Green Energy and Infrastructure: Securing a Sustainable Future

Green Energy and Infrastructure: Securing a Sustainable Future
by Jacqueline A. Stagner, David S.-K. Ting, Editors

Routledge Press, NY, NY, 2021
366 pp., illus. 169 b&w. Trade, $130.00; eBook, $117.00
ISBN: 9780367559496; ISBN: 9781003095811.

Reviewed by
Robert Maddox-Harle
February 2021

This book Green Energy and Infrastructure is more or less a companion volume to Sustaining Resources for Tomorrow, I reviewed the latter book for Leonardo (June 2020), this review may be seen at: https://www.leonardo.info/review/2020/06/sustaining-resources-for-tomorrow. The books, edited by the same editors, Jacqueline A. Stagner and David S-K. Ting, are essential reading for all those interested in the immediate and long-term future of our planet.

There are 13 chapters, all are well written and interesting. They may be read in any order to suit the reader’s specific interests. As with the companion book, the main thing that impressed me is the lack of hysterical, one-sided fanatical hype that often accompanies the arguments on either side of the sustainable future debate. This book is in some sections a little complex, especially in the statistical analysis and specialised scientific areas; however, it presents clear factual discussions that appear unbiased – this is of the greatest importance because the stakes are so high – what we do now will either allow survival or bring about extinction of, at minimum, our species.

It is fairly obvious that if we continue producing and polluting as we have been, the future looks gloomy; however, the glib, poorly researched answers to our problems by extreme conservationists do not provide satisfactory, sustainable practices for the future. How do we proceed? This book does an excellent job in a realistic way, by dispelling many myths as it attempts to bring the ‘facts’  to our attention with detailed real-world scenarios.

The book has a rather poor, scanty Preface followed by the 13 chapters, numerous illustrations and a very good Index; all essays have detailed references, useful for future research. The chapter titles will help prospective readers get a clear picture of this book’s approach:

1 – Energy for Buildings, Practices, Policies, and Prospects – this is a very important chapter as the creation of our built environment uses massive amounts of energy and resources: “A major user of energy is the buildings and construction sectors, whether com-mercial or residential. Although the energy used in buildings as a sector does not attract as much media attention as the other categorized energy-usage sectors, it is proportionally just as significant, if not more so, than the transportation and industrial sectors. According to the 2018 United Nations Environmental Programme ...report, the building construction and operation sector accounted for, 36% of global final energy use and nearly 40% of energy related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2017 (UNEP 2018).” (pp.1 -2)

2 – Green Design Effectiveness for a Mini Automotive Repair Facility

3 – Green Hospitals and Sustainability: Case of Companion House of a Research Hospital

4 – Indoor Environment and Well-Being: The Case of Academic Workplace in Historic Building\

5 – Properties and Conversion Technologies of Biomass

6 – Wind Resource Forecasting Error in Flat and Complex Terrains

7 – Wind Power Forecasting via Deep Learning Methods

8 – Green Energy: Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Tidal Storage

9 – New Energy Mining: Compressed Air Energy Storage in Abandoned Mines

10 – Hydrostatically Compensated Energy Storage Technology

11 – Bioconstruction and Harmonic Complexity of Biomimicry Organisms

12 – Back to the Basics: Return to the Origin, Gaudi and Nature

13 – Triple Bottom Line Analysis, Methodology and Its Implementation – this last chapter looks at the big broad picture by discussing the three pillars of sustainabilty: environmental sustainability, social sustainability, and economic sustainability. This chapter makes it quite clear that my previous remark about glib answers being unsatisfactory is correct, that we need to consider the overall complexities not just the “solar power will fix everything” mentality.

The road ahead to achieving sustainability is a difficulty one indeed; we cannot achieve sustainability without considering the three pillars of sustainability, just mentioned, or by leaving the problems to others. We all live on this planet together and have to be aware of the problems and to make our own, however small, contributions to a sustainable future for ourselves and our children. This book helps greatly in this urgent action by putting into practice the C. S. Lewis quote (in the Preface), “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.”

As with the Sustaining Resources for Tomorrow book, this book is also essential reading for everyone interested in their own and their children’s future. Also, as I previously mentioned, I can envisage many artists, including those avant-garde of the Leonardo community, being inspired by the wealth of information and ideas in this book to create works of art which will bring to the public’s attention sustainable ideas in provocative and stunning projects.