I believe that we must all consider very carefully every element of our throw-away society, and re-think how we manage our resources. We must re-evaluate, whether as consumers, suppliers, or manufacturers, how we source, make, and use products, and what we do with the waste materials afterwards.
What are they - where do we start? Let’s start by imagining a single building – a building using technology that adapts its heating, cooling and lighting according to external conditions and occupancy at any given moment. Or, we might think about a building that features such sophisticated energy management systems, and effective sustainable technologies, that it can feed energy back into the grid. Such ultra-efficient buildings are key to helping create a successful zero-carbon cluster, and the technology is available NOW.
Now, let’s consider a group of these buildings, referred to as a cluster, perhaps including businesses, offices, retail outlets, a factory and recycling facilities. To make these clusters carbon neutral, and waste free, needs the cooperation of all involved. This is because addressing the essential core elements – the expansion of renewables, local grid upgrades, and system and process interconnection, will be a shared responsibility. Within the cluster, decentralised and linked intelligent energy systems will measure and manage the challenge of supply volatility for both generation and consumption.
The inclusion of carefully managed and environmentally friendly green urban spaces within clusters, with trees, wild flowers, water features and shrubbery will enhance the aesthetic look, offset emissions, reduce noise pollution and improve air quality and psychological wellbeing.
Factories should now be designing and producing products that can be re-used or recycled, or alternatively can be used as waste that will convert into energy, to help feed back into the local grid. This energy can then be used to supply homes, hospitals, and other shared facilities within the cluster.
A successful net zero cluster with a circular economy gives us the power to grow regional prosperity, create new jobs, and build local resilience while cutting greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and pollution.
It’s not jargon, it’s not a pipe dream, it’s our new reality and you can be involved. Let's start......