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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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  • 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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Our community blogs

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    Eco-landscaping is about making a difference in your yard, the one that results in making surrounding a healthier place that reduces water, soil and air pollution. The advantages of such responsible approach are reasonable savings in time, money and maintenance. The eco-friendly method is growing in popularity for its obvious reasons while creating and designing an eco-friendly landscape is not more complicated than designing a traditional garden. It does take some planning and involves maintenance, but all the efforts invested in a project like that are nothing compared to benefits.

    Planning

    For starters, you will have to make basic analysis and assessment of the yard. Determine the ground thickness by running the water to see how it is draining and where the ground is soaked the most. That way you’ll know where to plant as well as where to place hardscape. Check which areas get most of the sunlight and which ones are in the shade. Decide which area will serve its specific purpose, meaning where you will place a patio, play area or flower beds. This way you’ll know ahead what materials and plants you will be using and what will structure the basis of your eco-friendly yard.

    Downsize the lawn

    Having a smaller lawn means there will be less mowing and you will use less water. Limit your lawn by placing artificial grass or synthetic turf. Create walkways and paving and make sure to use low-maintenance materials like concrete, bark or gravel. You can use permeable pavers to direct rainfall back into the ground. Place gazebos or benches to fill the space in the yard that won’t require any watering.

    Eco-friendly mowing

    Since there will be a lawn that needs mowing, consider using a reel lawn mowers. Although mowing can go a bit slower than with gas or electric mower, reel mowers are true eco-friendly device since they are a perfect example of energy conservation. An alternative to reel mowers are the mowers powered by rechargeable batteries.

    Plant low-maintenance plants

    Consider planting native plants since they are best suited for the environment. Also, try choosing drought-resistant plants because there will be less maintenance while planting them will save water in the long run. To reduce the usage of water, try to group plants with similar water requirements. Plant some ornamental grass, pansies, and marigold. Planting clover is recommendable since it is insect and weed repelling plant.

    Clever landscaping

    Strategically planted trees and shrubs around the house can act as an insulation and save you up to 20% of your heating and cooling costs. One of the best landscape design firms advises planting deciduous trees on the sunny spots next to the house. That way the trees will provide the shade in the summer, while they will allow more sunlight in the cold months. Also, vines can be used to cool some areas.  

    Watering

    To reduce water waste, install drip irrigation system that brings water directly to plants. Watering with automatic irrigation is more effective while the technology allows you to program it the way you want. You can set the system not to release the water while it rains. You can use rainwater, previously conserved in barrels to water the lawn and the flower beds. When watering in the summer, always water in the late evening and early in the morning to avoid evaporation.

    Weed and insect control

    Avoid using chemicals to fight or to control weed, but take some preventive measures like planting in raised beds, preparing the soil, using landscape fabrics and mulching. To get rid of the weed you can use corn gluten or vinegar, only make sure to use it carefully since it a strong herbicide that can harm other plants.  The last stage of fighting the weed is an old-fashion move of pulling the weed from the ground.  As for insects, learn more about companion planting and see how your plants can benefit from it.

    Fertilizing

    Learn to make and use compost and keep the chemical fertilizer away. Composting is the best possible way to keep your ground properly fertilized, aired and watered, while it will significantly reduce the amount of trash that ends up in the landfills. Almost anything can be used for compost, starting from grass clippings and leaves to fallen branches, food scraps, coffee filters, tea bags, newspapers, cardboard, etc.

     

    Going green takes a bit more than these few tips since it extends further on the maintenance and how you care for the environment aside from the yard. Remember to recycle and reuse all the materials and to establish a sustainable eco-system in your home and your yard. Do your research and create an eco-friendly garden that you will enjoy in years that come. An effort toward the healthier environment is worthy of praise so design your garden and be proud.

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    Recent Entries

    The roofing on a house is arguably one of the most important features. The quality of the materials chosen will either protect against weather and insect damage, or leave a home vulnerable to costly repairs. Roofing can also be used to make a house more eco-friendly. Properly chosen and installed, roofing can cut down on the environmental impact of a home, from the production stage of materials to the amount of energy a house uses daily. There are hundreds of products to choose from, and narrowing them down can take some time. Here are a few options to consider in several different price ranges.

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    1. Metal Roofing

    Metal roofing one of the most affordable, eco-friendly options for roofing. It is durable, low maintenance, and relatively inexpensive to have installed. One product that is popular in the Australian market is Colorbond roofing. It comes in many different colors and choosing a light color will help keep the roof cool. Colorbond is produced to withstand the weather and insect life specific to Australia. As with any roofing the color will begin to fade over time. However, rather than having to replace the entire roof (as you might with asphalt shingles) you can simply have a professional repaint the steel roofing. Roof painting should be done by a professional as they are best equipped to provide an even, well-blended finish. Here you can read about the stages of roof painting:

    http://www.myroofline.com.au/roof-painting.html

    2. Recycled Materials

    The pricing on recycled roofing materials can vary widely. One option is to use synthetic tiles made from recycled postindustrial waste. This helps prevent waste from ending up in a landfill, and many of these synthetic tiles are also recyclable. That means that when it comes time to replace the roof, the materials can be recycled rather than thrown in the rubbish. Recycled synthetic roofing tiles tend to be a fairly affordable option for most homeowners as well. Another option for recycled roofing is terracotta tiles. These tiles are beautiful, and can be made from old pavers, bricks, or roofing tiles. They do tend to be more costly and they add quite a lot of weight to a roof. Before installation, it is important to make sure the underlying supports can withstand the extra weight. Chipped or cracked tiles will need to be replaced periodically, and old tiles can be recycled.

    3. Green Roofs

    Green roofs are a trend that is catching on in Australia. They consist of installing a lip around an existing, generally flat, roof. From there, a waterproof membrane is installed along with a root barrier. Finally, plants are used to cover the roof, providing excellent insulation. They also create much needed greenspace in urban areas. The cost of installing a green roof is fairly high, and there is a bit of upkeep to them as well. It is also very important to check that your local area can support the water needed to maintain a green roof as many areas in Australia have a limited supply of freshwater. That said, they are an attractive and extremely eco-friendly option for roofing. For more information on green roofs follow the link below:

    http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/green-rooftop.htm

  2. 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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    So you want a home that's cool in the summer and warm in the winter, but you're sick and tired of paying ridiculous monthly energy bills. You look around and wonder if there's any way to keep your home comfortable, while not giving the utility company another dime. What options do you have for changing the temperature of your home's air while staying "off the grid?" Actually, more options than you probably think.

     

    Let the Outside In

    If the idea of high utility bills and constant maintenance don't sound like your idea of a relaxing summer, consider opening some windows to drop the temperature in your home. The key here is to allow air to flow through your home, as moving air feels much more refreshing on the skin than standing air. So, open up windows on the front and rear of your home, as wide as you can, and enjoy nature's free air conditioning.

