Making Co-Housing Trendy 

In cities with rapidly rising rents, foreclosed hotels and office/ industrial buildings have steered the creation of hotel-like spaces that may also house the young or the penniless masses.  You can have a few hundred housemates in an abandoned office building that is turning into one of the world’s largest experiments in co-living, designed in response to London’s insane rents. Inside, residents will have private space to sleep, storage, and a bathroom. A kitchenette may or may not be shared. But they’ll also have access to 12,000 square feet of shared living space, including full kitchens, a library, a spa, a “secret garden,” and a theater. “The idea is that we provide a compact but well-designed living space where you can have all of your basics. … It’s really your crash pad,” says Reza Merchant, CEO of The Collective, the London startup that is developing the building along with several other co-living spaces around the city. “The wealth of amenity space is the modern form of the living room.”
If you want to have a dinner party, for example, you can book a room for that. “It’s the whole sharing economy phenomenon when you share things with other people you get a lot more bang for your buck,” he says. “How often are you going to have a 15-person dinner party? You don’t have that every night, so if you share that with other people, you can have access to all these amazing living spaces that you wouldn’t otherwise have.”It’s designed to be something that someone in their twenties or thirties can afford as London rents which have doubled in the past decade keep soaring. Depending on the neighborhood, the co-living spaces The Collective is building can be 15%-40% cheaper than renting a typical apartment.”At the moment, people earning less than £40,000-£50,000 a year don’t have the option of renting a flat in a decent location,” Merchant says. “So they’re forced at the moment to rent rooms in often illegally converted houses.” Merchant, who is 26, is also convinced that millennials prefer living in communities. “I think if you look at our generation, there’s a shift toward wanting to be part of a community and share experience with their peers,” he says. “The whole concept of sharing is much more acceptable today than it was previously. So on the one hand, people actually prefer to share. On the other hand, there are simply no options.”

The building is designed to be suitcase-ready and is a little like living in a millennial-filled hotel. “We change the linen, we clean the rooms, we have an on-site concierge, we fully furnish the rooms, even down to the knives, the forks, the TV, so that people can show up with their bag and they’re ready to live,” Merchant says. “That’s very much part of the psyche of the millennial generation. They don’t want to own material possessions.” When it opens in 2016, the building will be one of several massive co-living spaces The Collective is planning for London. PLP Architecture, which designed the space, also has plans for another big project, a 30-story skyscraper with co-living on the top and co-working for startups on the bottom.The Collective isn’t the only company to attempt co-living spaces, but there’s still questions about whether the business model works. Campus, a startup from Silicon Valley, notably failed at the same thing. Others, like a new co-living space in Brooklyn, have been criticized for charging rents that aren’t much better than a studio in the area. Still, more are being planned. Overall we think that the growing interest in co-living is a logical reaction to the housing affordability crisis many cities face. There is a massive issue in big cities like London, San Francisco and New York where the lifeblood of these economies simply cannot afford to live affordably. In short this idea is long over due as when you have such an acute issue for what is such a key part of the economy, the market will inevitably come up with solutions.

By Naved Jafry & Garson Silvers

Ref: A Peters

Are Emerging Markets Outpacing Developed Nations In Sustainaible Investments ?


Emerging economies attracted record levels of clean energy investment last year, surpassing investment in wealthier nations for the first time ever, according to a new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). In 2014, the 55 developing nations studied in the Climatescope report brought in $126 billion in clean energy investment — up $35.5 billion, or 39 percent, from 2013 levels. These countries installed a total of 50.4 gigawatts of new clean energy capacity last year — up 21 percent from 2013. In another first, renewable energy capacity deployed in emerging markets surpassed the amount deployed in wealthier OECD countries. Furthermore, the majority of investment did not stem from OECD countries. Rather, it was investment from developing countries to other developing countries, which jumped to $79 billion in 2014, up from $53 billion in 2013.

