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Andrew Newitt

“Any naturally occurring, theoretically inexhaustible source of energy, as biomass, solar, wind, tidal, wave, and hydroelectric power, that is not derived from fossil or nuclear fuel.” – This is the definition of renewable energy. In other words, the movement of wind and water, or the heat and light of the sun are all potential renewable energy sources!

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A brief history

The first thing that comes to mind when you think ‘renewable energy’ might be a very progressive, clean technology, but, in truth, our ancestors were using nothing but renewable energy (with a few exceptions) before the Industrial Revolution brought coal to the equation.
In addition to being a history of our entire civilization, the discovery and utilization of fire is the beginning of the use of renewable energy. Other uses of renewable energy before industrialization include animal labor (using cattle to drive ploughs and turn millstones), wind for traveling across bodies of water, dams to harness the power of the flowing water and many more.

Wind power

Quite obviously, wind turbines harness air currents and convert them into power. Wind power is plentiful and inexhaustible and the use of wind turbines is only limited in areas that aren’t windy enough all year-round.
Wind turbines come in different styles and sizes, but the most common, “horizontal axis” design works by having two or three blades spin upwind of the tower that the turbine sits on. The rotor is attached to a low-speed shaft, that is further connected to the gear box that spins the generator, which produces energy.
The downside to powering your home with a wind energy is outlined in the fact that some areas have deemed it illegal and that wind power systems tend to be quite loud.

 

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Water power

Harvesting renewable energy from water comes in two shapes: the hydroelectric and the hydrokinetic energy. Hydroelectric power is the world’s largest source of renewable energy and it works by using water to spin a turbine, which further rotates a generator to create electricity. From a rough standpoint, one gallon of water per second falling one hundred feet generates one kilowatt of electricity.
Hydrokinetic energy, on the other hand, is based on waves crashing on the beach and rivers rushing through sloping valleys. The gadgets called “hydrokinetic energy conversion devices” are either wave energy converters (WECs) or rotating devices. The converters use the motion of two or more bodies relative to each other – the first one is acted on by the waves, while the second one works as a reactor. The rotating devices are pretty much based on the wind turbine technology.

Solar power

Last but not least, solar power still remains the most popular form of renewable energy. Seeing as the sun is, from our perspective, an inexhaustible resource, using it to supply a significant portion of our electricity needs is quite a logical idea. Solar panels are definitely the most common devices related to solar power, but these do come with one major deficiency – they obviously don’t work during nighttime. Fortunately, there is a way around this and the solution is outlined in energy storing. A brand-new energy storage evolution comes from Tesla Powerwall 2, which has an incredible 14 kWh of battery storage!
Using solar panels to harvest energy from the sun in combination with batteries to store the power is the renewable energy solution of the future!

The focus of humanity needs to be turning towards renewable energy, regardless of whether we’re talking about wind, water, or sunlight; in reality, the solution to our pollution problem is likely a combination of the three!

Andrew Newitt

Whether you are a builder, a developer, or a homeowner and want to construct something that can potentially affect the environment, you will have to hire an environmental consultant. If you don’t know what can affect the environment, then let us quickly give you all the ins and outs. Constructing man-made ponds, building near wildlife habitats, tinkering with water sources, building on questionable soil, etc. can all affect the environment in numerous ways.

That is why your local government has made the laws that are there to protect the environment from exploits. The only way to be certain that you are running the whole operation according to environmental regulations is to get an assessment from an environmental consultant.

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So, what are the traits of a professional environmental consultant? To answer that question, we have created this list of tips to find the right environmental consulting company for your job, so let’s just jump into it.

Know your project

Before you even start looking for a consulting company, make sure you are completely familiar with the project you are working on and what the final product will look like. An environmental consultant will make sure that everything is done according to the laws and regulations of your state, but it will be your job to set the goals and prepare for everything.

For example, some environmental regulations will make you step out of your budget, so it will be your job to compensate for that. That is why knowing your limitations and knowing your project plays a crucial role.

Evaluate the consulting company

As with every business, there are some bad apples, some companies that don’t do their work properly. If environmental consulting is a completely new thing for you, it will be hard to tell apart the good ones from the bad ones. However, we have some advice for you.

First, look at their previous experience. You can learn a lot about a company just by looking at whom they have worked with before. Second, look at their previous projects. Some companies don’t have enough experience with large-scale projects. Lastly, contact their old clients to see if everything checks out. It is one thing to read praise on their website, but if previous clients don’t tell the same story, it is usually a sign of trouble. To give you an example of an outstanding environmental consulting company, we recommend visiting the EnviroX Consulting website. They tick all boxes that we have previously mentioned and offer transparency from the get-go.

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Create a contract

Once you find a suitable consulting company, the next step is to create and negotiate a contract. Go through everything thoroughly, from start to finish. Describe in detail what their work will consist of. Ask for warranties, in case some task isn’t completed. Also, negotiate the price. Expenses pile up easily, so knowing the estimated cost will help you plan your budget. Lastly, set the beginning and end date. With jobs like these, it is important to create a deadline, otherwise, you risk blowing up your budget and messing up the whole operation.

Make sure that all the boxes are checked

We have one last advice for you, and that is to check the work after it is done. Sometimes people overlook details and then there are companies that just look for ways to cut corners. To make sure that everything from the contract is completed, carefully go through it and inspect the finished project. Unfortunately, that is the only way.

And that is all that you need to know when hiring an environmental consulting company. As you can see, it is not rocket science, but you will have to be thorough with your research, so you don’t end up hiring an inexperienced company.

Andrew Newitt

Waste management has become a serious issue in the world ever since the rise of industrialization and the population boom that started in the 20th century. With over 7 billion people across the globe producing waste within their homes, companies and communities, a need arises to educate people and promote waste management in order to battle the effects of global warming and decrease the harmful effect that waste production has on the environment.

Assess the amount of waste you produce

Start your waste management plan by writing down the amount of waste your household, company or project produces on a monthly basis. You can categorize waste into different types such as scraps, human waste, water waste, energy waste and natural materials. Additionally, remember to note the trash produced by excavation and building crews, if you are running a renovation project.

Every waste management situation will have different parameters, so make sure to observe all crucial elements in waste production. When managing waste in your company, you will have to account for the amount of waste that every employee produces and that will include water, energy and material waste.

After you’ve assessed the amount of produced waste, you can divide it into recyclables, reusable materials and refuse. Recyclable waste is usually consisted of flyers, clothes, bottles, plastic and paper, among other.

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Refuse materials are mainly consisted of kitchen and industrial waste in the form of old cleaning supplies, cords, bulbs and electrical trash, and is best reduced to a minimum by limiting consumption and opting for more durable, long-lasting items, such as switching from regular lighting to LED lighting, etc.

Lastly, reusable “waste” can be anything you can make use of for a prolonged period of time, such as partially printed paper, delivery boxes, jars and paper bags.

 

Set up an action plan

Once you are finished with categorizing and have assessed the amount of waste, you’ll need a concrete plan of action for each type of waste. Note that waste disposal is not cheap and it’s always better to prevent waste accumulation and production than to deal with excessive amounts of it every month. Along with being better for your budget, prevention is eco-friendly as you are reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emission and waste production.

You can limit the amount of resources you use that later become refuse and use only the reusable and recyclable materials. Instead of constantly changing traditional light bulbs that consume and waste vast amounts of energy, switch to LED lighting that preserves the energy and lasts longer. In addition to saving energy, it will also cost you less.

Further, in order to reduce water waste, make sure that all water sources are only used when necessary and fix every leakage. Opt for water-saving appliances like washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators that are energy-friendly.

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Recycling is fairly easy - you just need to love nature enough. Make sure to divide your recyclables into different bags and learn the schedule of your neighborhood’s recyclable waste pickups.

Finally, you can move onto planning your refuse waste management. Trash is bound to accumulate at some point, and after you’ve implemented all the new rules of reusing and recycling, it’s time to get rid of the trash you are left with.

Start by noting the means you will use to dispose of your trash by assessing the cost, choosing removal crews and types of vehicles they have depending on the amount of waste you’re dealing with. Waste can often be difficult to classify, and in order to avoid hitting a roadblock in your disposal efforts, make sure to consult with environmental experts about proper waste classification.  

Lastly, draw up concrete goals for you waste reduction project. You’ll need a realistic set of goals if you want to make your waste management plan work. You can define these by assessing the percentage of trash you want to reduce over a period of time, all the while increasing the use of recyclable and reusable materials.

Waste management is no easy task as it requires planning, preparation, time and effort, but with these guidelines you will be able to create a concrete plan of action to boost your waste management efforts and make the process as quick and efficient as possible.

