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  • Mark Piazzalunga

    DESERTEC project, Sahara Sun could power Europe by 2050

    By Mark Piazzalunga

    Sahara desert climate is hot and arid, everybody knows it. So how can this simple and well-known fact become the idea to power a continent like Europe? Let’s start from the principle: renewable energy is the future of energy; we assume that this sentence is true since all facts gets to this point. Second principle: European territory is restricted and allows the construction of a few plants that could use renewable energy. Paradoxically, countries like Africa have renewable sources, particularly solar, in abundance but scarce funds to make the best of these resources. Now find the connection. Is it possible to produce huge amounts of solar energy in Africa and transport them to Europe through energy infrastructures? Apparently yes, according to DESERTEC project developers and supporters. And what is DESERTEC? It’s an initiative of the Club of Rome (a global think tank that has its headquarters in Switzerland) started in 2009. Directly from the official website of the project (Desertec.org): "The DESERTEC concept was developed by a network of politicians, scientists and economists from around the Mediterranean, from which was born the DESERTEC Foundation. Demonstrates a way to provide climate protection, energy security and the development of sustainable energy generation from sites where renewable energy sources are at their most plentiful." In practical terms? Connect renewable energy power plants in Africa to Europe through a network of HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) systems. The Foundation target is to build several renewable power plants of various types (mainly wind, photovoltaic and solar concentration) throughout North Africa. To support the project financially, the Foundation and other 12 companies (including Deutsche Bank, E.ON, RWE and ABB) created an industrial initiative: Dii GmbH. The construction project would continue until 2050 and for that date, the cost is estimated at € 400 billion, which means $ 546,720,000,000, approximately seven times Bill Gates’ fortune. It’s little bit expensive (life on Mars seems cheaper) but the entire network could provide Europe with the 15-20% of electricity that it needs. We must also consider the drastic decrease of pollution, direct effect of the project. This project isn’t just an idea but it seems an accurate and long-term plan. This could be an opportunity to connect two continents and to give them economic opportunities and jobs. There could be some problems like the wars and the instability of some of North Africa countries or how to get all 40 nations to agree to an arrangement for subsidizing the green electricity. There’s also the possibility to build the plants in Europe, just $ 54 billion more, and doing some math it brings to a shocking number: €2 per citizen per year to keep tens of thousands of jobs in Europe -- and to prevent Europe from becoming dependent on foreign countries for its electricity. Well, the project just started and it has the funds to go forward. We can't wait to see the results. Photo from Desertec.org
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  • Megan Bonetti

    Conferencing Climate Change: Teamwork or Tug-of-war?

    By Megan Bonetti

    India. Culture, cows and rubbish. As an Aussie living for a short time in India it is such an intriguing country. Indians love their diverse nation yet they use the streets like rubbish dumps. Even my friends here tell me it’s ok to throw my paddle-pop wrapper out the car window. I can’t… so I just hold it tight and wait till I get home. Growing up in Australia, those ‘emu hunts’ in primary school have willed my littering days away. Yet I suspect that even my household trash bin will just be dumped across the road for the cows to eat or worse still, burnt on the street…for the cows to eat. This is India. Love it or hate it. (#tii) As an Australian social worker volunteering with an NGO in Southern India I witness the large divide between the rich and poor of this incredibly colourful nation. I work with many children whose whole families have had to migrate from various parts of India due to the rapid effects of drought on their land and the significant urbanisation of major cities in the last 10 years. It turns out India has seen a boom in it’s industrial and technological trades a little later than it’s western neighbours and they are loving it. But India’s urban boom is threatened with westerners telling them they have to stop producing and polluting. The earth doesn’t like it. Sorry India…We made our big capitalist bucks, but you don’t get that chance. Just when things are getting good and you’re developing astronomically, your main source of energy is being taken away. It turns out fossil fuels are the cheapest form of energy for the developing world, especially as they try in earnest to develop the same standard of living as we have. So as one the most formidable countries in the developing world, India not only has the pressures of navigating a massive population but also has to figure out how to go green on the cheap. It’s interesting that the Turnbull government has reluctantly agreed on a 5% reduction in carbon emissions in the next five years. “Phew! Glad we got through that one boys.” They wipe their sweaty brows while developing countries are drowning, burning and trying to survive on scant resources. These countries are just trying to make a crust, while Eurocentric nations are slowly turning a baguette into organic multigrain sourdough (and throwing the crusts to their hobby cows). If the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris is truly the last attempt for international cooperation, leaders cannot just show and tell their contribution and sit back with folded arms. But how can mere human individuals promote serious teamwork? This brings me back to the children I work with here in India. Every day their parent’s lives are tied to corrupt building associations. They are bonded labourers—gypsies moving from construction to construction. These families have no hope of returning to their now desolate homeland and are not provided social security measures that protect their livelihood. Then there is India’s neighbour, low-lying Bangladesh, experiencing saltwater intrusion that poisons whole water supplies for entire villages. In our own backyard we see Australian farmers shooting all their cattle only to turn the gun on themselves under the shadow of unprecedented drought. This is human impact. Global warming is not just about penguins and polar bears. Climate change is a social justice issue. We live in a globalised world. The industrial revolution brought us here; and climate change is the consequence. No longer do we just neighbour cities, we neighbour nations. The leaders of Australia must be held accountable to all their neighbours including the ones just trying to keep their head above water. It simply won’t do for wealthy nations, such as Australia, to show the world their own country’s carbon reductions and sit back down. This summit can’t work as a set menu; it has to be a potluck dinner, a time for sharing, understanding and safeguarding. For the sake of our beautiful earth and the many diverse cultures of the human race, this time I hope and pray that the leaders of the world provide a resounding voice for the marginalised. This summit and our government must not stop at figures, but uphold the basic democratic and human rights principles that cradle modern society. The United Nations was created so that man-made and worldwide calamities could no longer grasp our world with such authority. Well, it turns out a world war with Mother Nature is knocking on our doorstep. Will we listen and respond? I hope so.   For more information please visit the below links. They offer great insights into climate change realities and are positive and accessible resources for engaging the conversation. The reality of climate change | David Puttnam | TEDxDublin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBjtO-0tbKU India: Climate Change Impacts http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2013/06/19/india-climate-change-impacts Climate Change and the End of Australia http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/climate-change-and-the-end-of-australia-20111003 The Critical Decade: Climate Change and Health (Australia) http://www.climatecouncil.org.au/uploads/1bb6887d6f8cacd5d844fc30b0857931.pdf GoPro: Climate Change and the Optimistic Future https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sT6jtTtsG_M Paris Climate Conference: COP21 Explained https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-qd8YCaoQ4 Why is the Paris UN climate summit important? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnztR5JllA4 Adam asks new PM Malcolm Turnbull on climate change in Question Time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqXtKt-Is54 Morgan Freeman's Powerful Climate Change Short Film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YQIaOldDU8  
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  • Joseph Ramondeli

    Black Friday Promotes Over-Consumption and Waste

    By Joseph Ramondeli

    Black Friday Promotes Over-Consumption and Waste               Every year Thanksgiving weekend is overshadowed by Black Friday and in recent years Cyber Monday as well. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time when families can get together, even if it’s just for a day or dinner, to talk and reconnect. However every year more American’s are focused on shopping. Stores are now open by 8:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day resulting in people sitting at the dinner table with their families while browsing on their phones for the best deals that they hope to buy in a few hours.  This is just another example of how our modern, technologically advanced society is constantly becoming more materialistic. Aside from Black Friday overshadowing an American holiday and tradition, it is an annual example of how Americans over-consume and by doing so are very wasteful.  A huge fraction of purchased goods during Black Friday and Cyber Monday are things that people don’t need, they are things they think they need. Advertisements and social trends play a big role in the impact of this event (I refuse to call it a holiday) and in our consumption behavior in general.             Companies are tricking and forcing us to buy un-needed goods through the use of planned obsolescence and perceived obsolescence.  Planned obsolescence is disappointing because it refers to how companies purposely make products to only last a few years and by doing so force consumers to by new products from them every couple of years. The most common example of this is electronic devices. Apple creates a new IPhone every year so that once yours break “accidentally” there’s a brand new, more expensive one to purchase as a replacement. Not to mention that such companies stop making old models, forcing you to buy the newest model. On the other hand, perceived obsolescence is promoted by companies but ultimately results from our own social actions. Companies, through advertisements, constantly throw the promotion of new goods in our face. It’s almost impossible to go anywhere or do anything without seeing an advertisement of some sort. These advertisements tend to increase around the holiday season, hence the origin of Black Friday. The main reason such advertisements work is due to the social pressure we put on each other and ourselves. Everyone wants the next new model or brand and once a friend or family member purchases something then we are pressured and attracted to buying it as well. The biggest example of this is the fashion industry, where new trends come and go each season resulting in constant purchasing of new, unnecessary clothing. These companies are clearly getting the better of us based on the success of such events as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.             So why is over-consumption such a bad thing, why should we care if people waste there money on unnecessary goods? It’s simple: overconsumption leads to waste! One of the downfalls to the technological advancements of today’s world is that we create materials that cannot be found in our natural world. This means that when we throw something out in the garbage it will never decompose. Purchasing many of today’s consumer goods is bad enough because most cannot be recycled and will sit in landfills, but over-consumption takes this once step further in that we buy more than we need! We buy new clothes or new phones before our old ones are worn our or broken. By doing so we are creating more waste because we constantly thrown away products that are still functional and contribute the ever-growing amount of waste humanity has created on this planet. In order to help reduce the waste we create of course we should recycle and reuse as much as possible. However, I believe that the creation of waste should be stopped at its source, and that’s our consumer purchasing. Buying less and using goods to there fullest is a sure way to decrease waste. Resisting social pressure and advertisements is key to getting this accomplished. So next year put the phones away and turn the TV off at the dinner table during Thanksgiving, you don’t need them. Joseph Ramondelli  
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    The least-discussed factor in climate change and resource depletion

    On average we currently need 1.5 Earths to sustain our consumption of resources. That's the global average and in developed countries like the UK we probably need around three. This is clearly unsustainable, but it gets worse. We will need more Earths as the population grows, currently at 7 billion but expected to increase to around 9 billion by 2050. This is a situation that cannot continue. More people inevitably means more mouths to feed, more energy needed, and more resources turned into goods for these people to use, as well as greater deforestation and biodiversity loss.

