#itshappening: real signs of a brighter future

This is a story of things going right. We're collecting signs of the shift to a low-carbon world: find your favourite and shout it from the rooftops!

STOP PRESS: Look out for a brand new set of happenings, going live on Wednesday 29 October 2014


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One day in November, Denmark was powered entirely by wind (with some left over!)

Denmark produced over 100% of the power they needed with wind! It's happened at least once before this year, and as before the extra power went to Germany.

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Photo NEWS ORESUND | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Pendock Primary raised £9000 for solar panels with only 43 pupils!

On sunny days Pendock C of E Primary can get 100% electricity from the panels and since the installation they've bought 50% less electricity!

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Photo 10:10 | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP

 


The most sustainable buildings in the world

One of them anyway. The Co-op Group offices are heated and cooled naturally, recycle waste computer heat and rainwater and are powered by biofuel.

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Photo THE CO-OPERATIVE | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP

Bangladesh installs 1,000 solar power systems a day

It's one of the world's poorest countries, but in Bangladesh, new solar power installations are running at about 1,000 a day. That's one every 90 seconds!

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Photo IDCOL | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Big jump in Britain's renewable power

The UK now gets one sixth of its electricity from clean sources like wind, solar and hydro. That's up 56% on this time last year.

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Photo VATTENFALL | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP




Canal's carbon cuts are all about timing 

By pausing its pumps when national power demand is high, Kennett & Avon canal helps keep the dirtiest power plants switched off for longer. 

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Photo ANDREW DENNES | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Solar on every roof in Cyprus

Solar water heaters are ubiquitous on the Mediterranean island, which has more panels per person than anywhere else in the world.

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Photo MALCOLM MURDOCH | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP

City of Bath switches to cleaner streetlights

Bath and North East Somerset council just completed converting 4,000 streetlights to energy saving LEDs. That's every main road in town! 

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Photo WILLIAM HALL | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP

Bridge-building cuts a million car journeys

A six-year project to link Britain's bike paths together has made it easier to walk and cycle, helping to avoid over a million car trips.

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Photo J BEWLEY/ SUSTRANS | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP

Alpacas prefer solar

"I own alpacas and llamas and work as a camelid trainer. Here are pictures of our alpacas grazing around our solar panels" 

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Photo JULIE TAYLOR-BROWN | BACK TO TOP

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Carbon cutting choir swaps plane for coach 

"I convinced my choir to go on tour by coach instead of plane. Travelling by road from Berlin to Poland meant we really experienced the feeling of going into a new country, and the only complaints were from sore stomachs from laughing so much!" 

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Photo KATIE GRIGGS | BACK TO TOP


Mark and Liya Brown's Superhome cuts carbon by 90%

From solar panels to new garage doors, the Browns pulled out all the stops for their home makeover, cutting their carbon by 90% in the process.

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Photo SUPERHOMES | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP

World's biggest solar thermal plant is ready to go

The Google-owned Ivanpah solar thermal plant will go online this year. The $2.2bn project will generate enough power for 140,000 homes.

 

  Photo BRIGHTSOURCE ENERGY | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Enter the (solar) dragon

If you're going to buy 80,000 solar panels, you might as well build a massive dragon-shaped stadium to really show them off. Nice work Taiwan! 

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Photo WORLD GAMES TAIWAN | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


US driving falls for nine years straight 

Americans are driving less every year. Car miles per person have fallen by 8% since the peak in 2004. Public transport use grew 10% over the same period.

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Photo C.M. KEINER | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Thailand's first on-grid wind turbines

Thailand has got 3 brand new wind turbines hooked up to their national grid, thanks to Goldwind. 

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Photo GOLDWIND MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Churchill's birthplace gets a green makeover

Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire has installed underfloor heating and roof insulation, and staff use electric cars on site. Plus, plans are underway for a hydro-electric turbine that'll power the palace for 40 years.

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Photo SIMON QUINTONMORE INFO | BACK TO TOP

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Solar rhino pool at Whipsnade

Whipsnade Zoo's rhinos spend 60% of their day wallowing in the pool. Good thing they have solar panels and a heat exchange system to keep the temperature just right. 

