Book Review: Factor Five

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We all know it: energy – and resource efficiency is the panacea to all our energy and environmental woes. As I finished reading an excellent book on the very matter, I am sharing with you today the main findings.

Factor Five is the sequel of the 1997-book Factor Four. It demonstrates how our world economy could become at least five times more efficient and thus truly achieve a sustainable development in terms of economy and environment.

Full with facts, figures and examples taken from all around the world, it shows it is not only possible but that it makes a lot of sense both economically and environmentally.

The authors focus on various sectors and starts by the most important one in terms of greenhouse gases emissions, buildings. If you had a look at my Master’s thesis, you know that many things can be achieved there.

Buildings, and the appliances used within them can already benefit from huge improvements that can cut by 80 percent or more the energy used there. Passive houses are already a reality in many countries and can consume up to 90 percent less energy than today’s counterparts.

As I already noted back in 2006 renewable energy sources are really interesting when such efficiency is reached.

The book goes on with the industry sector and mentions the case of the steel industry and how it could tremendously benefit from Electric Arc Furnace as it is as much as 90 percent more efficient than the current Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF) used in almost all factories today. (cf page 147)

Afterwards, the book is handling agriculture which consumes huge amounts of water (69 percent of all water consumed by economies around the world) a critical utility as climate is warming and weirding. The authors present among others, the potential of drip irrigation to ease the water stress felt in more and more countries.

The last economic sector to be tackled is transport. The book doesn’t discuss electric cars in depth but rather focuses on public transportation, bikes as well as making our cars lighter and hybrid. Congestion charges, like the ones used in London and more and more cities looks like a promising solution to help people ditch their cars within cities.

The next part of the book is about implementing these solutions and drive a new revolution. Knowing the aversion of our politicians to work on the common good, there is a lot to do…

Conclusion : You will have understood it, Factor Five is simply a must read I am delighted to recommend the book not only to you but to political leaders all around the world.

This should enable political leaders to grasp better what is behind green growth and how it could benefit us all.

Grade : 19/20.

About Author

Fascinated by sustainability and cleantech since 2004, Edouard wrote both his Bachelor of Arts' dissertation and Master's thesis on sustainable energy topics. He haven't stopped writing on these subjects ever since. A French Master's graduate in international management, Edouard has had several experiences in Marketing and Communications in Europe. He worked for firms as diverse as a German water treatment company, a leading French business school and lately a Belgian automation specialist. He is currently for hire globally. Since 2007 Edouard has been selecting for his own blog the latest headlines and best researches on sustainable development, climate change, cleantech and the world energy sector. With over 1,600 published articles, he is read all over the world. On Cleantechies, Edouard has been proposing since June 2009 news articles and opinion pieces on on French and European policies. Don't hesitate to contact him as he is always interested in discussing with new people.