the newsletter of tbd consultants - Spring/Summer 2021
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Climate Change Costs
As Covid-19 starts to come under control we turn our attention to climate change. Here we look at what's involved and what it will be costing us.
In this article we look at what the construction industry has been doing in relation to climate change and what challenges it still faces.
There are big challenges facing us over the future years and decades, and big plans and goals are needed. But what we need to see are real, practical options for reducing the impact society is having on this planetís environment, and every contribution is a step in the right direction, however big or small it may be.
One such example is the Power Plants designed by VITAL Inc. (now known as Nash Hurley Architecture Studio) and for which TBD provided costing information. These are a novel net-zero energy exterior lighting system that is battery and solar powered. The efforts to keep restaurants and other businesses operating during the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for adaptability, as businesses moved from inside the premises to the street, parking lots or other open area. The fact that lighting systems such as VITALís Power Plants can be moved by two people and a hand-truck helps when areas have to be reconfigured quickly to meet changing needs. The design of the lighting system is modular, so it can be installed in different ways to meet different needs, such as for use as free-standing area lighting or as a wall-mounted light.
Having its own solar power source means that it does not have to use a distributed grid of power cables with the inevitable power-loss along the way. Not having to use a distributed power source also saves on the cost and energy involved in installing such a system, the need to maintain it, and (if you are in a fire danger area) a reduction in the possible trigger sources for the fires. And the lights stay on, even when the grid goes down.
Such a lighting system would not meet all exterior lighting requirements, for example along a highway. However, the same type of self-contained solar-powered lighting technology could be implemented.
Obviously, such lighting systems are not, by themselves, going to solve the problems of climate change, although it is a great example of a very stylish contribution towards achieving a sustainable climate. Such innovative thinking will be needed to reduce the impact we are having on the environment, and it demonstrates that it is possible to do good while also looking stylish and being cost effective.
Trees are great absorbers of carbon but, of course, these Power Plants are not real trees. However, technology for absorbing carbon from the air is being developed, and maybe, someday soon, we might see such technology incorporated in products like this.
As the Tao Te Ching says: "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Or, as some smart-aleck put it: "How do you eat an elephant?" "One bite at a time."
Our thanks to Nash Hurley Architectural Studio for their collaboration with this article, and for the images used.
Design consultant: Katie Levine of Vallance, Inc.