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Photo CAPELLA BOLTIADOR | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


LED traffic lights stop traffic in Chicago

The city of Chicago has installed 1,000 LED traffic lights. The new models use 85% less energy, and save $2.55m in energy costs.

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Photo MATHHEWJS007 | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


First solar boat to circumnavigate the globe

The 31m MS Tûranor PlanetSolar was covered in a massive 500 square metres of solar panels and completed the voyage in 584 days.

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Photo PLANET SOLARMORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


First new allotments in Liverpool since World War II

Liverpool Council are redeveloping 11 acres of disused land into allotments, the first new allotments to be created in the city since World War II.

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Photo JOHN MORRIS | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Lake District sets Britain's first local carbon budget

The Lake District is the first region to set a local carbon budget. In the last 3 years they've worked on improving rail links, providing electric bikes and sourcing food locally.

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Photo ANDREW PESCODMORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Record electric car sales in the US

Electric car sales in the USA reached their highest monthly rate ever this August, with 10,000 models sold. That's a 125% increase on August 2012.

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Photo DRIVINGTHENORTHEAST | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Bike racks fill car parking spaces in Seattle

Seattle city council is replacing underused car parking spaces with bike racks. 10 bikes can fit comfortably in the space used by one car.

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Photo SDOT | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP
 

9000 Scottish homes powered by whisky

Rothes whisky distillers are using the byproducts of whisky production to fuel a new biomass powerplant.

 

  Photo GRANT MITCHELLMORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


The highest hydro: stream power on Snowdon

The Snowdon hydro scheme is being built right now. It will generate enough power from mountain streams to supply every National Trust property in Wales.

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Photo NATIONAL TRUST | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Brighton's bike blackspot now has separate cycle lanes

One of Brighton's busiest routes just got safer for cycling: Lewes Road now has separate bike paths and dedicated bus lanes.

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Photo BRIGHTON BIKE TRAIN | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


IKEA ditches old-style lights for an all-LED future

The world’s biggest home furnishings retailer is phasing out old-fashioned lightbulbs, and plans to stock only super-efficient LEDs by 2016. 

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Photo IKEA | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP

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Tokelau ditches diesel and goes 100% solar powered!

Pacific island nation of Tokelau now powers all 3 of its atolls by solar. They've exceeded the 90% target and can now provide 150% of current demand! Thanks to the Rocky Mountain Institute for sending us this one!

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Photo POWER SMART | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Dhaka’s cycling revolution

There's been a huge resurgence of cycling in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as thousands swap four wheels for two to beat the traffic. BDCyclists alone have 17,000 members. Thanks 10:10 Bangladesh for submitting this story!

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Photo DAVID SASAKI | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


King's College saves 2500 tonnes of carbon per year

King's College, London has installed a new system to identify heating/cooling problems in big old buildings. They've already saved 2500 tonnes of carbon and £390,000 this year! Thanks to Vicki Hird for this one!

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Photo JAMESMH2006 | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Meet the world's first street-legal electric superbike

This is the Energica Ego. It's Italian built, electric powered, and available from mid-2015.

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Photo ENERGICA | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP

Tower Bridge

Tower bridge goes green (and red, and blue...)

The London icon looks better than ever after switching to energy-saving LED floodlights. The colour changing technology makes for lower carbon emissions and incredible light shows.

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Photo GENERAL ELECTRIC | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP

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Wadebridge can't get enough of renewable energy! 

The Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network have been working overtime getting the community involved in renewables. They generate 10% of their energy locally! 

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Photo EMILY WHITFIELD-HICKSMORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Micronesian homes get low carbon cooling

Nearly all new houses in Micronesia now have white roofs and natural ventilation, which means families need less energy-guzzling aircon. 

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Photo ASHDEN AWARDS | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Middlesbrough FC go 100% wind powered

Boro are building a wind turbine that will meet the Riverside stadium's entire power demand for 20 years, saving 3,000 tonnes of carbon and £3.2m. 

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Photo RAYMOND THEAKSTON | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Electric buses arrive in Gothenburg

The Swedish city of Gothenburg is getting a new fleet of all-electric buses charged with 100% renewable power. They'll be in service by 2015. 

