The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) is being released in four parts between September 2013 and November 2014. What has become available is the summary for policy makers, a 36 pages pdf. It does not include detailed predictions for different world regions, but it is an interesting reading (albeit a very technical one)
Accounting the urban energy consumption raises some issues:
– Electricity is often provided by several private companies that do not disclose detailed information. Gas delivered by pipe is in the same situation. Despite that, you can (theoretically) obtain a figure at the household level.
– Fuels are rather complex, but for deliveries to big clients. How to count the automotive fuels, at the pump, at the owner’s address, or in the road sections where they are burnt? And the bottled gas sometimes sold in some filling stations? Or wood?
– Renewable energy can be decentralized generation; if it is later delivered to the general grid its accounting is more complex (but you an always think of a citywide balance)
And there is another problem: efficiency. What matters is not just how much energy you use, but rather how efficient that use is. The district heating systems that are common in northern Europe often begin as isolated power stations, but gain in efficiency as they are integrated in grids, as well as a home can be more efficient if the wall insulation is upgraded. So there is not just an issue of consumption, but also of the benefit that derives.
The energy part of the Green City Index, by Siemens, gave in 2009 the highest mark to Oslo (8,71), while London was 10th (5,64) and Madrid 12th (5,52) among the 30 studied European capitals. These marks resulted from 3 quantitative criteria: energy consumption (Gj per capita), energy intensity (Mj per unit of real GDP), renewable energy consumption (% of total consumption); and a fourth qualitative element addressing energy policies.
The California Academy of Sciences is at the core of the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. It is a classical sample of a large representative civic building in a central spot of a public park. Loma Prieta earthquake in 1988 damaged the original building beyond repair, and italian architect Renzo Piano (co-author of the Pompidou Center in Paris) was called for reconstruction. The idea (that can be clearly perceived in the google map) is to bring back the building area to plants through an interesting planted roof. The building has received a high mark according to the LEED sustainable development rating system (10% of the energy used by the building is generated through its on-site solar cells, and the six inches of earth on the roof are a high insulation envelope). More information on this remarkable building at:
<img class=”alignnone” alt=”” src=”http://www.calacademy.org/academy/building/sustainable_design/images/sustainable_design.jpg” width=”605″ height=”325″ />