Andrew Newitt

Not that there are many households that actually support solar energy, we could all use a little education on the matter. Once solar energy benefits become available, i.e. known to the broader public, the chance to actually switch to solar will be getting bigger by the second.

Solar energy is one of the best ways to ensure you have plenty of energy, without investing too much or causing harm to your immediate environment. Besides being an affordable alternative, there are many more benefits you should review before upgrading your home to solar power.

If you’ve been considering switching to solar energy, these are just a few facts you should be aware of:

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Cheap Energy

Solar energy is a renewable energy source, which means you only need the sun to ensure you’ve got enough energy for your daily chores (run appliances, gadgets, etc.). Luckily, the Aussies have plenty of sunny days, which means your battery will be filled and ready at any time.

Low Investments

Although it might seem you have to pay a lot at once, over time, your rig will allow you to save some money. Furthermore, there’s a low payback period for those who wish to take out a loan on it. Reports from 2016 show that Australians are hooked on solar energy and aren’t afraid to upgrade. It’s a smart – AND CLEAN - investment, after all, so we totally understand the rush!

Become Sustainable

With a government incentive to help you get started, your home is bound to become more sustainable over time. Since the energy crisis in southern Australia, it’s become even more attractive to get your solar panels. Plus, you will be giving a bit back to nature and the government as well. Actually, feeling like you are contributing on a global scale is pretty great, don’t you think?

Increasing Your Home’s Value

No matter how long you plan on staying in your current home, there’s a chance that you might sell it sooner or later. Adding solar panels will only increase its value, especially if you install other upgrades to make it better. Think of it as a long-term investment that will make your home better.

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Easy to Scale

Sometimes it’s rather hard to plan how much energy you will need for your home, and with solar energy, you’re not at the mercy of an existing gridline. Since you can get solar panels from Sydney, transport costs won’t be too expensive either. This is why the best thing to do is explore your options before you purchase and opt for the best quality possible.

Predictability

No matter how much you want to make energy usage calculable, it’s impossible in most cases. However, with a professionally installed solar energy system, you will be able to predict exactly how much you have to pay, every month. Without any hidden costs. Phenomenal AND cost-effective!

Reliability

The only bad side of solar energy is when you don’t have enough sunny days, which you have plenty of in the great Outback. This is exactly why Australia is investing in one of the world’s biggest solar energy farm, with a huge battery to back up everything. Over time, it will help alleviate the ongoing energy crisis.

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New Jobs

Besides helping your own home become better, the solar energy industry allows for more people to find jobs. With a bigger demand from year to year, it comes as no surprise that there’ll be a shortage of workers soon enough.

Steady Electricity Prices

You cannot stop prices from rising, and no matter what you do, you have to go with the changes, i.e. pay whatever it is they tell us we need to pay. Still, with more alternative energy to help the system out, it is possible to keep a steady price range.

Opening up New Markets

With the chance to improve your environment and open up new jobs, it’s only a matter of time before the solar energy business expands even more. Australia is already becoming a major force in solar battery sales, and it doesn’t seem it is about to slow down at all. With new battery technologies being developed, the market will become ever more profitable.

 

Andrew Newitt

No matter what kind of factory you own, dealing with wastewater is of huge importance both for the health of your employees and the environment. Not only this, but any faulty actions regarding your wastewater can earn you different fines and lawsuits, which is definitely something you’d want to avoid. Therefore, this article will tell you more about the importance of wastewater management and possible outcomes if you leave your wastewater untreated.

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Most common pollutants

Your wastewater is a byproduct of your factory's uses and processes, and the pollutants in it tend to vary depending on what the water was exposed to. However, there are certain contaminants that can be found quite often in wastewaters factories have to deal with. Metals are one of the most common pollutants that can be found in them. They are usually present in wastewaters of factories that deal with household piping and manufacturing processes. Other dangerous pollutants are pathogens, which are similar to fungi and lead to various health issues, some of which can even result in death. Other common pollutants include synthetic chemicals, total suspended solids, total dissolved solids, nitrates, and phosphates.

No matter which of these pollutants there are in your factory's wastewater, it's very important that you deal with them correctly. Of course, the pollutants in your wastewater have to be identified, and certain measures have to be applied accordingly.

Common wastewater treatment options

There are numerous ways factories deal with their wastewater. However, your options for dealing with it depend heavily on what your factory is doing.

One of the options many factories go for is discharging wastewater into the local municipality. Of course, if you want to do this, you’ll first have to check with your local municipality what kind of regulations regarding wastewater there are in your area. Most municipalities will demand that you clean your wastewater before you discharge it.

Another common way of dealing with it is recycling. This means you can actually reuse your wastewater and thus avoid discharging it. Of course, recycling means you'll need special equipment that's going to make it usable again. We are talking about machines such as heat exchangers which enable heat transfer from wastewater to process water you’re going to use.

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Reasons for treating wastewater

With so many pollutants that can be found in wastewater, investing in wastewater management is of great importance. These pollutants can seriously harm people and nature around your factory and that's why wastewater has to be dealt with correctly. Moreover, if wastewater isn't managed properly, it can also affect your process and hurt your products. However, there are wastewater management regulations that have to be met. If you fail to do so, you might be looking at huge fines which are always going to hurt your work.

As mentioned above, recycling is one of the most common ways factories deal with their wastewater and there are several reasons why you should consider it. First of all, it’s important to say that even though the earth is 70% water, water isn't an infinite resource as many people believe. Due to the fact that there are so many water-stressed countries around the world, recycling wastewater is a great idea. Also, this means you won't have to finance transportation of your wastewater and you'll lower pollution risks.

The bottom line

Due to the fact that pollutants which can be found in wastewater can seriously hurt both people and environment, it's absolutely necessary that you invest in your wastewater treatment. Buying wastewater management equipment is a much better option than having to pay huge fines or cause someone serious health issues. In the future, we can only expect to see more technologies designed especially to help factories improve their wastewater management, which means you should keep an eye on new machines you can get for your factory.

Andrew Newitt

Even though some farmers who grow their plants in conventional way say that organic agriculture does not have more environmental benefits, facts speak for themselves. The Organic Trade Association claims that if all farmers in the United States switched to organic productions, we would stop around 500 million pounds of dangerous pesticides from entering the environment each year. This would have a major impact on all aspects of the environment, and here it is how.

Water

 

Many practices of conventional agriculture require extensive use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides that pollute underwater. This is a major issue in many agricultural areas. In organic agriculture no synthetic fertilizers are used. Instead of these, organic farms rely on the use of natural fertilizers such as compost, animal manure or green manure. Besides enhancing soil structure this also increases water infiltration. Organic systems that are managed properly have better nutrient retentive abilities and reduce the pollution of underwater. In some countries like France and Germany, where underwater pollution is a big issue, the use of organic materials is encouraged as a restorative measure.

Climate

 

In conventional agriculture, many fossil fuels are used. Not only are they used on farms but also in the production of pesticides and fertilizers. These all contribute to the greenhouse effect and global warming. On the other hand, organic agriculture does not have negative impact on the climate. The use of renewable energy that is encouraged in organic agriculture actually mitigates global warming. These practices reduce the use of fossil fuels and provide carbon sequestration in the soil. Organic agriculture thus strengthens agro-ecosystems and helps farmers learn how to confront and challenge changes that appear in the climate.

Soil

 

Some of the most important organic agricultural practices are crop rotations, crop covers and inter-cropping all of which help build the soil. This does not only improve its formation and structure but also encourages flora and fauna and helps build a more solid structure. These practices also help control the soil erosion. It is less exposed to the erosive forces and its productivity is increased. Even though organic agriculture relies heavily on the use of renewable resources, sometimes it is necessary to supplement organic soils with some other resources such as calcium, magnesium or potassium.

GMOs

 

GMOs are one of the most discussed issues of today. Even though the GMOs’ impact on environment and health is not yet entirely understood, their use is not permitted in organic agriculture. Still, since a big number of farmers that deal with convention agriculture use GMOs the organic farms won’t be able to ensure that their products have not GMO free. This will happen because of the GMOs are transmitted into our environment through air (by pollen for example).

Biodiversity

 

Without the use of dangerous pesticides and fertilizers the soil is able to attract more species of plants and animals to it. The use of renewable resources actually creates a healthier gene pool which makes a perfect home for some re-colonizing species. Some of these species are pest-predators or pollinators and their presence is of great importance. Organic agriculture also offers farmers to grow certain plants with improved flavor and aroma. For example, when growing cannabis not only that these are improved but with some strains its potency is increased as well. Be sure to learn more about strains if you plan to start an organic garden.