    Population growth is probably the least-discussed factor causing climate change and other significant environmental impacts such as resource depletion. The latest IPCC report (AR5) says, “It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic [human created] increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.” This report, comprehensive in other areas, scarcely touches on the population aspect of climate change.

    Simon Ross, Chief Executive of the charity Population Matters says, “The more people there are the more emissions there are, and the greater pressure on resources. That depends on how much each individual is consuming, so if when are more Americans or more British people that has a bigger effect on a per capita basis, than the poorest countries, where the population increase is growing the fastest. In middle income countries like China and Brazil the per capita consumption is rising, so we are seeing growing numbers and growing consumption at the same time, so if you take all of that it is a major driver for climate change, and what’s behind pressure on food and water, energy, and some minerals, fish and so on. It's a combination of more people and rising consumption.”

    How does population growth affect everybody's lives? Simon Ross continues, “As there are more and more people, they have to live somewhere. They are forced to live in places that are risky, on the coast for example, where they are prone to rising sea levels, high tides and tsunamis, or where flooding is likely. In the UK recently people who live on floodplains have suffered from inundation. People are only living in those places because of population pressures - they have find somewhere to live, and that may be not where they would choose because all the best places are taken already.”

    What options can be taken to reduce population induced climate stress and reach a sustainable population for the globe? According to Population Matters the approach should be non-coercive, and involve both the developing world, and the developed countries where the people who consume the most and have the biggest environmental footprint live. It is also important to focus on the global South where over two billion people live on less than $2 per day and where health, education, low-cost family planning can make a significant difference to the quality of poor peoples' lives. Education for women, and campaigns against child marriage and violence against women and girls, as well as action on biodiversity loss and promotion of appropriate technology can be beneficial. See here for a previous blog on solar power in the Sunderbans.http://blog.greenjobs.co.uk/2014/04/22/earth-day-power-people/

    Simon Ross says, “What we really want to promote is smaller families. Over time that will lower population growth, and over time slow it and then reverse it. The benefit of that will be over time more space, lower congestion in terms of transport, fewer housing builds. You won't be paying so much for utilities and food and other things. Otherwise prices are going to go up and up and up as there is more demand for everything. So generally peoples' quality of life will be better if there were fewer people, for the relatively well-off West. For people in the developing countries, it could be a matter of life and death – the difference between having enough food and not having enough food. A lot of people do not have enough food already, so if we slow or stop climate change that will relieve pressure on resources.”

    Simon Ross continues, “We want to encourage quality family planning, women’s' rights, education and healthcare which in turn means smaller families, and less pressure on the environment. At Population Matters we see the way forward in terms of good policy and advice, rather than any form of coercion which we see as negative and counterproductive.”

    Climate change, and its associated factors are real. Reducing population growth is one of the ways we can address the issue. If we fail to do that, we are limiting our responses to probably the greatest problem that humanity has faced in its existence.

    www.populationmatters.org.

    This blog first published on http://blog.greenjobs.co.uk/

    Julian Jackson is a writer about environmental subjects www.brightgreenpr.co.uk

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    In today’s world, cities seem to be forever expanding. Corporate, modern offices, high-rise apartment buildings and packed-in-like-sardines homes are now the norm. While there’s no doubting the benefits of city living, this boom in concrete living means that those of us in urban and city areas are forced to face the prospect of living in residential environments with poorer quality or quantity of green space. It is a well known fact that most large cities have microclimates, whereby the inner city area is a couple of degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside. Urbanisation results in changes in natural water flow, carbon cycles, biodiversity and air pollution levels, which ultimately results in these microclimates forming.

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    ​Cities in Australia and around the world are realising the impact that urbanisation - and subsequent lack of nature - is having on climate change, pollution and human health and are increasingly working on 'green’ initiatives to counteract the negative effects. However, these initiatives can only happen so fast.

    There are so many benefits to bringing nature closer to home, but sometimes we need to take things into our own hands. Having nature in your life is highly important and small lifestyle changes can make a massive impact both to your personal health and the health of the Earth.

    The Benefits of Living Close to Nature

    There are many studies, sources and evidence that support the notion that nature in urban areas can benefit our mental and physical health. Not only that, but increased greenery in our cities can help minimise the negative impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

    Lower stress levels

    An American study conducted in 2008 found that workers who had even a small glimpse of a park or green area were significantly less stressed at work and were much more satisfied employees. So imagine the impact of bringing nature inside your home or office!

    What is more, it has been proven that an increase in greenery positively correlates not only with less stress at work, but decreased anxiety and depression.

    Reduce mental fatigue

    Urban centres literally never sleep - there’s always something going on. With all these noises and distractions, city life can be incredibly tiring on both the body and mind. We now know that the constant stimuli offered by cities can actually dull the mind’s ability to think. But, the good news is that even brief interactions with natural environments have been proven to help reduce mental fatigue and restore your mind to a healthy state.

    Long-term mental health

    The University of Exeter found that greener surroundings in urban areas boosted residents’ mental health and happiness in the long-term, even after they moved away from the area. So even if you are planning on moving out to a more rural area in the near future, you can benefit your mind in the long term.

    Recover from illness

    That’s right - green areas help people prevent and recover from disease and illness; they also provide opportunities for physical activity, which in turn supports active lifestyle and reduces diseases including obesity - one of the developed world’s leading killers.

    What is more, ailments like heart disease, neck/shoulder/back/wrist problems, diabetes, respiratory infections, migraines and even stomach illnesses can all be positively impacted by green spaces.

    Green Solutions for City Living

    The benefits are clear, but when you’re living in a city where the number of parks and nature reserves are largely controlled by powers much larger than ourselves, it can seem impossible to green-up our lifestyles. But is it really?

    Spruce Up Your Backyard

    Not everyone in the city has a backyard, but if you’re lucky enough to have one, you can go green-crazy! Don’t just think of it as somewhere to plant some trees - turn it into a garden retreat. Create your own organic vegetable garden, grow herbs and introduce some evergreen plants to keep your space thriving all year round.

    To maximise your space, add walls, fences and other borders, which are perfect for increasing the amount of greenery you can add; climbing plants are amazing at turning a concrete view into a tropical oasis.

    Create a Balcony Garden

    Don’t have a backyard? No worries! If you have a balcony or rooftop you can have a flourishing mini-garden. The key to a perfect balcony garden is to choose plants that suit the size of the space and will flourish in the climate of your balcony. For example, if you get a lot of sunlight throughout the day you should look for plants that can survive constant sunshine such as sunflowers, lavender and petunias. Vegetables and fruit that enjoy lots of sunshine include tomatoes, cucumbers, melons and peppers.

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    Again, if your balcony or roof has limited space, try incorporating wall plants, hanging plants, vines or even tall potted plants to maximise your space. A good balcony garden doesn’t mean you need to completely cover it in plants!

    Go Green Indoors

    Did you know that indoor air can be much more polluted than outdoor air? One of the wonderful benefits of having plants indoors is that they can help to purify the air and make you feel more relaxed overall. In the late 1980’s, NASA studied the benefits of indoor plants for removing volatile organic compounds from air and found that certain plants worked better than others, including aloe vera, gerber daisy, golden pothos and spider plants.

    Even if you have no balcony or garden, you can still bring nature indoors and benefit from its positive impacts. There are numerous plants that thrive indoors and in low light areas. Indoor plants such as ferns, dracaena, peace lilies and small palms are ideal. You can also create an indoor organic herb garden, which is perfect for those that enjoy cooking and want fresh herbs to hand.

    Start a Community Garden

    Approach your council or building management about starting a community garden. You’ll need to consider who will be involved in maintaining the garden and what types of plants you want to grow. These gardens are also great social experiences, allowing you to get to know your neighbours and others in your local area.

    If there is any unused space in your neighbourhood, you can also talk to the council about turning it into a green space that can benefit your whole community. Types of green spaces include: parks/pocket parks, playgrounds, green corridors (connecting pathways, cycleways), sporting areas and BBQ/picnic areas. While they might have grass on them, they could be even greener - ask about planting trees and shrubbery to maximise the oxygen output. So the more variety the better!

    Top takeaway tips

    - Choose plants that will grow / thrive in your space and climate; remember, city climates can often be much warmer than those outside of the city;

    - Keep your gardens maintained and manicured to sustain their benefits; water your plants regularly and keep them nutritious with good soil and fertiliser;

    - Including herbs, vegetable plants and fruit trees in your space is also a great way to support sustainable living; again, choose herbs/plants that you know will grow well in your particular environment.

    By creating green spaces around us, even in the smallest of ways, we can sustain the benefits of nature when living in huge, concrete cities. And by doing this we can enrich our lives, mentally, physically and emotionally – while also giving something back to the greater natural world that surrounds us.

    Are you ready to greenify your life?

    Need more ideas?

    Benefits of Green Space

    Mental Health and Function & Green Environment

    Green Cities and Microclimate

    Start an Organic Garden

    Start a Balcony Garden

    Start a Community Garden

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    When you see those tell-tale black spots beginning to appear in your basement, bathroom, gutters or damp carpets, you know you have a problem. Mold and mildew are pernicious in their infestations and to ensure they are completely eliminated. They reproduce via spores that can be carried by air and thrive in warm, moist and humid environments.

    You might have seen white thread-like growths or clusters of small black specks along your damp basement or bathroom walls accompanied with a musty odor. These are sure signs of an infestation. Mold can also be found growing along walls where warm moist air condenses, behind dressers, headboards, or in closets which have articles stored against a wall.

    Homes that have seen flooding, have a sewage back-up problem, plumbing problems, damp basements or crawl spaces, or are prone to high humidity, see a high proliferation of mold and mildew. They are also harmful to the health of the inhabitants of the house and are known to cause allergic reactions.

    Basic Prevention Techniques to Avoid Mold Growth

    • Plug all the leaks in the house. Leaking roofs, plumbing fixtures, leaking walls etc. should be identified and repaired. Go in for thorough basement waterproofing if there is regular seepage. You can also get a dehumidifier to aid you in keeping the basement dry.

    • Increase the air circulation in your home. Use air conditioning or in case of naturally damp places like bathrooms and kitchens, exhaust fans.

