London, United Kingdom is seen as a leader throughout the entire European continent. As such, it needs to take a leg up when it comes to renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. London looks to be a global cleantech leader and guide other European cities as well as cities around the world with the information and advice needed to become a champion of clean technology. London hosts a number of research centers, organizations, institutions, and events that promote clean technology, while major businesses and residential locations are also looking to “go green” and help reduce the carbon footprint of this city. Listed below are just ten of the highlights of cleantech in London, United Kingdom.
1 ) Imperial College London Energy Futures Lab. The Energy Futures Lab at Imperial College London is one of the top cleantech institutes in the world. They have top research and development credentials, including a ten-year collaboration project with Shell International and Qatar Petroleum to develop carbon storage technologies. They also are collaborating on a joint venture agreement with automobile company Rolls-Royce to create lower carbon aero engines. The lab focuses on energy efficiency, renewable energy, nuclear power, electrical networks, transport, and policy development. The aim of the lab is to work with government, industries, and funding agencies to create research opportunities for these sectors and assist in the development of energy research, and encourage cleantech entrepreneurship.
2 ) Planning the London 2012 Summer Olympics to be Sustainable. In an effort to outdo the Vancouver Winter Olympics as the “greenest Olympics ever,” London looks to achieve more than Vancouver when it comes to renewable energy and energy efficiency during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The London Olympic Authority has already stated their desire to make the London 2012 Summer Olympics the first sustainable Olympic Games, thereby setting precedence for all future games. To achieve this effort, each building in the Olympic Village will be designed to meet explicit targets, such as cutting down carbon footprints by 50 percent and using at least 25 percent of all materials through recycling.
3 ) Heathrow Airport Looks to Combat Climate Change. Throughout the United Kingdom, the aviation industry accounts for around six percent of all carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, the United Kingdom Committee on Climate Change has estimated that the United Kingdom can accommodate growth within the aviation industry while reducing carbon dioxide emissions and meeting national targets. London’s Heathrow Airport is doing what it can to tackle climate change, including technological advances, use of low-carbon fuels, making operations more efficient, and doing emissions trading (right now on a European level but soon a global level). The goal of the airport is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 34 percent by 2020 and 80 percent in 2050 (compared to 1990 levels).
4 ) RenewableUK. RenewableUK is located in London and is the trade and professional body for the wind and marine renewable energy industries in the United Kingdom. It was established in 1978 and is the leading renewable energy trade association in the country. The primary purpose of RenewableUK is to promote the generation, deployment, and utilization of wave, tidal, and wind power in and around the United Kingdom. The primary role of RenewableUK is to be a catalyst for policy change and maximize the benefits of these renewable energies.
5 ) Telehouse London Makes the Switch to 100 Percent Renewable Energy. In December of 2011, Telehouse made the announcement that its London Docklands data center purchases 100 percent renewable energy from SmartestEnergy. This data center houses IT infrastructure for around 500 major international organizations. This is one more step for Telehouse London in its commitment to decrease its carbon dioxide footprint. This company has already received the Carbon Trust Standard certifying that the organization has measured, managed, and decreased carbon dioxide emissions from its operations and is committed to furthering the decrease in the future. Tokuji Mitsui, managing director of Telehouse and KDDI Europe, pointed out that “The majority of electricity supplied to us is utilised by our clients, therefore it is integral that we take on initiatives such as the 100% green energy supply, which in turn benefits our customer’s credentials by reducing their carbon footprint. We intend to roll out this green partnership initiative with SmartestEnergy to all our European sites in the near future.”
6 ) Renewable Energy Association. The United Kingdom’s Renewable Energy Association (REA) is housed in London. Established in 2011, REA is a nonprofit organization that represents renewable energy producers throughout the United Kingdom and promotes the utilization of renewable energy throughout the country. The primary objective of REA is to secure the best regulatory and legislative framework for the expansion of renewable energy production throughout the United Kingdom.
7 ) Source London Helps Londoners Go Electric with their Vehicles. In May of 2011 a new program called Source London was launched and it was the first citywide electric vehicle charging point network and membership scheme. The objective of the program is to make it much simpler for electric vehicle owners to plug in their car while they are driving. By 2013, the goal is to have 1,300 publicly accessible points throughout the city, providing people in London with the confidence they need to drive their electric vehicles around and know that there are conveniently placed charging stations.
8 ) London Secures £17 Million in Funding for the Largest Electric Vehicle Charge Point Network in the United Kingdom. In February of 2010, London Mayor Boris Johnson was able to take some major steps forward today with his plans to make London the electric vehicle capital of Europe with the confirmation of £17 million for an infrastructure for electric vehicles. This money will go toward around 7,500 charging points by the spring of 2013. The mayor said, “I am absolutely thrilled that the government has recognized the collective commitment to electric vehicle use in the capital. This will unleash a large cash injection allowing Londoner’s to choose electric motoring in confidence. We will now be able to significantly speed up our existing plans for an unprecedented introduction of electric vehicle infrastructure.”
9 ) BowZed Bow. BowZed Bow in East London continues to make the list of the most eco-friendly buildings in the United Kingdom. It is one of the country’s most sustainable buildings. It is a block of four zero-fossil fuel energy flats that were designed by Bill Dunster. The buildings are so will insulated that there are no central heating systems. As well, 40 percent of the electricity comes from photovoltaic panels while another 50 percent comes from a micro wind turbine located along the stair tower. The hot water is provided by a boiler that is powered by wood pellets. Residents say they only need three tons of fuel to run the apartments every year.
10 ) Homes in London Get a New Green Look. Homes in London are getting a makeover, a green makeover. A brand new home near Sunningdale Golf and Country Club was here home builders were able to showcase their latest energy conservation innovations. For instance, the Rembrandt Homes model includes features like automated lighting and solar panel wiring systems. This program was a step for the Local Energy Efficiency Partnership, a federal program established in London in 2006 to give encouragement to home builders and buyer to adopt energy saving technologies.
Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He is also author of The 2012 Cleantech Directory. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.