It is obvious that organic agriculture has many benefits for our environment. So if you are thinking about starting a garden, deciding on organic farm would be a great option. Be sure to grow plants which are perfect for this type of garden.

Andrew Newitt

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As more and more people continue to move to cities, the need for more effective management of resources continues to rise. It is projected that approximately six out of ten people will be populating urban areas by the year 2030, and this calls for major changes in the way that cities function. An increase in the number of city dwellers means an increase in the use of natural resources, and for countries with more developed economies, this means taking a smarter, more sustainable approach to meeting the basic needs of the urban citizens. Here are some of the examples of smart city solutions that are slowly, but surely, shaping the future.

Improved traffic flow

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When it comes to dense urban areas, one of the priorities is finding ways to improve traffic flow. Major cities such as New York make use of electric buses as a means of reducing traffic. Sensors are installed in both buses and at traffic lights, and the way this works is when the bus nears the traffic lights, they either extend the green light so that the bus passes or in case of red light, it changes to green so as to prioritize buses and reduce the time spent commuting. In Oslo, we’re seeing attempts at reducing the carbon footprint of cars. The way they’re cutting down the emissions is they’re banning the circulation of passenger cars as well as reconstructing transportation network.

Traffic management for improved air quality

Another big issue that urban areas are facing is the low quality of air, especially in densely populated areas. Not only is air pollution having a detrimental effect on the environment, but it’s also responsible for a number of health problems city dwellers are experiencing. One of the ways cities are trying to improve air quality is through efficient traffic management. Copenhagen is one of the cities that are conducting an experiment that has the goal of acquiring data about traffic and air quality at the intersections, and the results they yield should improve traffic management. By closely monitoring the intersections experts are able to establish a connection between air pollution and the regulation of traffic, thus providing a better understanding of health benefits that data-driven traffic management would bring.

Public lighting solutions

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Speaking of the high frequency of people and vehicles in urban areas, public lighting is another aspect of city design that requires a modern approach. Because they operate non-stop, public spaces need to be well-lit at all times, which calls for durable, energy-efficient public lighting solutions that require little to no maintenance. From streets and intersections to metro, airport, and railway stations, a quality LED street lights manufacturer could be the answer to the increased need for optimal visibility and low energy consumption, two important aspects of sustainable public lighting solutions. Once integrated, these installations will enhance the flow of passengers and vehicles while ensuring a smarter, eco-friendlier approach to illuminating public spaces.

Smart healthcare system

As technology progresses, we’re seeing its effect on a wide range of systems, and healthcare is no exception. This is especially true for Asia, where the healthcare system is witnessing a revolution. HOSPI is one of the innovations in the Changi General Hospital located in Singapore. This transport robot is able to autonomously navigate through the hospital, carrying medications, documents, and specimens, operating throughout four buildings this hospital consists of. Robots are also transforming the healthcare industry of Japan, where robotic nursing care is replacing the need for human nurses, thus saving hospitals’ time and money.

Better control of electricity consumption

As the electricity expenditure continues to grow, many countries are trying to gain better control over the electrical energy that is being distributed. While this notion is still just a goal for countries in the European Union, Britain has already managed to achieve real-time electricity consumption control. Numerous homes across England, Scotland, and Wales are currently making use of smart meters, and the citizens are given an insight into the light and gas consumption in their household, and the plan is to install these devices in all the homes on the island by the year 2020.

While the number of urban citizens continues to rise at a rapid pace, cities are facing an array of challenges brought by urbanization and a significant inflow of people. Improving the quality of life of city dwellers is one of the guiding principles of smart cities, with sustainability as their top priority. These five smart city solutions offer a green, eco-friendly approach to the environment, and are a prime example of what we can expect to see in urban cities of tomorrow.

Andrew Newitt

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Going green has been a growing trend in the world for many years as more and more people become aware of the negative consequences of using chemical-heavy products. Women, in particular, are seeking alternative, natural and healthier solutions to their everyday problems. Following this trend, even the cosmetics industry has made organic skin care and beauty products a standard. Because choosing these products shows that we are responsible and make smart choices not just for ourselves but for the environment as well.

If you’re still indecisive about making the switch to organic makeup, here are a few reasons why you should go for it.

1. It’s safe for your health

Unlike conventional cosmetics, organic beauty products contain natural ingredients that have not been chemically treated in any way. They don’t contain synthetic additives, like artificial pigments, fragrances, preservatives, etc. Consequently, they cause far less undesired reactions and are considered to be truly hypo-allergenic. This makes them perfect for all skin types. Even the most sensitive ones.

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However, bear in mind that skin care and makeup ingredients are only loosely regulated and are considered to be harmless, until proven otherwise. Besides, a cosmetic product may contain as little as 1% of organic ingredients and still be labelled ‘natural’ or ‘organic’. And our skin is like a sponge, which absorbs everything that you apply to it. If you put on conventional makeup every day, the toxins from it will accumulate in your body over time and this may lead to serious health repercussions. For your own safety, always pay attention to the ingredients list and make sure that at least 95% of them are certified.

2. It’s eco-friendly

Synthetically produced beauty products are packed with chemicals. When they’re used, these chemicals are released into the environment and pollute the air, water, and soil. On the other hand, natural makeup and skincare products are a result of environmentally sound manufacturing – from organically farmed ingredients, to biodegradable packaging (not all of them, though, so look for that three chasing arrows sign on the container before making a purchase). For all the above reasons, they release much less pollutants into the environment both while produced and while used.

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Another reason to switch to organic makeup is the fact that it’s never tested on animals. Even the big-box brands including organic options into their offer as proof of their social responsibility. Be a responsible consumer and show that you care for Mother Earth by switching to organic products.

3. It’s nutrient-rich

Another feature that has become a standard in cosmetics industry is dual-purpose makeup. It serves both to beautify you and nurture your skin. Of course, organic makeup is unrivalled here, since it contains only the good stuff and none of the aggressive ingredients found in the conventional products.

Vitamins A, B, D and E are some of the main nutrients that keep your skin youthful and fresh-looking. Let’s not forget vitamin C, which has superb sun-shielding properties and provides a very strong anti-aging effect. Argan oil is also often used, especially in lipsticks, as an excellent moisturizer for chapped lips. Green tea extract soothes irritated skin, liquid foundations may contain maracuja oil or shea butter, which are known for their anti-oxidant properties and help you get smoother skin.

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Although not the most important aspect, there’s also the financial benefit of switching to organic makeup. Some people argue that organic products are much pricier than the conventional ones. But with this nutrient-packed makeup you will need much less skincare products and your wallet will thank you for that.

Andrew Newitt

 

A household consists of a thousand moving parts. If you count trinkets and paraphernalia into that mix, then the number of constituents is pretty much endless. This is why every home needs reasonable storage solutions, especially if you are prone to hoarding. Thankfully, in the times of eco-friendly trends, there are many storage ideas out there that are truly inventive. If you are thinking about the balance between storage and sustainability, here are the most sensible solutions for your home.

Go vertical

There are many sensible green home renovation techniques out there, some of which are obscure while others are known around the world as go-to practices that simply work. For example, vertical storage is warehousing 101 and a solution that can virtually save your household should you choose to implement it. Simply speaking, the amount of square footage and resources you can save by going vertical is immense – it is the most logical eco-friendly step. On the one hand, you will invest in the future, on the other, you won’t have to spend money on the additional building. Furthermore, storage that spreads floor to ceiling and across the wall can also serve as an additional layer of sound-heat insulation.

Keep the shelving modular

Armoires, old cupboards and stylish vintage cabinets are perfectly fine aesthetic choices that are recommended by interior designers around the world for people who want eclectic combos. However, if you are a green thinker, the first question you should ask if whether it’s functional and space-saving? Aesthetics are secondary when you are looking into superb adjustable shelving for the most flexible solutions, though they can look absolutely crisp should you choose well. What you’ll want is a storage option that consists of numerous modular units which can easily be rearranged according to the changes in your interior. This way you’ll have future-proof durability and flexibility.

Reused building materials

Do you want your sustainable storage units to be built from zero? If you want to keep the process eco-friendly you should consider reused or recycled materials, especially if you require fine wood and stained wooden surfaces in order to keep the storage in sync with the rest of the room’s overall style. Thankfully, it has become so much easier to find retailers that deal in reusable goods, as well as carpenters and other building professionals that have a lot of experience with recycled materials. In addition, you can go with sustainable materials if you want them fresh – for example, cork and bamboo. However, you should keep in mind that these are not as flexible as some less-sustainable variants.

