford.

They are all rated by law, from A to G, so you can tell how efficient they are. However, there is a great deal of variation within these bands, so also make sure you look at the specific figures on energy consumption. Some appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines, also have grades A+++, A++ and A+.

Very roughly, a new efficient appliance could save you between £20 and £40 a year on energy bills, according to the EST.

More modern consumer electronics are also more energy-efficient. And if you’re looking for a new television, bear in mind that LED TVs are more efficient than LCDs, which in turn are a good deal more efficient than Plasmas, according to Which?

Not strictly an appliance, granted, but replacing old incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient versions can save you £3 a pop.

Energy generation and renewables

These measures aren’t about upgrading what you already have, but investing in technologies that allow you to generate your own energy.

As a result, they can be quite expensive, which is one of main reasons why the government is launching its Green Deal.

One way is to use wood to heat your home. According to the EST, replacing electric heaters with a wood pellet heating system could save as much as £580 a year.

Carbon emissions would also be reduced, as the carbon dioxide given off when burning is offset by the carbon absorbed by the tree from which the wood was cut.

Solar panels are another popular way to generate power, and can typically provide about three-quarters of an average home’s electricity needs.

Wind turbines are an alternative that, if situated in the right part of the country, can provide more than enough electricity to power a typical home.

Government feed-in tariffs mean you get paid to generate electricity, and for selling any excess to the main grid. In fact, one turbine could generate savings and income of more than £3,000 a year including tariffs, the EST says.

Another option is heat pumps, which take heat from the air or the ground but which need electricity to run. In some cases, these are better at saving on carbon emissions than money.

You will need to calculate the payback time carefully when deciding whether to invest in any these technologies. But remember that if you sell your home, the buyer can also benefit from the cost savings, which can add to the value of your property.


Feed-in tariffs are available for domestic energy generation

Author: Richard Anderson and Damian Kahya
Source: BBC News
Original: http://bbc.in/s4Hmlw


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Largest producer of energy efficient lightbulbs announces move – but may apparently still produce incandescents for export


China will ban imports and sales of 100 watt and higher incandescent bulbs from 1 October 2012. (Photography: Ruben Sprich / Reuters)

The lights are going out for incandescent bulbs, as China pledges to replace the 1 billion it uses annually with more energy efficient models within five years.

Beijing’s move is a major step in efforts to improve lighting efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Lighting accounts for 19% of electricity use worldwide, according to a 2007 estimate from the International Energy Agency, a figure that could drop to 7% if the rest of the world followed China’s lead, the Global Environment Facility fund said.

The decision by the world’s second largest economy to phase out incandescents follows in the footsteps of Australia, the European Union, Brazil and others.

But according to the Global Environment Facility, incandescents still make up 50-70% of worldwide sales and China’s move forms a striking contrast to the US government’s backsliding on the issue. This summer Republicans drove a bill through the House of Representatives stripping all funding for government enforcement of improved lighting efficiency standards, which come into force next year.

It is unclear whether China will totally phase out production of incandescents. A report from state news agency Xinhua said that “imports and sales” would be banned – seemingly implying that exports would still be allowed.

Campaigners hope China’s plan will nonetheless encourage producers – who make 3.85 billion incandescent bulbs a year, an estimated 70% of the world’s supply – to shift towards other products, in particular CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) and LEDs. CFLs use around 75% less energy to produce an equivalent amount of light and last much longer.

The country has already become the largest producer of energy-efficient light bulbs, thanks in large part to sizable grants from international environmental agencies.

Experts predict that the shift in demand will also cut the cost of CFLs and increase the cost of incandescents globally.

Imports and sales of 100 watt and higher incandescent bulbs will be banned from October next year, Xie Ji, an official at the country’s top economic planning body said, while those of 60 watts and above will be banned from October 2014.

The senior official added that incandescents of 15 watts or higher would be banned from 2016 if the scheme was a success.

The plan showed China’s determination to save energy, cut costs and curb climate change, he went on, and would have a “significant impact” on global use.

Xie, who is deputy director of the environmental protection department with the National Development and Reform Commission, added that lighting accounts for 12% of China’s total electricity use. The NDRC has estimated that the switch will save 48 billion kilowatt hours of power per year and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 48 million tonnes annually. China emitted 7,710 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2009.

Overall, China has pledged to cut energy consumption per unit of GDP by 16% and cut carbon emissions by 17% in the five years to 2015.

Yang Fuqiang, the senior advisor on climate change and energy at the US-based Natural Resources Defence Council, said the amount of electricity used by lighting in China at the moment was two or three times the generating capacity of the massive Three Gorges dam.

He added that while exports would still be legal, the plan should help companies produce more energy efficient bulbs, not least because China already had strong research and development and production capacity for energy efficient lighting.

The Global Environment Facility fund, which has invested millions of dollars in China to encourage the phase-out, says that moving to efficient lighting is one of the simplest ways for countries to cut carbon emissions.

Christophe Bahuet, the deputy country director of the United Nations Development Programme, said: “I think what’s important for us is that China is joining an international trend. It also sends a signal that will inspire others.”

But he cautioned that implementation would be key, warning: “It is a roadmap, but a lot will have to be done at provincial and local level to help explain why people should go for these plans.”

Wang Jinsui, the president of the China Illuminating Engineering Society, told the China Daily newspaper earlier this year that it would take producers time to switch. He added that the government should consider subsidies because many families would not be able to afford the more expensive energy-efficient bulbs.

Liu Shengping, the secretary general of the China Association of Lighting Industry, told the newspaper that it was “unrealistic” to require energy efficient lights were used everywhere.

“As long as the demand exists, Chinese manufacturers can hardly pull the plug on the production line,” he said.

Author: Tania Branigan additional research by Han Cheng
Source: The Guardian
Original: http://bit.ly/t8pE8f


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