As businesses, communities, cities, states, and a planet, we are failing badly! A recent United Nations report " lists mounting dangers to people, plants, animals, ecosystems and economies, with people at risk in the millions and billions and potential damages in the trillions of dollars. The IPCC report is an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.” Collectively we are letting politics, business interests, personal preferences, and misguided beliefs get in the way of significant clean climate progress.
What is needed now is a true self perpetuating sustainability plan than can be implemented on any level. The good news is science and history are pointing the way and we can quickly move to that path. The key element is that going forward each carbon reduction project must able to be financed over a period of no more than seven years and provide average monthly energy savings equal to or greater then the monthly cost.
First let's look at how this would work at a concerned corporation level and focus on the low hanging fruit. In an in depth study of all greenhouse gas abatement measures in the report "Strategic Options For Climate Change Mitigation", the most productive measure was Insulation Improvements with a payback of about 160%! A good way to initiate a corporate self perpetuating sustainability plan would be to insulate the glazing of their infrastructure through a seven year loan against the equity in those structures. They could do an in depth analysis to calculate the ROI which will vary dependent on the type of glazing, energy source, orientation, climate, and building use. Almost every time the estimate will be seven year or less. Therefore the corporation will have created a successful self perpetuating sustainability plan that when paid for can fund another sustainability project or renewable energy project!
A governmental agencies or social responsible organization could also create a Self Perpetuating Sustainability Plan with seed funding. Those funds would be to finance glazing insulation or structure insulation projects for successful businesses that own or have significant equity in their infrastructure. In exchange for loans to insulate their infrastructure, those businesses would make two commitments. They would repay the monthly savings on utility cost to the loan provider until the loan was totally repaid. They would then initiate another energy savings or renewable energy project using the continuing savings.
Making significant improvements in our clean climate programs would results from focusing on projects that self fund and perpetuate. The math is already available and we could quickly validate such projects on every level. Buildings consume over seventy per cent of all electricity generated and windows lose 15 t0 20 times the energy per square foot when compared to the building walls! Infiltration in buildings alone is responsible 6-9% of the US energy budgets and windows are the thermal hole in the building envelope where the majority of our energy is consumed. Let's work to get better results starting now to everyone's benefit!