China played a major role. Last year, China added 35 gigawatts of new renewable generating capacity on its own, which is more than the clean energy projects built last year in the U.S., Britain and France combined. Large hydropower projects were not included in the report’s clean energy calculations. Instead, the authors focused on solar, wind and other clean energy technologies that can be deployed more rapidly. These findings are notable ahead of high-stakes climate talks in Paris next week, where there’s expected to be a strong focus on how much capital wealthier countries should transfer to lesser-developed countries to address the threat of climate change. “In advance of Paris, the good news highlighted in this report is that emerging markets truly can attract investment in clean energy,” Ethan Zindler, head of U.S. research at BNEF, wrote in an email. “The perhaps even better news is that this is being driven less by concerns about climate change than other factors.” Technology cost declines coupled with abundant natural resources have made renewables the lowest-cost energy option in many countries, he said. Solar PV costs, for instance, have dropped 15 percent year over year. This has made solar competitive with fossil-fuel generation, especially in sunny places with high electricity prices. According to GTM Research, average global PV system installed costs are expected to fall another 40 percent in the coming years, from $2.16 per watt in 2014 to $1.24 per watt by 2020.

For many emerging economies, the adoption of renewables is also tied to energy security. In many cases, countries rely on imports of coal and gas, and in some cases oil, which are vulnerable to price volatility and supply disruption. As demand has increased, multilateral development banks have also become more adept at financing clean energy projects in emerging economies. The World Bank, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and others have led successful investment initiatives separate from United Nations-led efforts. Renewable energy is still expected to be a strong focus at the upcoming U.N. climate talks, however. A separate report released this week by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) found that scaling up renewable energy to 36 percent of the global energy mix by 2030 would result in half of all emissions reductions needed to keep global warming below the 2 degree Celsius threshold. Energy-efficiency measures could make up the other half. To achieve a 36 percent share of total energy renewable energy adoption would have to increase sixfold from current levels. That would require global investment to reach $500 billion per year in the period leading up to 2020, and more than triple to $900 billion from 2021 to 2030. In 2014, overall clean energy investment totaled $310 billion, according to BNEF. Many stakeholders argue that rich countries that have benefited from decades of unrestrained fossil-fuel use have an obligation to financially support decarbonization efforts around the world. Disagreement over the responsibilities of “have” countries and “have-not” countries has played a role in derailing previous attempts to reach a global climate-change agreement.
According to Zindler, the BNEF Climatescope report helps to reframe the discussion.  Of the $126 billion invested in emerging markets, he noted that approximately 70 percent took place in China. Factoring in the remaining “BRIC” nations — Brazil, Russia and India — the total comes to more than $100 billion. With the addition of “middle-income” nations, the total rises further. So while the report shows that clean energy adoption can expand on its own today without a big international push, “the very least developed countries still account for just a tiny sliver of overall investment,” said Zindler. “I’d argue that the study suggests that the simple ‘have’ versus ‘have-nots’ dichotomy that often gets set up — with nations such as China and India putting themselves in the ‘have-nots’ category — probably requires a bit more nuance,” he added. “The largest emerging market nations along with others in the ‘middle-income’ category are achieving real results, largely without the help of an international pact. But the poorest nations still lag behind.”

By N.Jafry & G. Silvers

Reference : J.Pyper, Bloomberg Energy Finance


This Bike Path Paved With Solar Panels Shows That All Streets Could Double As Power Sources. If we want it, the road could literally be paved to a renewable energy future. A pilot test of the technology turned out a great success.
One year after a bike path outside Amsterdam was plastered with custom solar panels, it’s generating more power than predicted—and the designers are convinced that it’s proof that networks of solar-covered roads could eventually be a viable energy source.
While typical rooftop solar panels are cheaper to build and can pump out more power, the SolaRoad team argues that pavement could add valuable real estate as roofs start to fill up. In the Netherlands, there’s more available space on roads than all rooftops combined. Solar panels on rooftops are a no-brainer and fortunately the application is growing rapidly, says Sten de Wit from the SolaRoad consortium, adding that some cities are also experimenting with solar panels next to highways. If we can additionally incorporate solar cells in road pavements, then a large extra area will become available for decentralized solar energy generation without the need for extra space … and just part of the roads which we build and use anyway. Though the prototype was pricey, and the team doesn’t yet know what the final cost will be, they’re aiming for it to pay for itself over about 15 years of use. A solar-paved street could ultimately be cheaper than something made of asphalt or concrete.

 For cities and agencies responsible for building and maintaining roads—mainly governmental agencies—this is an interesting proposition if the total cost of ownership (sum of costs and benefits from energy production) of such a road over the life cycle would be comparable to or lower than with current roads,” says de Wit. “With SolaRoad we are developing such a road. 

