Posts Tagged fossil fuels

First Carbon Neutral Building in Africa

Posted by on Monday, 21 March, 2011

Carbon neutral buildings are a sub category of low-carbon buildings. Carbon neutral buildings are buildings which are specifically engineered to release no GHG at all or to balance the GHG emissions they produce using GHG trades.

During construction and operation, buildings release GHG in the atmosphere. GHG emissions associated with buildings construction are mainly coming from materials manufacturing, materials transport, demolition wastes transport, demolition wastes treatment etc.

The construction, renovation, and deconstruction of a typical building are on average responsible for the emissions of 1,000-1,500 kgCO2e/m.

GHG emissions from buildings are occurring due to electricity consumption, Consumption of fossil fuels on-site for the production of electricity, hot water, heat, etc., on-site waste water treatment, on-site solid wastes treatment, industrial processes housed in the buildings etc.

Strategies adopted by carbon-neutral buildings to reduce GHG emissions during construction include:

  • Reduce quantity of materials used
  • Select materials with low emissions factors associated (e.g., recycled materials)
  • Select materials suppliers as close as possible from the construction site to reduce transport distances
  • Divert demolition wastes to recycling instead of landfills or incineration

To reduce GHG emissions carbon neutral buildings normally adopt two methods ie by reducing energy consumption or by using 100% renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, biofuels, geothermal, wave and tidal etc.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi has become the first carbon-neutral building in Africa by using solar power. A system of over 4,000 modules was installed on the roof of the new UNEP offices by German firm Energiebau Solarstromsysteme GmbH. The 515 kilowatt solar project was connected to the grid on February 21st, and is expected to generate more energy than the 1,200 employees in the building will need.

Solar energy has been something the U.N. has been targeting in Africa for years. And now that the building’s sustainable energy supply is online, it is the largest on-roof solar power system on the continent.

Aldo Leopold Foundation Headquarters, Fairfield (WI):

The Aldo Leopold Foundation Headquarters located in Fairfield, Wisconsin is the first LEED-platinum carbon neutral building. 30 percent of all building materials used on the project are from recycled materials. Also, this building include sustainable features like high efficiency, low – flow plumbing fixtures, Low-VOC adhesives, sealants, paints, flooring systems and composite wood products to improve air quality, Twenty three Solatube skylights on the second floor, Lighting fixtures equipped with occupancy sensors designed to turn off when there is no movement or noise for an extended period of time etc.


Kroon Hall, Yale University’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies:

Kroon Hall is Yale Universitie’s greenest building. Rainwater harvesting system and cleansing pond, recycled, recyclable, sustainably harvested or manufactured nontoxic materials, natural light and ventilation, geothermal energy system, solar hot water heaters, rooftop solar panels facing south, solar heat gain in winter and natural lighting year round along the long unobstructed south-facing wall, recycling of demolition and construction waste are some of the sustainable features of Kroon Hall building.

To read more about Kroon Hall building visit


Related Terms in the Glossary:

Carbon neutral

Fossil Fuels

Greenhouse Gas


Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

Posted by on Friday, 11 March, 2011

The World’s first Renewable Heat Incentive was launched in UK by the energy secretary Chris Huhne. It is a government scheme with an investment of 860 million pounds aimed at increasing the green capital investment by 4.5 billion pounds by 2020 to create a new market for renewable heat.

What is Renewable Heat Incentive?

RHI is a government designed to encourage people to adopt low-carbon heating systems and thereby reducing the dependence of fossil fuels for heating purpose. It is the first of its kind financial scheme in the world to subsidize low-carbon heating. It provides an incentive to induce number of industrial, commercial and public sector installations adopt renewable energy.

Need for such scheme

Currently around half of the UK’s carbon emissions come from the energy used to produce heat – more than from generating electricity. The RHI will reduce emissions by 44 million tonnes of carbon to 2020, equivalent to the annual carbon emitted by 20 typical new gas power stations. About 95% of heat in the UK is currently produced by burning fossil fuel but with North Sea supplies in decline, leading to an increase in imports, low carbon alternatives are needed.

The new financial incentive will encourage installation of equipment like renewable heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar thermal panels to reduce emissions and support the existing 150,000 jobs in the heating industry. Renewable heat is a largely untapped resource and an important new green industry of the future according to Chris Huhne.

Businesses and public sector organisations are expected to be the biggest beneficiaries of the plan at first, as households will have to wait until October 2012. But up to 25,000 homeowners will be eligible from this July for a special grant to cover the cost of installing green heating. People taking up the subsidies will receive a rate of return on their outlay of about 12%, according to government calculations. For instance, a large ground source heat pump installation costing about £300,000 would receive a subsidy payment of £27,600 a year.


Related Terms in the Glossary:

Fossil Fuels