     

    Go Old-Fashioned

    If the thought of chopping wood and wearing flannel get you fired up, consider heating your home the old-fashioned way, with a wood-burning fireplace. Though requiring more effort than a traditional furnace, a fireplace can efficiently warm the common areas of your home, supplemented by heavy blankets in bedrooms. Additionally, if you can access an inexpensive wood supply, you will have constant heat all winter for a fraction of the cost.

     

    Go Hi-Tech

    Solar is another option when considering going off the grid, though it has a high initial cost of investment. While many panels would be needed to adequately power an HVAC system, using smaller heating and cooling units, supplemented by other heating and cooling methods on this list, could allow you to meet your entire power need. Not to mention, many utilities and local governments offer substantial rebates for significant solar investment, resulting in a shorter time for you to recoup your initial cost.

     

    Go Down Under

    Geothermal systems can also be a practical component of off-the-grid living. These systems use pipes buried deep in the ground to take advantage of the more constant temperatures found at that depth. Always more refreshing than the surface in the summer, and warmer than the surface in winter, a decent-sized installation will enhance the effectiveness of other methods you use to reduce your utility bills. In more temperate climates, you may be able to rely solely on a geothermal system for all your heating and cooling needs.

     

    Charge It Up

    A large rechargeable battery, while not creating any energy of its own, is still a critical component to employ in an off-the-grid system. Large batteries store excess energy from other off-the-grid sources for many days, meaning that they can power heating and cooling appliances for a substantial amount of time. If you're planning on going completely off-the-grid, but don't want to change your lifestyle more than you have to, a battery is essential.


     

    Whether you choose to go off-the-grid only some or go all the way, off-the-grid heating and cooling methods can save you a vast amount of money, over time. Knowing the right techniques to integrate for your home and using them effectively will ensure that you have the best results, and are the envy of your friends and family when you tell them how you kissed the energy company goodbye.

     

    Resources

    Telegraph

    Classic Air

    Texas Fireframe

    House Logic

    HowStuffWorks

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  5. Alternative bagging materials have exploded in recent years, and canvas is one of the most popular. This is mostly based upon the fact that it is very friendly to the environment, but canvas’ benefits go far beyond that.

    Waterproof and Windproof

    Canvas is woven extremely tightly, meaning that it boasts outstanding waterproof qualities. This is why canvas has been used throughout history in the great outdoors. It may even be made to qualify as ‘marine grade’, in which case it can be used as a sail making material.

    This is good news for modern shoppers since it provides a material which protects belongings from water, but which doesn’t employ any chemical treatments to do so. It also means that canvas is slightly better for carrying anything which may leak.

    Extremely Sturdy

    As well as being both wind and waterproof, canvas is an incredibly strong fabric. This is another reason why it has been used historically for making sales – canvas does not yield easily to the stresses caused by frequent tugs and pressures.

    Of course, a shopping bag isn’t likely to need to put up with the same conditions you’d face out on the high seas, but canvas’ natural toughness remains useful. Other bagging materials – particularly plastics - can quickly become misshapen due to the constantly shifting weight of heavy items. In contrast, a canvas bag will hold its shape for years to come.

    Retains Colour Effectively

    As stated, canvas benefits from a tremendously tight weave. This also means that it retains dyed colour extraordinarily well, even when facing harsh environmental conditions.

    This makes canvas a solid choice for promotional bags. Nearly all promotional products are chosen based on their ability to remain in use for years to come, providing a constant reminder to those using them of the business which supplied the product in the first place. If you’re giving out promotional bags, you’re naturally going to want the printing to remain clear for a long time, so canvas is often the way to go.

     

    Strong, water resistant, and very long lasting, it should come as no surprise than canvas is becoming more a more popular as a bagging material.

     

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    Recent Entries

    1. Hearthstone

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    Hearthstone, a digital collectible card game, has won the hearts of millions of fans worldwide. With a goal of making the genre accessible to all players, Blizzard’s team created an impressively balanced and tuned game universe that doesn’t skimp on the strategy. Not only has Hearthstone been a huge success on the App Store, but it quickly became the rising star of the professional gaming and esports world.

    2. Monument Valley

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    This lovely game drew many a worthy comparison to the art of M.C. Escher. Enjoy the tricky multi-dimensional puzzles, which can pose a real challenge on some levels. The soundtrack and soft pastel color palette complete the immersive experience.

    3. 80 Days

    80 Days puts the player in the shoes of Passepartout, the loyal valet in Jules Verne’s classic novel Around the World in 80 Days. Passepartout must undertake a global journey with his eccentric employer, so players are tasked with setting the course, chatting with other travelers and trying to help him complete the grand adventure on time. Many games tout their storytelling prowess, but the imagination and depth of 80 Days surpasses them all.

    4. Royal Vegas mobile

    Royal Vegas mobile takes its inspiration from noir films and comic books. Move and flip the comic panels to guide your protagonists safety away from the cops and the gangsters. It’s a clever take on familiar puzzle mechanics with music and style that are the cat’s meow.

    5. Leo's Fortune

    Leo, the protagonist of this challenging platformer, really wants his gold back. He wants it so badly that he risks his life to follow the trail of his missing stash through some seriously dangerous terrain. The graphics are so gorgeous that we'll forget our frustration in spots where we died over and over and over.

    6. Divinity: Original Sin

    Somehow we neglected to review this ostensibly nostalgic role-playing adventure, which harks back to the glory days of the Ultima series with its neat isometric visuals and epic sprawling narrative. However, what really works here is the game’s joyous humour: fantasy video games can be so ludicrously po-faced, but Divinity guides you through its crowded world with a warm smile and a constant stream of knowing jokes. It is like spending 50 hours playing Dungeons and Dragons with a very good, slightly drunken game master. It is the classic RPG for people who have grown tired of classic RPGs.

    7. Far Cry 4

    Far Cry 4 truly shines in the almost bacchanalian sense of freedom it bestows on the player as they traverse through its environment. In Kyrat you have the ability to go anywhere and do pretty much anything – much as Pagan Min would advocate. Here, the only pact you need keep is that with your conscience. God help you.

    8. This War of Mine

    The designers have built something in which it’s possible to survive, but only just – you have to plan carefully and trade well, use the game’s systems to your advantage, stop exploring, limit your ambitions to surviving the next day, scavenging what you know you can find.

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  7. It is widely seen, these days’ most of the farmers in USA are using humic acid for agricultural purpose that improves soil quality and enhances growth of crop. Humic acid is also called as humus, which is extracted from compressed, ancient plant matter in form of leonardite. A kind of high polymer heterogeneous aromatic material- Leonardite contains hydroxyl, carboxyl, phenolic hydroxyl and various other active groups, which forms a black brown appearance.

