Effect of Sustainability on Economic Growth

4234 words (17 pages) Essay in Economics

23/09/19 Economics Reference this

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Protecting the environment, the prudent use and re-use of natural resources and maintaining economic growth all contribute towards sustainable development.

Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Sustainable development examples

Renewable Energy

Case study.1

Case study.2

Case study.3

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficient lighting

Case study.1

Green space

Case study.1

Case study.2

Conclusion

References

Abstract

This technical report will discuss the use of sustainable development on how the use and re-use of natural resources will affect the economic growth. Case studies will be reviewed and examined, with the include of examples. The examples that will be discussed further in the report are renewable energy, energy efficient lighting, and green space. Case studies regarding these topics will be debated as why there were used.  There are many types of renewable energy that can used, in this report, wind turbines will be discussed and how they have made a positive impact to society. Regarding energy efficient lighting, the old fashion light bulbs which contributes a huge amount in the carbon foot print will be compared with the energy saving blub that most people are starting to switch to. With green spaces two locations in London will looked at and how exactly they were managed to improve the environment and people around them.

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Introduction

The main objective of sustainability is to make use of renewable resources and reduce consumption. The increase in population has created a stress on the environment, especially with some resources becoming scarcer. Stated by (Brundtland Commission, 1987) ability to make development sustainable-to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This description contains much meaning but unfortunately allot of people have misinterpreted it for something else. Although the statement mentioned by (Brundtland Commissions, 1987) doesn’t directly state anything about the environment. Sustainability in society can be achieved if everyone contributes a little. It does not require a dramatic change in lifestyle, but only a small portion of your lifestyle to change to make an impact. There are many alternative resources that can be used. Stated in Brundtland report that sustainable development can be categorized into two concepts, which are known as “needs” and “limitations”. The limitations will be reviewed further in the report. The boundaries that have been set by the state of technology and social organization on the environments ability to meet its now and future requirements. The needs subsequently denote to the portions of the world who are underprivileged in terms of poverty.

Sustainable development examples

  • Renewable energy

Renewable energy is a source of energy that is from a natural process and it can be continuously re used, examples of renewable energy can be; heat, wind, sunlight. This is extremely sustainable and will not run out, as well as it is a non-pollutant and doesn’t contribute to the greenhouse effect.

  • Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency has become more and more of a norm in society in the last decade, but it is yet still to be a main option for some people. Energy efficiency is a method of getting the same service but with the use of less energy. This method will be discussed in depth later in the report.

  • Green space

Green space are specific areas which are located away from polluted areas, that allow wildlife and plants to grow without any constraints. Some green space is protected. Natural Environment White Paper will be discussed that was produced by the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs.

Renewable Energy

Energy is the man function of every action in humanity. Without energy we wouldn’t be able to carry out the simple tasks. It gives us food and shelter and warmth and without these variables we wouldn’t be able to survive. Currently in todays society suppliers are reliant on fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil. With the increase of fossil fuel, it has put a strain on the greenhouse gas emissions. As the demand for oil and gas is increasing the price of it has risen too. Many green energy campaigners have asked the government to use more biofuels and solar energy resources. This has taken into effect in some areas in public transport with the use of Green Transport. Using electric and hydrogen buses is a start to reduce carbon dioxide emissions

Renewable energy has positively increased recently with range of 10-50% in different areas of technology. Wind energy has had a rapid growth since 2008 and continuing to grow. Solar PV also known as photovoltaic system uses cells from the sunlight to convert it to electricity, this has been the fastest growing technology out of all the renewable sectors which has had more than 60% of annual growth during the past five years. Two case studies will be discussed below in different locations of the United Kingdom, they are both based on wind farms.

The next two case studies will Discuss uses of wind turbines and why wind turbines have been used buy these local villages. Wind sites are often found in large open spaces which are usually far from cities. Wind is a sustainable source of energy that doesn’t affect the carbon dioxide emissions. Wind is caused by temperature of the atmosphere increasing with the integration of the earth’s rotation.

