World Oceans Day & Long-Term Building Sustainability Strategies



How your long-term building sustainability strategies help to restore CO2 balance for the world’s oceans.


Often the positive impact that your long-term building sustainability strategies have can get lost in the day-to-day grind of executing plans. On this World Oceans Day, take a few moments to learn how your CO2 reducing sustainability initiatives directly impact our oceans.


CO2 in Our Oceans


The Earth’s oceans play an important role in sequestering carbon dioxide (CO2), but climate warming reduces our oceans’ ability to retain and store CO2. This is referred to as a feedback loop.


There are two types of feedback loops: positive and negative. A negative feedback loop reduces the effect of change and helps maintain balance. A positive feedback loop increases the effect of the change and produces instability. In this case, the positive and negative naming of the loops do not indicate whether the feedback is good or bad. In the case of climate change, a feedback loop is something that speeds up or slows down the warming of the Earth. A positive feedback accelerates a temperature rise, whereas a negative feedback slows it down.


Why is a warmer ocean less able to store and retain carbon dioxide?


Well, for the same reason that drinking a lukewarm carbonated beverage is generally underwhelming. These drinks have been subjected to gas laws that make it hard for warm water to keep gas in solution. As a result, they lose their bubbles to the atmosphere and become ‘flat’.


Even if kept cool, beverages eventually lose their fizz to the atmosphere. This is because, according to Henry’s Law, gasses constantly try to attain equilibrium with their surroundings. We all know that sound - the pop of a beverage can or bottle means that gas bubbles have begun their escape into the atmosphere.


It is widely understood that CO2 contributes to a warming climate. Just as with a beverage can, as the carbon-retaining properties of the ocean diminish with warming waters, the following positive feedback loop takes hold:


  1. Increasing levels of CO2 increase temperatures in both the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans.

  2. When this happens, the ocean’s ability to retain CO2 is compromised.

  3. This deficiency, in turn, releases stored CO2 into the Earth’s atmosphere and further raises the concentration of CO2.

  4. This process then leads to - and accelerates - further global warming.


Here’s a simple diagram of the process.



Ocean CO@ Feedback Loop Diagram
Image courtesy of Skepticalscience.com.


The cleanest energy is the energy never consumed.


According to NOAA, “The accelerating effects of positive feedback loops can be at risk to irreversible tipping points, which are changes to the climate that are not steady and predictable. Basically, tipping points are small changes within the climate system that can change a fairly stable system to a very different state. Similar to a wine glass tipping over, wine is spilt from the glass as the tipping event occurs and standing up the glass will not put the wine back; the state of a full wine glass becomes a new state of an empty glass.”


While we are not at a tipping point yet, many elements of our climate system are already acting as part of dangerous positive feedback loops. Thankfully, there is good news. Your long-term building sustainability strategies and energy efficiency leadership makes a difference.


Executing long-term building sustainability strategies such as building envelope improvements, LED lighting upgrades, and optimization of HVAC systems will save our oceans through reductions in CO2 production.


It may seem like a far removed statement to say that replacing older, inefficient lighting in your facility saves the oceans, but you would not be wrong. Every improvement made by individuals and organizations makes an impact and helps drive greater awareness and acceptance of the challenges facing our planet.


Does your organization need help planning and executing your long-term building sustainability strategies or ESG goals? Contact us to learn more about Donovan Energy and how our services and solutions can help.


About Donovan Energy


Donovan Energy is a clean energy advisory, solution implementation, and finance company headquartered in Cincinnati, OH. Our fastest growing service is assisting organizations with their plans to develop and implement EV charging solutions. We have deep experience in delivering EV charging solutions nationally, and across a wide variety of property types from (retail, mixed use, hotels, airports, office, industrial, educational institutions, and government). If you are interested in learning more about EV charging for your organization, our EV Roadmap is the place to start. An EV Roadmap will provide the insights necessary to determine and implement the right solution to address both current and future needs. If you are considering an EV charging project, we’d love to help.