A carbon neutral lighting installation?

China, 9th December 2009

The climate change conference in Copenhagen keeps heading the news and many related stories are featured here in China to illustrate the issue or to show how good a corporate citizen the country already is. I assume this happens in most major countries around the world at the moment. This morning I was attracted to a story about a new hotel in Shanghai that claims to be the first carbon neutral (!) hotel in China. The key word here is neutral.

Carbon neutral means that you buy carbon credits to offset your carbon emissions. While this hotel is obviously high on energy saving, using recycled materials, organic stuff etc, the key interest to me was that they have put in place a system that constantly measures the energy consumption which then converts into the related carbon emission. Now here comes the trick… to become so called carbon neutral they then buy carbon credits equal to the carbon emission they produce and hence become carbon neutral! In this case the carbon credits come in the shape of trees which they buy or plant somewhere in northern China. Hmmm …sounds like a great marketing ploy, but is this the way to go? At least plant the trees in Shanghai! It seems an easy way to clear your guilty conscience…

So maybe next time you present your lighting design to your client and you come to discussing the excessive electrical loading and energy consumption with your client you can tell him: “Don’t worry, just buy 20 trees in Northern China and you are fine!”

…food for thought…

09. December 2009 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: going green | Leave a comment

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