    • Keep the inside of exterior walls well ventilated and provide warm air to all parts of the house. Large objects touching the exterior walls should be moved a few inches ahead to help air circulation.

    • Attics and crawlspaces should be insulated and ventilated. Earth floors of crawlspaces, if any, should be covered with plastic.

    • Any water damage to carpets, clothing, bedding or upholstered furniture should be remedied within 24-48 hours. Consider removing and replacing damaged furnishings.

    • Clean your home thoroughly; use a vacuum cleaner to be more effective.

    Here are a few ways you can fight against mold and mildew naturally:

    Sunlight and Air

    Direct exposure to sunlight and fresh air are not conducive for the growth of mold and mildew. Portable items that have gotten infested can be placed out in the sunlight. But make sure you get them in before it rains or it may just make matters worse. If your bathroom or basement has a window, open it and let the fresh air in. Placing a fan inside the window can also be a good idea as it encourages air circulation.

    Tea Tree Oil

    Though an uncommon and slightly expensive ingredient in the battle against mold and mildew, it is highly effective. It has antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral and antiseptic properties making it the perfect candidate to kill mold and mildew. But beware, it is considered to be toxic in its pure form and can cause severe damage if taken internally.

    Take a teaspoon of tea tree oil and two cups of water, and put this solution in a container or a spray bottle. Shake the container well and spray it on the affected areas and let it sit and dry out. This is a great solution for almost any infested item including cabinets, walls, drawers and even clothes. The smell of the oil is strong but it will dissipate after a couple of days.

    Baking Soda

    It is a mild, white mineral powder usually available in the kitchen. Baking soda is ideal for scrubbing away remnants of mold and mildew as it is mildly abrasive. Moreover, it also absorbs moisture and works well in keeping mold away.

    It works effectively on tough to get to spots like grout where stains can stay even after the mold has been killed. Make a paste of baking soda and water and scrub it into the surface with a brush or sponge. Rinse it with white vinegar to eliminate the baking soda residue.

    Distilled White Vinegar

    This not only kills mold and mildew but effectively removes all smell of it from the house. However, you need to use white vinegar in its pure form without mixing it with water. White vinegar can kill about 82% of mold and is one of the most effective home remedies for mold and mildew infestations.

    Simply pour or spray white vinegar on the affected areas and let it sit. Once the vinegar has dried up do not rinse the area. Instead, wait for a few hours and lo behold, the mold and the acidic smell of the vinegar will have disappeared.

    Hydrogen Peroxide

    Having anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties, hydrogen peroxide can be used to kill mold on kitchen appliances, bathroom fixtures, floors and the walls. Use 3% concentration of hydrogen peroxide poured into a spray bottle to saturate the moldy surface completely. Allow it to sit for ten minutes. Next, scrub the area to remove all the mold and mold stains. Give it a final wipe-down to remove all residual spores.

    Grapefruit Seed Extract

    Slightly expensive, but incredibly effective, grapefruit seed extract is an odorless, natural and effective way to rid your house of mold. Add twenty drops of grapefruit seed extract with two cups of water in a spray bottle. Shake it well and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse.

    Vodka

    While it may be highly effective in getting you hammered, it is even more effective in killing mold. You do not have to reach for the good stuff for this purpose; in fact, the cheaper the better. Spray straight vodka on the affected spots, allow it to sit for some time and then wipe the mold away with a rag or a sponge.

    These non-toxic solutions are also some of the most effective and easy-to-implement methods of keeping your house free from mold and mildew. Not only are they easy to use but also safe for you and the environment. So do not depend on strong chemicals and toxins to kill another toxin. Help yourself to some baking soda, tea tree oil, or if you are in the mood, some vodka, and go to work on those infestations.

  3. A systematized efforts to teach about the functioning of environment and specifically about environmental issues and its associated challenges.

    Goal of such Education is “Awareness and understanding environmental affairs”

    Want to know how such education is enhanced across the globe? Google trend is one of the best source I have visited. Check my entire analysis on environmental education around the world. Google trend depicts how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages. It shows how popular the search term has been over a time. Such trends are more preferred when compared to just descriptions.

    Check how concern about environmental education is declining. !! (Yes. Topic to be ponder !! )

    1) Down-going in Interest over time

    Problem:

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    You can observe from the above graph that there is a massive decline since 2005 till now.

    Check what kind of international steps are being in flow to cease such issue.

    1) European Union, a recognized leader in most areas of environmental activities is constantly trying to uplift such degradation.

    2) United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), an agency of United Nations (UN) co-ordinates many environmental management training programmes .

    It assist many developing nations in implementing environmental policy.

    3) Many such other institution even promotes environmental science and environmental health that provides an integrated approach to environmental systems.

    2) Country Specific interest at particular period

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    From the above trend, you can see the list of countries who are interested in making their people aware about such education.

    Kenya is among the most concern country on such issues. At Kenya, many programmes are conducted to make people aware like Edmund Rice East African Network programmes, Environmental Education Action Plan and similar other. This may be the reason that more and more people are aware in Kenya.

    Even countries having less awareness programmes are focusing on such action plans to educated their people.

    3) Most related searches

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    This is one of the important feature of Google trend which depicts relevant query search around the world. Not only this, it even shows the most searched keyword by their search volume.

    Above analysis just depicts how less concern we are for nature and environmental related issues.

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    It's lunch time. You drive your car and go to grocery store for preparing something delicious. You pick chicken and a pre-made salad. Have you noticed that such actions affect environment? How could it be possible? Let me explain. When you go by car, it releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Air gets polluted. The store that you went into, require light which is powered by coal and as you know that coal mining destroy our ecosystem. What about that salad? Its ingredients grown on farm using harmful pesticides and then washed into local streams poisoning the fish and aquatic plants. Water gets polluted. Even chicken transported by trucks that emits poisonous gas. A smallest action of human creates an environmental change. Think of a bigger picture. Humans are completely dependent on mother nature for survival. But, what you give back? Harmful chemicals that pollutes water, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide such undesirable gases causing air pollution. We really need to think on this and stop some where.

    Have you ever wonder which is one of the main reason in determining the nature? Industrial pollution is the main cause. Earlier industries were limited and so they were less harmful to en vironment. But, with growing population several industries evolved on a large scale with massive production. This has depleted certain natural resources damaging the environment permanently. Best example is deforestation which is clearing of forest for sake of production. “ Grow More Trees” is our motto. Do you think we took this seriously? Just to increase production level, what are we doing? Cutting down the trees and cripple the system. Greed can lead to catastrophic accidents and eventually society has to suffer. Mainly primary industries has caused a massive damage to earth especially mining of coal. This has become one of the biggest issue today.

    Coal, one of the fossil fuel, is mined with an aim of producing electricity. Imagine a day without electricity. I remember a day when the light goes off just for an hour and I was like yelling and calling at electricity office. We really could not live without it. Not even an hour. Now, you might have come to know how coal is important and so its mining as well. But Wait! All good things come with something not acceptable. Have you ever think of how much damage is caused to surface of earth while mining coal? Let me list down all the drastic consequences that comes along with mining of it.

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    1. Emission of harmful gases deteriorates ambient air quality

    With an aim to extract coal from underground mines, mining operation is done. Such operation includes drilling, hauling, collection and transportation and this results into emission of harmful gases like methane, sulfur-dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and carbon monoxide . Just like other fossil fuels, combustion of coal produces CO2 affecting the green house effect. This even increase in global warming. This even has major impact like global warming. Don't you think such release of gases will pollute the air? Off-course Yes. Much more air quality deterioration is caused due to opencast mining in which mining operation is carried without any tunnel or shafts. Imagine how much destructive it will be? Such emission leads to serious health hazards with a rapid increase of respiratory disease such as chronic bronchitis and asthma. Really, we need to think on this otherwise the day is no far where we are left alone by nature. Within last few year production of coal is sky-rocketing. You can figure it out how the production of coal has been incresed in china in last few years.

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    2. Adverse impact to hydrological regime

    Process of mining, burning the coal and waste storage of coal pollutes the water. How? A flowing water comes into contact of coal mining activities that has exposed rocks. Such rocks contains pyrite, a sulphur bearing mineral. This mineral reacts with water forming sulphuric acid. Such runoff results into a metal rich water that is Acid mine drainage (AMD). How dreadful it would be to those aquatic plants and animals? And what about us? We too are affected as we drink that contaminated water. Other reasons that pollutes the water are erosion of mine benches , overloaded and reject dumps, failing dams and even during discharging of million litres of water itself. “Water is life” But, we have made it such that becomes dangerous to your life. How mean we are?

    3. Enormous Land Disturbance Caused due to mining operation

    Mining operation goes through large scale excavation, creation of negligent land, removal of top soil, dumping of solid waste and cutting of roads. Usually, mine collapse in underground mining and land above it start to sink result into an interruption. News about such catastrophe is frequently heard. But, opencast mining is more destructive than underground mining. It scraps away earth and rock to get coal buried near the surface. It destroy landscapes, forest, wildlife, contaminates ground water and result into air and noise pollution. Such environmental affects are so profound that recovery of it is next to impossible. So, why we become so careless and constantly dig though it affects our environment.

    4. Mining causes noise and vibration

    Do you like someone screaming? No Why? Because it is too unpleasant to our ears. Think of a blast or something weird sound at a high volume. How terrible it might be for our ears. Think of people living around the areas where mining activities takes place. Why? Because such mining operation produces lot of noise and vibration as well. Hundreds of tones of explosives blast in the mining area and this creates a massive noise pollution. Hearing loss of human ears is one of the major consequence of noise. Imagine how dreadful it might be? Beast in forest are more sensitive to such noise and so they are more affected than humans.

    Want to improve environmental sustainability in industries? There has been established many institutional bodies that offers diploma in Environmental Management. Many of them even offer excellent trainig and one of my friend has experienced best training of workplace environmental at Brisbane in Australia.

    Being a part of this wonderful nature, each and every individual is responsible for such destruction. Why we have become so greedy that we don't care of its frighting consequences. There is still time to save our nature otherwise it will be too late to sum up everything.

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    The Fracking Debate

    The fracking debate is intensifying. Recently, the Lords committee called for the UK government to speed up its development of regulated fracking because of its potential to bring substantial benefits. This group of influential Lords claim that fracking can lift the economy, secure energy nationally and even aid the environment. Environmentalists fought back vigorously, arguing against the evidence cited by the Lords.