 

 

Case study.1

Fintry is roughly 20 miles from the north of Glasgow, it’s a rural village which contains about 500 individuals. The households in Fintry does not have any supply to gas mains, fuel poverty has become a serious problem in Scotland. The village of Fintry has fought back and in 2006 plans were made by outside designers to construct 15-wind turbines which would overall generate a capacity of 37.5MW. This was a huge impact to a small village in Scotland, this would increase the fuel energy and reduce the carbon foot print. The community now receives 1/15th of the total income from the wind farm, which they use this money to fund low-carbon projects.

The cost of installation for the turbine was paid by the designers, it was agreed by the community that the sum would be paid back over the first 15 years of the operation. The profits from the wind turbine are shared by Fintry Development Trust, as its commercial partner Fintry Renewable Energy Enterprise receives the profits and owns the turbine. The completion of this project shows that the use of renewable energy can increase economic growth without damaging the environment.

Case study.2

Coldham wind farm is situated at Coldham hall farm in Cambridgeshire. Already containing eight wind turbines they went ahead and added seven more. This plan was agreed by two companies, known as The Co-operative Group and Scottish Power Renewables. The first eight turbines were 8 Vestas V-80, and the rest of the seven were built between 2010 and 2011. The turbines have blades which are 40m long and the height of the turbine itself is 60m. Each turbine would supply around 2MW and around 37M KWh. Facts and figures stated by the Coldham site includes 8,500 homes are now powered by the turbine.

This project shows that the use of renewable energy can power thousands of homes without increasing the carbon emissions. Using wind as a renewable energy in wind farms can have a major impact. There are few downsides that can been seen from the project the initial price of installation can be extremely expensive. It can also be danger to wildlife such as flying animals, but overall it has contributed more into households in Cambridgeshire.

Case study.3

As the Carbon dioxide levels are rising from the use of public transport, it has become a bigger problem to tackle it and reduce these emissions. Before 2006 hardly any care went to considering the emission from public transport. There has been a huge difference in the United Kingdom since the international transport policy. This research has been carried out by Dr Robin Hickman. In more recent times public transport has gone green and become more sustainable.

London has now over 2,000 diesel- electric hybrid busses which are running in the city centre. These buses are now more fuel efficient and reduce emissions around 30-40%. It has been reported that Transport for London is now targeting to have 240 electric buses successively on the network by the end of early next year. All new double-decker buses to be zero-emissions or hybrid. All single-decker buses functioning in central London is expected to be zero-emission by the following year.

London has significantly changed, buses that use to run on diesel are on now alternatives such as hybrid and electric buses, the mayor of London has worked extremely hard to change this.

London has now over 2,000 diesel- electric hybrid busses which are running in the city centre. These buses are now more fuel efficient and reduce emissions around 30-40%. It has been reported that Transport for London is now targeting to have 240 electric buses successively on the network by the end of early next year. All new double-decker buses to be zero-emissions or hybrid. All single-decker buses functioning in central London is expected to be zero-emission by the following year.

London has now over 2,000 diesel- electric hybrid busses which are running in the city centre. These buses are now more fuel efficient and reduce emissions around 30-40%. It has been reported that Transport for London is now targeting to have 240 electric buses successively on the network by the end of early next year. All new double-decker buses to be zero-emissions or hybrid. All single-decker buses functioning in central London is expected to be zero-emission by the following year.

Energy Efficiency

Every household has a considerable amount of energy being emitted but the questions is how much energy is being consumed needlessly, and how much of that energy is being wasted. It’s shows that more than 85% of the suppliers use carbon-based fuels. Coal, Oil and natural gasses how long will this last until it eventually runs out. Leaving a high carbon footprint has consequently caused an increased level of the Greenhouse gas.

Energy efficiency is all about obtaining the same goal but using a lower amount of energy, it’s the process of using less energy in devices and machines. More and more of us have become aware of changing our light bulbs but is society aware of what else can be done. Many homes during the winter increase their heating to keep warm but adding insulation to the attic or into the walls can retain more heat than just keeping the heating on. Double glazing windows can be replaced with windows that cause drafts and hot air to escape. All these factors can be done to make a home more energy efficient. It is vital to lower the consumption of energy in structures because it plays a significant role in combating unsustainable levels of energy. Shown below on Figure 1.1 the energy used within the EU at different function in residential and commercial structures.

