– Classification of publications – All

18 Oct Energy efficient buildings

Belgium Academies (ARB)
2010
In the industrialized world, residential housing and equivalents consume up to 40% of the annual total end energy use. The major part in cool and cold climates goes to heating, though in terms of percentage the share of domestic hot water, lighting, function and cooling increases when the heating needs diminish as a result of higher energy efficiency. By goal-oriented design – compact, smart glass use, very well insulated, airtight - buildings now allow important savings in heating without jeopardizing usability. Since 1973 energetically better construction has evolved from “insulated” over “energy efficient” to “low energy” and, recently, “passive quality”, “zero energy” and “plus energy”. In both last cases, a building produces as much or more energy through photovoltaic cells than it consumes on an annual basis. Anyhow, if applied on a large scale, both concepts will demand a complete transformation of the electricity grid, from passive to smart. Also, contrary to low energy buildings, passive, zero energy and plus energy buildings are beyond the economic optimum. The EU decided to decrease energy consumption in 2020 by 20% compared to a business as usual scenario, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% in 2020 compared to 1990 and to increase the share of renewable sources in the energy production to 20% by 2020. Even if from 2009 on all new construction would be of passive quality, 20% less consumption in the built environment will not be achievable by 2020. Moreover, the extremely stringent conditions in terms of energy use for heating in passive buildings have as a consequence that domestic hot water, lighting, function and cooling become the largest consumers, typically in the form of electricity, which weighs heavily in terms of primary energy (_ 2,5). And, energy conservation when these three are at stake is not easy. The only way out in the years to come is, aside of imposing performance requirements at the level of the economic optimum for new construction (E60, K30), promoting with all means energy efficient renovation, energy efficient lighting and energy efficient appliances.
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18 Oct Drought, even in Flanders?

Belgium Academies (ARB)
2009
Industry, agriculture and households as well as nature lay claims to the fresh water supplies. Mainly because of the high population density in Flanders the mean water availability per capita is low, to the extent that during certain periods water scarcity occurs. The effects of climate change are expected to worsen the situation. Apart from promoting a water saving attitude, the re-use of water and the use of precipitation have to be encouraged. By establishing quotas for groundwater abstraction, introducing an adjusted concession granting policy and a steering water pricepolicy, groundwater bodies being at poor quantitative status may be improved, whilst those who are at good status may stay in equilibrium. Urban and space planning should support the groundwater recharge, among other things by aiming at increased infiltration.
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18 Oct Global Water Security – an engineering perspective

Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) (RAEng)
2010
This report addresses water security as a global issue as well as considering the situation of the UK in that context.  It makes the following six recommendations:  1. Inter-governmental bodies and key discussion fora must elevate the issues of water security in their strategies. 2. Water security should become a core component of UK policy making. 3. UK industry must show leadership on global water security. 4. The regulation of the water sector globally needs to have integrated water resource management and sustainability informed by a systems approach at its core. 5. The Government should bolster investment in the research and development of solutions to global water security.  6. The UK engineering institutions should ensure that their global memberships are appropriately equipped, through professional development, to apply a systems led approach to water engineering, incorporating the technical, geo-political, societal and ethical dimensions of the challenge.
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18 Oct Rare Metals

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2010
Through their increasing use in innovative technical products our society is dependent upon rare metals as never before. It is unclear how the rising demand can be satisfied in the future. Workable deposits of rare metals are often restricted to just a few regions, resulting in political and economical critical dependencies. Generally, moreover, rare materials are not mined in isolation, but occur as by-products of the extraction of other elements. Thus the availability of rare materials is not just influenced by the direct demand for a specific element. An added complication is that rare metals are nowadays only recycled to a limited extent. The concrete examples in this paper show that the way we handle rare materials today could lead to critical situations in the future. We therefore need to find more sustainable ways of handling them. This will require a better understanding of the corresponding material cycles and specific, coordinated measures anchored in international institutions.
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18 Oct Is nano sustainable?

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2010
If we are to achieve sustainability and meet the great challenges of our time, such as climate change or the increasing scarcity of resources, we have to have the will as well as the right instruments. These latter undoubtedly include technical innovations. And today the nanotechnologies are delivering these many times over. Thanks to synthetic nanoparticles, harmful substances can now be replaced with harmless ones; resource and energy-intensive processes are becoming more efficient. It is important, however, to recognize at an early stage the possible risks that could ensue from nanotechnologies, and to carefully evaluate these risks and discuss them openly. Switzerland is making every endeavour to ensure that nanotechnologies are used safely, thereby helping this discipline to find long-term success
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18 Oct Delivering Ireland’s Water Services for the 21st Century

Irish Academy of Engineering (IAE)
2011
A joint position paper and report prepared by the IAE and Engineers Ireland (EI) submitted to Government in the context of a proposed fundamental change to the control and management of the service and the introduction of universal water metering and charging. The report supports the establishment of a national water utility company and the charging for water services.  It recommends continuing Government subvention during the transition period, until the utility company becomes self-financing.
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18 Oct Engineering the future of water: Review of 2011 discussion series

Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) (RAEng)
2012
This report is a summary of proceedings of three meetings organised by Engineering the Future in the Autumn of 2011. The meeting was attended by members of the professional engineering institutions, Fellows of The Royal Academy of Engineering, representatives of industry, government and other relevant organisations.
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