    Humic acid is the commercial term for combination of humic and fulvic acid, which are found in naturally occurring deposits. Known to be an ideal additive- humic acid boosts soil bio-activity as well as improves performance of compost fertilizers by speeding up the composting process.

    Great Functions and Benefits of Humic Acid for Agricultural Purpose:

    • Humic acid will help in balancing nutrition and enhances nutrient uptake of soil by combining nutrients and humic acids.
    • Optimize N-nitrogen, P-phosphorous and K-potassium, uptake of crops.
    • Improves soil structure and increases the buffering power of soil.
    • Regulates the pH value of soil by neutralizing both acid and alkaline soils.
    • Proves resilience power of crops to successfully withstand cold, draught, pest and any kind of disease.
    • Beautify appearance of the crops as well as promotes to grow healthier and stronger growth.
    • Helps in stimulating beneficial microbial activity.

    Getting Best Quality Humic Acid Online:

    In order to maintain a sustainable agriculture development, you need to regularize the use of agriculture humic acid by Humic Harvest, which is one of the leading providers and manufacturers (in the USA specialized in WEFHAS certified products) of finest quality humic acid and fulvic acid to farmers at a relatively low price. Our manufactured agriculture humic acid is listed and accepted by OMRI (Organic Material Review Institute in USA) as organic, which rates high its credibility. You can order humic acids in bulk amounts from us at a great price that will help in getting good crop with a minimum investment. You will get a best soil conditioner for your farms by buying humic acid from Humic Harvest that will work as a compliment to the fertilizer and restore soil health, which will be best for your crops.

  8. The foundation of your home, is, by no surprise, the most important aspect of it. While others may argue, the fact that your entire house depends on the integrity of your foundation means that any damage that might occur to it, can be drastic. Since your entire house literally sits on top of this concrete base, any little mistake in its design means that the problems will increase as you go up. Ensuring you protect your foundation will mean longevity and hassle-free home maintenance. Here are ways you can protect your home’s foundation.

    What is the Foundation?

    To begin with, for those who are unaware, the foundation of your home is made from a combination of materials, with the most common being made from poured concrete or concrete block, and a poured concrete footing system. With the majority of North American homes being built this way, it’s safe to assume that your house was also. During the construction process, it is vital that the foundation is poured and dried at level. Any dips or slants will cause structural problems throughout the rest of the house, making it a headache to fix and to sell.

    Ways to Protect Your Foundation

    Now that you are enlightened on what your home’s foundation actually is, here are some ways in which to ensure it is protected, and remains its integrity and strength.

    1. Make Sure the Ground Slopes Away: Keeping water away from the foundation of your home is critical in ensuring it stays dry and protected. Ensuring your backyard or front yard are sloped away from the house will enable runoff water to flow away from the house, instead of towards. If it is sloped towards, water will likely seep into the foundation, causing flooding in your basement and structural damage to the concrete base. If the ground is sloping towards, you’ll have to either call a professional (depending on the severity) to level out the ground, or fill in the areas with dirt yourself, if it’s not too difficult.  

    2. Clean Out Your Gutters: While generally keeping your gutters clean is a good habit for good water runoff, it’s especially important to ensure the water from rain and other precipitation doesn’t get backlogged and then seep into your house. Ensure they are pitched correctly so that they water flow is away from your home, and clean them at least twice a year to remove any buildup that can cause clogs.

    3. Inspect Your Downspouts: As with your gutters, make sure your downspouts don’t have any leaks or holes present. Also, make sure they are pointing away from the foundation of your house, rather than just next to it.

    4. Monitor the Foliage: Especially during the fall, leaves, trees, and foliage tend to shed everywhere. Managing plants and vines that are up against your home is helpful in ensuring they don’t have an active part in trapping moisture and dampness against your home when they are wet. Try not to plant any trees near your foundation either, as they can soak up the moisture that prevents the foundation from cracking.

    5. Water your Foundation: While this may seem contrary to what we’ve been saying about keeping water away from your foundation, no moisture at all can result in cracking and shrinking in the spoil of your foundation. Giving it a good soaking during the summer at periodical intervals will help prevent this from happening.

    Warning Signs You Have a Problem:

    While you may have implemented these preventative measures, if there is a problem with your foundation, you should be able to see warning signs pretty clearly. Here’s what to look out for:

     

    1. If you see pooling occur, especially after a rainstorm, this is a good indication that something isn’t right. Water gathering in pools around the foundation of your home means the ground isn’t level and water is seeping towards the base. Hiring a professional to both level the ground and pump the water away from the house is most likely the best course of action here.

    2. Water leaks don’t always show up easily, so looking out for water stains on the walls or ceiling is a good way to tell if anything is wrong with the house. You might notice it as well with discoloured baseboards or musty smells.

    3. Inspecting the perimeter of your home will let you know if there is a problem. If you see cracks or breakage, this is not a good sign. Making sure the siding, whether it’s brick, wood, vinyl or metal, is at least six inches above the bottom of the foundation is helpful, because often times, dirt and debris can make its way in there and shrink the clearance area. This provides a place for moisture to invade. If possible, power wash and clean away this dirt and buildup to improve the clearance.

  9. 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.

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    We all get a craving for junk now and gain. There is something about that extra sweetness or extra saltiness, that grabs the attention of most taste buds.

    But, we also all agree that these foods are rarely good for us - except briefly on an emotional level. Here are my three favourite alternatives to everyday junk food.

    Organic Coconut Water vs Soda

    Most people would agree that soda is probably not the best thirst quencher when it comes to beverages.

    Not only that, sodas contain an abnormal amount of refined sugar, additives, and flavourings that our bodies do not process very well.

    A much more beneficial drink to opt for would be organic coconut water. 

    This energising drink which is native to the tropics is loaded with electrolytes, natural sugars, amino acids, lauric acid (immune boosting nutrient also found in breast milk), mineral salts and vitamins.

    Also, unlike soda, coconut water is very hydrating, contains very little calories – excellent for those watching their weight – and yet is very filling.

    Organic Dried Fruit vs. Candy

    Due to the removal or drying of the natural water content, dried fruits such as raisins, cranberries, dates, figs and prunes are great concentrated sources of energy, fibre and iron – a mineral that helps to prevent anaemia.

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    Unlike, traditional candy and confectionary, organic dried fruit is often high in natural sugars, making it a great energy snack that is easy for the body to digest, and a wonderful addition to trail mixes, granola bars and cereals. The best part is that it is a fat-free natural food.

    Organic Cocoa vs. Commercial Chocolate

    Organic, raw, dark cocoa (also known as cacao) is a true health-giving super food.

    Not to be confused with the traditional commercial brands of chocolate products such as bars and hot chocolate; which contain high amounts of refined sugars, saturated fat, artificial additives and chemicals.