The pavement could power streetlights, electric cars, or just send power into the local grid. After a year of testing, the road is generating about 70 kilowatt-hours per square meter a year, the upper range of what the researchers predicted was possible in the lab—that’s enough to about power a house three houses. (The effects of pollution, shading by passing cyclists, and other factors are difficult to assess in the lab, says de Wit. It turned out their initial estimates seem now too pessimistic.) For people riding by on bikes, the path looks and works no differently than the rest of the bike network. “Most people do not even notice the difference with a regular bike road,” he says. “That is exactly what we aim to achieve: roads doing whatever they have to do to be a proper road, while harvesting solar energy on the fly. As they work on finalizing their design for bike paths, the researchers are ultimately focused on making it strong enough to handle traffic on streets and highways. “The real potential of this innovation lies in application on regular roads,” says de Wit.  These roads have by far the largest area, all over the world.

By Naved Jafry & Garson Silvers



As world leaders gathered in Paris for a grand conference on climate change, the 21st such get-together since the United Nations began to grapple with the issue. A torrent of pronouncements and promises has already issued forth—
from Pope Francis, Xi Jinping, Barack Obama and many others. The IMF warns that human fortunes will “evaporate like water under a relentless sun” if climate change is not checked soon. Especially in western Europe, but increasingly in America and China too, wind turbines and fields full of solar photovoltaic panels are becoming familiar features of the landscape. If you buy a car or a house in Europe, or even book a hotel room, you may well be told about its cost in carbon. Many companies, including The Economist Group, monitor their carbon-dioxide emissions and often set targets to reduce them. There is gleeful talk of coal, oil and gas falling from favour so quickly that energy firms will be left sitting on heaps of stranded assets. None of this, however, amounts to much. At the time of the first UN climate-change conference in 1995, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide was 361 parts per million. Last year it reached 399 parts per million. Between 2000 and 2010 the rise in greenhouse-gas emissions was even faster than in the 1980s or 1990s. The hottest year since records began was 2014; average surface air temperatures so far this decade are about 0.9°C higher than they were in the 1880s. Dieter Helm, an energy expert at Oxford University, points to “a quarter of a century of nothing of substance being achieved”. The International Energy Agency, a think-tank, estimates that 13.5% of the world’s primary energy supply was produced from renewable sources in 2013. That sounds like a decent slice, but almost three-quarters of this renewable energy came from what are euphemistically known as “biofuels”. This mostly means burning wood, dung and charcoal in poor countries. Hydro-electric power, which has fallen from favour in the West because of its often ruinous effect on river ecosystems, was the world’s second most important source of renewable energy. Nuclear power, which is green but not renewable, supplied 5% of energy needs, and falling. Wind turbines, solar farms, tidal barriers, geothermal power stations and the like produced just 1.3% between them.The global effort to tackle climate change by imposing caps on countries’ greenhouse-gas emissions, which until recently was described as essential for saving the planet, is over. The UN’s boldest attempt to bind countries, the Kyoto protocol of 1997, expired in 2012. It had achieved little and become unworkable; its passing was not much lamented. No ambitious global deal will be signed in Paris, although whatever document emerges from the conference will no doubt be hailed as significant progress.
Rather than submitting themselves to caps, most countries now say they intend to reduce, or at least restrain, their own emissions. This fragmented, voluntary approach avoids the debate that had paralysed climate talks for years, about whether the burden of cutting greenhouse gases should be carried just by the rich world or spread more widely (a debate rendered absurd by the rise of China). It has the advantage of inclusiveness. Outside the oil rich Middle East, which is mostly ignoring the process, countries are at least thinking about what they could do.
America pledges that by 2025 it will cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels. South Korea says that by 2030 its emissions will be 37% below where they would be if the recent upward trend in emissions were projected forward. But even if it manages this, South Korea will be emitting 81% more greenhouse gases in 2030 than it did in 1990. On one matter the conference delegates have already agreed: global temperatures must not be allowed to rise by more than 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels. Politicians and green groups have argued for years that anything more would be wildly dangerous. Almost every book and report about climate change treats this limit as inviolable. Barring a global catastrophe or the spectacular failure of almost every climate model yet devised, though, emissions of greenhouse gases will warm the world by more than 2°C. “It’s nice for people to talk about two degrees,” says Bill Gates, a philanthropist and investor. “But we don’t even have the commitments that are going to keep us below four degrees of warming.”


