By Sammy Chu, CEO, Edgewise Energy
The recent Fourth National Climate Assessment delivered by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) contains some interesting findings about climate change that directly impact Long Island commercial property owners. The report garnered a lot of coverage around the impact on the planet and society, which is important, but may be tough to wrap your mind around as a commercial property owner. What does this mean to you and what steps can you – or should you – take?
Let’s skip the politics and focus on the specific findings related to Economy, Infrastructure and Actions to Reduce Risks and then discuss steps you can take today to proactively reduce energy costs and the carbon footprint of your commercial properties.
Economy & Infrastructure: Climate Change and the Power Grid
The report finds that power generation and power infrastructure are susceptible to increasing temperature, a vulnerability that can lead to higher energy costs and power outages. We’re all aware that the overall power grid requires frequent maintenance for increasing usage, but the report puts those concerns into the broader context of climate and consumption.
The report states, “Rising temperatures are projected to reduce the efficiency of power generation while increasing energy demands, resulting in higher electricity costs.” And further, “Climate change and extreme weather events are expected to increasingly disrupt our Nation’s energy and transportation systems, threatening more frequent and longer-lasting power outages, fuel shortages, and service disruptions, with cascading impacts on other critical sectors.”
These findings make sense in terms of many things you’ve already seen in your properties – higher temperatures lead to increased use of air conditioning, refrigeration, equipment cooling systems and even escalators and elevators. An independent research report on temperature and the power grid appears to back these observations pointing at dew point temperatures – when air is saturated with water vapor – as the culprit.
Actions to Reduce Risks: A Ray of Sunshine in the Report
In a rare bit of good news in the otherwise gloomy report, the USGCRP found that some progress has been made by forward-thinking groups since its last report was issued in 2014.