    Inspiral have a good explanation on the differences between Cacao and Conventional Chocolate.

    In its natural organic state cacao is dubbed as one of the super foods with the highest amounts of antioxidants, which are needed to fight free radicals and oxidative damage to cells.

    This may even offer protection against some types of cancer and slow down the ageing process. Unfortunately, as tempting as the commercial chocolate bars may be, they don’t offer these same benefits.
    Lastly, studies have shown that minerals such as potassium, magnesium and copper, which are found in high concentrations in dark chocolate, can help to prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

    It’s easy to enjoy too: blend the powder or nibs in a smoothie, make hot chocolate or make raw, delicious non-bake treats.

    With all these healthful benefits to be had why wouldn’t you indulge in this amazing plant food?

  11. Montevideo, Uruguay, December 12, 2015

    German cleantech company Spirea GmbH, together with its local partner ERGO SRL have announced the completion of a pilot solar photovoltaic system of 5kWp for company Farolur S.A. in Laguna del Sauce, Maldonado, Uruguay.

    The project consists of the installation of 20 photovoltaic panels in the dairy farm and production complex of Farolur, located in the department of Maldonado (Ruta 12 Km 10, paraje Los Ceibos). The panels are connected to the network of UTE and will produce more than 6.000 kWh of green electricity per year, providing a clean energy source for use of the farm’s baby cow breeding and milking operations. Production exceeding consumption is not expected, but if any, it will be fed into the network of UTE under the micro-generation framework in Uruguay.

    The project is part of the worldwide “dena Renewable Energy Solutions Program” coordinated by Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) - the German Energy Agency - and co-financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) within the “renewables – Made in Germany” initiative. German government has been actively supporting the world-wide dissemination of cutting-edge German renewable energy technology and know-how since 2002. The transfer of renewable energy expertise, the promotion of foreign trade and the facilitation of international development cooperation are part of the initiative.

    Supported by dena, the cleantech specialists at Spirea have chosen the agro-industrial complex Farolur S.A., owner of the diary product brand "Talar" for this project for its ecological commitment and self-sustaining business strategy.

    While the small solar plant is far from supplying the total energy need of Farolur, it is an important first step towards powering the agro-industrial complex with 100% green energy. It also allows the company to test the solar technology on a small scale and establish benchmarks for future expansion of the system.

    Dr. Utz Hoeser, Senior Partner at Spirea said: "Working with an environmentally responsible client such as Farolur has been a great pleasure to us. The company has a keen interest in clean technology and made strong commitments to the project from the very beginning. Dr. Yolanda Crujeira and her team at Farolur are continuously seeking excellence in both end products and production process, and consider clean energy as an important part of Talar’s quality process. Beyond financial and economic benefits that can be realized for corporate owner of a well-designed commercial PV system, we believe that the biggest value of this project is contributing to Farolur’s vision of powering the farm with 100% clean energy."

    About Spirea GmbH: Spirea Advisors is an independent cleantech consultant based in Berlin, Germany. The young boutique focuses on facilitating cleantech investment and cooperation around the globe. Since its establishment in 2011, Spirea has completed various successful projects across Asia, Middle East and Latin America. Spirea is the key implementation partner of the solar PV system at Farolur under the dena-RES-Project 2014/2015, and is positioned to play an active role in the Uruguayan cleantech market. www.spirea.de

    About Talar / Farolur S.A.: Farolur is an agro-industrial complex engaged in the production of dairy products of the highest quality for the domestic consumption and export supply. Unites tradition in the craftsmanship of dairy products, a modern production system that meets the most demanding national and international standards in this industry has been established. The farm produces with the mode "full-cycle" so that the traceability of the final product can be monitored from the crops that feed the cows. The natural balance of the eco system is one of the permanent concerns of the Talar brand: producing its own energy, returning nutrients to the land, returning water to its natural cycle, recycling wastes, sewage and emission without impacting the environment. Another continuous effort at Talar is ensuring welfare of all animals: a balanced nutrition and professional cares, providing cows with a quiet life without stress, resulting in better milk products. www.marcatalar.com

    About ERGO SRL: ERGO is a Company founded and managed by specialists in energy efficiency and renewable energies. In this field, ERGO is specialized in turnkey photovoltaic projects and assessing clients in electricity generation projects of all kinds. www.ergo.com.uy

    About dena: The Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) - the German Energy Agency - is Germany's centre of expertise for energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and intelligent energy systems. dena's aim is to ensure that energy is used in both a national and international context as efficiently, safely and economically as possible with the least possible impact on climate. dena is working with stakeholders from the worlds of politics and business and from society at large to achieve this aim. Shareholders in dena are the Federal Republic of Germany, KfW Bankengruppe, Allianz SE, Deutsche Bank AG and DZ BANK AG. www.dena.de

  12. Green, sustainable building is conquering the world of architecture. It’s no wonder - building homes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient is rewarding on many levels. By building homes that are “green” you’re minimizing impact on both people’s health and the natural environment.

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    Image Credit: GJ Gardner

    What are the main characteristics of a green home? To begin with, it is a building that efficiently uses natural resources and alternative sources of energy. It is a home that preserves the health of its occupants and helps in reducing pollution, waste and environmental degradation.

    Let’s see what every green home must include in order to be a true, eco-friendly building.

    Materials used in green building

    Whenever we build, there has to be some sort of environmental cost. We often use natural materials and expendable energy resources uncontrollably. People think that using only wood, for example, will immediately make their house or lodge sustainable, but this is far from the truth.

    The first and the most important rule when it comes to materials is: always use sustainable, local materials that are recycled or recyclable. This often means reusing existing materials and reducing waste. Timber can be used in green building too, if it’s locally and sustainably sourced and FSC-certified.

    Also, the more processed the material is, the more energy was spent (embodied) to produce it. Therefore, green homes should be constructed from materials that have low embodied energy. Alternative forms of concrete are always a better option than conventional concrete, the production of which is responsible for high carbon emissions.

    Sometimes, even materials we consider “junk” can be used in the construction of a green home: tires, bottles, cans, materials left over from the pre-existing building, etc. Wood from fast growing trees (instead of hardwood), recycled stone, rammed earth, straw bale and mud brick are the traditional materials that most builders turn to nowadays.

    Clever design for an energy efficient home

    The design is another important factor in making a building “green”. Sustainable homes are smartly built – which means they are designed to last long, to fit the climate and use all the benefits their environment provides. Passive design almost always involves positioning homes in relation to the sun and shade to reduce the use of electricity. This can be done is several ways: by spatial zoning, orientation, ventilation, insulation, shading, glazing and using thermal mass.

