Rome Club Report 2018, Chapter 3.9: “Fivefold Resource Performance”
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It was mentioned that it would be extremely wise to engage in increasing the productivity of resources for reducing unemployment and for developing welfare from the use of resources. In Factor Five, presented in Rome in 2009, the authors demonstrated that a fivefold increase in resource productivity is available even in the four most energy-intensive and water-intensive sectors (construction, industry, transport, and agriculture). The book also noted that most of this potential remains inactive, mainly due to low resource prices. However, it is very encouraging that even, mainly under adverse conditions, significant progress can be observed.

3.9.1 Transportation

Transportation is a complex and key sector in terms of carbon productivity. In Factor Five, three main areas were presented as a means of achieving a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, namely, switching to energy sources for vehicles with low carbon or no carbon content, improving the energy efficiency of vehicles and ensuring proper modal choice, for example , provision of public transport instead of individual passenger vehicles.

Liquid fuel based on oil is unlikely to play a long-term role in mobility. As a result, engineers worked hard on cost-effective alternatives, ranging from alternative liquid fuels that would be based on existing distributions of infrastructures, ending with replacing internal combustion engines with electric motors. In 2012, Tesla Motors released its model S and became virtually the world leader in electric vehicles. Since almost all major manufacturers offer electric cars on the market. Obviously, in terms of CO2 emissions, it is useless to turn to electric drives if their power comes from burning coal. Therefore, a prerequisite for the electrification of the vehicle fleet will be that the generation of electricity will become low carbon.

There is a need for more success in automotive technology and in infrastructures that support economical transport modes.

In the examples of Factor Five, it is emphasized that the potential for efficiency gains never depends on one solution, but rather on the entire system design. Studies show that a vehicle weight reduction of just 10% can improve fuel economy by 6-8%. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to use steel alternatives to reduce vehicle weight, wherever possible.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, weight reduction and aerodynamic progress can reduce fuel consumption by 45% for heavy vehicles and are expected to drop another 30% by 2030 due to additional technological improvements.

You can expect a big win from the corresponding methods of mobility. In fact, this means a decrease in car addiction. The necessary changes can be achieved by influencing the mobility economy in favor of a preferred mode of transport, such as rail transport. One way to induce a large number of passengers to use rail and bus routes is the absence of traffic jams and the fare in certain parts of the city, which applies to certain highways or to whole zones. London introduced it in 2013 and reduced the number of congestion by 30% in the first 12 months, reducing emissions by 16%. About 1.2 billion pounds of net income from this scheme was invested directly in public transport,

Together with efforts to prevent the use of vehicles, many cities are currently investing heavily in rail infrastructure, both in light rail transport for passengers and in heavy rail transport, which ensures high speed and freight traffic. Since 2012, the construction of railway systems has been carried out in 82 cities of China, and in 2016, the China Railway Corporation announced plans for railway projects in 45 more cities. In 2015, plans were approved for rail systems in 50 Indian cities. Fast electric transport services cost roughly the same per kilometer, like most motorways, and, although they are most effective in densely populated areas, they can also be implemented in wider auto-dependent suburbs.

There is a particular potential for achieving a better “Factor Five” transformation in the freight industry, which in the United States accounts for about 9% of greenhouse gas emissions. The transition of freight transport over long distances from trucks to railways can reduce freight traffic by 85%, also taking into account the freight transport required at both ends of the track.

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) policy on travel prevention and transfer includes a combination of land use considerations, transport planning options and modal shifts. Recommendations include specific case-specific options for specific cities due to various features, such as a quick transition to buses, city cycling, transit-oriented development, mobility and vehicle demand management, car incentive programs, teleworking programs, parking policies and the transfer of passenger traffic over long distances to rail. Estimated,

3.9.2. Resource Efficient Buildings

Buildings and associated energy used to produce their electricity and for heating accounted for more than 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2010. The best results in reducing emissions are achieved with a focus on space heating and cooling, domestic hot water, appliances, lighting and cooling. The main case study is the concept of Passivhaus, a German innovation of the 1990s. Essentially, it is passively heated by solar radiation and heat produced by residents and appliances, and fulfills the following minimum efficiency criteria:

  • Annual heat and cooling requirements are less than 15 kWh / m2 / year.
  • Very low air gaps in the envelope of the case (tested by testing the door of the blower).
  • Primary energy consumption is less than 120 kWh / m2 / year.

