Sometimes, seemingly small initiatives can go a long way in solving some of the most complex problems. So, while switching to solar power energy, or to multifunctional printers instead of the traditional ones for everyday work in office may sound like simple steps, they are nevertheless crucial in battling one of the biggest challenges facing the planet today, climate change.
As part of its Going Green initiative, UNICEF India has been bringing to its fold several such changes, thereby contributing towards UNICEF’s commitment towards climate change, and a better quality of life for every child.
One of the most important greening milestone that UNICEF India achieved was on this May 17 when, in the presence of Upendra Tripathy, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), inaugurated the installation of a 54.9 KW solar photo-voltaic power plant on the roof of its New Delhi office. With this initiative, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) will be reduced markedly, thereby battling climate change.
The broad objective of this project is to use as much renewable energy as possible in order to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions, as well as save on electricity bills. The surplus energy during weekends or on UN holidays will be carried forward as energy credits and help offset the energy consumed from the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) grid. This will further contribute in reducing electricity bills.
If one were to look at numbers, this power plant is estimated to save approximately 79 tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the air annually.
“UNICEF India not only will it aid in reduction of greenhouses gases emissions but also meet theambitious target of saving approximately $ 20,000 in power consumption annually” said James Gitau, Deputy Representative.
There is an e-tool to monitor online performance parameter of the solar power plant—for example, daily energy generation, energy consumption, amount saved, and carbon emission saving.
The UNICEF Delhi office is close to meeting its entire lighting load requirement through the solar power plant. Buoyed by this success, UNICEF India is now exploring the possibility of introducing solar power energy in its field offices across India.
Talking about the plant’s significance during its inauguration in Delhi, Louis Georges Arsenault, UNICEF representative, said, “The evidence is indisputable: climate change and environmental degradation undermine the rights of every child, especially the most disadvantaged. We are committed to increase our contribution to environmentally sustainable solutions, given our global commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.”
While appreciating UNICEF India’s efforts, Upendra Tripathy further said, “The ministry of new and renewable energy greatly appreciates the contribution of UNICEF in meeting India’s ambitious rooftop target of 40,000 MW by 2022.”
The expected total financial gain at the end of the life span (20-25 years) of this solar power project is an estimated $ 300,000 to $ 400,000.
But this is not all.
In 2015, as part of Going Green initiate, the UNICEF India office decided to purchase a hybrid car for the representative official vehicle. The hybrid car uses two engines—an electric motor and a conventional engine. The electric engine powers the car at lower speeds and gas engine powers it at higher speeds. This car not only conserves fuel but also produce less CO2 emissions!
On a similar note, since 2013 the India country office has reduced the number of printers significantly. It now promotes the multifunctional printers instead of stand-alone printers and photocopiers. As part of promoting greening in the office, use of electronic forms of documents, wherever possible, is encouraged instead of printing the same.
Yet another initiative that is being planned and which will help in achieving UNICEF’s climate neutrality by 2020, is of double-glazed windows for the UNICEF-owned building. This will help reduce the flow of incoming and outgoing heat, thereby resulting in lesser energy being used to heat up or cool down the offices and lower energy consumption.
The ‘Lightweight, Agile ICT Infrastructure (or LIGHT) for India field offices’ introduced a concept for server-less UNICEF ICT infrastructure in the field offices. This concept is primarily aimed at realizing sizeable efficiency and effectiveness gains by significantly reducing the field office server infrastructure footprint, which in turn reduces the carbon footprint.
The net direct savings is estimated at $7,000 per office per year, which in turn translates to around $ 91,000.00 per year for all offices. The reduction in carbon emission is expected to be 50,834 kgCO2.
There are other efforts too in daily operations—switching to LED lights, promoting reduction in air travel, investing in sustainable energy and resource efficient facilities and operations—which are being made to systematically green the organization.
With all such efforts, UNICEF is dedicated to the achievement of the 13th Sustainable Development Goal—take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts—and is striving for a greener, happier tomorrow for future generations.