    The house should be placed on a ground that receives a lot of sunlight in the winter, with large windows facing the sun and collecting “passive” solar power. Prevention of heat accumulation in the summer can be obtained by strategically placing trees, roof overhangs and horizontal slats. A well-designed floor plan can only help in achieving energy efficiency. Also, adding solar panels can save energy even more and make a building truly eco-friendly.

    Insulation

    Adding good insulation is a crucial thing in the building process - it is the most effective addition you can make to your home. Insulation, shading and waterproofing can save up to an amazing 45 percent on monthly energy bills.There are lots of insulation options. However, the top sustainable insulation materials are sheep wool, cotton, aerogel, polystyrene and icynene.

    We know that polystyrene doesn’t sound very “green”, but it’s an outstanding insulator that can be recycled. It brings structural integrity to walls and provides excellent thermal resistance. Wool fibers are perhaps the healthiest and most fire resistant insulation option.

    Water management

    A sustainable building must include water saving in addition to energy saving. An excellent way of saving water is rainwater harvesting – collection, filtration and use of rainwater. This reduces the need for main water supplies and can lead to significant economic and environmental benefits. Rainwater is collected in leak-proof tanks and can be used for many purposes.

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    Image Credit: Wikimedia

    Swimming pools are big energy spenders and a real luxury in water scarce areas. Therefore, modern green homes feature increasingly popular natural pools and ponds. Water in such pools and ponds is cleaned with the help of plants and bacteria and no chemicals are used in the process.

    One of the steps in being a responsible water consumer includes using products and appliances that save water significantly. Your home must be equipped with adequate plumbing products, sanitary ware and white goods that use less water than others.

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    So summer has officially arrived in Australia and it’s getting hot! While it may seem like the easiest option to stay cool is to crank your aircon, it might not be the most cost effective way, and definitely not the best for the environment. Even with carbon tax gone, energy is still costing an arm and a leg. So to save you money during the next few months I have include 8 low-cost ways to keep your home nice and cool.

    Install Blinds or Shades

    If you don’t already have blinds or shades installed on your windows, consider doing that this summer. By shutting your blinds and curtains during the day you will help block the sun’s heat from warming up your home.

    Let The Cool Evening Air In

    During the night the weather tends to be much cooler. If this is the case where you live, make the most of these refreshing hours by opening your windows a few hours before you sleep. Be sure to close your windows and blinds the next morning to stop the heat from letting in.

    Close Your Windows

    Close your windows during the day may seem counterintuitive but this will stop the heat from warming your home. When you shut your windows and close doors to unused rooms you will find your home feeling much cooler. Don’t forget to reopen them at night to allow the nice cool night air in.

    Install Awnings To Keep The Sun Away From Your Windows

    Awnings can save you money on energy bills by cutting down on the heat your house absorbs. Not just this but also provide shade to outdoor areas giving you invaluable protection from sun and heat exposure. By shielding your home from the sun’s rays, you’ll cool your home down and have the option of enjoying refreshing time outdoors without overheating.

    Turn off lights When Not In Use

    Incandescent lights may produce a lot of lighting but they also put out just as much heat. This means by substituting your incandescent lights with cooler light emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescents (CFLs), you will be able to not only save energy but also keep your home cooler.

    Set Your Ceiling Fans to Rotate counter-clockwise

    When you use your fans strategically you will find they do a great job cooling your house down without the need for your AC. When it comes to your ceiling fans ensure it’s running in the right direction, counter-clockwise. You want to feel the breeze from your fan blowing down. This will help keep you cool during sleep time. And remember a ceiling fan cools people, not your room so switch it off when no one is there to save energy.

    Do your laundry, ironing and cooking during cooler parts of the day

    When using appliances that give out large amounts of heat you will find it won’t take long for your home to get really hot and stuffy. To save using the aircon, try doing your laundry, ironing and even cooking in the cooler parts of the day. Especially if your have a gas stove, try grilling your food instead or simply make meals that don’t require cooking like salads, sandwich’s, smoothies and juices. Additionally you can even consider cooking bulk meals or large quantities of grains once a week to save time throughout the week and reduce your need to cook during the day.

    Consider a few long-term improvements

    If you’re sick of paying so much money from running your aircon it might be worth to invest in longer-term adjustments to keeping your house really cool during summer. Some of these include installing insulated window films and attic insulation/fanning. You could also plant tress strategically to stop the sun beating down on your home.

    Bottom Line: If years ago our ancestors could survive without aircon than we definitely can as well. Just think smart and you’ll be able to keep nice and cool this summer without spending much money at all.

  14. The list of benefits presented by renewable energy is long. There are numerous ways it helps make the world a cleaner and healthier place to live in. Renewable or alternative energy is a kind of sustainable energy that is produced from infinite natural sources. Some of the most common types of renewable energy sources include solar energy (power obtained from the sun), wind energy, tidal energy (power obtained from the sea) and geothermal energy (power obtained in the form of heat from within the earth).

    The more the world is becoming a victim of global warming, the more people are getting aware of the benefits of alternative energy. Here are some significant factors that give renewable energy a winning edge over the one generated from fossil fuels:

    • Reduces the Level of Pollution: The process of generating electricity from fossil fuels results in overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and other global warming emissions, thereby creating tremendous environmental, climatic and health impacts. The production of renewable energy, in contrast, produces limited to no harmful global warming emissions, keeping the world clean and pollution-free.
    • Public Health Benefits:The harmful and toxic emissions produced in the process of electricity generation from fossil fuels poses enormous threats to people's health. The huge amount of pollutants emitted by fossil fuels can be linked to a number of serious health complications such as breathing problems, neurological issues, heart diseases and even cancer. Production of renewable energy on the other hand, offer significant public health benefits by restricting the emissions of poisonous gases.
    • Employment Opportunities: While the process of electricity generation from fossil fuels is mostly machine-based and more capital intensive, renewable energy technologies are more labor-intensive. This means, that the use of renewable energy will effectively boost employment opportunities remarkably than in case of fossil fuels.

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    With a great deal of researches and studies being made on the use and advantages of renewable energy, companies and organizations promoting the same need to have thorough information about each new progress and advancement. To serve the purpose of providing renewable energy interested consumers with all the information they need, there are some reputed website magazines like ENERLIX UK working sincerely as free UK marketplace for renewable energy topics.

    If you are wondering how you can benefit by subscribing to one of these web magazines, here are some significant answers:

    • You can subscribe to these reputed web magazines free of cost.
    • Being web-based magazines, they can be conveniently accessed from any location and during any time of the day and night.
    • They serve as reliable and authentic UK marketplace for renewable energy topics where you not only get to read news and press releases published by others, but can also post high-quality content on renewable energy from your end.

    Reputed website magazines like ENERLIX UK and others provide an excellent platform where people can obtain and share up-to-date information and news on renewable energy topics. They work with the commitment to promote awareness on the uses and benefits of renewable energy and green technology across the world.