Push it out into the garage

Do you own a garage, a shed or an exterior storage space of some shape and form? If you do, you might want to consider moving as much as you can out of the house and pushing it into that storage. Typically, this will be a garage wall reserved for storage units. Whether it’s simple pallet racks made out of (recycled) plastic or full-fledged cabinets, keeping most of your clutter out of the house gives you more elbow space to arrange the interior according to your wishes. Plus, it will keep the otherwise cluttered rooms larger. You may also want to bring more sustainable lighting solution in the proximity of your storage so it would become easier to see what hides behind cabinet doors. Of course, only LED or CFL lights should be considered in this case, as they do not only waste less energy but last significantly longer than incandescent bulbs.

A cluttered home looks messy, ugly and, let’s be perfectly blunt, downright depressing. If you want to avoid the horror of clutter, you should consider the sustainable storage solutions mentioned above. Implementing at least one of them can make a lot of difference, so you’ll probably want to go all the way with these sensible solutions for your home as soon as you try one method.

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Andrew Newitt

Running a profitable business is extremely important but it is not the most important thing in the world. Just think of it this way, what good is all the wealth in the world if we ruin our planet in the process. However, the best thing lies in cognition that eco-friendly business and profitable business are not in contrast. In fact most of the planet-friendly practices are also friendly towards your budget. With this in mind, there is lot to be gained by going green and here are some tips and tricks on how to do so.

 

  • Power Saving Appliances

First step you need to do in order to significantly improve eco friendliness of your business is revolutionize your power management system. On this front, whatever is good for your budget is good for the planet as well so one could safely call this state of things a win-win scenario. By investing a bit into low spending appliances, you are bound to make a difference. Now, word investment terrifies some people but, observing things in this fashion is pretty short-sighted. Keep in mind that you will need to buy these appliances only once, but they will continue to save your money for ages to come. In a manner of speaking, given enough time, these appliances pay themselves off.

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  • Replacing Your Bulbs

One more thing you can do in your eco-friendly endeavors is replace all your traditional light bulbs with LED ones. Seeing how this can slightly reduce your power bills this is another small victory for both your business and the environment. The most important thing here is to be realistic and know what to expect from such a change. If you aim to buy a new car off of this saved money you will be quite disappointed, but if you plan to make nothing more than a noticeable difference you will do just fine.

  • Recycling Paper

Next pressing matter that requires your full and undivided attention is the issue of pollution. Namely, it is estimated that an average office worker prints over 10,000 sheets of paper annually. Alarming as this figure may seem, there is a way to remedy the effects of this devastating statistic. First of all, you can switch from regular paper to recycled one. There is no difference in quality whatsoever and plus sides of buying the latter one are that it is both cheaper and endorses recycling endeavors.

  • Printer Ink

Still, taking care of your paper needs is not the only pressing matter here. You need to do something about your ink spending as well. Seeing how 10,000 sheets per one member of your staff is not a figure one should take lightly, you need to look for the best deal on printer ink that you can find. Another planet friendly thing to do would be to refill your own ink cartridges. Even though it may sound complicated, this process is actually quite. All you will need is some basic gear like rubber gloves, one syringe and some old newspaper to place underneath.

  • Changing The Commute

Finally, you can also make a difference by changing your commute to work and urging your staff to do the same. Carpooling or using a public transportation are vast improvements over driving to work. Furthermore, for those not lacking in spirit and stamina, cycling or walking to work are even better since they are free, healthy and completely green means of commute.

In the end, raising your awareness about any of these things is equally as important so make sure to preach the word amongst your employees. By managing to introduce some or all of these changes you will leave a better world to our descendants. One more way in which all of this helps is that these practices will make your business labeled green which is something that both your clients and partners are going to appreciate.

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Andrew Newitt

If you want to start purifying your drinking water , it’s important to get familiar with what kind of filters there are on the market. There are two most common kinds, Ultraviolet (UV) and Reverse Osmosis (RO) filters, and if you’re unsure which type to choose, here is a brief overview outlining their advantages and disadvantages. You will find out how they work and what their benefits and limitations are that will hopefully help you decide which filter to buy. Have a look.

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Reverse osmosis filters

Reverse Osmosis filters work by extracting inorganic solids from water by pushing water through a thin semipermeable membrane. This membrane has a tight structure that is highly effective in extracting contaminants from the drinking water. Collected impurities from the filters are simply washed down the drain.

Just to name the few, a reliable reverse osmosis system is successful in removing lead, asbestos, chlorine, detergents, fluoride, nitrates, sulphates and pesticides from the water. All these contaminants can easily enter streams, rivers, and aquifers and get to your home. Another good thing is that Reverse Osmosis filters exclude ions out of the water, making your water pure of salts, sugars, and bacteria.

Additionally, RO filters can also block radioactive elements like plutonium and strontium. Just like the UV filters, RO filters are affordable and require regular maintenance performed either by the homeowner or the expert. RO membranes and filters need to be replaced every 6 months to 2 years, depending on the water quality, water usage, and the type of system you use. Quality units, as this Clear Choice Water Filters reverse osmosis system, improve both the taste and smell of your water, making it perfect for drinking.

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Ultraviolet filters

Ultraviolet filters use rays from a UV light source and they use radiation to kill inactive viruses and bacteria. They aim at their DNA structure and successfully stop them from reproducing and spreading. UV rays protect against waterborne bacteria, mould, viruses, and other microorganisms that cause diseases. UV also eliminates hepatitis virus that can be resistant to chlorine that is used to disinfect water.  

Simply said, ultraviolet filters are probably the best defence system against biological contaminants. UV filtered water is completely tasteless, odourless and colourless which makes it perfect for drinking. Also, you will not need any professional help in maintaining UV filters, and the only thing you need to do is change the UV bulb yearly. Another upside is that the process of purification is relatively fast, so the production of the water isn’t limited.

UV filters have many benefits, but they have limitations as well. UV filters work wonders on biological contaminants, but they cannot protect you from inorganic impurities. Contaminants, such as chlorine, heavy metals, and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds are chemicals that get into the ground waters during production processes of paint, petroleum and different refrigerants) cannot be removed from water by using UV filters.

In order to ensure your household gets completely clean water, you might consider combining UV filters with Granular Activated Carbon filters or Kinetic Degradation Fluxion filters. The combination of those will filter out all organic and inorganic impurities and make your water completely safe to drink.

As you can see, both UV and RO filter systems have their advantages and limitations. UV filters are unprecedented in their defence against organic contaminates, and RO filters excel in fighting inorganic impurities. Both are excellent, but they cannot produce completely pure water on their own. If you want to ensure you get the best quality water in your household, consider combining the two systems. This way you will be safe from both organic and inorganic contaminants. Before you decide, make sure to test your water and see what impurities it contains and then choose the water filter accordingly.

Andrew Newitt

There are a number of reasons to repurpose your farm for sustainable farming, one of them being increased efficiency and decreased upkeep and production costs. But beyond that, sustainable farming entails the simple premise of introducing environmentally-friendly practices and techniques that will not only preserve the nature, animal welfare and the surrounding ecosystem, it will also aid in the battle against global warming by cutting down on greenhouse gases emission and energy and water consumption.

The benefits are numerous to switching to sustainable farming, and here is how you can do it safely and effectively.

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Assess the natural resources

One of the key elements of sustainability is giving back to nature as much as you are taking from it, if not a bit more. Given the fact that agriculture is the leading consumer of fresh water in the world, it’s very important to asses where your natural resources are coming from and what you can do to minimize their consumption.

One of the things you can do is change the way you use water for irrigation purposes and introduce an eco-friendly irrigation system such as rain water harvesting. Additionally, you want to minimize the negative impact of energy consumption and the burning of fossil fuels by implementing a solar, wind-powered or other renewable energy source to power you farm which will in turn result in decreased operational expenses, among other, eco-friendly benefits.

Adopt a green mindset

If you want to minimize expenses, save the environment and boost productivity, you need to think of areas where you can implement a recycling practice. This means using recyclable materials, investing in quality reusable tools and equipment as well as reducing and optimizing the consumption of resources.

Also, implement some smart ideas such as attracting animals that are beneficial to your operation, like birds, ladybugs and bats that will feed on insects but not on the crops. Introduce managed grazing, the practice of rotating the grazing areas of livestock - this will reduce erosion, help with soil fertilization, and control weed growth.

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Assess and feed the soil

Soil structure, acidity and care are your most important factors that will determine the growth of plants and the health and quality of livestock. Therefore it’s imperative to check the soil for its fertility, differences in acidity that suit different types of plants and animals and finally, to determine the best upkeep practices. These are very delicate tasks and they are performed by professional geotechnical engineering consultants that specialize in soil assessment, management and green waste removal practices.