 

Figure 1.1 EU building energy consumption for residential and commercial buildings Source (www.intuser.net)

Energy efficient lighting

Energy efficient lights have become more and more common in the past decade, its one of the easiest ways to save energy. The improvement in technology has seen the size of the light bulb decrease. LED lighting gives quick payback and can reduce energy cost up to 70%. Consumers are now able to buy wide range of lights for different variety of households.

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The use of energy saving light bulbs will only consume a quarter of the electricity of a standard light bulb, although using an energy saving light bulb will depend on a few factors. Note older version of a light bulb that not energy saving is referred to as halogen light bulb. The table below shows the comparison of a 5-watt LED against a 50-watt halogen. Halogen light bulbs are soon to become banned by the European Union.

 

Figure 1.2 comparison between LED and halogen. Source(thegreenage.co.uk)

Figure 1.2 indicates that each halogen bulb will save you £175 during a consumer’s life time. This shows how far technology has come and how easy and cheap it is to save energy in your house. Energy efficient light bulbs should be considered not only in residential houses but in industrial facilities too. Some companies have warehouses that run day and night, for example if all the light bulbs in a warehouse was changed to energy saving, they could save up to 60% monthly on energy. It is therefore reasonable to say that the industrial sector and the common household will have a huge impact and reduce greenhouse gas emission if switched to energy saving

Case study.1

A project that was undertaken was at Shuqualak Lumber. It consists of a warehouse that stored lumber. The current lights that was used in the warehouse was a health and safety concern as it wasn’t bright enough and it was also considered a waste of energy due to its inefficiency the scheme involved of changing the interior and exterior lighting from the old fashion inefficient fluorescent to efficient LED lighting. It was reported that the LED lighting would save up to 73% would eliminate lighting maintenance cost up to 11 years because the longevity hours the LED would provide.

Reported by Semco, the new LED lights increased the brightness up to 15% in certain areas. Figure 1.3 shows the difference before and after the lights have been changed. The project was given over $121,000. The annual saving is as shown below.

Figure 1.3 Before and after image of fluorescent light to LED lights. Source (Semco Sustainable energy management

 

 

 

 

Using energy efficient light bulbs are a significant sustainable factor, more companies and households and should use LED lights as they are very efficient. Energy efficiency includes not only the physical efficiency of the technical equipment and facilities but also the overall economic efficiency of the energy system as seen in the case of energy efficient light bulbs previously. It is therefore sensible to say that energy efficiency (such as the one discussed in this section) measures in the industrial sector and built environment will enhance profitability which will help maintain economic growth, reduce greenhouse gas emissions which helps to protect the environment and combined aids in promoting sustainable development

Green space

Green space is urban areas in London is an important contribution to the economics growth and health to humans, this section will discuss projects that have taken place in London to improve areas of Green spaces. Almost 47% of London consist of green space. The Committee Environment is planning an investigation how green spaces can be managed and maximise it to our benefit.

Having Green spaces in our environment is an extremely important entity, it contributes to the sustainable development in civilisation. The population is increasing year by year and more land has been chosen to develop flats for commercial use or residential use. Increasing Green spaces can benefit from green spaces, it can help the ecosystem and give good mental health to the people around the green space. It has been reported that green spaces can improve the well-being and can also be a way to treat mental health. Stated by (Jane Jacobs 1961) the death and life of great American cities, parks are volatile, they can and do add great attraction to neighbourhoods that people find attractive for a great variety of other uses.

 

Case study.1

Greenwich Peninsula situated in the south east of London, in the Royal Brough of Greenwich, it is best known for its agricultural fields and marsh lands. Between 1880 and 1900 the area was used for industrial purposes. The construction of the black wall tunnel eliminated any of the remaining marsh lands. During 1970 any chemical works that was taking placed came to an end, causing the marsh land to reappear. From 2002 the area has been managed by The Conservation Volunteers.

In more recent times the landscape has changed for the better, and now it’s designed to be a central park and an ecology park. It now plays a vital role in the regeneration of the Greenwich Peninsula. Whilst planning was taking place to improve the park, it was stated that the natural environment should be protected. The product of this was that all the parks were integrated together.

Central park, Ecology park and Southern park are now all connected, it has been designed so that the green space is protected. The new design of the park was constructed to form an inner lake and an outer lake. The project is still proceeding and not to be fully complete for another few years. From this redevelopment it has shown that over 10,000 tress and over 50,000 shrubs have been planted, this has made a big impact on the ecological environment and for people living in the area.