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Photo VOLVO | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Crowdfunded wind turbine raises a record €1.3m in 13 hours

1,700 Dutch households chipped in for the Culemborg-based turbine, buying shares at €200 a pop through crowdfunding company Windcentrale.

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Photo WINDCENTRALE | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP

New high-speed trains carry more people and use less energy

Launching in 2018, the next generation of French high speed  trains will use a third less energy and carry more passengers. Bon voyage!

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Photo SPIEGELNEURONEN | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Spanish solar plant works at night

This solar power plant in Seville uses super-heated molten salt to store and deliver clean electricity around the clock.

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Photo MARK REDONDO | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Shipping giant hits its carbon target... eight years early

Maersk has nearly doubled its carbon-cutting target after hitting it eight years early. The world's largest shipping company now aims to cut 40% of its emissions by 2020.

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Photo MAERSK LINE | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP



Today's dishwater, tomorrow's central heating

From the morning shower to draining pasta for dinner, we put gallons of hot water down the drain every day. Plants like this one in Vancouver recycle the heat back to local taps and radiators, cutting emissions by more than 70%.

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Photo GREEN ENERGY FUTURES | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Surrey school triples cycling in three years

The Royal Alexandra and Albert school managed to boost the number of pupils cycling to school from 9% to 31% between 2010 and 2013. 

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Photo RAA | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


900,000 solar lamps sold in east Africa (and counting!)

Families in east Africa are replacing their smoky, pricey kerosene lamps with clean, reliable solar lights. Supplier SolarAid aim to sell 1m by the end of 2013. 

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Photo SOLAR AID | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP

Portugal hits 70% renewable power (and they're not alone)

In early 2013, our Iberian friends got 70% of their power from renewable sources. Right now, 46 countries use at least 60% clean electricity.

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Photo RUI REBELO | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP

Solar stained glass!

The Cathedral of the Holy Family in Canada just installed the world's first solar stained glass windows, created by Toronto artist Sarah Hall.

Photo SARAH HALL STUDIO | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


China's new city is a glimpse of the future

A 'Great City' being built outside Beijing is defying all the stereotypes of Chinese urban living. You'll be able to get anywhere in the city on foot in about 15 minutes, and the efficient buldings will cut residents' carbon footprint in half.

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Photo ADRIAN SMITH + GORDON GILL | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


US installs a new solar system every four minutes

In the next four minutes there will be 400 hours of video uploaded to Youtube, 1028 babies born and another solar system installed in the USA.

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Photo ALEX SNYDER | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Farming done right

"Cottage Farm is powered by renewable energy with near zero use of fossil fuels, one of the first in the country." 

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Photo PAUL SOUSEK | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


China's high speed railway carries twice as many passengers as its airlines

Five years ago China had no high speed rail netwowork; now it carries two times more passengers than the country's airlines.

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Photo ENZO JIANG | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Peru's 2 million poorest households are getting free solar

The government programme will give many Peruvians access to electricity for the first time.

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Photo GTR PUCP | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Scotland hosts Europe's largest tidal power project

Pentland Firth has some of the most powerful tides in Europe, and it will soon be home to the continent's largest tidal energy project.

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Photo MEYGENMORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


New Yorkers rack up two million trips on new city hire bikes

New York City launched its bike hire scheme in May 2013. By August the 10,000 bikes had already made two million trips! 

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Photo SCOTT BEALE | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP

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Solar panels on the White House

Obama's White House has installed solar panels on the roof as part of an energy-saving refit of the whole building.

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Photo SR AIRMAN BRIAN YBARBO | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Clapham Junction cuts light use by 35%

One of Britain's busiest stations has added a new system to adjust lighting levels depending on train timetables and passenger numbers, cutting lighting use by 35%.

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Photo KURIASITY | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP


Solar plane flies across America

The Solar Impulse plane is 100% solar powered and flies at night. It has recently completed a multi-leg trip across the US as a warm up to a 2015 trip round the world!

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Photo SOLAR IMPULSE | MORE INFO | BACK TO TOP

See how it happened in 2012

Browse last year's best happenings in the 2012 gallery

 

 

Just the beginning...

#itshappening doesn't mean #jobdone! We've seen what's possible – now let's spread these ideas around and help them grow. Pick your favourite and shout it from the rooftops!

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