    Despite the amount of attention the issue commands, many are unsure if fracking is something they need to concern themselves with. Many are asking: what is fracking and why should we care?

    Fracking Explained

    Fracking has been used as a term to describe two very different techniques to access natural resources. The traditional form of fracking is a procedure that aims to accelerate the oil extraction of an established oil field. This process carries very different environmental risks compared with the newer form of fracking.

    The type of fracking that is causing all the controversy is related to shale fracking. That is, using hydraulic fracturing procedures to extract gas from shale rocks. To put simply, the process involves drilling into the earth to force open rock fissures in order to reach new reservoirs of natural gas. The way the gas is extracted requires releasing high-pressure water to obtain the gas from inside. A mixture including some chemicals is then injected into the area to facilitate the flow of gas into safe storage.

    Proponents of fracking claim that it allows access to oil and natural gas deposits which were previously unreachable. In terms of economic benefits, it is thought that the increased supply will lead to reduced prices for these resources. Environmentalists however, argue that fracking is unsafe.

    What’s Wrong With The Fracking Process?

    Firstly, the process requires drilling into the environment to make new stone fractures. This very act has the impact of creating small earth tremors. Although the typical sizes of tremors that occur as a result of fracking are usually not of concern, there have been instances where the movements of the earth could be felt on the surface. For example, fracking lead to two earthquakes in Blackpool back in 2011; the magnitude of each measured 1.5 and 2.2 on the Richter scale respectively.

    Another serious concern involves the chemicals used in the process and the disposal of fracking fluids. If these chemicals seep into the earth for any reason, they could cause serious contamination and pollution issues.

    In addition the fracking process uses a lot of water, which means we’re simply depleting one resource in order to extract another. Environmentalists emphasise that efforts to secure energy should be focused on renewable sources and technology instead, as this is the only way to ensure continuous supply in the long run.

    So what’s the future for shale gas development? Exploratory drilling to establish its economic potential is still in early phases, but in the face of so much opposition, it will likely take some time before any progress can be made.

    Author Bio

    Louise Taylor is an environmental and energy enthusiast who writes for Love Energy Savings, an energy price comparison website dedicated to helping families and businesses save money on their energy costs.

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    According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), many roofing contractors aren't taking the necessary safety precautions when working on top of roofs. Complaints against roofing contractors for unsafe practices are more common than they used to be and OSHA, along with the Better Business Bureau and various roofing associations is working to correct the problem.

    Just how dangerous is roofing?

    Nearly a third of all fall related deaths in the construction industry occur from the rooftop. Contrary to popular belief, this isn't usually due to inexperience (though it is sometimes the case). Even the most experienced roofers can fall when the work environment is unsafe. Uneven sheathing, a sudden gust of wind, loose roofing materials, tools lying about, and wet surfaces all commonly lead to falls resulting in serious injury or death. Even a bee sting or some other on-the-job injury can distract a roofer causing them to fail. Many of these work place hazards, such as leaving tools where a person might stumble on them, are the result of human error. Others, such as sudden gusts of wind, are completely outside the worker's control. However, with the proper safety measures in place, even these types of hazards are less likely to result in a fall.

    What this means for roofers

    According to OSHA, while the cost of providing the property safety equipment to all roofers could be a setback to roofing contractors, that cost is nothing compared to the worth of a human life. OSHA urges that roofing contractors make sure to train all of their workers in the use of safety equipment and to make sure that equipment is being used every second that they are working on a roof. Also make sure that each roofer has proper footwear that will protect them from slipping and from injury that could lead to a fall.

    What this means for homeowners

    Homeowners also need to be concerned about the danger of a roofer falling while on-the-job. First off, they need to make sure that any roofing contractor they hire has the necessary insurance to cover such injuries. Otherwise, the homeowner could be liable for an injury. Even with insurance, however, no homeowner wants to feel responsible that a serious injury or death occurred from his/her rooftop. It's important when hiring a contractor to ask about safety measures. Homeowners shouldn't be afraid to ask about what safety equipment and what safety measures will be used on the job. As the saying goes, it's better to be safe than sorry.

    Home improvement news brought to you by bartonroof.com

    Source: safety.blr.com/workplace-safety-news/construction-safety/fall-protection-construction/OSHA-says-Denver-contractors-are-falling-down-on-f/

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    Becoming Environmentally Conscious

    As you might have known, air pollution threatens the livelihood of both humans and the environment every day. According to the EPA, “680 to 1,700 premature deaths have resulted in heart or lung disease,” which may be attributed to hazardous air pollutants linked to cancer. Continual exposure to the toxic environment has decreased the longevity of the average human life. Fortunately, many parts of the United States are fully dedicated to becoming environmentally conscious and want to provide a sustainable lifestyle for everybody to enjoy.

    There are several criteria for becoming an eco-friendly state, which includes usage of renewable resources, effective recycling and management of waste, access to organic/local food, green transportation methods, air and water quality, and land dedicated to quality green space, such as parks and recreational areas. By meeting this criteria, carbon footprint decreases dramatically.

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    Vermont: The Road to Becoming Environmentally Conscious

    Vermont is considered the number one most environmentally conscious state in the United States. Being the second least populous state, Vermont is devoted to providing healthier living for their limited number of residents. It has the lowest carbon footprint and the fewest carcinogenic toxins, helping to provide that well-known, crisp, mountain air. This is due to policies that promote renewable and alternative energy, recycling, and many local food choices.

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    Living the Vermont Lifestyle

    Vermont promotes healthy living by providing plenty of outdoor leisure activities. There are many areas in the state that allow swimming, biking, horseback riding, boating, golfing, and walking – many of them throughout Vermont’s vast mountain ranges. Quechee Lakes is an example of healthy Vermont-style living, located just south of Burlington. It’s a community that provides outdoor activities for all residents around the area.

    It is also home to one of the best skiing locations in the country. Burlington, which is Vermont’s main hub, has a growing business community that attracts many friendly entrepreneurs, delicious local restaurants, and a lively nightlife.

    Vermont is also very family-friendly. Many leisure activities are kid-friendly, and include public parks, walking trails, rock climbing, and fishing.

    Conclusions

    Being environmentally friendly is no easy task, but is becoming necessary to sustain a practical level of health. If you want this type of risk-free environment, Vermont is the perfect place to enjoy both a healthy lifestyle and an eco-friendly environment. Start making the change today!

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    Exercise is crucial for children, especially in these times when a majority of American kids are either overweight or obese. Athletic practices, sports, even pick-up games provide kids with not only fresh air, but also an opportunity to exercise their muscles. All these activities require space, but not all playgrounds are safe considering the rising costs of maintenance sports grounds. There is nothing more important than safety when it comes to children.

    Parents always display a great attention to detail when selecting toys, beds, and furniture for their children. But when it comes to playing areas no one ever takes a look at the ground. Most injuries on playgrounds occur as a result of a fall on abrasive surfaces which are hard and plain unsafe. With synthetic grass you can have a consistent playground surface anywhere!

    The technology has improved a lot and synthetic grass now looks just like natural grass, but without the hassles of a natural grass. The best part is that maintaining a synthetic lawn is simple. If leaves or tree waste accumulates on the surface you simply use a blower to get rid of them. A thorough cleaning can be done with a water hose.

    Because artificial turf fields are so much more durable than grass, they give much higher playability and allow for broader access. They can be played on at all times of the year. In times when playing fields are scarce, they give youth sports organizations the space to practice that they otherwise might not have had. The problem of spring and fall rains which result in the cancellation of so many games and practices can be avoided. One muddy field will no longer ruin the rest of your season.

    Field Test

    A synthetic grass surface should make the ball bounce in a way similar to that on a natural grass field. Once the sports field is installed multiple tests are performed to ensure a level surface, in addition to analyzing the ball roll and ball bounce measurements. Governing organizations of several sports including soccer, rugby and hockey require field tests to be performed before the field is approved for use.

    Use of Synthetic Turf

    There are more than 8,000 synthetic grass sports fields currently being used throughout the US, in 2012 more than 1,000 fields were installed in American schools, colleges, parks and professional sports stadiums. Since 2003, over 70 FIFA U-17 and U-20 World Cup matches have been played on synthetic turf soccer fields. Faux grass is a popular solution for other sports such as field hockey, baseball, tennis, lacrosse and rugby. It makes for a perfect practice field all year round and ensures the sportspersons are well trained.

    Synthetic turf soccer pitches have taken off quite well in England and the US. This has spurred many artificial lawn manufacturers to research on creating a better and more refined product. But there are definitely many compelling arguments for using synthetic grass for sporting purposes.

    Why Synthetic Grass

    • It makes for a longer playing season and keeps the ground level
    • There are enormously decreased maintenance costs; the turf lasts up to 15 years and requires minimal care
    • There is no need to water it
    • There is no need for fertilizers, so none can get into the sub-soil water bodies
    • There is no fear of mud or grass stains
    • Cushioned surface allows for minimal injuries during falls
    • Dramatically improves water conservation by allowing water to run-off and collect where required

    Artificial Turf Improves Performance of Sportsmen

    Let’s take the case of the football team at Salesian High School, Richmond, California. Located in a city with one of the country’s highest murder rates, the students at Salesian High focused their efforts on academics. The conditions of their grass field were so poor that the soccer and football teams were on a three-year notice to be shut down. This changed when the school raised funds to install a synthetic turf field.

    They came back from the brink of closure to defeat a team branded nigh unbeatable, with players twice its size. It was Salesian’s first game on their brand new synthetic grass field. The field is now being hailed as the ‘Real Field of Dreams’.

    Safety First

    Artificial turf is designed to look like grass, where green ‘blades’ of dyed polyethylene or nylon are glued to fabric backing. In order to give the surface some cushion, unlike the original fields that were as hard as concrete, “infill” is laid down to function as the dirt and to help the strands stay upright. This infill is usually made of tire crumb – ground up recycled car and truck tires. The result is a pristine looking surface that requires little maintenance.

    In contact sports such as rugby and soccer, it is imperative for the synthetic grass surfaces to be soft and cushioned so as to reduce the likelihood of players getting injured. Impact injuries are reduced thanks to cushioned synthetic grass surfaces.