This urban environment that has been renewed into a green space from what use to be an industrial site. With the impact of all the trees and shrubs that have been planted, it can increase the quality of air and reduce energy consumption by opposing the heat effects of paved surfaces. With over 10,000 tress in the park it can it can reduce on site heat build-up.

Case study.2

The river Quaggy is a river that has a length 17km, also known as an urban river. The location of this river is originating from Lewisham and ends towards Sundridge situated in the London Borough of Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham. During the 1960’s the river managed by artificial channels and culverts to divert the water. One part of the river that runs through the park use to be fully enclosed underneath the surface in concrete. An arrangement had been designed by the Environment agency to transform the park so that it behave as a natural flood plain. ­

This scheme was proposed by residents who came from the Quaggy Waterways Action Group. It was idealised that soft engineering methods should be taken into place to improve the environment. Many local animals in the area where to be protected while the restoration was to take place. Restorations plans were done so that the river would rise back above ground level again. The was to be lowered and the design of a shape was made so that the flood plain could collect water naturally in downstream channel. By changing the direction of the river in a more natural way, the project created a wetland environment for wild flowers and trees.

Figure 1.4 shows River Quaggy running through Sutcliffe Park. The flow of the river is now directed through reconstructed path of the original route. During adverse weather the increase of water will enter the old trenches and discharge into the park to form as a temporary lake. The restoration of the park included the plantation of waterside plants. This has had an increase in wildlife to the area and will continue to develop. Greenspace is extremely important as it effects the mental health. It has been proven that many individuals have a reduces amount of stress and anxiety when living in an area of more greenspace.

 

Figure 1.4 River Quaggy running through Sutcliffe

Conclusion

In this report multiple case studies were mentioned about and reviewed for different situations locations, for example Green spaces and renewable energy. The whole purpose was to gain a better understanding of the contributing influences in sustainable development so that each study which related to a sustainable approach and would be reviewed. Going back to the Brundtland Report which was mentioned at the beginning of the report, sustainable development was defined as the ‘needs’ and ‘limitations’ of our future and present generations. Looking at the case studies and examples from this report, a clear impact in sustainable development was seen and hopefully more to come of our society. Its clear to say that the economic growth will increase with the more use of sustainability.

Looking back at the green space case studies earlier in the report, it clear to say that it provides us with many benefits to the ecosystem, not only to wildlife but to social health too. Wildlife and vegetations that was endangered and not looked after, are now protected and helped to preserve economic growth. The project that took place in the south-east of London, created a natural flood plain which reduced the risk of flooding to residential areas and business. By integrating the parks so it can be used by people living in the area and so that wildlife can also have a part in the ecological system. This project shows that flood management was carried out and reducing the adverse effect of microclimates.

With relation to renewable energy the case studies demonstrated the impact that wind energy had in terms of protecting the environment from carbon dioxide emissions. One of the downsides to building the wind turbines was the danger to flying animals in the area. It is also a factor of noise pollutions; wind turbines can generate allot noise. Many procedures are taken to install them away from households but sometimes they are impossible to avoid and can damage some residents. Ultimately the reason for installations was to power thousands of homes just with the use of natural source is invaluable and without a doubt contributes to sustainable development. Therefore, as renewable energy is a long-term advantage in terms of maintaining and increasing economic growth. This has definingly helped protect the environment it can be stated that for this example, the criteria for sustainable development to be valid are met and protecting the environment and economic growth are contributing factors.

While discussing energy efficiency was carried out in terms of sustainable development. Energy efficient light bulbs were chosen because of the way to improve energy efficiency. It was noticed that up to 70% savings could be made by using energy efficient light bulbs this reduction in energy consumption would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which help to protect the environment and since less energy is being consumed this would decreases the amount of fossil fuels being used up. Therefore, the criteria for sustainable development to be valid are met and protecting the environment and maintaining economic growth and protecting the environment are the contributing factors.

Overall after studying and checking through the case studies and examples about sustainability it was noticeable that a surge in sustainable development could be gained using Green spaces. The renewable energy and use energy efficiency made a huge impact in saving money. Making sure that the environment was protected, whilst reusing natural resources to maintain economic growth are all essential contributions in order to promote sustainable development.

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