Doable, Measurable and Sustainable Engineering – GineersNow

 

Doable, Measurable and Sustainable Engineering

It is now time to scale this initiative and integrate measurability as a key element in business sustainability blueprints.

Source: Doable, Measurable and Sustainable Engineering – GineersNow 
Read more at: https://gineersnow.com/engineering/environment/doable-measurable-and-sustainable-engineering#comment-20440

Globally, responsible businesses are taking the lead in embedding sustainability in their operations. It is now time to scale this initiative and integrate measurability as a key element in business sustainability blueprints. The landmark report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2018 was a powerful clarion call for climate action. Underscoring the unprecedented and immediate need for collective effort to limit global warming, the report emphasizes the role of businesses[1] as an important factor.

The quantifiability of the 1.5-degree-Celsius goal and the measurable steps to achieve it as outlined in the report have created a global sustainability mission that combines social, environmental and economic dimensions.  To save the world, we must strive to move the needle across all three targets.

 

For a business, a measurable sustainability target is a powerful starting point. The concept of measurability is embedded in business thinking, in the form of audits, quarterly and annual reports. Metric-based decision-making enables corporations to vigilantly course-correct towards desirable outcomes.  Similarly, measurability must be the lens through which businesses engage, deliberate courses of action, and ultimately achieve sustainability goals.

Pre-Assessment and benchmarking

The starting point of measurability is understanding the current sustainability status quo and benchmarking the intended goals. A pre-assessment entails analysis of the current environmental, social and economic impact and then contextualizing it with the purpose and overall strategy of the business. The most common performance metric is the mitigation of CO2 emission. With quantification of larger, long-term impact on society, a business can proceed to the next level – making informed decisions to create a more sustainable ecosystem. Considering the immensity of the 1.5 C goal (e.g. reducing greenhouse emissions to net-zero by mid-century), challenging but realistic targets need to be set for measuring performance. These can be distilled down to specific key performance indicators for employees, operations, and the enterprise at large.

Track of progress and proof of impact

Once underway, sustainability needs to be tracked vigilantly so that material issues that arise are addressed swiftly. The short and medium-term milestones also need to be mapped out; these can be examined for delays or inefficiencies. At the same time, an understanding of what is working well for one department can be replicated in others.  Measurability drives action in an organisation. After all, what gets measured properly, gets managed properly and eventually gets done properly. Measurable metrics directly impact a business’s current performance and set the tone for the future as well. Consistent measuring of progress provides clarity on the level of performance or the lack of it. Moreover, tracking progress and communicating milestones within and outside the organisation creates a culture of accountability and transparency. Having a metric also offers two benefits. If underperforming, a company can realign its resources by immediately assessing if there is a lag at any point between intention and outcome. On the other hand, targets achieved ahead of schedule must be made even more ambitious. After all, environmental responsibility is not a one-time campaign to be executed and then forgotten; it is a new transformative agenda for businesses across the globe. Charting a new course is also good for the bottom line. Business sustainability always goes hand-in-hand with long-term profitability and provides a clear incentive to strive to be greener and more sustainable. Customers want products that have a low carbon footprint; employees look up to businesses that can deliver social good on a substantial scale. Climate Action is also part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Achieving them can unlock an estimated[1] $12 trillion in potential growth and generate or retain millions of jobs.

Leading by Example

Responsible business must also define how operations are powered, raw material is sourced, new products are created, and supply chains are made resilient against climate change.  A measurable sustainability-oriented approach is, therefore, at the core of business growth and resilience. Responsible businesses around the world have already started on this path to sustainability. An example is the Ford Motor Company’s[2] measurable sustainability goals: it plans to use 100 per cent renewable energy for all manufacturing plants by 2035 and achieve zero air emissions from its facilities. With these measurable goals, it is streamlining its portfolio, improving fuel efficiency, and lowering emissions, energy use and water consumption. To increase transparency about the resiliency of its climate change strategy, Ford recently published a Climate Change Scenario Report. Despite the climate and business benefits of such plans, greening the business strategy does not get the attention that it deserves. According to a 2018 PwC report[4], only 27 per cent of 700 global companies include the Sustainable Development Goals into their business strategy. The corporate world is an integral stakeholder in the journey towards a sustainable future. It is incumbent upon all of us to not only scale up our efforts but also embed measurability in every step of the way. The time window to curb global warming is slowly shutting. We do not have an option to be oblivious. The time to act is now or never.