Speaking of waste removal, sustainable farming means cutting down on waste production and eliminating waste accumulation and transportation of non-recyclable materials to landfills, by implementing recyclable, reusable and renewable practices across the farming operation.

Managing the soil properly will mean the difference between healthy, sustainable agriculture and a red light from the governing bodies. Some of the best practices include managing soil distribution. This means that you should limit and eliminate any practices that might disrupt the health of the soil, such as excessive fertilizer or pesticide use, improper use of inputs, compacting and tiling.

Secondly, diversify your crops and plant crops throughout the year. Biodiversity feeds the soil with more nutrients and helps control weed growth and the spread of disease. Additionally, you can help feed the underground root network by growing living roots, as root sugars give the necessary organisms to the soil in order to promote plant growth and nutrient distribution.

In conclusion

Sustainable farming is not a taxing chore, it’s an investment for the future. With its eco-friendly practices and renewable production methods, sustainable farms are able to not only preserve the surrounding ecosystem and reduce the harmful footprint humans leave on the planet, but also bring healthier products to the consumers and minimize costs for the farmer.


 

Andrew Newitt
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If you have a business that deals with transportation of goods, and you have to deal with warehouses, you know the importance of pallets. Pallets are used for storing, handling and transporting loads with a fork lift. There are plastic and wooden pallets and while you may feel that you should stick to the basics and make sure that you have the good old wood pallets, here are some of the reasons why you should reconsider your decision.

Cost

At first, it may seem that wooden pallets are cheaper than the plastic ones, but that is not true in the long run. Wooden pallets can be sold after use and some may even find other uses like furniture or something to use in a garden, but the plastic pallets can be used many more times and they are much more durable. Therefore, by paying more in advance, you are actually saving money in the long run by opting for plastic pallets.

Handling

There are many things that you need to take care of when you have wooden pallets. You need to use chemicals to treat them and that are not always welcome near the freight that you may be using. You need to clean them and dry them before usage. Even then, you have splinters, broken or crooked pallets and many other problems. With plastic pallets, it is enough to hose them down or wipe them and they are as good as new. They are also very durable and they don’t change shape.

Manipulation

Another good thing is that it is easier to manipulate plastic pallets by hand and by machines. By hand, because there are no splinters and they are much lighter than the wooden pallets and by machines because they are designed in such a way that they can be taken and lifted from many angles and they are lighter and that means that the machine won’t be overburdened and can take more of the actual cargo. This saves time and reduces the costs significantly in terms of fuel saving.

Stability

Another good side of plastic pallets is the fact that they are far more stable than wooden ones, even if they are lighter. By using specific types of production processes and material, what happens is that you get a product that is at the same time light and durable, they are also equally strong at all their parts since the density of the material is the same. They are not influenced by the vermin and moist and they cannot rot as wood can. Therefore, they have 100% stability which is very important.

More and more countries are introducing restrictions for the use of wooden pallets because of the ecological impact they have. They are made by cutting down wood. They are heavy which maximizes the costs and causes more fuel to be used. Vermin can hide and live there and they can be shipped to the countries and places where they can make real ecological disasters. Therefore, it seems that the wooden pallets should be left as interesting and lovely way of making chic furniture instead of in transport.

Andrew Newitt

In this day and age, the demand for nutritious, wholesome food has never been greater. Organic farms are sprouting across the globe, providing their families and communities with a constant supply of fresh produce. The export market potential is high as well, which means organic farmers have a chance to own a thriving business that transcends the borders of a local community.

Starting and running an organic farm business is not a walk in the park, though: one has to grasp many factors such as a business plan, funding, machinery, soil, storage space, etc. This is to say that it is best to plan ahead, tread carefully, and go one step at a time.

Identify your goals

First off, you need to set emotions aside and get your priorities straight. Do you want to contribute to the environmental movement, launch a highly-profitable business, help the community, or just earn enough money to live on? Define organic farm goals and let them serve as your guiding light. Establish values you are going to uphold, as well as personal objectives. The next, more concrete step is assembling a business along with a first-year plan. These documents will steer your day-to-day hustle and long-term aspirations.

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Test the waters

It all starts with the process of obtaining the land and getting to know it: how big and fertile is it? Bear in mind that in order to receive USDA organic certification, for instance, the land has to be free of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers for a period of three years. Factor in elements such as water availability and access because you need good drainage and good-quality water for irrigation. Make sure you can source the livestock and locate organic seeds and starts. The abundance of small game encourages farmers to raise free-range chicken, cattle, sheep, and pigs.

Find your target market

Do the market research and identify your target customers. People interested in organic products tend to be more educated, affluent, and environmentally conscious. That is why many organic farms gravitate towards areas around urban centers. In any regard, the proximity of buyers is of the utmost importance. Therefore, see if they are in your neighborhood or whether you would have to dispatch your products miles away? Whatever the answer is, you have to ensure that there is a real need for your products, and ideally, a limited competition.

Build storage space

Ample storage space plays a vital role as you have to preserve food until the moment it is sold. It also enables you to easily load, unload, and dispatch products. So, assess your storage needs, decide whether you want bulk or bag storage, and build a facility. Be clear on what the exposed peripheral structure area per unit is. Pick building materials carefully and see if you can integrate flexible and innovative solutions. For instance, structural steel dairy sheds are designed to ensure adequate ventilation, efficient management and maximised cow comfort for optimal milk yields.

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Settle financing

To get operations off the ground, one has to address the financial side of things. The investment needed here is higher than with non-organic farms, but if you can help it, avoid borrowing money. In recent years, debt has laid waste to numerous organic farms. It is preferable to start small, but with your own savings piled up. Of course, the decision in this department ultimately depends on your ambitions and whether you aspire to run a family farm, a small-scale operation, or a huge farm that caters to national or international market.

Choose your produce

Last, but definitely not least, you must decide on what to grow. At this point, you have freedom, but only to an extent. Never lose sight of the feasibility of certain products that you evaluated in the market research stage. Also, remember that farming is hard work. What makes your life easier is growing what you like. Filled with passion, you can get through the toughest of days and overcome any challenges on the road to success. It pays off to invest in marketing your products as well, so don’t skimp on this activity once you set the wheels into motion.

Sow the seeds of success

Organic farming is a gratifying career choice that holds much promise in today’s market. At the same time, this endeavor is not something you can afford to take lightly.  You need to plan for a successful business from the ground up. So, make certain it is realistic and viable, and not just something you dearly dream of. Set your financial house in order. Get the necessary licenses and permits. Design and build your compound. Come up with a continuous flow of goods in the market and reap your rewards.

Andrew Newitt

Running an unsanitary home is a known cause of many complications and allergies are one of the most common ones. Cleaning a home with non-toxic materials, however, should be of utmost importance and priority – not only do toxic chemicals poison the environment, but can also be quite damaging for your own health, as well. This article will guide you through the main points of non-toxic home cleaning and care, towards an allergy-free home.

Cleaning by Room

Although it is vital that you keep each room clean and, therefore, healthy, different rooms require different cleaning approaches and means to reducing allergens.

  • Bedroom – Your bed is a perfect home ground for mites and allergens, so taking care of your bed cleaning should be done at least twice a week and vacuuming on a daily basis if you are prone to allergies. Encasing your pillows, mattresses and box springs in cover that are dust-mite-proof is also recommended.

  • Living Room – The room where you spend most of your personal time naturally needs a lot of cleaning. Perform dusting and vacuuming at least every other day in order to keep the allergies at bay and pay special attention to allergens’ breeding grounds, such as curtains. If you are especially prone to allergies, think about removing your carpeting and opt for hardwood or linoleum flooring. Given the fact that dust is the most common cause of allergies, think about browsing through air purifiers for your living room – these are great ways to fight dust and make your air fresh and clean.

  • Kitchen – Not only is keeping your food clean a key factor in maintaining your health, but the kitchen can also turn quite filthy, unless cleaned regularly. Make sure you wash your dishes on a daily basis – mold and food debris shouldn’t stay untended to for more than a couple of hours. Think about installing a vented exhaust fan, in order to remove cooking fumes and reduce mold-causing moisture.

  • Bathroom – Now perhaps the biggest problem with bathrooms is the mold – unless you have tiles installed on your shower walls and next to your bathtub, you are bound to experience mold on your walls, which is a known cause of health problems. When it comes to bathroom flooring, use tile, vinyl or linoleum to make cleaning easier. Additionally, an exhaust fan will reduce moisture greatly, after steaming baths and showers.

