2015 has seen a growing emphasis towards environmental issues especially in light of COP21. We’ve seen a wide variety of solutions, from green-tech projects which help communities in developing countries access renewable energy, to government legislation like ESOS; which targets large EU businesses to help them achieve energy savings.

Going into 2016 there are several key trends that are emerging to support and improve sustainable business practices. Here are our top three to look out for:

Global Responsibility

The end of 2015 saw the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris, giving the first legally binding climate commitment where all countries are required to manage the impacts of climate change.

Alongside the agreements of COP21, several plans for additional action to decrease carbon emissions and improve sustainability were made by countries, investors and companies.  A key result of COP21 was the introduction of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC’s). Implementation of INDC’s will mean that renewables will make up 78% of new power generation investment by 2030, in turn decreasing the cost of renewable energy.[1]

This emerging trend of global responsibility is the first step in building a new low carbon economy. It calls an end to ‘business as usual’ across the energy and fossil fuel industries as investment will have to support a more sustainable future.

Intelligent Buildings

2016 appears to be the year of smart building solutions. Key investors and building owners are beginning to look to new techniques that nod to the ever growing Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing.

The introduction of The Energy Cloud is set to decentralize the electricity grid and comes as a response to advanced technological changes in recent years.[2] The movement mirrors cloud computing because it represents accessibility and ubiquity. Some of the key results of The Energy Cloud include; building energy management systems (BEMS) which help deliver greater energy efficiency results and virtual power plants (VPP’s), which utilise multiple power sources in order to give a reliable overall power source.

In addition to the emergence of The Energy Cloud, talk of smart cities is set to soar as several conferences and events in Europe in 2016 drive the construction of intelligent buildings.

Degeneration of Coal

The talks at Paris signalled a clear end to the use of coal as a main energy source;  world leaders, company’s an investors have confirmed that the industry is being phased out in developed countries such as the U.S and Europe, even China is becoming less reliant as it seeks to clean up its air pollution.[3]

Companies are now turning towards smart energy sources as a replacement for the use of fossil fuels such as wind, solar, biomass and geothermal. There has even been a tentative turn towards nuclear power as research has shown that coal plants often emit 100 times more radiation annually than a nuclear plant of comparative size.[4]

Inevitably the move away from coal has thrown up controversy as people argue that this change will not support economic growth due to the high cost of renewable energy. This criticism has led to the argument that clean-coal could provide a suitable solution that matches a low carbon future, however many environmentalists do not view this as a satisfactory solution to the impacts of climate change.

But what does this mean for your business?

COP21, the degeneration of coal and intelligent buildings may seem like they have little connection to your day-to-day business practices. However, with the introduction of new technologies company’s now have a wide choice of tools and technologies to better manage their energy consumption which could help them achieve huge savings each year.

Low Carbon Europe specialises in supporting our clients discover the best route to efficiency. This may include helping them source and utilise the latest technologies or implementing long-term energy and sustainability management plans.

2016 holds the promise of signifying a turning point in the battle to fight climate change. With the support of emerging green technologies and talk of smart cities, it seems we may finally be on track for a low carbon, low emission future.

If you’d like to find out more about how Low Carbon Europe could help your company with energy or sustainability call us on 01273 862586.