Read more at: https://gineersnow.com/engineering/environment/doable-measurable-and-sustainable-engineering#comment-20440

Miles is an app that tracks your every move in exchange for deals and discounts – The Verge

Miles is an app that tracks your every move in exchange for deals and discounts18A ‘rewards program’ for ground-based transportationBy Sean O’Kane@sokane1 Jul 24, 2018, 10:05am EDTSHARE Frequent flyer programs are a frustrating paradox. As humans, we’re always on the hunt for a discount, but how often do most of us fly? Once every few months? Once a year? For the most part, we spend far more time traveling in a car or bus, on a bike, or on foot. To the right kind of mind, that sounds like an opportunity, which is why a new Silicon Valley startup called Miles has built a rewards program for all these other modes of transportation. The cost? You have to let Miles follow you everywhere.Today, the company launched a free iOS app of the same name (Android version coming soon) that lets people rack up miles based on all the different modes of ground transportation they use to move around each day. Ostensibly, the greener the transportation method, the bigger a multiplier assigned to those miles: one mile traveled in a car nets you one reward mile, for example, while one mile in a ride-share is worth two, a mile of biking is worth five, and one mile of walking or running is worth 10. (One mile of flying is worth just 0.1 miles.)THE APP INCENTIVIZES GREENER MODES OF TRANSPORTATION, SO HOPEFULLY USERS WON’T JUST DRIVE IN CIRCLES FOR FREE COFFEEThose miles can then be exchanged for deals with different brands, a number of which the company has lined up for launch. Rack up enough miles, and you can trade them in for rewards like $5 gift cards at Starbucks, Amazon, or Target, $42 off your first order from meal service Hello Fresh, or even a complimentary rental on Audi’s Silvercar service. (The rewards populate in a few different ways. The Starbucks reward, for example, spits out a barcode that you can scan at one of the company’s locations, while the Silvercar reward gives you a discount code that can be applied at checkout.) Other launch partners include Whole Foods, Canon, Bath & Body Works, and Cole Haan.

Source: Miles is an app that tracks your every move in exchange for deals and discounts – The Verge

Zero Mass’ solar panels that pull water from air launch in the US – Business Insider

Zero Mass Water makes solar panel arrays that pull clean drinking water from the air.The $4,500 arrays just launched in the United States.Zero Mass arrays could come in handy in areas where water sources are far away or scarce. Some homeowners have purchased arrays as an alternative to plastic water bottles.Around the world, approximately 2.1 billion people do not have immediate access to clean drinking water. A sustainable water startup called Zero Mass aims to make clean water easily accessible to more people around the world. In 2015, it launched its first product, Source — a solar panel array that harvests and filters water from vapor in the air — in eight countries, including Chile, Jordan, and Peru.Source is now available in the United States, CEO Cody Friesen, a material scientist and MIT alum, told Business Insider.Each panel costs $2,000 (plus a $500 installation fee) and generates an average of two to five liters of water daily, depending on humidity and sunlight. Source can work anywhere, and many arrays are deployed in deserts where water is scarce, Friesen said.Comprised of proprietary materials, the panels use sunlight to produce heat, which allows them to collect water vapor from the air. Friesen wouldn’t disclose what the materials are, but said they have an ideal binding energy for humidity.