    There is no doubt that the introduction of artificial playing surfaces has changed the way many games are played around the world. This has been specifically felt in football, tennis, soccer and cricket. However, do not consider that installing a synthetic playing field is the end of your problems. There is a certain amount of maintenance that is involved in keeping the field up to the standards of the game.

    Synthetic grass is the perfect surface to play sports on as it reduces the amount of injuries and improves the performance of the players. Just make sure that nobody spits a wad of chewing-gum on your turf, that’ll be one thing no one would want to clean up.

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    Pinterest is a fairly new global sensation that has become a marketing tool used by several companies. Millions of pins promote companies around the world, and many of them are successful at bringing in business. Until now, it has been difficult for companies to determine whether or not their pin advertisements actually bring them business, but according to TechCrunch, Pinterest is preparing to launch a new marketing program that can track business that comes straight from pins on Pinterest. This new program will let companies know which pins are the most appealing to their customers, which products are the most popular, and which pins drive the most sales. So how do companies become part of this new program?

    So far only a few third-party marketing companies have been selected to try out the new program. While Pinterest intends on having its own free analytical marketing program for all companies, third-party marketing companies currently help keep track of consumer data, and therefore Pinterest has decided to first team up with them to see if the new program will actually be successful. The marketing technology companies involved with the new program are Salesforce (Exact Target Marketing Cloud), Hootsuite, Spredfast, Percolate, Piqora, Curalate and Tailwind. If businesses currently use these third-party marketing companies, they are able to test out the new Pinterest marketing program. If the new program proves successful, Pinterest will then open up the program to all companies, and each company will be able to customize the way they market using Pinterest.

    One of Pinterest’s major goals is to promote business for companies. In order to achieve their goal, it is not only important for companies to see how much revenue is generated through their Pinterest advertisements, but for Pinterest to see those results as well. Through this data, Pinterest will be able to see which terms are searched for most frequently, helping companies know how to phrase their ads. Pinterest wants to be able to help companies see which marketing tactics are most successful. The more companies who use Pinterest to market will also bring in more Pinterest activity from consumers, making Pinterest a successful site.

    Benefits of marketing through Pinterest

    Companies like Target and Wal-Mart have put Pinterest to use in their stores. Special items are tagged as “most popular on Pinterest,” ultimately drawing in consumers who are frequent Pinterest users. The familiar Pinterest logo is enough to attract any Pinterest user roaming through the store. This also shows companies that there is a way, though it might be difficult, to currently track how successful Pinterest advertisements actually are. It is no secret that Pinterest is a successful marketing tool. Even though receiving actual marketing data might be a challenge at this time, companies should start taking advantage of the free marketing through Pinterest. Eventually it will be possible to see exact consumer data from Pinterest, but even until then companies have access to this free and popular marketing tool.

    Mobile Technology News brought to you by businesstexter.com

    Source: techcrunch.com/2014/05/20/pinterest-rolls-out-a-new-business-insights-api-to-select-marketing-technology-companies/

  6. Home owners can save money with green building and make a positive impact on the environment. This is especially in terms of power, water and gas consumption. By making the necessary and simple green upgrades, homeowners can tremendously reduce the amounts of gas, electricity and water required to run their homes.

    To Harvest Rain Water

    While constructing your home, it will be prudent to consider having a system for harvesting rainwater installed. It will both provide more water for your utilisation and enable you cut back on those massive water bills. This system will harvest water during rains and store it in water tanks that can be above or below the ground level. However, for tanks that are below the ground you will have to incur more in pumping expenses.

    This water is then transferred through pipes to washrooms and cold water machine taps. This consequently means that you can use nature's free water for your domestic needs such as for washing machines and in toilets. It saves reduces your expenses and is an eco-friendly process in its entirety.

    Eco-friendly Water Heating Systems

    Technological advancements have now made it possible to utilise the atmospheres heat to directly and efficiently heat your water. You will literally not have to make any effort and your power bills will be on a steep descent. Heat pump water systems absorb the heat from the atmosphere and surrounding. They then multiply this heat numerous times.

    This is similar to the refrigeration technology, hence one can relate. This heat energy is then transferred into the stored water. Highly efficient, eco-friendly and quiet in its operation. To ensure full time operation, they come equipped with back-up electric boosters. It is just as efficient as the solar hot water heating system but doesn't require the panels.

    Better Light Distribution at Lower cost

    This is what energy efficient globes offer. Moreover, they are efficient and have a long life. One can use them in place of the standard incandescent light for both brighter and better light distribution. In addition, they have a longer life in comparison and utilise less power, thus enabling you tone down your energy bills.

    Utilise the Free and Clean Solar Energy

    Photovoltaic panels, commonly referred to as solar panels, when installed obtain the sun's energy and convert it to electrical energy. They can be installed on various locations but the most optimal is where there is maximum exposure to direct sunlight; hence many households have them put up on the roof. The conversion of solar to electrical energy is completely pollution free.

    What's more, the sun is a renewable source of energy. Put simply, installation of the panels is the only cost you will incur. Yet you will be assured of a constant supply of electricity. It reduces your energy bills significantly and being pollution free, does not harm the environment. Moreover, you can utilise it for your demand and sell back some power to the grid.

    All these, and more, incentive can assist home owners in making their homes green. The initial cost should not be a deterrent. Many home builders, like Boutique Homes, Green Home Building, Pulte Homes and many more, offer this "green" deal when building your house. This is as, over time, with all the savings that will be made on the monthly bills, the upgrades will quickly pay for themselves. In addition, the eco-friendly upgrades increase the value of a home. They are the sound investment every homeowner should make.

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    When it comes to taking care of your roof, nothing is as low maintenance as a metal roof. They are impervious to pests and rot. You don't have to worry about damaged shingles. When installed properly, a metal roof can last upwards of 30 years. Despite the durability of metal roofs however, there are still things you need to do to take care of your metal roof to get the maximum lifespan out of it.

    General roof maintenance tips

    Roofing experts recommend that your roof be inspected twice a year regardless of the type of roof you have. Your roof should be inspected just before the winter weather hits and again once it has passed. These regular inspections identify possible problems before they are serious. Catching them early prolongs the life of your roof and saves your home from serious damage. It's also a good idea to check your roof after every major storm. If you've had hail, heavy rain, or strong winds recently, it's a good idea to just do a walk-around to make sure everything looks sound.

    Problems with metal roofs

    As already stated, metal roofs are relatively easy to maintain, but there are some issues to watch for particularly with metal roofs. Unlike other roofing materials, metal roofs can expand and contract with large fluctuations in temperature. This expanding and contracting can cause problems with the sealant that is used to keep water from getting between the sheets of metal. These sealants are elastic and should last for some time but it is something to watch for, especially if you live in a climate with extreme temperatures. You may have to have the sealant replaced a couple of times during the lifespan of your roof. The expanding and contracting of your metal roof can also cause screws to come loose. Periodically have your roof checked to make sure that the screws are tightly fastened.

    Cleaning your metal roof

    It's important to keep your metal roof clean, and not just for appearance's sake. Allowing dirt and debris to accumulate on your roof can cause water to become trapped on your roof where it can cause corrosion. At least once a year you should clean your roof. Make sure your clear your roof of dirt, leaves, branches, and other debris. Pay extra attention to valleys where leaves and other debris accumulate. Don't forget to clear out your rain gutters as well. Water that backs up in your rain gutters can get beneath your roof and into your home. If you're going to a solution, make sure it's a biodegradable cleaner.

    By properly maintaining your metal roof, it will serve you for many years.

    Home improvement news brought to you by bartonroof.com

    Source: realtybiznews.com/home-maintenance-tips-taking-care-of-your-metal-roof/98725032/

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  7. A hot summer day or night is the perfect time to turn on the air conditioner to keep the family cool. However, what do you do if you are concerned with keeping your family comfortable while also protecting the environment? Here are some tips that you can use to achieve both goals at the same time.

    Use Geothermal Heating Sources

    A geothermal heat pump can keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. During the summer months, heat is drawn from your home via the pump and returned to the Earth. There is little to no energy needed to draw the heat out, and you can then draw the heat back into your home during the winter.

    Consider Using Natural Gas

    Natural gas is one of the cleanest burning fuels that humanity has. Using it to power your air conditioning unit or other energy producing equipment can help you save money, use less energy and protect the environment. You can find out if natural gas power is available before you buy or install your air conditioner unit.

    Use Controls And Timers To Keep The Air Conditioner From Running Nonstop

    A good way to preserve the environment is to ensure that your air conditioner is not running when you are not home. During the air conditioning installation, the people who are putting the air conditioner unit in should be able to teach you how to use it properly. Setting a timer or programming the unit to shut off when the air inside cools sufficiently avoids excessive use of your air conditioner. If you have a large house, you can use a system of fans to move cool air throughout the house.

    Keep The Ducts Clean At All Times

    If you have central air, it is important that your ducts are free from dust and other debris. Blocked ducts make it harder for your air conditioner to work as it should. This means increased energy usage and the unnecessary use of fossil fuels to keep your home cool.

    After the air conditioning installation is complete, you should have your unit checked at least twice a year to ensure that it is running properly. If you have window units, you should make sure that drain pans are emptied and each unit is properly stored during the winter to ensure maximum energy efficiency from each unit.

    It is important that your air conditioner uses as little energy as possible. Using geothermal energy sources, keeping the air conditioner off when you are not home and checking the air conditioning system periodically are all great ways to achieve that goal. The best part is that you can save money on your energy bills while you are saving the environment.

  8. For many years, kitchens have been just as a places to prepare meals. However, things have changed drastically and many people now recognize the importance of kitchens, especially when it comes to energy conservation. It is no wonder that many homeowners are now considering different helpful ways in making the kitchen more eco friendly. The aim is to make it energy efficient while at the same time taking away the unnecessary strain from the environment.

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    There are many ideas that could be helpful in making your kitchen eco-friendly and the amazing thing is that you do not have to spend a lot of money to achieve this. However, the most important thing to note is that such kind of a kitchen has many benefits and will not only help reduce the impact of global warming but also help you save money in return. Here are some ideas on how to make eco friendly kitchen.