  • Basement – Although this is the least frequently visited room within your house, it is likely to turn into a cesspool of germs if not cleaned regularly. Water-damaged carpeting should be removed and the foundation and stairwells checked for any sources of leak-caused water damage. When it comes to your clothes dryer, make sure that the moisture is vented outside. The biggest problem with basements is clutter, so properly arranging your stored items is of essence, in order to avoid health hazards

Your Home in General

When it comes to the general cleaning overview of your house, it is essential that you establish a weekly cleaning routine. This is not to say that a bit of cleaning on a daily basis shouldn’t be performed, but that you should thoroughly clean your home at least once a week. Pro tip: if you aren’t a smoker, be strict about your non-smoking policy within the walls of your house


Keeping your house clean is vital for keeping the allergies at bay, even if you don’t have any significant allergen problems. These, however, aren’t the only health hazard an unclean home might cause, so exercising proper cleaning is vital, even if you do not suffer from allergies.

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Andrew Newitt

 

Our Mother Earth is not doing great lately, and it’s mostly our fault. People have been abusing resources, polluting the environment and giving nothing in return for centuries. Now is our last chance to forget about our old ways and become eco-friendly and sustainable. In order to do so, we don’t need to return to living in caves, but we only need to shift our construction methods to a more eco-friendly path. So, if you also want to help save the planet, here are some of the best ’green’ construction materials with an exciting future.

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Recycled steel

Wooden beams are a thing of the past. Modern builders are rapidly switching to customized recycled steel beams and panels that are more durable (which is especially useful in areas prone to strong winds and earthquakes) and much more eco-friendly. It’s estimated that an average house requires between 40 and 50 trees to build, while a frame from recycled steel only requires a material amount that equals to about 6 scrapped cars.

Natural insulation

Insulation is also getting more natural. Green insulating foams made of bamboo, kelp, hemp and recycled PET are already used for different types of insulation. Some of these foams offer great moisture resistance, as well as great insulation and almost zero air pollution.

Wood and plastic composites

If you recycle plastic bags, one of them might end up as a part of your eco-friendly home. Wood and plastic composite lumber is a 50-50 combination of recycled plastic and wood fibers, and it’s a perfect material for deck building or outdoor playgrounds. This material is much more durable than wood alone, but also more rigid than pure plastic. It’s also much less toxic than plastic, and it helps clean out garbage dumps of millions of plastic bags.

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Rammed earth

There’s nothing more Earth-friendly than the earth itself, so many builders are going back to old building techniques of ramming earth. Using this technique, walls can be created from nothing more than tightly tamped down dirt put in wooden forms. Even though this green method of building isn’t exactly an innovation, it certainly is coming back on the construction map. Most construction contractors in Australia are opting for precast rammed earth,  handling it requires finding a company that offers crane hire in Sydney,  but the final product is truly amazing.

Bamboo

Bamboo is another old building material that’s becoming more and more popular and for all the right reasons. Bamboo has many properties perfect for modern building, such as strength, light weight and renewability. This practical building material can completely replace heavy, imported materials and provide a good alternative to concrete constructions, especially in areas rich in locally-harvested bamboo.

Mycelium

Mycelium might sound like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, but actually, it’s nothing more than dry roots of fungi and mushrooms. It’s completely natural since most of the work is done by fungi themselves. Mycelium can grow around and in between other natural materials put in molds, and after the mold air-dries, we get lightweight, strong and natural bricks ready for building.

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Fire-resistant materials

The demand for non-flammable building materials is rising, especially in areas prone to bushfires such as Australia. However, scientists have managed to create a natural fire-resistant insulating material made of fibres of the seagrass called Posidonia Oceanica (also known as Neptune Grass). This seagrass has a very low impact on the environment, is non-flammable, resistant to mold and suitable for both thermal and acoustic insulation. There are also fire-resistant options for building exteriors. Wall coverings made of cost-effective non-combustible cladding systems are lightweight, easy to install and come in a variety of colors.

Ferrock

This new material is made out of recycled steel dust leftover from the steel industry. It is used to create a building material similar to concrete, but stronger and more eco-friendly. The highlight of this material is its ability to absorb and trap CO2 during the drying process, which makes it not only CO2-efficient but actually CO2-neutral.

Low-E windows

Low-E windows (the E stands for emissivity) are windows made with a clear coating of metallic oxide which stops the heat from escaping the building in the winter and entering in the summer. The reason this material isn’t used more often is its price. These windows cost 10 to 15% more than regular ones, which pushes away many buyers. However, low-E windows can reduce your heating costs up to 20%, which means they can actually save money.

If both construction industry and buyers make a shift towards eco-friendly building materials, we will all have a much brighter and greener future.

Andrew Newitt

It is no secret that going green is today more import than ever. For this reason, many homeowners decide to turn their houses into real environmentally-friendly places. What’s great about this is that by aiding in preserving the nature this way you can also manage to save a lot of money. This is the case because the goals of every cautions homeowner should be using less energy, using less water and recycling. So if you decide to contribute to saving the environment, here are 5 low cost upgrades for your home that can do wonders for both nature and your wallet.

 

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Add More Insulation

Insulation is something you should always consider when turning your home green. If there is more insulation in your home, you will be using less energy to keep it warm during the winter and cool during the summer. There are quite a few green insulation materials you ca choose from, with aerogel and cotton being among the most popular options. No matter which material you opt for, you will be guaranteed to use less energy during the whole year. Of course, this will also reduce the cost of your energy bills significantly.

Replace Old Windows

We have already mentioned how not letting either hot or cold air escape your home is one of the best things you can do when going green. Another great way to do this is to replace any old windows in your home. If there are any cracks in the window frames or the windows are simply too old, air can escape quite easily through them. If this is the case with your home, you are probably using much more electricity than it is necessary. Therefore, getting new windows should be your no.1 priority.

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Plant Some Trees

Of course, you shouldn’t just stick to your house when going green. If there is a lot of place in your backyard planting a new tree is always a good thing to do. And if you want your tree to be even more useful, you should make sure you plant it on the west side of your home. That way, the branches will block the sunbeams during the summer, while in winter, bare branches will help allow infrared radiation that will warm up your home get through. Nuttall oak, red maple and weeping willow are just some of the trees you can opt for.

Go for Water-Efficient Fixtures

If you want your home to be more environmentally-friendly, you will also have to think about using less water. Even though turning off the tap when washing your hands and brushing your teeth is always a good thing to do, you should also consider installing some water-efficient fixtures in your bathroom. There are low flow shower heads that are just a perfect option for every green home. Also, there are aerators that maximize the flow rate of your faucets. If there are any leaks make sure you contact a 24 hour plumber in order to minimize the amounts of water that go to waste.

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Get Solar Panels

A large number of homeowners also decides to install solar panels when going green. With these, you will be utilizing natural power and minimize your use of electricity. Even though getting solar panels seems like an expensive investment at first, if you are planning long run, these will in fact help you save quite a lot of money. It is also important to mention that in some countries, homeowners who decide to get these receive bonuses and huge tax breaks. Having all of this in mind, getting solar panels is always a great thing to do, both for the environment and your wallet.

Make sure you do all of these upgrades and you will be guaranteed to contribute quite a lot to preserving the environment. Bear in mind that you can never do too much when going green so keep looking for some further upgrades you can do.

Andrew Newitt

Every occasion that can be turned green should be organized that way. As the ecosystem of the Earth is becoming even more fragile, turning from ruined to devastated, every individual has to take great care of his or her every step. Ecological way of thinking and behavior cannot be incidental, but has to become an effective and constant attitude in everyday situations. While every individual should follow the rules of separating different kinds of garbage for recycling and putting away garbage into different containers, companies have to have an even more serious approach. Since large businesses usually take a lot from the local community and the environment, they should have the awareness that their role is an extremely important once, similar to that of teachers in front of pupils. They should set an example and make ordinary people follow them. To start with, let's have a look at how corporate events can be organized in an eco-friendly way.

Decrease expenses

Many large companies organize different corporate events. Sometimes these events are annual dinners or cocktail parties for their partners. Some other occasions include companies' anniversaries or celebrations of particular business ventures. The collision of such events and ecology emerges when companies decide to rent huge halls or hotel lobbies to accommodate all the invitees. That usually leads to higher electricity expenditure and other sorts of waste of energy. What is more, many companies find the Christmas very convenient for such parties. But temperatures are usually low at that time, which increases the overall costs.

Use facilities you already have

Although CEOs of these companies might claim that they have budget surplus that can be used for financing all the features of such an event, it would be much smarter and responsible to use the facilities you already have. You can turn large halls inside your companies into beautiful celebration spots. Balloons and decorative lighting are some of the tools to make the space look nice and event-friendly.

Furthermore, many companies have some lounge areas indoors and outdoors. You can only protect the food buffet with an event marquee and the rest of the area can be just equipped with chairs and tables and maybe an improvised little stage for the band. Instead of hiring a real electric band, you can go for an acoustic string quartet and save money in that part, as well.

