Carbon + circularity: ‘Future of Construction’ in The Times

New writing… Pleased to say I have had another couple of articles published in The Times newspaper, as part of a special Raconteur report on the Future of Construction.

Exploring how sustainability in the built environment calls for a change in mindset, the pieces examine both the prospects for a circular economy and the rate of radical decarbonisation that is required of the construction industry, as a whole.

According to the OECD, world consumption of raw materials is set to double by 2060, with construction a major part of the problem, as urbanisation runs riot around the globe. In fact, associated construction waste is forecast to rise almost twofold within just a matter of a few years, by 2025.

Amounting to an alarmimg 40% of total emissions, the carbon footprint of the built environment also represents a major hurdle in greening the sector and the UK Construction 2025 deadline for a 50% cut looms large.

The clock is ticking fast. So, to learn more about the challenge facing construction and the industry response, please check out the articles in full, complete with expert insights, comment and analysis, by clicking here:

‘Carbon, carrots and sticks: Can the circular economy in construction really work?’

The full 16-page Future of Construction report is available to view/download here.


 


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Need for a Green Lining: ‘Cloud for Business’ in The Times

New writing... Pleased to say I have had another article published in The Times newspaper, as part of a special Raconteur report on Cloud for Business.

In this digital age of lives lived online and businesses built on megabytes, my latest piece looks at the urgent and rising need to clean the cloud. With impending impacts of innovation, ranging from cryptocurrencies to 5G, the tech community and its clients are increasingly conscious of responsibilities regarding environmental unsustainability of skyrocketing datacentre energy consumption and inflated carbon footprints.

Going offline is not an option, but going green is…

You can read the full story here (with no paywall), on:

‘The need to power datacentres sustainably’.

The full 16-page Cloud for Business report is available to view/download here.

Greening the footprint of Big Data

A version of this article first appeared in a Special Report on ‘Low-Carbon Business’, published in The Times, 3 September, 2012.

What do New York, Oregon, Colorado and North Carolina have in common with Norway, Finland, Iceland and New Zealand? The answer is that all are home to ‘green’ data centres. The physical carbon footprint of virtual lives lived online and in the cloud is real and growing. In response, albeit belatedly, energy use and emissions reduction have now become the focus of significant commercial investment and intense public scrutiny.

The list of brands involved reads like a roll-call of major corporates, including: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, FedEx, Google, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft and Yahoo. Performance is mixed, to say the least: For ‘Renewables & Advocacy’ in the report ‘How Clean is Your Cloud’, Greenpeace recently scored Google an ‘A’, Apple a ‘D’ (subsequently raised to a ‘C’) and Amazon an ‘F’.

Neither technology nor design are insurmountable obstacles to deeper-green solutions, as completed facilities prove: First Verne Global, then Green Mountain, have developed zero-carbon new-build data centres, in Iceland and Norway respectively, taking advantage of cheap renewable energy, plus low ambient temperatures for ‘free’ cooling.

However, ‘Let not the perfect be the enemy of the good’ as they say – ‘better’ is still better than nothing. Just as population growth relies on retrofit of current housing stock to meet demand, so growth in the digital universe also calls for investment in existing operational facilities, services and software for better measurement and management of data to optimise performance. Upgrading old centres, as well as old ways, is vital to scaling and speeding progress.

The future for sustainable low-carbon business is plain to see: Data can only get bigger; so, energy must get smarter.

To view the Special report in full online, please click here.

Author: Jim McClelland

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