Changes in the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide, the biggest contributor to global warming, persist for centuries. So it is useful to imagine that mankind has a fixed carbon budget to burn through. Pierre Friedlingstein, a climatologist at Exeter University, calculates that if temperature rises are to be kept below 2°C, the world can probably emit about 3,200 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide in total. The tally so far is 2,000 gigatonnes. If annual emissions remain at present levels, the budget will be exhausted in just 30 years’ time. Global greenhouse gas emissions might indeed hold steady for a while. Total man-made emissions in 2014 were about the same as in 2013, according to the International Energy Agency. This year’s figure could even be slightly lower than last year’s. As this special report will show, the pause has little to do with the forests of wind turbines and solar panels that have popped up in Western countries, and much to do with developments in China. The bad news is that even if greenhouse gas emissions are stabilising, they are doing so at an exalted level, and there is little reason to suppose that the plateau will be followed by a downward slope. China might burn a little less coal in the next few years, but India will burn more and the Chinese will drive more cars. “A lot of poor countries are going to get a lot richer by burning fossil fuels,” predicts Bjorn Lomborg of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, a think-tank. Rich countries will continue to become cleaner, but not dramatically so, at least when the carbon content of the goods they import is added to the reckoning.

Climate change will not be bad for everything and everyone. Some cold countries will find that their fields can grow more crops; others will see fish migrate into their waters. With its ocean-moderated climate, Britain stands out as exceptionally favoured. Yet bad effects will increasingly outnumber benign ones almost everywhere. Some organisms will run into trouble well before the 2°C limit is breached. This special report will argue that climate change will have to be tackled more intelligently and more economically than it has been so far. Renewable energy is crucial. Contrary to what many claim, though, it is not true that existing solar and wind technologies could cheaply save the planet while also creating lots of green jobs if only they were subsidised for just a few more years. Those renewable power sources have cost consumers dear and mangled energy markets. Paying for yet more wind turbines and solar panels is less wise than paying for research into the technologies that will replace them.


Mankind will also have to think much more boldly about how to live under skies containing high concentrations of greenhouse gases. It will have to adapt, in part by growing crops that can tolerate heat and extreme weather, in part by abandoning the worst-affected places. Animals and plants will need help, including transporting them across national and even continental boundaries. More research is required on deliberately engineering the Earth’s atmosphere in order to cool the planet. It is often said that climate change is an urgent problem. If that were true, it might be easier to tackle. In fact it is a colossal but slow-moving problem, spanning generations. 

By Naved Jafry & Garson Silvers

Reference : Economist J. Budd 

Energy Storage & The Internet Of Things (IOT)


Even that massive energy grid is starting to come up against the demands of a power-hungry and carbon-conscious nation, however, with the help of two emerging technologies—the Internet of Things and innovative devices for energy storage—U.S. utilities, tech companies and energy researchers are in the process of reinventing the way we keep the lights on.
The phrase “Internet of Things” (IoT)
describes a vast network of devices that can monitor and manage energy use in everything, from thermostats and dishwashers to factories and office buildings (and a lot else)—even as it collects continuous tracking data on consumption that will allow the utilities to forecast and manage demand on the grid in real time and with great precision. Worldwide, the market for IoT-connected devices and the IT services that support them is expected to grow from $655.8 billion in 2014 to $1.7 trillion in 2020, according to IDC, a market research firm in Framingham, Mass. Meanwhile, ingenious new ways to store energy—such as the lithium-ion batteries that Tesla will begin manufacturing within a year at its $5 billion Giga Factory in the Nevada desert—will help keep the grid in balance, storing excess energy when prices and demand are low, providing backup during outages and helping to bring renewable sources of energy online in scale. Though the electric grid has been called one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century, the network is aging. “If…the technologies employed in the grid do not change, it is likely to be difficult to maintain acceptable reliability and electric rates,” warns an MIT study titled The Future of the Electric Grid. “The U.S. electric utility industry has historically devoted a very small fraction of its revenues to R&D, instead relying primarily on its suppliers for innovation.” The grid matches energy supply to demand as it happens and cannot store energy. As a result, generators that rely on fuels such as coal, oil, gas and nuclear have to be powered up and down to meet fluctuating demand. Power systems are built to be as big as they are so that they can meet peak demand—during the hottest days of the year, for example, when all air conditioners are blasting. But much of the time, plants stand idle. From 2005 to 2009 in New York and New England, more than 30 percent of capacity was in use less than 12 percent of the time, according to the MIT study.On an early autumn afternoon in 1882, steam dynamos started driving electricity out of the Edison Illuminating Company on Pearl Street in Manhattan. One of the first commercial power plants in the United States, it was capable of lighting a grand total of 400 light bulbs. Today’s electrical grid—six million miles of high-voltage transmission and distribution lines that link a network of generating stations—serves electricity to 143 million residential, commercial, government and industrial customers.