    Author Bio: The author of this article, Joana Hall, is an expert content writer, who has been writing on a wide variety of topics for years. In this article, she focuses on reputed website magazines serving as UK marketplace for renewable energy topics.

  15. Hazardous waste can come in various forms, and it’s not always easy to manage them, much less regulate their disposal. However, the need for proper hazardous waste management has become more and more apparent over the past couple of years, as the imminent threat of global warming has made its presence felt more clearly. But what exactly are we dealing with when it comes to hazardous waste?

    What is hazardous waste?
    Waste that poses a threat to the environment and to human health is considered as hazardous, and they commonly exhibit either one or all of these traits: toxicity, ignitability, corrosivity, and reactivity. They can also be infectious, such as those coming from healthcare facilities, or radioactive. Hazardous waste can come in solid, liquid, sludge, and even gaseous states.

    What should be done with them?
    In an ideal world, all waste products could be recycled and utilized in some other industry. However, the reality is that the world is hardly an ideal setting, and recycling normally isn’t the end point of hazardous waste. Depending on how hazardous waste was created (either by physical, chemical, thermal, or even biological means), treatment and disposal may also vary. For example, certain organic wastes like those from the petroleum industry can be applied with biological treatment, such as landfarming, in which hazardous waste is mixed carefully with surface soil on a designated and suitable area of land. Microbes can be added to metabolize the waste, thus causing it to stabilize. On the other hand, physical treatment involves solidifying, concentrating, or reducing the volume of hazardous waste. 

    Who is responsible for hazardous waste management?
    Hazardous waste management should be the responsibility of everyone. A combined effort is needed from everyone involved in producing, handling, and disposing of the hazardous waste. Each institution that deals with such waste – like healthcare facilities and industrial companies – should follow the standard regulations on handling hazardous waste, and have a set protocol in place. Employees and workers who find themselves at risk for exposure to such waste, or handle them directly, should be trained on how to properly deal with them. The 40-hour HAZWOPER training should be required for such employees. 

    Whether you work in a facility that creates these hazardous waste, or are part of the cleanup crew to ensure their containment, it is important to understand the impact that such waste has on our lives.  Hazardous waste is inevitable in today’s society, but with proper management, we can ensure that its impact on environmental and human health is contained.

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    The concept of airless tires has been around for ages, in fact, Michelin has been developing this concept since 2005. It is only just recently that airless tires have become a readily available to the average consumer. Hankook recently announced that their airless tires should “hit the market very, very soon.” So, what exactly is an airless tire? Also known as non-pneumatic tires, airless tires are those not supported by air pressure. While they are usually used in certain lawnmowers and golf carts, airless tires are now being created for regular vehicles as well.

     

    Previously, there have been certain disadvantages associated with airless tires. For one, these provide much less suspension than regular pneumatic tires. Also, they lead to a lot of heat buildup. However, with developing technologies, these disadvantages have been severely minimized. Currently the benefits of using the modified airless tires far outweigh the disadvantages. Bridgestone’s airless tires, that are currently being developed, sport a unique spoke structure that is easily able to support passenger vehicles. Perhaps the largest advantage of these airless tires is that they are environmentally friendly, made with 100 % recyclable material. According to Bridgestone, “No part of a non-pneumatic tire ever needs to go in the garbage, which goes hand-in-hand with Bridgestone’s effort to create a “cradle-to-cradle” system in which all tires are first recycled and then factory-refashioned into new tires.”

     

    Furthermore, these tires promise reduced carbon emissions. You might wonder how tires can play an active part in reducing emissions. Well, a significant part of energy loss that comes from tires rolling resistance is due to changes in the shape of regular tires as they roll. Airless tires seem to promise a much simpler structure, leading to fewer changes in shape and thus reducing emissions. In terms of production too, Hankook, another airless tire brand claims that the production of these tires is halved from the production of normal pneumatic tires. This means that the footprint left behind due to trie production is also lessened, further supporting the sustainability and eco-conscious aspect of these tires.

    From a practical standpoint too, airless tires nullify the possibility of flat tires. This makes sense, as these tires cannot leak since there is really no air to be leaked! This means that drivers won’t have to worry about running over a sharp object, and tire change frequency will be visibly reduced.

     

    All in all, airless tires are a revolutionary concept in auto-production. With increased functionality and a much more positive impact on the environment, we are excited for these tires to hit the market, and soon become the accepted norm!

     

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  17. Intus Windows announces new super energy efficient wood window line!

    New Intus line Premier 78 Alu Mira Advance was presented in the end of September at DesignDC Expo in Washington, DC

    Intus Windows, manufacturer of top-of-the-line high performance windows is proud to announce their newest energy efficient window; the Premier 78 Alu Mira Advanced. These triple pane wood windows are Passive House suitable and are a great choice for anyone looking to install energy efficient PH type windows but at a very competitive price. The high-tech windows feature beautiful pine wood frames with a high-density composite foam material that is integrated into the window frame. This design increases the window efficiency and provides a thermal break in the frame profile. According to Intus managing director Aurimas Sabulis, “This window started with a focus on energy efficiency but has grown into much more. The Premier 78 Alu Mira Advanced provides a beautiful wood window with the highest values at competitive price.” The Premier 78 Alu Mira Advanced window debuted at the September 2013 DesignDC Expo in Washington, DC.

    It all starts by utilizing sustainable timber from German and Austrian forestry and then introducing a high-density composite foam material into the wood window frame. This was crucial in order to create a window frame that had a thermal break to limit the transfer of outside heat or cold. The triple pane glass has a a U-Value of 0.088 (Btu/hr/ft²/F)* and when combined with the insulated wood frame produces a window assembly with a U-Value of 0.14 (Btu/hr/ft²/F) or an R-Value of R-7. The triple pane windows are filled with argon gas for improved thermal performance and can accommodate 56mm thick glazing. Triple gasket weather-stripping creates superb air tightness. The warm edge spacers increase the glass surface temperature and reduce condensation on the glass. The hybrid spacers insulate the pane edges so as to reduce heat transfer through the window. Numerous SHGC options are available based on your climate and design goals.

    The aluminum clad exterior frames can be finished in an array of colors from the RAL color selection chart and provides for a very durable exterior finish. An extrusion is installed to allow both the wood and aluminum to thermally expand and contract independently of each other. The pine wood frames can be finished in either water based or lacquer finishes. Different hardware choices are also available as the windows are customized to your specific order.

    So whether you are designing to achieve Passive House standards or just trying to build an energy efficient building, the new Premier 78 Alu Mira Advanced from Intus Windows is an excellent choice in your window selection. In addition to that window, Intus also offers Premier 78 Alu Mira Advanced lift and slide, folding, entry and balcony doors. You may also consider uPVC and all aluminum window, door and curtain wall lines offered by Intus to fit all budgets and applications including commercial, residential and industrial. Intus Windows will continue to pioneer high-performing energy efficient windows and doors. Intus Windows can be reached at 1888-380-9940 or info@intuswindows.com.