    Eco-friendly cleaning

    Traditionally, cleaning in the kitchen has been dominated by toxic products that are not only harmful to our health but also to the environment. However, today you can opt for friendlier non toxic green cleaning products that do not contain things such as phosphate. These products unlike their predecessors are biodegradable and are capable of giving you a clean shine when used for all different kinds of kitchen cleaning. You will find simple products such as baking soda, lemon and vinegar to be a very good example of eco-friendly kitchen cleaning products.

    Kitchen tools and accessories

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    Another great way to make eco friendly kitchen is to install tools and accessories that are made of recyclable materials. For example, it will help to opt for stainless steel sink and faucet since this material is 100 percent recyclable and therefore makes for a very good idea if you intend to make a green kitchen. The same should extend to other fittings such as countertops, cabinets and flooring where renewable and sustainable materials are available and which can help in making your kitchen eco-friendly. Materials such as bamboo and cork are increasingly growing in popularity among many homeowners when it comes to flooring options and it will be good to consider them as well.

    Energy-efficient appliances

    You can replace your already existing appliances such as refrigerator, oven or dishwasher with new models that meet government guidelines on energy efficiency. This needs not be a tough change to make as many appliances available in the market come with Federal Energy Star Rating. Having such in your kitchen means you will have increased efficiency while at the same time cutting on the cost of operation which translates well as a wise eco-friendly move. Make sure to keep your refrigerator fully stocked as opposed to keeping it half full as this will help you use less energy.

    Energy-efficient lighting system

    Kitchen lighting can be so eco-unfriendly if you do not pay some attention to your usage. As you consider how to make eco friendly kitchen, it will be good to embrace the use of sunlight during the day and combine this with light colored materials and installations including cabinets and countertops. These will help maximize the light streaming into the kitchen from outside thus making it unnecessary to use the bulbs during the day. You should also replace energy consuming incandescent bulbs and instead opt for LED lighting which is energy efficient.

    There are many other ideas you should consider while making your kitchen eco friendly and these will range from eating green, garbage disposal and even painting. Some of these ideas could be costly to implement but the good news is that within a short time you will be able to see the positive effects associated with this move.

  9. Going green in your home does not mean you have to sacrifice luxury. There are plenty of green home products on the market that provide the same extravagance as their less green relatives.

    In the bathroom:

    There are hundreds of different kinds of environmental friendly bathroom products on the market, include a wide variety of candles. Some of them are made of beeswax or soy, and some are made of odd materials like vegetable wax. A lot of these candles provide relaxation and stress relief through the use of essential oils and extracts.

    Also for the bathroom are organic towels and cotton exfoliating gloves. All of these items offer just as much, if not more of the comfort that similar, traditional, non-green items would.

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    Health and beauty:

    Among the green bathroom items commonly offered, there are also many different health and beauty products on the market. There are natural body washes, body butters, lip balms, salves, and foot cream. Ingredients in these products range from peppermint to aloe vera to lavender, and almost all of these products come in biodegradable containers. A majority of these items are just as luxurious as comparable environmentally harmful health and beauty products.

    For the bedroom:

    There are a variety of different green materials used for pieces in the bedroom. Some of the most popular examples are pillowcases and shams made out of bamboo, blankets made out of wool, and throws made out of fair-trade organic cotton. Among these items, there are also dressers and bed frames made out of sustainable resources such as maple.

    Energy:

    Many sources of renewable energy are available for purchase for the green home. Some of these products include LED lights, solar powered lights, and eco friendly solar powered holiday lights. There are also sun tunnel skylights that add natural light to your home and also provide heat. Crank lanterns and flashlights that charge by being shaken are examples of products that require no battery but work just as well as ones powered by battery.

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    image credit: WB Homes

    Outside:

    A lot of the most useful products that are offered for green homes are for the outdoors. There are things like rain conserving barrels in a variety of materials and shapes, water filters for hoses that utilize the filtering powering of sand, and hoses made out of 50% recycled plastic. These sorts of items allow you to get the most out of natural resources and live a healthier and greener lifestyle.

    For the Kitchen:

    There are lots of green products available for the purpose of storing and transporting foods. Some examples of these items are compostable bamboo trays, soup containers, sandwich bags, and cling wrap. Many of these will work just as well as like, less-green products, but will not create all of the harmful waste. There are also plenty of kitchen cleaners that are non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

    Having a green home doesn’t mean you have to live any differently. There are alternatives for nearly every product you already use everyday that are much more environmentally friendly and sometimes, even better than the original. In most cases, going green will not even force you to change your lifestyle. There are actually many benefits, including better health and lower energy bills.

  10. Inhalation of carbon monoxide can make you sick and even kill you. It is a fate that bells thousands of people every year as they cross paths with this colorless, odorless, tasteless and poisonous gas. Its reputation is chillingly conveyed in its reputation as the silent killer. Approximately 500 people die every year in the US and thousands more undergo medical treatment from exposure carbon monoxide especially in the home.

    The symptoms that arise from exposure to carbon monoxide depend on the level of exposure suffered by the person. Mild exposures are usually characterized by a headache and the symptoms graduate with the duration and level of exposure to include:

    • Nausea
    • Dizziness
    • Stomach pain
    • Confusion
    • Tiredness
    • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
    • Stomach pains

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    Most of the times the symptoms are quite misleading as they can mimic flu or food poisoning with the exception of a high temperature. It is impossible for a human being to detect the presence of carbon monoxide without the aid of special equipment such as a carbon monoxide detector. This is because of its lack of color, odor or taste.

    Carbon monoxide or CO is produced during the incomplete combustion of anything especially fuels such as oil, gas, wood and coal. These fuels are used in and around the home which is what brings the dangers of carbon monoxide into the confines of your home. It is produced when you use your fireplace, generator, kerosene heater, wood burning appliances.

    Carbon monoxide acts by invading your bloodstream and attaching itself to hemoglobin. This displaces the oxygen and results in your body pumping blood that is lacking in oxygen. The end result is the death of your body tissue and blood cells.

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    You must ensure that all appliances that burn fuel are installed and used properly. They must also be subject to regular maintenance checks especially when approaching winter. You must ensure that they are well ventilated and avoid the temptation of using outdoor appliances in and around the house or running your vehicle inside the garage attached to the house.

    The installation of carbon monoxide detectors is a very noble step that ensures the protection of your whole family. You need to do some research on the different types that are available and get the best which must also be a certified version. They also require proper installation and regular checks as well as battery replacements.

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    As we people constantly try to find new eco-friendly alternatives to protect the planet, we changed many parts of our daily lives to do so. The electricity and industry branches of the world economies strive to reduce the effect known as global warming. With many new technologies introduced the percentage of bad emissions produced is less than five years ago. However, there are many things left to be considered.

    One of them is the transportation sector. It produces around a third of the CO2 emissions in our atmosphere. One of the best alternatives to the old fuel-powered internal combustion engines is the electrical motor. It doesn't use petrol, gasoline or diesel. This means it produces no emissions that affect the nature. With its range of between 250 and 400 kilometres and the new charging stations introduced around different countries, the electrical car can challenge the petrol powered means of transportation.

    The popular opinion of the electric cars has changed throughout the years, but since the middle of the 90s, they've started getting recognition once again. With this on hand there are a lot of debates whether or not Australian government or in fact any other government should promote buying electric cars by lowering the taxes or should the taxes be the same as any other type of vehicle. To this day this question remains controversial.

    Electric cars need to be charged and there are several ways to do so. One is via a normal socket and the re-charge time varies depending on how much power it provides. At a charge station it is much faster and a full charge of your car battery may take around one hour. The re-charge time is a major disadvantage to the electrical motor. Electric cars emit no carbon dioxide or any other type of a gas. Needless to say this is one of the reasons why they are considered better and more eco-friendly by the consumers. Although electric cars don't affect the atmosphere, industries produce electricity by burning fossil fuels, which means they do release CO2 indirectly.

    Another great trend among DIY enthusiasts is transforming their old vehicles to electric. The process is easy and can be done from people who have knowledge of electric motors. The popular belief is that electric cars are less safe than a normal car. This, of course, is not true as an electric car has all the safety features (like bumpers, safety glass etc.) that a normal car has. In case of an accident though, an electric car is safer due to the lack of spilling fuel. However, aside these advantages the electric cars have a more sophisticated . This proves as a disadvantage because a more complex configuration is more prominent to malfunction.

    The electrical cars have many advantages and disadvantages. In Australia, many local businesses have decided to turn to electrical cars to help them with their transportation. A representative from Paul's Landscaping Melbourne - an Australian based landscaping and landscape design company comments: "Our new electrical cars have helped a lot with the development of our business. Since we are a local company, we have routes which we follow. With an electric car and the right planning of our route, we finish the job in no time and with not paying a single cent for gas."

    So there you have it. To conclude our discussion - the electrical car is perfect for short distances. Regardless of the all advantages specified, this technology has yet to improve and is still far behind the fuel-powered cars. However, in the past few years another great technological break-through has set foot on the market - the hybrid. This system uses both an electric motor and a gas powered motor to set the vehicle in motion. Even though it is not perfectly eco-friendly, this technology reduces the amount of emissions while keeping the comfort and the power of a normal car.

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    Organic foods are quickly becoming one of the most popular choices for persons who want to eat healthier while being environmentally responsible. However, many persons do not know about organic foods, and there are twelve things in particular that you should know about them.

    1.) What is in organic foods?

    Organic foods are grown without the use of fertilizers and pesticides. This means that there is less of a chance of your body being harmed by the toxins found in them.

    2.) What makes organic meats different?

    Organic meats are not grown with the use of synthetic hormones that are commonly used to fatten up cattle.

    3.) Are organic meats processed differently?

    Organic meats are processed in the most natural way possible. This means that they aren’t packed with preservatives, and they are not irradiated to kill bacteria.

    4.) How are organic foods packaged?

    Organic foods are packed in the most environmentally friendly way possible. This includes the use of packaging this is all natural, and that will biodegrade in the quickest manner possible.

    5.) Organic food is oftentimes more nutritious

    Organic foods are grown in a manner where their size is not increased with artificial additives. This means that they oftentimes have more vitamins and minerals per weight than other kinds of foods.

    6.) Why organic foods sometimes cost more?