By using IoT technology to gather precise metrics, such as running time and power consumption of air-conditioning units, smart homes, smart buildings and even smart cities, we will be able to make more precise predictions of the load on utilities, leading to both greater energy efficiency and a reduction of strain on the grid. Nearly half of those who have bought smart home products say they would allow energy providers to adjust their thermostats, according to Parks Associates, a market research firm in Mountain View, Calif. In exchange, utilities could offer a peak-time rebate. “Peak-time rebates represent a pay-for-performance model that does not require exhaustive pilots,” writes Tom Kerber, director of research, home controls and energy at Parks Associates. “Understanding customers’ daily usage and likely participation in an event allows retailers to create a plan for purchasing power on the day-ahead market and bidding demand response into the spot market.”
In commercial offices, BuildingIQ’s Cloud-based software taps into existing sensors that measure pressure and temperature, making changes to the air handler that result in a 10 to 25 percent reduction in heating and cooling energy expenses. Some utilities are providing the software to their largest customers, calling on them to reduce energy automatically during demand response events. IoT technology will also have a huge impact outside homes, in cities where sensors can detect patterns to determine when the lights should go on. “We’re moving in the direction where the infrastructures we build will be smarter when it comes to energy usage,” says Jason Mars, a computer engineering professor at the University of Michigan. With the advent of renewable energy, cutting-edge batteries will also reshape the power grid. In 2010, renewable sources of energy other than hydropower accounted for only 4.2 percent of U.S. generation, according to figures cited in the MIT grid paper, but that figure varies greatly by state. In 2013, California’s three big investor-owned utility companies received 22.7 percent of their electricity from renewables other than hydropower, according to the state’s Public Utilities Commission. By 2020, legislation mandates that renewables must be up to a third.
But the supply of renewable energy fluctuates. Compared to a coal-fired plant, such sources may not produce the same amount from one hour to the next—for example, if a cloud passes over the sun or the wind starts to gust—making it difficult for grid operators to match supply with demand.“Supercharged batteries with enough capacity to light up a neighborhood could transform the grid.”For this reason, among others, the grid of the future must nimbly manage power from many sources. The solution is in storage technology, including such novel approaches as storing power in compressed air (PowerSouth Energy Cooperative in Alabama) or in molten sand and glass (Solar Reserve’s project at the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Nevada). Other innovators are working with flywheels in a vacuum (which store rotational energy) and pumped hydropower (which pushes water to higher elevations in off-peak periods and storing it in the form of future gravitational energy).
Supercharged batteries with enough capacity to light up a neighborhood could transform the grid. As the cost of the technology drops, consumers will be able to fill batteries with excess solar energy or draw from the grid when demand and prices are low—and then use power stored in the batteries when demand on the grid is high or if the supply falters during the day due to weather.
In the spring, Tesla, the Palo Alto–based maker of luxury electric vehicles, announced it would begin selling stationary rechargeable batteries. “The response has been overwhelming,” chief executive Elon Musk said during the company’s earnings call in May. “There is no way that we could possibly satisfy the demand this year. We are basically sold out through the middle of next year.”
San Mateo’s Solar City, which designs, finances and installs solar power systems, expects the cost of its batteries to drop as manufacturing scales up, said chief executive Peter Rive, during the company’s last earnings call. “Over the next five to 10 years, these cost reductions will make it feasible to deploy battery by default with all of our solar power systems… Battery spread throughout the distribution system can lower the cost of grid service.” Sungevity, an Oakland-based developer of rooftop power systems, will begin selling energy storage manufactured by Germany’s Sonnenbatterie GmbH in the U.S. and Europe later this year. The lithium-ion cells can be recharged 10,000 times.Electric and hybrid plug-in vehicles may also have a role in managing the grid. If plugged in and not in use, the car’s battery could serve as an operating reserve.“Vehicles are parked the vast majority of the time,” says Samveg Saxena, a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who is developing models of how millions of plug-in vehicles would impact the grid—research that has been of great interest to utilities, energy regulators and automobile companies. “They’re only used for mobility sometimes. Grid storage becomes a side effect of deploying clean transportation.”