Weather as eco tool

When organizing a corporate event, try to choose the period of year when the weather is nice and the part of the day when people can just stay a few hours longer after work. Organizing a corporate event on a sunny day, in the garden area of the company will cut the organization costs significantly.

CEOs should also think about making the work day on which the event or party is taking place shorter so that employees do not have to come again to the office. Through such a decision, you will save fuel and time for your employees, which is again a benefit for the company, as well.

By taking all the steps expressed in this text, you corporate event will be original, eco-friendly and company-supporting one. When everything stays inside the company, it means that the company takes care of its employees and its surroundings, as well.

Andrew Newitt

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an average American spends almost 90 percent of their life indoors, and most of that time is spent in the living room. People don’t often perceive this as a problem, since they consider their homes to be safe and healthy. The truth is that indoor pollutants are just as dangerous as the outdoor ones (if not more). Luckily, there are ways to make the spaces we live in healthier. Here are some things you can change in your living room that will drastically improve its influence on your health.

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Check your paint

Did you know that the paint on your walls can emit harmful gasses that can find a way into your lungs and eventually harm your health? Before painting your home, you should check whether the paint you want to use contains VOCs (volatile organic compounds). There are some paint colors that have low levels of VOCs, but it is always better to go with the ones that are completely free of these toxins.

Clean house equals healthy house

Dust on the bookshelves surely looks bad, but there is much more to it. Dust mites are one of the most frequent indoor air-pollutants, and they can trigger allergic reactions or cause even more harm. Regular dusting will keep you and your family safe. Vacuuming (twice a week) is also an important part of the cleaning process, and to avoid just spreading the dust around, it is best to use a steam-based vacuum cleaner.

Choose cleaning products carefully

Cleaning is important, but if it is done with products that contain chemicals and toxins that can harm you, you are not really doing yourself a favor by using them. With that in mind, you should turn to organic cleaning products or make your own cleaning mixtures by using simple ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda.

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Clear the air

Most indoor pollutants settle in the air. Besides addressing the problem at its roots, you should also try to purify the air inside your house. This can be done by introducing houseplants ‒ which are natural air purifiers ‒ and using air-purifying machines with HEPA filters capable of minimizing the harmful particles in the air.

Change the lighting

Do you feel unhappy and fatigued when spending a lot of time in your living room? Poor lighting might be the reason. Lighting can not only affect your mood but also cause headaches, eyestrain, emotional stress and sometimes even physical illness. If you notice that lighting in your living room is too bright, too low, or too cool, any reliable Sydney electrician can change it completely and adapt it to your space and needs.

“Lower” your rugs

High pile rugs can do wonders for the décor and introduce a warm texture. However, they are also a perfect habitat for allergens and dust. This issue can’t be resolved even with regular vacuuming. That’s why it is better to compromise and opt for low pile rugs, such as flatweave, which will make it difficult for tiny particles to settle and are also easier to clean.

No shoes inside, please

The bottom of your outdoor shoes might be the dirtiest and the most germ-affected spot in your home. It is never a good idea to leave them on when entering your living room, unless you want to take all the germs with you. Instead, get a pair of indoor slippers and make a switch between the two at the entryway.

By following these tips, you can make your living room much healthier for you and your household members and finally turn it into the safe haven it should be.

Andrew Newitt

Turning your home into an eco-friendly place is definitely not an easy task. Still, in order to answer the question of how to design a green home, we first need to answer the question of what a green home actually is. While there are several factors that can make your house more or less eco-friendly, here are some of the major ones (some of which you could definitely use during the planning stage).h

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1.      Building a tiny house

The first thing you might want to consider when planning on designing a green home is the size of the place. First of all, a smaller place requires less material, and is therefore both effort- and budget-efficient, aside from being eco-friendly. Additionally, the smaller the place, the easier it is to heat it up or cool it down, which is once more a green trend.

For this reason alone, the tiny house movement became a thing, where people all over the globe advocate construction of homes between 100 and 400 square feet large. When compared to an American average of 2,600 square feet, you can see just how revolutionary this idea actually is. Earlier, we’ve also mentioned the matter of budget-friendliness. According to statistics, 68 percent of tiny house owners have no mortgage to their name whatsoever.

2.      The materials used

Another thing you might want to consider during the construction of your home is the choice of construction materials. First of all, there are two things that make a material eco-friendly. The first one is the nature of the material. We are talking about grasscrete, rammed earth, hempcrete, bamboo, recycled plastic and even some of the more traditional ones like timber. You also need to consider the location at which these materials are produced. You see, importing Italian marble would mean that you have to ship it all across the world and this kind of transport costs a fortune. Because of this, opting for materials that are available in your county is a better choice.

Finally, you need to make sure your home is 100 percent safe for all the inhabitants. This is why, in case you are simply doing some construction work on an already existing structure, you might want to look for materials such as asbestos. In case where you already have some in your home, you might want to consider removing it, but this alone is not a simple task. Your best bet would be to search for people who deal with asbestos removal in Sydney and get in touch with them.

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3.      Zero-energy home

In the end, in order to make your home truly green, you need to think about bringing it one step closer to becoming truly zero-energy. This consists of two parts. The first one is finding a way to make your home generate its own power, while the second one is reducing the carbon footprint of your household.

When it comes to the first-mentioned issue, the most obvious solution would be installing some solar panels on your roof. This way, you can make your household quite self-sustainable. On the other hand, this is an investment that can take from 8 to 12 years to pay off. With this in mind, people who are on a tighter budget may want to consider doing something less radical like installing a solar-powered water heater in their bathroom (which can pay off within the first 2 years).

When it comes to reducing your home’s carbon footprint, there are also two things you might want to consider. The first one is switching to low-power appliances and LED lights. The latter method gives you the same intensity of illumination with a much more convenient watt-to-lumen ratio. Aside from this, you might need to invest quite the sum in insulating your home and installing quality double-glazing windows. This can save you a small fortune.

Conclusion

This list could go on and on, and the three above mentioned tips are simply the tip of the iceberg of all you can do to make your home greener. You should also check the area before you start building to make sure that you are not disturbing surrounding wildlife with your presence. One last thing, those who truly intend to go green need to look beyond this construction and realize that eco-friendliness is not a trend but a lifestyle.

Andrew Newitt

Once, the use of solar energy seemed like a distant concept of the future. Nowadays, it has become integrated into every aspect of the modern life. While eco-consciousness is expanding, the prices of solar panels are dropping, making this source of sustainable and renewable energy available to everyone. Furthermore, owing to technological advances, there are numerous innovative ways to use solar energy today.

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Image source: iphoneness.com

Solar on the go: wearable electronics

Numerous gadgets and electronic devices have become an integral part of the modern life. No one can deny the fact that they facilitate our everyday lives significantly. However, such a reliance on tech devices leads to increased power use worldwide. Fortunately, solar energy can greatly alleviate the pressure put on the environment’s finite resources. Nowadays, an increasing number of devices and gadgets are becoming solar-powered owing to innovative tech features. Solar-powered charges are easy to use, safe for the environment and versatile. Some charges can power various electronic devices, from smartphones and tablets to e-readers. Other devices are also becoming solar-powered, including smart watches, rechargeable flashlights, music speakers, etc.

The warmth of the sun

Owing to their eco-friendliness and profitability, solar water and space heaters are being increasingly implemented in modern homes. These solar-powered devices are generally affordable and definitely energy-saving. Solar space and water heaters harness natural light and use liquid or air to transfer it into thermal energy. Depending on whether they use natural circulation or pumps, there are passive and active solar heaters. Furthermore, a solar-based thermal energy can be used to heat up pools at a substantially lower price than regular heaters. This technology truly pays off in the long run by reducing a household’s energy use, bringing from five to ten percent return on investment.

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Image source: choice.com.au

Solar on the roof

Rooftop solar panels are still one of the most significant and effective upgrades when it comes to green technology. Energy generated by solar panels can be used to power an entire household, leaving homeowners with numerous benefits, including reduced energy use and decreased carbon footprint. In addition, innovative SMA inverters for solar panels have become an essential component, enabling homeowners to monitor and manage their systems and analyze data. Although the initial costs of installing solar panels may be a bit higher, this green upgrade is a long-term investment that can completely eliminate owners’ dependence on the grid.

Solar lighting for a true shine

As one of the most common uses of solar energy, solar lighting has become a standard in numerous homes. Both interior and exterior lighting can be solar-powered, with outdoor lights being extremely easy to use. Wireless exterior solar lights can be simply placed outdoors because they don’t require any installation. After harnessing sunlight throughout the days, exterior lights can shine through the night. When it comes to interior lighting, it can be connected to solar-powered systems and batteries that generate electricity during the night.