    Organic foods are oftentimes grown on small farms that do not have the same efficiency as large farms. In addition, the process of growing organic foods may result in less of a yield. As a result, farmers may have to charge more for the sale of organic foods.

    7.) Do organic foods always cost more?

    Organic foods do not always cost more than other kinds of foods. It is possible to purchase organic foods that cost less than other kinds of foods. In addition, many organic foods are naturally processed, which costs less money than other methods of production.

    8.) How does one save money while buying organic?

    There are a number of different ways to save money while purchasing organic foods. It is a good idea to looking into local organic markets, and food delivery services. Many food delivery services offer food that comes directly from local farms, and so you do not have to pay a markup on the products. Some person can even get bags of organic foods for only a few dollars.

    9.) What are some things to avoid when shopping organic?

    Many companies attempt to sell processed foods under the guise of sounding organic. Phrases like natural and free range are not regulated by the food and drug administration. It is a good idea to do some research on each one of the products you buy.

    10.) Does organic mean less cruel?

    Organic oftentimes means that animals suffered less while being raised. However, the process is not regulated by the FDA. It is a good idea to look into where you organic meats came from, and to see if the animals were given proper treatment.

    11.) Can non-organic items go into organic foods?

    Depends, there are about forty different ingredients that the FDA allows to be included in foods that are considered organic. This includes items like salt, processed sugar, and different kinds of spices. Looking at the nutrition list will allow you to know if these ingredients were added to your organic foods.

    12.) Does a person have to be completely organic?

    No!!! Eating organic a personal choice. Many persons choose to purchase organic items because they want more nutritious food items, or because they simply like the excellent taste of organic foods. Even more people eat organic food because they are priced less than name brand items. Even more people simply eat a few different kinds of organic foods. One should eat organic foods based upon their personal choices.

    Overall, organic foods are an excellent thing to try out. One should try eating organic meats, vegetables, and dairy products in order to see if they like them.

    Image credit: CLJ Photography

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    My family and I recently moved from Darwin to Caulfield, a Melbourne suburb in Victoria. I wanted to be close to my job, I work as an acupuncturist in one Melbourne clinic; and my wife and I were beginning a new phase of our lives with the birth of our third child. Of course the question of what to use for energy source came up during the planning stages.

    We wanted to minimise the cost of heating for our home. With energy rates going up, standard baseboard heating for the cold and wet winters in Caulfield would leave a dent in our ability to support the growing family. We also didn't want to depend on carbon-spewing brown coal that the majority of Victoria households use.

    So my wife and I did a little bit of research and consulted our builders. With their help, we came to our final decision, that the best option for our home would be geothermal heating. Our builders told us that Victoria has a rich source of from several natural underground geothermal bores and other artificial ones. Some have been used to power towns, but direct heating to homes is also available from several companies that are developing Sedimentary Geothermal Systems (from existing reservoirs) and Engineered Geothermal Systems (artificially created reservoirs).

    The System Installation

    Once we'd decided we were going with geothermal water for heating, the construction guys helped us with getting the permits. If you're a landholder, you will need to obtain an Exploration Permit from the authorities if you want to extract geothermal energy from land that belongs to the Crown. The company that installs your system should also have an Extraction License.

    Our builders were a great help throughout the process. They also got us in touch with a company that had already installed 20 such geothermal units in Victoria in the last 10 years and were licensed to use the technology.

    Next, the building process had already begun and it was time for the pipelines to be laid. Our land had the perfect layout to let us easily bury the plastic tubing about 1.8 meters to 2.4 meters into the ground. Ours is a typical horizontal system. But you can also install a vertical system, in which the pipes are laid through holes that are about 40 meters to 60 meters deep. A mixture of antifreeze and water is circulated through the system and the home is heated. The building company helped us through each step of the way, explaining our options and being completely transparent all throughout. (Thanks guys!)

    The Cost

    While the initial cost is a little hefty, at around $20,000, I believe the operational costs more than make up for it. We've been using ours for a while and each month I pay only $200 towards energy costs monthly. That is at least half of any other major household energy source. The initial capital will certainly pay back down the line in 10 or 20 years when energy becomes more expensive.

    The Advantages of Geothermal Heating

    The direct heat obtained from geothermal energy can be used for heating water, forced air conditioning and for hydronic slab heating, among other things. The technology uses the fact that the hot water in underground reservoirs remains within a constant range of temperatures. Heat is transferred from these reservoirs to the house with a very high efficiency.

    We've been using our two 14 kW heat pumps for a while now with their two fan coil units. They heat water to about 40 degrees C for our domestic hot water and the floor heating. Inside our home the temperature is a comfortable 22 to 24 degrees C, but we can change cooling or heating requirements.

    Our heating providers worked with the builders and gave us a choice between indoor and outdoor units. We chose an indoor one, as no ventilation is required. The system is very safe to use and incredibly quiet as well, so I'm immensely pleased with it. It remains to be seen if it is the same a few years down the line!

  14. Growing concerns for the environment has caused many to seek out green solutions, but some of the approaches to being more eco-friendly, such as urinals that pipe pee into the garden for use as fertilizer, simply aren’t all that appealing. What’s really needed is innovative ideas that meet or exceed LEED standards while creating a beautiful 'wow’ factor.

    For those working on an apartment building renovation project, the benefits of truly innovative green design include lower project costs, an increased ease of attracting potential tenants, and even the ability to charge higher rents. Read on to learn about a few novel and ecologically sound renovation concepts.

    Green Walls and Vertical Gardening

    Back in 1938, a professor of landscape architecture at the University of Illinois named Stanley Hart White, who just happens to be the brother of famed author E. B. White, created an invention called botanical bricks, which could be used to create plant-covered vertical surfaces of any height. About fifty years later came French botanist Patrick Blanc, who took the idea and modernized it, coming up with the green wall.

    Still, it wasn’t until the new millennium that the idea of vertical gardening truly caught on. Of all the green walls and vertical gardens known to be in existence today, a whopping 93 percent of them only date back as far as 2007.

    Those who would incorporate vertical gardening into their renovation projects can help to offset society’s carbon footprint. The building’s exterior and interior walls can be covered with beautiful, luscious, even edible plants.

    When used as exterior surfaces, green walls reduce smog and produce cleaner air while insulating the building and protecting it from the elements. On the interior, these eco-friendly walls can improve indoor air quality significantly, and can even be used as part of a wastewater system that’s very innovative, making the gardens virtually maintenance-free.

    Cork Covered Bathrooms

    A significant part of green construction focuses on the type of building material used. Many go the recycling route by using post-consumer products in their renovation designs while others look to materials that are biodegradable and have less of an environmental impact. Then, there’s the option of using pre-owned building materials, and even reclaimed wood, but few have yet learn to consider cork as one of their options.

    It’s amazing what can be done with cork. One of the reasons many wouldn’t dare consider it is because the material has a reputation of being soft and breakable. They worry that it would be high maintenance and need frequent replacement, but that’s hardly the case.

    Today, cork is becoming more commonly found in bathrooms, but it’s being used only by those on the cutting edge of innovation and who want to make sure they do their part in protecting the environment. Some of the surprising elements that can be made of cork include floor tiles, toilet seats, and even bathroom sinks.

    The benefits are that cork is recyclable, fire resistant, and waterproof. Since the extraction of cork does no harm to trees, it’s a very eco-friendly, sustainable material. This is not to mention how attractive it looks. Using cork in the bathrooms of multi level apartments (like these) definitely produces a 'wow’ factor.

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    Building and construction waste removal has become a very expensive part of the building industry, due to targets and taxes set by governments and agencies with regards the reduction of waste making its way to landfill sites across the country. Waste material can be generated during renovations, new construction and demolition of buildings, roads and other structural items. They include bricks, concrete, soil, masonry, rock, wood, paving material, glass, plastic, aluminium, tree stumps and much, much more. Some of these materials can be re-used or recycled while others are considered hazardous and need to be disposed of responsibly.

    There are two ways a construction company can reduce their builders waste removal costs and that is by re-using and reprocessing materials on site or by purchasing recycled materials or products as opposed to using more expensive new items. There are also a few simple questions that need to be addressed. How will waste materials that cannot be re-used be stored until disposal or is there an outside agency that can make use of them? Is there adequate time for sourcing the appropriate materials and will there be enough available? Can any demolition or excavation materials be re-used on site?

    Let's look at a few of the ways money can be saved by re-using and recycling building materials:

    • Re-using excavation materials on site - Delivery of bulky materials, often from a great distance can be very expensive, especially when compared with the cost of re-using what is already available on site. Some of the ways this could be done are improving the soil quality by adding compost, stabilising soils with hydraulic binders or by ensuring the cut and fill balance is accurate.
    • Processing material left after demolition on site - Equipment can be hired that will crush material into usable aggregates that can be applied for filling, capping, sub-base layers or hardscaping needs during the construction process.
    • Purchasing recycled aggregates - it may be cost effective to purchase materials that have been recycled if there are not the facilities available on site to recycle.
    • Remediating contaminated soil - it is often preferential and cost-saving to correct excavated soil rather than importing new and disposal of the old.
    • Some of the most typical items that can be re-used are: plumbing fixtures, doors, cupboards, windows, air conditioning equipment, fireplaces and other stonework. Once cleaned up and retreated they can be given a new lease of life.
    • Materials that can be recycled, either on site or off include metal, wood, asphalt, paving slabs, concrete, roofing materials, corrugated cardboard and plasterboard.

    Recycling and reusing building materials not only provides a cost saving on building waste removal, for the construction company. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants by reducing the need for the extraction of raw materials and there is no need for shipping costs. It conserves the space in landfill sites. Because fewer raw materials are required energy is saved and environmental impacts reduced. New employment opportunities are created in recycling industries and money is saved by construction companies. All in all recycling and re-using building materials is win win all round.

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    The innovative approach to achieving project goals, allows its clients to get the results they are looking for achieve their sustainable business goals and also minimize compliance, and ongoing monitoring costs.

    Today’s ever changing economic landscape continually forces companies to start looking at new ways to do business to achieve their goals, while keeping their costs to a minimum. This is today’s reality in operating within a global economy, and surviving among tough competitors.

    Also the recent developments in expanding technology, and making it accessible, and approachable, have allowed companies to further explore new ways of doing business. Ways that were not possible just a few years ago.