Source: Zero Mass’ solar panels that pull water from air launch in the US – Business Insider

Even Smart People Are Still Arguing About Fossil-Free Electricity

Even Smart People Are Still Arguing About Fossil-Free Electricityby 3p Contributor on Friday, Jul 21st, 2017 CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENTSHAREClick to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)25Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)2556Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)56Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)U.S. cities like Chicago have pledged to continue working toward the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. By Felix Kramer and Rosana FrancescatoAt a pivotal moment for climate strategies, scientists and business leaders have started a public debate about how fast and how fully we can leave oil, coal, and gas behind. More people now recognize climate change as the pre-eminent issue of our time, a core focus of resistance, and a source of massive economic opportunities.Imagine looking back and saying, “The Anthropocene Epoch started dangerously, as human activity threatened our future. But that sparked an unprecedented transition that protected our air and water. Every country pulled together to ensure a livable world. Our confidence, ingenuity, and resolve made it humanity’s greatest triumph.”After the U.S. government walked away from its international climate commitments, other key players including companies, cities, and states – where much of the action was already taking place – upped the ante. Policies, legislation, and entrepreneurship increasingly reflect this urgency. Globally, cities and companies are setting timetables to get off fossil fuels. Some are already there! Roadmaps created by Stanford engineer/atmospheric scientist Mark Z. Jacobson and the Solutions Project he co-founded helped make “100 percent renewables by 2050” a meme.But some have privately questioned the goal’s assumptions, research, and feasibility. Now 21 prominent climate scientists have issued a comprehensive public critique in the same Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences where Jacobson published in 2015. Jacobson’s team gave broad and line-by-line responses, to which the critics responded.This debate highlights the views of experts who support renewables, but believe the electric grid needs a “many of the above” portfolio. To keep the lights on, they say we may long need 20 percent low- or zero-carbon non-renewable baseload capacity. They favor keeping open most atomic plants. They support efforts to develop affordable next-generation nuclear, CCS (carbon capture & sequestration), hot fusion, and LENR (low energy nuclear reactions). They hope these can be deployed at scale in time to make a difference.

Courtesy: By Felix Kramer and Rosana Francescato

Source: Even Smart People Are Still Arguing About Fossil-Free Electricity

This new battery runs on seawater : TreeHugger

There have been so many new approaches to batteries lately that it’s hard to keep track of them all, but most of them have one thing in common: they are all cheaper and safer than lithium-ion batteries.Listen, lithium-ion batteries are the best we’ve got on the market right now. They can store a lot of energy in a small, lightweight package — that’s why they’re in basically everything we own — but they also have some drawbacks. The materials needed to make them aren’t earth-abundant, which makes them more expensive, especially as you scale up in size. They are a fire risk and they also have a fairly short life span.For years, researchers have been looking to more abundant, safer materials to create a better battery. Engineers at South Korea’s Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) are just the latest. They have developed a seawater battery that runs on water and salt, which they say could soon rival the lithium-ion battery in performance.Sodium is the sixth most abundant element on earth, making this battery far cheaper to manufacture and using seawater specifically greatly reduces any chance of fire. The researchers believe that in the future, seawater could be the key to the large-scale energy storage that’s needed as the world shifts to more renewable energy. The batteries could also be used as emergency back-up energy for homes, businesses and ships.The seawater battery works much like a lithium-ion battery as the structure is the same, swapping out lithium for sodium. The university explains:The battery extracts sodium ions from the seawater when it is charged with electrical energy and stores them within the cathode compartment. Upon electrochemical discharge, sodium is released from the anode and reacts with water and oxygen from the seawater cathode to form sodium hydroxide. This process provide energy to power, for instance, an electric vehicle.The salt water is not just acting as an electrolyte; according to the American Chemical Society newsletter it is actually a “catholyte — an electrolyte and cathode combined. In batteries, the electrolyte is the component that allows an electrical charge to flow between the cathode and anode. A constant flow of seawater into and out of the battery provides the sodium ions and water responsible for producing a charge.”Currently, the seawater batteries have a lower electrical output than lithium-ion batteries, but the researchers are working on building the batteries in various sizes and shapes to increase the charge rate. They will soon start mass producing the seawater batteries in a testing facility and join cells together in battery packs. The goal is to produce a battery pack by the end of next year that is capable of providing the home energy needs of a family of four.

Source: This new battery runs on seawater : TreeHugger