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Building Cap-and-Trade System ‘An Ingenious Approach’

The world’s first cap and trade system just for buildings could prove a model for other municipalities seeking to cut emissions, according to a forthcoming journal article.

Tokyo’s emissions trading program, launched in April 2010, demonstrates that effective regulation of building emissions is possible, according to the article by Yuko Nishida and Ying Hua. The piece will appear in the August 10 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Building Research and Information.

The authors say that the building sector has proved difficult to regulate in many jurisdictions, but say the Tokyo Cap-and-Trade Program (TCTP) offers an “ingenious” approach that addresses the diverse, complex and fragmented value chain in the building sector.

Among the lessons they say can be drawn from the program:

  • TCTP has managed to bring together disparate stakeholders from developers, owners and tenants and have them work together to cut CO2 emissions in buildings
  • The program shows how a significant consultation process delivered flexibility to ensure that stakeholders see the program as fair. This is critical for buy-in from a broad range of stakeholders
  • TCTP allows participants to pick their own range of years as a baseline for reductions – which does not penalize buildings that are already energy efficient.
  • Mandatory reporting of emissions data is an important prerequisite. Only once the municipal government has some idea of the city’s emissions and the profiles on individual buildings can it work on developing a programme to address rising emissions
  • Simplicity is also important. While there are many aspects to the efficiency of a building and its emissions, TCTP is based on energy consumption, which allows different types of buildings, and their emissions, to be assessed on a like for like basis.

Tokyo’s program caps the 1,300 buildings with the highest emissions. Even though the highest energy-consuming facilities account for only around 0.2 percent of some 700,000 industrial and commercial institutions in Tokyo, their carbon dioxide emissions in 2007 stood at roughly 20 percent of total metropolitan emissions.

Under the plan, large-scale facilities must cut their emissions from base year levels between 2010 and 2014. Office buildings face an 8 percent target and factories are subject to a 6 percent goal. The cap for the second period (2015–2019) is currently set as a 17 percent reduction, although this cap is not yet finalized.

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10 thoughts on “Building Cap-and-Trade System ‘An Ingenious Approach’

  1. Worthless and a taxing program. There is no factual evidence that says CO2 causes global warming, let alone from buildings. See Chicago Climate Exchange. Its all about money.

  2. Wow Matt, stunning analysis.

    Too bad the National Academy of Sciences has this to say;

    Some scientific conclusions or theories have been so thoroughly examined and tested, and supported by so many independent observations and results, that their likelihood of subsequently being found to be wrong is vanishingly small.Such conclusions and theories are then regarded as settled facts. This is the case for the conclusions that the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities.

  3. Who, what, Al Gore, Mann, Hanson, East Anglia, IPCC, and the scientists that got taxpayer money to support and spread false information about AGW? Spare us all with that rhetoric. The Earth’s climate does change as it always has, whether man was present or not. It will continue to do so. I would suggest you view the National Geo’s “Galápagos Islands”. There is a great part on climate in there and why Earth’s processes, are the climate driver.

    Now back to the biggest issue. I agree on volunteer sustainability, and for this article, on building technology improvements. It is good and preferred. However, it is up to the owner of that building to make changes not some forced regulation of CO2 emissions, that(IMO as well as consensus now)are simply hypothetical designed to extract money, in this case a tax or fine or credits that allow one to emit more. We can disagree and that is fine, as we are entitled to our opinions.

  4. Matt… you are clearly a logical guy, your rebuttal to nick as evidence. My reading indicates the preponderance of scientific research supports climate change/global warming, and its cause being of human origin. Many of these scientists are not on anybody’s taxpayer payroll. They are solid, respected scientists doing the best science they know how to do. Are there some scientists who disagree? yes. But the fact is the preponderance of scientific evidence supports it.