    “Our model track record in serving public and private clients and providing responsible services and our knowledge of regulatory environmental regulations help our clients meet their particular challenges, whether in capital works delivery, or in environmental compliance and monitoring.” Project Specialist, Julia Scott said in an interview. “We also specialize in providing project management services to client to achieve their results on their capital works projects.”

    “We provide a no obligation consultative session to each of our perspective clients to assess their needs, and in order to find out all the specific details and about their project. Once we all are clear on their specific project criteria, we will put together an approach to achieve their deliverables. We also provide free support to our client on their facility and production until they actually achieve their results and receive their approval.” Scott said.

  16. The world is going green, and so can you! Having an Eco friendly kitchen starts with what’s in your fridge and extends all the way out to what materials and tools you use, food preparation that is energy efficient, and cleaning using sustainable materials instead of toxic chemicals. These are all super important for having a kitchen that is truly green and Eco friendly. The great thing about converting your space from a regular, unhealthy kitchen to something that is phenomenal and efficient is that the change will be fantastic for your well being as well as save you dollars while saving the planet. What could be more amazing?

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    Trade In Your Cookware And Cheap Kitchen Supplies

    You may not think of it, but the tools and materials that you cook with actually have a big impact on your health. For cook ware and utensils, you want materials and cookware that is going to last a long time as opposed to being ultra-disposable. Plastic has to go. Teflon pans, while perhaps convenient, are not very green. They also cause cancer which makes them a big no-no in the kitchen. The best thing you can do is purchase cook ware that is sustainable as opposed to convenient. That means investing into a thick, classic cast iron skillet. These babies last forever and are a dream to cook with. Go for bamboo and environmentally friendly spoons and stirrers, and ditch all the plastic and low quality stuff that’s hiding in your kitchen. Instead of buying paper towels over and over, purchase some nice cloth towels that can be washed. Lastly, invest in ultra high quality knives that can be sharpened and used for decades.

    Having Ecological Enlarged Windows

    Having enlarged windows can bring the element of light into a kitchen and really work to open a space. When you enlarge a window, you can make a room more bright without spending more energy and money to bring that extra light in. Rooms have natural light during the day, and when you extend a room you can cut back on overhead lighting powered by electricity. This is a simple way to enhance your kitchen and cuts back on overall energy costs, making your kitchen even more green.

    Cooking And Being Energy Efficient

    Cut back on energy costs by cutting out preheating. Modern ovens heat up easily. Try to change the way you cook by putting the food in as soon as the oven is turned on. Then turn off the oven a few minutes early and allow the dish to cook in the remaining heat. Cooking multiple things at one in an oven will also save energy. Use a toaster oven or microwave for smaller dishes and you can save 80% of the energy you would normally use by putting in the big oven.

    Using Gas Or Electricity To Cook

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    There are different advantages to each cooking method. The best thing to do to be green is to purchase the electricity from a source that is sustainable and use electric equipment. The cost is a little more now but carbon prices will change that and save you more. Electricity sourced from a station that uses coal as a power may be worse for the environment, so in that case going with gas is a superior option. Most electric cooking equipment is the more efficient choice because the energy created goes towards what you are cooking, where gas a lot of the energy dissipates and goes to waste. Electric induction tops cook faster and are more efficient than gas by up to 55%. Emissions for electricity are lower than gas since the emissions for gas are generally higher at the start of use. Electricity for cooking is more sustainable and is even more environmentally friendly when you buy electric appliances that are efficient.

    4.5% of the energy used at home comes from cooking. That’s only a small part of carbon emissions, but they matter. Gas burners can give off heat that is instant and have more control over temperature, so that is an advantage of using gas. Electric stoves do take more time to heat up and cool. However, new oven models that utilize electric ignitions in place of a pilot light use 40% less gas, making them an energy efficient choice.

  17. By J. Matthew Roney

    At the end of 2013, the wind farms installed in more than 85 countries had a combined generating capacity of 318,000 megawatts, which would be enough to meet the residential electricity needs of the European Union’s 506 million people. New data from the Global Wind Energy Council show that wind developers built 35,000 megawatts of new generating capacity worldwide in 2013. This was down from 45,000 megawatts installed in 2012—marking only the second time in 25 years that installed capacity increased by less than it did the year before.

    The principal reason for the decline in new capacity was a more than 90 percent drop in U.S. wind farm installations from a record 13,000 megawatts in 2012. Although the United States has the second-highest wind power capacity in the world—some 61,000 megawatts—a lack of long-term policy planning has led to several such boom-and-bust cycles.

    Despite the dearth of new capacity, there were many bright spots for U.S. wind power in 2013. Wind accounted for at least 12 percent of the electricity generated in nine states, including Iowa (27 percent) and South Dakota (26 percent). Iowa will get another boost from a $1.9 billion deal announced in December 2013: Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Company purchased Siemens turbines totaling more than 1,000 megawatts, all destined for Iowa wind projects. When complete in 2015, these wind farms will likely bring the wind share of electricity in Iowa to at least 33 percent.

    Wind’s contribution to the grid is also growing in Texas, the U.S. wind capacity leader with 12,400 megawatts. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas reports that wind farms produced nearly 10 percent of the electricity delivered to its 24 million customers in 2013. And with the early-2014 completion of state-funded transmission projects linking windy West Texas and the Panhandle to population centers to the east, Texas can accommodate even more clean electricity on the grid. The state has 7,000 megawatts of new wind power capacity under construction, more than half of the 12,000 megawatts currently being built nationwide.

    China has led the world in installed capacity since surpassing the United States in 2010. In contrast to the drop in U.S. installations in 2013, China’s wind construction accelerated—adding 16,000 megawatts to reach a total 91,000 megawatts. Wind further solidified its role as the number three electricity source in China (behind coal and hydropower), out-generating nuclear power by an impressive 22 percent. The National Energy Administration aims to make wind-generated electricity cost-competitive with coal by 2020. (See data.)

    As in Texas and many other places around the world, some of China’s best wind resources are found far from major cities where electricity demand is high. High-voltage transmission lines now under construction will connect wind-rich provinces in the north and west with more populous ones in the central and eastern provinces. For example, one project linking remote Xinjiang province to the 4 million people in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, was completed in early 2014. Infrastructure projects such as this one will be critical in reaching the official Chinese goal of 200,000 megawatts of grid-connected wind capacity by 2020.

    India, the country with the fifth-highest amount of installed capacity, added 1,700 megawatts in 2013 to cross the 20,000 megawatt threshold. Although this was 25 percent less new capacity than in 2012, India is poised to grow its wind power base dramatically in the coming years. In January 2014, the government announced a National Wind Energy Mission—in the spirit of the country’s National Solar Mission—to be launched mid-year. By beefing up the grid and using incentives to attract investment to wind hotspots, the program aims to hit 100,000 megawatts of wind within eight years.

    Development is picking up elsewhere in Asia as well. In Pakistan, wind power capacity doubled to 100 megawatts in 2013 and will double again when two 50-megawatt projects go online in 2014. Thailand also doubled its wind capacity in 2013, reaching 220 megawatts. And the Philippines has seven projects due for completion in 2014 that will expand wind capacity there 13-fold to 450 megawatts.

    Before China’s recent surge, Europe was the leading wind power region. Germany, which added 3,200 megawatts in 2013, ranks third worldwide in total capacity, with 34,000 megawatts. Four of its northern states regularly get half or more of their electricity from wind farms.

    When it comes to wind’s contribution to national electricity needs, European countries top the leaderboard. Denmark gets one third of its electricity from wind, well on its way to a target of 50 percent by 2020. Portugal, Lithuania, Spain, and Ireland come in at around 20 percent each. In fact, wind came within a percentage point of beating nuclear power for the title of Spain’s number one electricity source in 2013. And Germany, Europe’s largest economy, obtained 8 percent of its electricity from wind farms.

    While some of the larger European wind power markets, including Spain, Italy, and France, have slowed down, smaller players are speeding up. Poland and Romania each expanded their wind power capacity by 36 percent in 2013, to 3,400 and 2,600 megawatts, respectively. And in Turkey, even though the approval process for projects is slow, wind capacity grew by 28 percent to nearly 3,000 megawatts.

    One region with enormous wind potential but little development so far is Latin America. Brazil, best known for getting 80 percent of its electricity from large hydropower, hosts the most wind power capacity in the region—now close to 3,500 megawatts after a 950-megawatt addition in 2013. At government auctions, wind companies have won more than half of all contracts to sell electricity since 2011, according to Bloomberg data. Some 10,000 megawatts of wind may be installed in Brazil between 2014 and 2019. Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay also added wind power in 2013.

    In all of Africa, just one project added capacity in 2013. The final 90 megawatts of Ethiopia’s 120-megawatt Ashegoda Wind Farm went into operation, more than doubling the country’s wind capacity to 170 megawatts. South Africa has 2,100 megawatts of wind power in the pipeline, including 750 megawatts to be added in 2014 alone.

    Offshore projects account for just over 2 percent of the wind capacity installed worldwide. Having hit a seventh straight annual installation record in 2013, however, offshore wind is growing fast. More than half of the 7,100 megawatts of offshore capacity belongs to the United Kingdom, which installed 730 megawatts in its waters in 2013. Denmark, Germany, and Belgium each added at least 190 megawatts to their totals, while China added 39 megawatts. Both Vietnam and Spain added offshore wind capacity for the first time, as did the United States, although the U.S. project was one very small demonstration turbine off the coast of Maine.

    Offshore wind is still one of the more expensive electricity generating technologies, but onshore wind is often highly competitive with coal, natural gas, and nuclear power in areas with strong wind resources. And costs continue to fall as wind manufacturers steadily improve turbine efficiency, harnessing more wind per machine. In the United States, the average price of wind-generated electricity has dropped 40 percent since 2009.

    After a slower year in 2013, world wind installations will bounce back in 2014, perhaps to a new record—the Global Wind Energy Council sees the potential for 47,000 megawatts. Roughly half of the total will be built in China and the United States (around three times more in the former than in the latter). This is good news for the wind business, for electricity consumers, and for people who value cleaner air and water. But increasingly dire scientific warnings about the consequences of climate change mean that the world will need to accelerate the shift to carbon-free, renewable sources of energy even more so in the years to come.

    Copyright © 2014 Earth Policy Institute

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