    *All values and calculations are based on EU standards: EN 10077, EN 673, EN 410 and other references; CE Mark, DIN Standards – Construction Materials and Building (European Standards), DIN 1027/12208 – Windows and Doors – Water Tightness, DIN 1026/12207 – Windows and Doors – Air Permeability, DIN 12211/12210 – Windows and Doors – Resistance to Wind Load, DIN 1191/12400 – Windows and Pedestrian Doors – Mechanical Durability, DIN EN ISO 10077 – Thermal Performance and other.

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    For more information press:

    http://intuswindows.com/intus-windows-announces-new-super-energy-efficient-wood-window-line/

  18. In order to avoid a future water world (the movie was a dud, I think the scenario would be even worse in real life) or something even more catastrophic, one of the industries that has got to shape up is the automotive industry.

    We’re looking at an industry driving a huge portion of fossil fuel extraction. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, fossil fuelled vehicles are responsible for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions. Yes, you gear-heads and old- school mechanics will miss your cherished internal combustion engines (ICE). But who says you can’t keep working on the old ones? Who says you can’t convert them to run on biodiesel? After all, the old roadster will be worth plenty in the future as a relic, but it’ll be worth even more running around on clean fuel. Just think. There will only be so many (if any) like it.

    The auto industry, including the trucking industry, is shaping up to an extent, just slowly. I’ll get into why I mentioned the trucking industry soon. Most of us blogger kids like to think about all the super-neat new tech we might use ourselves. Smart, web-savvy autonomous cars, pure EV’s that glow in the dark, hybrids that run on beet juice—well, that last one I pulled out of thin air (I don’t think it’s unreasonable), but you get the idea. This post, though, is about five innovations that could make a real difference in the horsepower-driven world.

    Electric powertrains for trucks

    The sexy blogs aren’t publishing a lot of stuff about this, because it doesn’t sound that sexy. But right now, the commercial trucking industry is staring down the barrel of regulations designed to cut emissions from trucks we rely on a great deal. They deliver your mail, they pick up your garbage, and until they turn into drones, the class 7 and 8 ones drive 80% of the freight in America to any city with a supermarket. At the same time, according to the EPA, freight semi-trucks are super-inefficient, spewing two-thirds of the GHGs (Greenhouse Gases) commercial trucks spew.

    So, Obama decided commercial trucks in general need to clean up their act. By 2027 they will have to cut GHGs by a combined total of 44%. Phase 1, which began this year, mandates a 20% cut. Phase 2, which begins its mandate in 2021, requires a 24% cut.

    If Wrightspeed's powertrains have anything to say about it, the cuts will be easy to accomplish and will save fleets money in the long run, too. Ian Wright co-founded Tesla then split off to start Wrightspeed. His Route powertrains are a plug-in innovation incorporating an electric engine and transmission that fleet operators can retrofit to their trucks. They can just slap it on the old rig to hopefully achieve results like the Isuzu NPR achieved.

    According to breakingenergy.comthe Isuzu NPR delivery truck went from 12 mpg in the city to 44 mpg—a 300% improvement. Let’s hope fleets will shell out the $200,000 for those type of results sooner than later.

    Hydrogen fuel cells                                               

    Right now hydrogen-powered cars aren’t the big sellers in the green car market because of the price. There aren’t enough fueling stations, and the cost of creating the technology fuels a high price tag. But according to the New York Timesmajor manufacturer Hyundai is sinking more effort into these cars, creating the possibility for another fuel-saving alternative on the market in a decade. It’s not exactly a revolution, but the Times reports the price for a hydrogen-powered Hyundai has dropped from $124,000 to $76,000 in Korea.

    Having another green car option on the market is important because it will drive prices for extant technologies down, and it will create further competition for technological advancement. Once Hyundai is infiltrating the market with hydrogen-powered cars—cars that emit absolutely no GHGs and run on the most plentiful element in the universe, hydrogen—majors like Honda and Toyota will have to answer back. They’ll have to give us more inexpensive alternatives to the ICE in order to stay afloat.

    3-D printed cars      

    This one may seem pretty far off, but why not consider the possibility of 3-D printed cars? Imagine cutting down on all the emissions car manufacturers themselves create and rolling a new vehicle directly out of your own garage. That’s exactly what Chandler, Arizona-based Local Motors 

    has been working on. It started with a competition called Project Redacted. After announcing the winner of the competition, the tech company/electric car manufacturer announced they will begin a new project with three universities to delve deeper into making 3-D printed cars a reality. Not only will these cars be DIY, the design Local Motors will be working on is for an electric, autonomous vehicle

    That this is even on the table speaks to the amazing capabilities of 3-D printers to create objects out of metals and other substances besides plastics and polymers—this technology is progressing at an incredible rate.

    One could imagine a time when the infamously restrictive policies of auto manufacturers are obliterated by this type of tech. For years, manufacturers have had the technology to create cars that run for hundreds of thousands of miles longer than what we have now. They’ve also had the technology to improve the gas-mileage cars can get to an equally mind-blowing extent. Once making cars becomes a more democratic pursuit, and there are more environmentally-friendly options on the market, the gas-guzzlers of today will be just as much dinosaurs as the gas that fuels them.

    London_a4_close_to_national_gallery_green_car_30.01.2012_13-32-05.2012_13-32-05.JPG

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  20. If there's one thing without which modern society would seize to exist, it's oil. (Well, living without Internet will also positively suck, but that's a whole different story right here.) Realistically speaking, for the time being, despite the billions of dollars that are being put into the development of green technologies, oil remains essential to the proper functioning of our lives. Oil supplies our factories and makes our means of transportation move, it helps trade, makes manufacturing and transportation of goods, including food and medicines, possible. All in all, we need oil to survive.

    But the huge dDrill_baby.thumb.png.62b68800f3da2d75f8femand for oil we've experienced since the Second Industrial Revolution comes at a great cost for the planet and respectively, for the entire human kind. Each year we drill about 14 trillion liters of oil. That alone has tremendous environmental consequences which are next to impossible to be countered because, hey, "Drill, baby, drill!".

    But there's another negative side of oil consumption, and it's the fact that during transportation a significant quantity of oil is spilled, thereby destroying entire ecosystems, polluting the habitat of all kinds of plant and animal species.

    And because oil is mostly transported across oceans, this is where most spills occur. The results are both immediate and long-term, so looking for ways to eliminate the spill and counter its effect is crucial for the preservation of Earth's oceans.

    But cleaning something so vast as an ocean is not an easy task. Luckily, technology has evolved and continues to rapidly do so to such an extent that we might already have a working solution to the issue – drones.