The “Passivhaus” concept relies on improved insulation and tightness combined with heat exchange ventilation to provide fresh air all year round with minimal heating. One example is the German company Heidelberg-Bahnstadt, which includes more than 1,000 apartments designed for Passivhaus standards, and is served by a district heating system, which provides an 80% reduction in heat demand. This concept is gaining momentum all over the world, and now the United States has certified homes, schools and commercial modifications. The Center for Energy Efficiency Design in Franklin County, Virginia, was the first public school (K-12) in the United States designed for Passivhaus standards. It also uses in-place generating energy, which makes it carbon-negative,

In recent years, "Green Buildings" entered the mainstream, many businesses have made significant reductions in energy and water consumption. As of 2014, more than 700 Energy Star commercial construction projects have been carried out, providing savings of $ 75 million, which also means a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 600,000 million. The Australian study showed that the expense of simple measures can lead to energy savings of at least 50%, which can save 10,000 Australian dollars (about 6,800 euros) per year by an average of 2,500 m2 of office space.


One example is the Pixel Building (Fig. 3.11) in Melbourne, Australia, which does not produce carbon emissions due to its innovative use of energy. The building is designed to provide 100% self-sufficiency in water without using an air recirculation system and using a new concrete mix called Pixelcrete, which roughly doubles saturated carbon. Sixty percent of the cement is replaced by pulverized blast furnace and fly ash, as well as 100% recycled and regenerated aggregate. In addition, the building will compensate for the embedded carbon emissions generated during its construction over a 50-year life cycle due to excess renewable energy produced on site and return to the electrical grid.

Concrete is a key energy-intensive product that in Australia alone represents more than 20% of residential space and 63% of commercial energy associated with commercial construction. In combination with the systematic use of recycled concrete, the transition in the cement type can provide a five-fold reduction in energy per kilogram.

For example, construction projects around the world now use geopolymer concrete, the largest of which is West Bristol's Wellcamp International Airport (BWWA), which has about 25,000 m3 of concrete for asphalt concrete pavement and 15,000 m3 of geo-polymer concrete used in other places (total 40,000 m3 or 100,000 tons). The use of geopolymer concrete saved the project 8640 tons of CO2 emissions.

3.9.3 Farm Water Efficiency

Agriculture was responsible for more than two-thirds of global freshwater consumption and 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2010, both of which increased due to a steady increase in food demand. Regulated drip irrigation deprivation (RDDI) and partial root zone drying (PRD) assess potential areas for improving water productivity in agriculture, which saves water irrigation by up to 50% with minimal impact on yield or lack thereof. From 2010, “farming without plowing” also appeared; It promises to further improve water efficiency and energy efficiency for farms.

The strategy of regulated drip irrigation deficit (RDDI) controls the irrigation structure. This leads to an increase in yield, holding back water when growth slows down, and ensuring sufficient watering during periods of rapid growth. For example, in a cool temperate environment in Tasmania, Australia, RDDI has shown the potential to reduce water use on dairy pastures by 60-80%. This can increase the average irrigation of pastures up to 90%. Grapevine producers in the South Australian wine-growing region achieved a 90% and 86% increase in water use efficiency by growing Riesling and Shiraz grapes, respectively, using the RDDI approach. Inspections of irrigated farms have shown that the energy used in irrigation can be in excess of 50% of the total cost of energy on farms. Use of irrigation management systems, such as CIMIS (California Irrigation Management Information System) helps farmers minimize excessive water use for crop irrigation. Similarly, using online meteorological technology, temperature, rainfall, moisture, dew and solar radiation, tomato farmers in Brazil have managed to cut water consumption in half (from 800 mm / ha to 400 mm / ha), making irrigation and chemical more efficient. application. This concept, combined with an efficient irrigation system, can provide a 60-70% reduction in the cost of energy used to pump water. Nevertheless, farmers achieve success slowly, and many of the benefits of these strategies still await a large scale.

To be continued ...

For the translation, thanks to Diana Sheremyeva. If you are interested, I invite you to join the “flashmob” to translate a 220-page report. Write in a personal or email

More translations of the report of the Club of Rome 2018


Chapter 1.1.1 “Different types of crises and feelings of helplessness”
Chapter 1.1.2: “Financing”
Chapter 1.1.3: “An Empty World Against Full Peace”

Chapter 3.1: “Regenerative Economics”
Chapter 3.3: “Blue Economy”
Chapter 3.4: “ Decentralized Energy ”
Chapter 3.5:“ Some Success Stories in Agriculture ”
Chapter 3.6:“ Regenerative Urbanism: Ecopolis ”
Chapter 3.8:“ The Economy of a Closed Cycle Requires a Different Logic ”
Chapter 3.10:“ Tax on Bits

Chapter 3.12: “Reforms of the Economic System”
Chapter 3.13: “Philanthropy, and investments, crowdsors and blockchains "
Chapter 3.14:" Not a single GDP ... "
Chapter 3.15:" Collective leadership "
Chapter 3.16: “Global Government”
Chapter 3.17: “Actions at the National Level: China and Bhutan”
Chapter 3.18: “Literacy Concerning the Future”


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