    So let me lay out this analogy: you are feeling a little tired and lethargic. You go to see your Doctor (scientist) who refers you to a cardiologist (scientist) as he suspects it might be your heart. Cardiologist A tests you with scientific tools and equipment, indicating high cholesterol and probably arterial sclerosis, with a prescription of medication, diet change, and exercise. You decide to get a second opinion, which turns out to be the same. You go for a third opinion, and the same. One last shot for good measure, and a 4th opinion differs, nothing major, you are fine. So what do you do? 3 out of 4 scientists have advised you your life depends on behavior change. if you are rational and understand risk assessment at all, you will take the advice of the preponderance of scientific evidence to save your life.

  5. Matt,

    Spare us all with that nonsense. Your first ‘sentence’ isn’t even grammatically correct; and it conveys nothing that even makes any sense.

    The fact that the climate has changed in the past from natural influences has no bearing whatsoever on the fact that it is now changing in part due to human influences. The fact that humans have an important influence on climate has by now been long established as accepted scientific consensus. Only unknowing climate deniers such as yourself continue to believe otherwise. And your beliefs are just that: beliefs. They are not backed up by any peer-reviewed and generally accepted science. In contrast, the opinions of those who accept the reality of AGW; are backed up by an avalanche of peer reviewed science that enjoys overwhelming scientific acceptance.

  6. And forced regulations of CO2 emissions are not only desirable, they are neccessary. Building owners, corporations, and individuals will not undertake the changes required to effectively address AGW without some form of incentive by regulation. That’s just the simple truth.

  7. Funny thing about opinions…sometimes, people confuse opinions with facts. In most cases, intelligent folks base their opinions on facts. However, as we see in some areas of our culture, facts have no place in the company of an opinion, especially when the facts are inconvenient or make the opinions into something unfactual.

  8. Yes, I agree that it is about money. But when I hear climate change doubters make that claim I have to ask, what is wrong with it being about money?

    Energy itself is about money. It seems clear now that much of the business community will not step up and do the right thing, so making it about money and attaching a value to carbon is the only way anything will get done.

    What many fail to realize when they are quick to point out challenges to the carbon market like the closing of the Chicago Climate Exchange next year is that other emissions have been traded regionally in the US since the Clean Air Act in 1977 with measured positive results on the target emissions.

    Does anyone remember the acid rain issues in the NE US in the 70’s?

    So I really don’t understand the premise of the argument that emissions trading is about money as a bad thing. Fossil fuel industry has no issues with that.

  9. The debate about human induced climate change is over. Well over 90% of the specialists in their field conclude that there is at least a 90% chance of serious climate change. There is no peer reviewed paper that suggests otherwise.
    It is logically fallacious to argue that because there are financial issues with companies trying to make money out of the issue that that is evidence that climate change doesn’t exist. Where ‘it is all about money’ is the vigorous campaign to try and discredit the climate change driven by the self interest of companies that may be negatively affected by any attempt to reduce green house gases.
    The evidence for climate change just keeps building and is supported in scientific areas that are not filled with climate change scientists e.g. the recent evidence of the acidification of the oceans in the Antarctic.
    The only relevant debate now is by how much the climate will change and what is the most efficient and effective way of dealing with it. The evidence is growing that if anything, the scientific consensus has underestimated the rate of change; e.g. the latest melting of the arctic ice sheet which has dropped outside the worst case scenario parameters.
    The really worrying thing is if and when the natural positive feedback mechanisms kick in and if and when tipping points in the climate are reached. This is not a simple linear increase in temperature but potentially dramatic and permanent change to the climate and by consequence our lifestyle.

  10. The significance of a cap-and-trade approach for buildings is that it does not dictate what owners should do. It sets a target and provides lattitude and room for manoeuvre and what specific strategies and tactics can be chosen.

    This is much more appropriate to buildings (which vary signficantly). The alternative approach would be building regulation which is much more expensive and can often be inappropriate to a particular building or situation. It is very difficult to create a regulation for ‘one size fits all’ to apply to different buildings as their age, aspect, construction materials, level of insulation, mechanical systems, levels of occupancy, etc vary enormously. What the Tokyo cap-and-trade scheme has achieved is a new approach which sets a framework but allows the building owner to decide on the most appropriate forms of interventions to the building. And it does so in a fair and transparent way, which also does not penalize those building owners who already have efficient buildings.

    This is a scheme worth studying further

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