     

    We've seen drones being deployed in various places, efficiently handling all kinds of situations. Recently a startup in the Netherlands even introduced a project which aims to develop a fully functional house cleaning drone. So if the technology could be utilized for the needs of home cleaning, it's only natural for it to be used in the quest of preserving our oceans.

    Airborne Emergency Response to Oil Spills

    Here's where AEROS (Airborne Emergency Response to Oil Spills) comes into play. Essentially, AEROS is an unmanned, robotic system which locates oils spills and deploys robots and inflatable booms at spill sites by an airplane. Once in the water, the booms inflate themselves and surround the spill. Then the unmanned robots start purging the water.

    The water-cleansing robots suck the contaminated water in and spin it inside. The swirl that forms leaves the oil at the center and then collects it in a special bladder, while it pushes the pure water outside. Each robot has an incredible capacity, filtrating over 7000 litres per minute. And the oil that is recovered, up to 90% of the spill, is later collected from the bladders and can be later sold as an additional stream of revenue. Just in comparison, the methods that is being used by far could only filtrate and recover about 5% of the oil.

    Protei Project

    Protei.thumb.jpeg.792153d247ad127c173cf0The Protei Project is another promising startup which aims to counter oil spills. The people behind this large-scale international project have developed a shape-shifting sailing robots which will patrol the oceans, clean up oil spills and collect plastic waste.

    The autonomous robots will essentially sail upwind, using the power of the wind, and pull a long boom-tail which will absorbs oil. What makes the Protei boat prototypes so innovative is their hulls which are flexible and are made to move left and right like a fish. That movement allows the drone boat to utilize the power of the wind to the fullest and never lose power, easily pulling the heavy boom tail.

    Large oil spills like the Deep Water Horizon in the Mexican Gulf don't happen too often, but when they do, the effects to the environment are catastrophic. And as I already mentioned, at that point in time it's impossible for oil companies to cease oil transportation, however, they can use technology to contain the spills and counter the negative impact of the spills. For now the technology is not market-ready, but with some backing it will be there we we most need it.

  21. Engineered or activated water is increasingly taking place in the cleaning industry. It has three major types, which are used for cleaning -- ozone, hypochlorous acid and water electrolysis. Despite the fact that none of these have been recognized as a disinfectant, they are good sanitizers, perfect for cleaning glass and other surfaces. The main thing here is that these activated water solutions help minimize the use of harmful chemicals, thus protecting yours and your children’s health. Many cleaning businesses have adopted the usage of natural, bio detergents, but this technology is on a next level.

     

    The fact that cleaning industries can take advantage of the engineered water technology is not a recent finding. The large machines, needed to put into operation this innovative technology, have been around for many years, but customers weren’t happy with their size and price.

     

    Recently, technologies have evolved and now even the small, hand-held devices can activate water for cleaning purposes. The rising public awareness of sustainability and global warming issues determines this technology as a great step towards providing eco cleaning services at a very decent price.

     

    Еngineered water is obtained through electrolysis, which causes nearly undetectable pH and other changes in its chemical composition. Еlectrolysis is a process which uses electricity to break down water molecules into positively and negatively charged water ions. When you apply water in electrolyzed form to a certain area, the charged ions attach to dirt particles and lift them off the surface. More information about the process you may find in this interesting article.

     

    Activated water products and devices are mostly used in educational establishments, retail and healthcare facilities, commercial buildings and owner-occupied properties. Many building service contractors also embraced the idea. What drives the increase in activated water usage is that this technology provides a great value for little money. The usual cleaning chemicals require high costs for production, transportation and storage. In our case, these costs do not exist for the reason that engineered water can be produced on site.

     

  22. Remodeling your kitchen is an excellent chance to upgrade it in term of eco-friendliness. You will finally get a chance to separate waste and apply natural cleaning solutions in order to cause the least amount of harm to the environment. The best thing is that these changes will not require a huge amount of money because you can work with what you’ve got and the little you do need to invest is a small investment compared to the benefits you get.

    You will see how a remodeled kitchen will soon turn into a hub of social activity in the house as even the children will want to join the whole ecological hype that their parents became part of. We provide you here with a 5-step checklist that will help you transform your kitchen into an eco-friendly space that will work with Mother Nature, not against it.

    1. The labels have to be green

    recycle-15172_1280.jpg

    Whatever additions you decide to introduce into your kitchen, whether it is something as simple as a new teapot or even a brand new countertop, this product must bear a green label. This means that the product has been subject to testing on how the ingredients of materials for it were produced. A label of the color green usually stands for sustainability, like the Follow to Frog sign and the Forest Stewardship Council stamp that indicates that fruit or timber have been outsourced from regions that care about protecting the local environment.

    2. Cork for flooring

    The bark of the cork tree is used for kitchen flooring as a cheap and efficient replacement for linoleum, hardwood floors, and tiles. It is fairly easy to install, as it is simply glued to the existing surface, like concrete. Once in place, it is coated with acrylic that will ensure cork is waterproof and slip-resistant. Because it has a rather soft texture, it will act as a natal spring that will adjust to the weight of your body, so you can even walk barefoot over it. This can come in handy when children play around the kitchen and if one of them falls down, the cork will cushion the blow.

    3. Plexiglas in the kitchen?

    kitchen-2165756_1280.jpg

    The material you never thought belonged inside the kitchen is Plexiglas. Well, the automotive industry does not have exclusive rights over it as kitchen walls can benefit from it too. A thin layer of Plexiglas over the kitchen tiles impregnates their joints and ensures they are 100% waterproof, so no mold or mildew will ever form. The best thing about Plexiglas, that you can outsource from Plastic Wholesale Online is the fact that it is an eco-friendly material that does not hurt the environment. Basically, anything around the kitchen that needs waterproofing could be treated with Plexiglas in order to decrease the impact on the environment.

    4. Reducing energy consumption

    In terms of reducing the carbon print, you want to make sure your new kitchen is as energy efficient as possible. This is done by introducing green energy through house appliances and the reduction of total energy used. For the latter, a simple change in the type of light bulbs you use can make a huge difference. Replace the incandescent light bulbs with LED ones and just look at your energy consumption going down. As with everything else, when shopping for new appliances look for the Energy Star logo that ensures the manufacturer took great care of energy inefficient.

    5. Composting

    compost-419259_1280.jpg

    The last item on our checklist concerns the way we manage organic waste. Recyclables should go into separate bins but food leftovers should end up outside, not in the trash can but in the garden compost. You can create it in order to decrease the total amount of waste you generate and later use the compost in your garden instead of buying hummus from the local garden center.

     

    Finally, going eco-friendly is more than possible in the kitchen and in every other room in the house. Use our 5-step checklist as the guide during the initial phases of the kitchen remodeling project.

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