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Waste management: increased recycling of products, components and materials Recycling, sorting

According to the EC (19 November, 2008) “waste means any substance or object which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard.” Recycling materials and products – that are considered waste - is an ancient practice which shows that in times of resource scarcity (i.e. shortage of virgin materials) societies attach more economic and societal value to their own waste. This implies that throughout time the definition of waste can change as well. Generally speaking longer use or re-use of materials and products this is often mainly to cover a society’s needs.

Water efficiency © ClimateTechWiki and respective owners

The use of water in buildings has an indirect but large contribution to energy and resource consumption. The production and distribution of water for buildings is an energy-intensive activity. Energy is used to purify fresh water sources to a level that is safe for consumption in buildings and to run pumps for cleansing and distribution. In many regions where fresh water is a scarce resource, additional energy is required to extract water from deep underground, to transport water from a long distance, or to operate an energy-intensive desalination plant, etc.

Wind energy: building-integrated turbines © ClimateTechWiki and respective owners

Wind energy technologies can be classified into two categories – macro wind turbines that are installed for large-scale energy generation such as wind farms, and micro wind turbines used for local electricity production. Micro wind turbines are suitable for application at the building scale and are called ‘building-integrated wind turbines’. The main components of a wind turbine include blades, rotor, gearbox and generator. Small wind turbines were originally designed with a horizontal axis, also known as HAWTs.

Wind energy: offshore Middelgrunden offshore wind farm (40 MW) observed in Øresund

Offshore wind energy shares many characteristics with the more familiar onshore wind energy.  Compared to onshore wind energy, which today is a commercial technology with global application, offshore wind is an earlier stage technology. However significant expansion is expected in the near future and initial full scale offshore wind farms have been built and are operational in Europe and China.

Wind energy: on-shore, large scale Wind turbines in IT (source:

Besides conventional hydropower, onshore large-scale wind energy is presently the cheapest form of renewable energy. At locations with a good level of wind resource, it can be cost competitive with some forms of traditional/thermal power production. Global wind energy capacity has been growing very rapidly over the past decade. In 2009, newly installed capacity was more than 34GW (GWEC, 2010) representing more than 25% of total new generation capacity globally.

Wind energy: small-scale Small wind turbines on the isle of Eigg, Scotland

Smaller-scale wind turbines can be found in a wide range of applications including off-grid power; either directly by charging a storage battery or in combination with another form of generation to cover intermittent periods when there is little to no wind. In such instances small wind may be cost effective depending on the costs of alternate off-grid technologies and fuel prices; however the overall contribution of small wind to climate change mitigation will probably be limited due to the long payback periods required to offset the carbon used in their manufacture.