Assuming the financial incentives are attractive enough, vehicle owners may someday be willing to sell the energy stored in their batteries during peak periods on the grid.“We’ve barely scratched the surface of that potential,” said Rahul Tongia, a Brookings India expert on energy delivery, adding that the total horsepower of vehicles in the U.S. is larger than the horsepower of the grid. “The electrical grid is more than a hundred years old, and we shouldn’t expect miracles. We should aim for long-term solutions, and at the end of the day, there is no one answer and no one solution.”

Compiled By Naved Jafry & Garson Silvers

Courtesy :The Atlantic Rethink

Understanding The Home Upgrade Market


Business ventures are now catalysing market actors to capture a share of the $150 billion market for energy performance improvements (which would have even greater potential if the energy savings captured from efficiency measures could then be sold into energy markets like electricity). Despite some gains over the past few decades, empirical evidence indicates it is difficult to achieve significant energy performance improvements in the U.S. residential sector. It turns out that the supposed low hanging fruit of climate change mitigation energy efficiency is not so low because it necessitates multiple actions among the approximately 51 million single family homeowners in America alone, concurrently encounter a disaggregated and uncoordinated market for home energy upgrades. As a result, energy upgrades do not seem worth the effort to homeowners, and solution providers do not appear to offer products or services that homeowners like.

Standing in parallel with the meager uptake of energy performance improvements is the fact that consumers increasingly want a constellation of changes to their homes such as greater comfort, health, connectivity, renewable power, and affordability that energy performance improvements can fully deliver. The bridge that energy upgrades could provide connecting the current (underwhelming) performance of U.S. homes with what Americans want from their homes appears, however, to be an unknown or insufficiently inspiring narrative to most homeowners. 

According to our survey there is a disconnect between what programs market and deliver, and what people think they need, to create value in their homes. It’s up to us to develop new and innovative programs that are so attractive and beneficial to homeowners that they are drawn to something they never before knew they wanted or needed. 


Roadblocks exist that prevent homeowners from both taking the first step to cross this bridge and from completing the journey. A homeowner might dismiss the investment immediately due to being unaware of the multiple benefits of energy upgrades, an absence of norms that make high performance a standard expectation, a belief that enough has been done already to improve home energy performance, or a general dissatisfaction with the range of products available in the market today. Alternatively, a homeowner might want to make the investment, but then not complete the process due to a lack of readily available financing, multiple decision-making points (which each contain their own complexities), or underprepared local contractors. Today, a homeowner has to interact with every person in this room to perform an energy upgrade. It has to be easier to give people what they want and it’s up to us to strip out the confusion.Many factors therefore limit the uptake of energy performance improvements both before and after a homeowner makes a decision to proceed with an investment in energy upgrades undermining the broader uptake of energy performance improvements nationwide. Strong attendee engagement at the Residential Energy+ Workshop showed that the most powerful market actors agreed we cannot keep doing the same thing and expect different results. We have many of the pieces we need to make a relevant home energy upgrade industry, but we suffer from the inability to get players to play together. Collaborative and organized efforts are needed to get us unstuck, and define where we next go and how we create success.


To identify and coordinate near and long-term opportunities for impactful market interventions aimed at motivating, simplifying, and monetizing homeowner investments in energy upgrades, several projects are pitched for collaborative, market-based interventions, receiving firm commitments to provide data, time, funds, or expertise from diverse industry representatives with the will and the means to bring ideas to impact.

Now the real work begins. Over the coming years industry leaders should continue to  rapidly test ideas, pursue “quick wins,” and refine solutions generated by continuing to work directly with market actors. Exciting opportunities to unlock the residential market and catalyze tangible efforts can help consumers to make their homes more comfortable, healthier, smarter, renewably-powered, affordable, and an overall better place to live.  Overall what will continue to drive us forward is collaboration and good old-fashioned competition. The sustainable upgrade sector needs to continue their efforts to reach their goals to have  some real teeth to solve the home energy challenge.

