Tradeforce Tech Carbon Sequestration Program
Andy Chisholm, a member of Canada’s Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance and the Royal Bank of Canada’s Board of Directors, appeared on stage as the keynote speaker at a recent event at the University of Toronto’s School of the Environment. He presented figures that ought to galvanize anyone concerned about our financial and environmental future: notably, that it will take trillions of dollars of investment in the next 10 short years to have a fighting chance of reaching the Paris Climate Accord goals.
The good news is that the discussion surrounding climate change is shifting. Today, climate change mitigation initiatives are increasingly seen as an investment opportunity rather than a cost burden. However, we all know how soon this 10-year window of opportunity will be over, and we cannot count on governments to act in this risky political environment.
So, what can we do to help? If we all pitch in a little bit, we can take on the challenge of climate change.
There are plenty of examples of massive, complex problems being solved by attacking the smaller micro-problems one at a time. Medical and technological breakthroughs almost always result from lots of independent people chipping away at different aspects of the challenge. This is how we need to address the complex problem of climate change.
At Tradeforce Tech, we have decided to play our small role by planting trees to sequester CO2, one of the main drivers of global warming and the primary bi-product of our carbon intensive economy. For every energy conversation measure our customers invest in, we will invest in planting enough Mangrove trees to match the projects’ equivalent CO2 reduction. This small measure will essentially double the positive impact of every Tradeforce Tech project.
How Trees Reduce Greenhouse Gasses
It’s well known that trees are an incredible carbon sink and one of the most effective tools in the fight against dangerous Greenhouse Gases that contribute to climate change and global warming. Trees convert the carbon dioxide (CO2) into plant matter, holding this material for the life of the tree and beyond. Scientific studies have shown that Mangroves “sequester carbon at a rate two to four times greater than mature tropical forests”, and contain “the highest carbon density of all terrestrial ecosystems.” (Fatoyinbo et al, 2017). Mangroves are also a key part of coastal ecosystems, and “renowned for an array of ecosystem services, including fisheries and fibre production, sediment regulation, and storm/tsunami protection”. (Donato et al, 2011).
Since our building stock is so energy-intensive compared to other countries, buildings are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. In its interim report, Canada’s Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance identified building retrofits for energy efficiency and climate adaptation as a critical step in our sustainable finance future. But we know that trees cannot fight climate change alone and that’s why we are incorporating this tree-planting initiative as part of our energy efficiency installation and retrofit projects.
A project that reduces electricity consumption by 500,000 kWh in Ontario cuts CO2 emissions by approximately 50 metric tons. For example, smaller LED projects, like a medium-size office or a curling rink, result in between 25,000 and 50,000 kWh in savings each year or roughly 2.5 – 5 tons/yr reduction in CO2. It takes roughly 80 Mangrove trees to offset 1 tonne of C02 so we are committed to planting 100 trees per tonne of savings generated by our retrofit projects or 250 – 500 trees for the examples above.
Larger LED, HVAC and refrigeration projects with typical savings of 200,000 to 500,000kWh will result in 2,000 to 5,000 trees being planted by Tradeforce Tech.
The most significant project kicking off this new program is the LED retrofit recently completed at the Quaker Foods plant in Peterborough Ontario. Approximately 3,300 fluorescent light fixtures were converted to Canadian made LED fixtures controlled by a state-of-the-art wireless lighting management system. The system consists of a combination of sensors and modules connected by a wireless network and controlled by software that enables light levels and schedules to be optimized to the use of the various areas of the plant. This new lighting system is conservatively projected to reduce electricity consumption by 1,500,000 kWh every year for the next 15 – 20 years. As a result of the investment made in this system by Quaker, Tradeforce Tech will have 15,000 Mangrove tress planted on their behalf by our partner Eden Reforestation.
The power of these investments is that they return both the energy savings and the carbon capture benefits for many, many years to come.
Climate change will not be stopped by one government, one company, or one person. Solutions to big problems require everyone to pitch in, and we’re happy to be one small piece of the solution to a problem that affects us all.