Reference – RMI 

What Enterprises Need To Know About Creating Sustainable Development Goals


Which goals are key for businesses? What sectors do they address? Will they make any difference? Here are some insights on many of the 169 SDG targets which can come handy when building a SDG compatible organization. Where the millennium development goals were seen as applying principally to developing countries, the sustainable development goals will apply globally. What do businesses need to know about them? Ahead of the formal adoption of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) at the UN’s Sustainable Development Summit in New York, we wonder what are the SDGs, what do they mean for business and what impact will they have?
What are they?
The SDGs effectively replace the millennium development goals (MDGs), which were in place from 2000 to 2015. Whether you believe the MDGs were a success or not, they certainly became a fulcrum for global development. In 2012, at Rio+20, it was agreed that a new set of goals would be drawn up, based on widespread stakeholder engagement. The final 17 goals as agreed by all 193 member states of the UN cover a 15-year timeframe to 2030 and include 169 targets. “Unlike the MDGs, the private sector has been very involved in their creation,” says Simon Kingston, global development practice lead at Russell Reynolds Associates.
Which goals are most business-specific?
MDG sceptics long argued that the only reason people were lifted out of poverty from 2000-2015 was the economic growth of developing and middle-income markets, most notably China and India. In a sense, the SDGs build on that argument and embrace private sector growth as a means for development and poverty reduction. Goal 8 includes targets to achieve full employment for all, protect labour rights and tackle the Neet (people not in education, employment or training) crisis, the last of these by 2020. It also includes the memorable phrase “decouple economic growth from environmental degradation”, which could become the slogan for sustainable business.Goal 9’s “sustainable industrialisation” talks of a need to significantly raise “industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product, and double its share in least developed countries” – a pro private sector stance (and arguably anti public ownership). “The important elements for business is that their role has been recognised,” says San Bilal, head of the economic transformation and trade programme at the European Centre for Development Policy Management. “They are not considered the bad guys any more. The discourse has changed – seeking to make profit is not seen as [incompatible] with development.”However, Rob Cameron, executive director of SustainAbility and former CEO of Fairtrade International, says: “Don’t overlook Goal 1, end poverty in all its forms, everywhere … the question becomes one of equity, and business will need to address that.”

Which sectors are addressed?
There’s a fair bit in the goals for the food and drink industry. Goal 12 includes halving per capita global food waste at the retail level and reducing food losses along production and supply chains. Goal 2 also seems to favour smallholder farmers over large-scale agri-business – “double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers … including through secure and equal access to land”. For the energy industry, fossil-fuel subsidies are to be phased out “where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts”, while increasing “substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix”. Water and utilities obviously have a direct interest in Goal 6 (ensure access to water and sanitation for all), while the fishing industry is targeted by Goal 14(conserve oceans, seas and marine resources).
Recurring theme of trade liberalisation
The removal of subsidies and trade barriers recurs throughout. As well as fossil-fuel subsidises, the prohibition of fisheries subsidies is called for in Goal 14. Goal 17 gives robust support to global business and free trade, and calls for meaningful trade liberalisation under the World Trade Organisation (WTO), while the “means of implementation” section of the SDGs twice describes international trade as an “engine for inclusive economic growth”. We can expect to see the Doha Development Agenda come back to the fore.“Governments cannot ignore their responsibilities,” says Cameron. “There is no such thing as a free market, there never has been – government sets the rules by which commerce is done … that regulation has to shift.”
Sustainable business becomes mainstream
The circular economy, supply chain auditing and sustainability reporting – all come out of the shadows and into the limelight.Goal 12 calls for the 10-year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production to be implemented, which promotes whole life cycle, cradle-to-cradle approaches among other things. Target 12.6 calls on member states to encourage companies to “integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle”. Expect to see a lot of activity around reporting standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative.
Will the SDGs make any difference?
Not everyone thinks so. These are aspirations, not legally binding commitments. Bill Easterly, co-director of New York University’s Development Research Institute, has called the SDGs “a very big container of verbal fudge”. Many,including David Cameron, have decried the sheer number of goals and targets. “Let’s not be naïve,” says Bilal. “The SDGs provide a nice framework but in themselves are not sufficient to change approaches and attitudes … with 169 targets, the full implementation of the SDGs will not be possible.”However, even if they do preach to the converted, Kingston believes converts can now increasingly “influence their supply chain, through contractual arrangements, expectations and scrutiny. That’s the next generation of this agenda … What we’ve learned from the MDGs is having a shared framework and shared language is something one shouldn’t be too cynical about … and it is a revelation to see people like Paul Polman now in the middle of this, rather than the outside looking in.”
What happens next?
Following the UN summit, multi-sector working groups will form for each of the 17 goals. A UN business advisory council will also launch their website that will offer businesses a step-by-step guide to how they can address the post-2015 agenda and the International Chamber of Commerce has launched a guide to help companies contribute to the SDGs for a much promising future.

By Naved Jafry & Garson Silvers