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Image source: elitesolarsystems.com

Solar-based ventilation

Ventilation systems and units are a major power consumer, both in residential and commercial buildings. They are used to maintain a pleasant temperature, reduce humidity and eliminate odours. Consequently, they require a substantial amount of energy, which affects both homeowners and the environment. Solar-powered fans, on the other hand, harness sunlight and are easy to install and maintain. Not only do they have a positive impact on the environment, but they are also a cost-effective alternative that can keep any home comfortable.

Solar-powered transportation

Considering the fact that transportation around the world leads to enormous greenhouse gas emissions, the use of solar energy can truly make a difference in this aspect. While the potential of this technology is still not completely utilised, it’s becoming more and more implemented around the world. Solar cars are one of the most common technologies, especially in Australia, while solar buses are working their magic in China. Recently, even a solar-powered aircraft, called Solar Impulse 2, traveled around the world and across the Pacific. It’s only a matter of time when solar-powered transportation will find a wider application on a global scale.

Solar energy is a suitable and renewable source that offers numerous benefits for the modern society, its members, and the environment.

Andrew Newitt

In the time of recession, many young people are turning to self-employment options. Among dozens of next-year-millionaire-making business ideas, those that base their income on the land are often unjustly underestimated. One of such business ventures that is also a good investment is growing nut trees. In a nutshell, this article describes all the requirements and benefits of having a private nut plantation.

Why nuts?

Nuts are nutritious, and with the popularity of organic food and healthy lifestyle, a handful of nuts is a part of every weight loss diet. They are not a kind of food that spoils easily, so the storage is less demanding than for example peaches or strawberries.

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Apart from this, nut trees are very resistant and need minimal maintenance. People say that you plant nut trees for your children and grandchildren. However, today’s agronomy has produced grafted trees that start bearing fruit as early as one year after planting.

Before you plant

There are a couple of things that you need to make clear before your go out and buy several scores of nut trees. Not all nut species are suitable for any climate and soil type. Consult an agronomist on what nuts to grow on your patch of land. Secondly, you need to consider how much space you have and how much space each tree needs. You should also consider what pests and diseases are prevalent in your region.

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Dealing with pests

If you are planning to grow your 5 acres of nut trees close to a woodland, your biggest problems will be squirrels. They are mainly interested in nut kernels while they are still green in their dough-like stage. In July and August, squirrels are magnetically drawn to these trees, removing the kernels for their winter storage. However, if you set a dog or two to run loose among the trees, the furry pests will take their business elsewhere. Cats are even better guardians as they will actively climb tree trees and chase them off.   

Harvesting

Once you plant the trees, harvesting is the period that will take the most of your time and effort. You need to gather, prepare and preserve the nuts. The degree of human labor will depend on your willing to invest into machinery. Unless you have a trained brown bear, you will definitely need a small tractor with a trunk shaker attachment. In order to make your tractor and other farming machinery completely autonomous, you should invest in a sturdy polyethylene Rapid Spray diesel tank, so you always have a steady supply of safely stored fuel at your farm.

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Preparing and storing

When you pick the nuts from the ground you need to dump them in a water tank. Diseased, damaged and old nuts will float at the surface. To prevent molds and improve the fruit flavor and texture, you need to dry the nuts until moisture content drops below 10%. You can do this by spreading them in a single layer in a cool but dry and ventilated place so the air can circulate freely about them. You can tell that the nuts have dried when the kernels began to rattle in their shells and can snap on bending. The process takes from one to three weeks. When they dry, you need to store them in a cool place.   

Although all nut species are resilient and easy to grow, you should stick to one that grows best in your neck of the woods. After all, a nut farm is an investment and legacy that will last for generations. 

Andrew Newitt

Green marketing is a strategy many companies today choose to adopt. A big number of consumers want to take part in preserving the environment and this creates a great opportunity for smaller businesses to promote themselves as environmentally conscious. This strategy has proved to be quite effective and it has even created a couple of “green” brands over the years. It does not matter if a company’s products or services are connected with saving the environment, declaring it eco-friendly will always attract you some customers. If you want to do this, be sure to try out the following green marketing tactics.

Choose the right logo

If you have already decided to make your company eco-friendly, it is the right time to make it clear for your customers. Mentioning it on your flyers or commercials may not be enough. What you can do is use a green element while designing a logo for your company. First of all, you should actually make your logo green. This color is associated with nature and freshness. Also any natural elements you use in your logo design will only make your customers sympathize with the company even more. So make sure that your customers know your company is eco-friendly from the very first moment they notice it.

Use recycled paper

Using the recycled paper is one of the best ways to show people that your business is eco-friendly. So use the recycled paper when printing flyers or posters and make sure no one goes without noticing it. Have a sign somewhere on it that says you have opted for recycled paper. Do the same thing with your business cards. No trees will be cut down so you can promote your business and the customers will know how to appreciate this. You can also encourage them to use recycled paper as well.

Organize donations and charities

This is another great way to make sure customers are aware your business is pays some effort into preserving the environment. Organizing a charity event like planting new trees or collecting garbage shows that your company cares and promotes your name as well. It won’t cost you too much to organize something like this, but it will definitely pay off. Another thing you can do is make donations. Take a percentage of your latest sales and make a donation to an environmental organization. This is a great way to assure your customers you actually do what you are preaching.

Give eco-friendly promotional material

It is no secret that promotional material is a great way to attract new customers. It is even more effective when that material is eco-friendly. Not only that your customers will be getting something form you but they will also have the feeling of taking part in helping the environment. What you can do is give them pens that are made completely out of recycled materials, for example cardboard barrel pens. You can also use bags as a way of promoting your business. Instead of giving your customers plastic bags which take much time to decompose you can give them printed non-woven bags which are a great way to send the positive message about your business.

All of these tactics will actually make some difference and help preserving the nature. So not only will you be doing the right thing but you will also gain more attention from the consumers who are always more than happy to do business with eco-friendly companies.

 

Andrew Newitt

Excessive production of various products and overdoing with loads of both necessary and unnecessary items lead to a huge global pollution problem, which we are already experiencing and which will become even harsher in the next few decades. Consumerism and aggressive marketing campaigns which persuade us to buy a new mobile or tablet every couple of years push the world into a never-ending whirlpool of tons of garbage that is nod easily disposable. Ecology and industrial design meet at this spot, since industrial design should try and use as many reusable materials as possible to save natural resources. Here are some strategies how ecology and industrial design can intertwine and make a joint effort to contribute to the environment preservation process.

Industrial ecology and ecological design

These two fields of research have a strong bond and a lot of overlapping in the process of industrial design. Industrial ecology refers to applying eco-friendly strategies and techniques in the process of industrial production. On the other hand, ecological design seeks for optimal design methods that do not harm the environment. Industrial design based on these two interdisciplinary scientific branches tends to help the global efforts to overcome the environmental problems. The basic concepts that industrial design borrows from these two scientific fields are production sustainability and the flow of materials. Materials or products that have already been used and thrown away should be reused or recycled whenever it is possible to do so. By applying this strategy, we lower the expenses for the overall industrial production and also cut the costs on the material-gaining side, as well. That way companies do not have to spend money on transporting oil producing plastic from scratch, for instance, but the old plastic can be recycled. The role of local authorities is also very important here, since they have to ensure conditions for collecting old materials to make them ready for the recycling process.

Products made of recycled materials

As the pressure on the environment is increasing, many businesses are looking for sustainable solutions in their development. A lot of governments give subsidies to green-friendly companies, which is why many industrial design companies are moving forward to using recyclable materials, especially plastic and glass. Plastic is particularly interesting when it comes to industrial design and possible green solutions. This material is made from oil and it is not bio-degradable. The fact that plastic is made from oil means that the production of plastic is not environmentally-friendly, since it includes oil drilling and other procedure connected with oil. The non-organic quality of plastic makes it extremely harmful for the environment. When all these facts are taken into consideration, the best ecological option for products made of plastic is manufacturing plastic products from recycled plastic. By doing this, we save the natural world from the damage plastic might cause to it.

Going green when manufacturing new product requires a larger initial investment. However, over the next period, you will have less trouble with some other expenses that non-green businesses have. That is why investing in eco-friendly industrial design means securing the future of your company and taking care of the environment.

Andrew Newitt
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Cars with electric powering options are becoming more and more present, but they are still far from being as present as their internal combustion powered counterparts. In theory, as well as in most of the practice, they provide amazing fuel efficiency, allow you to enjoy instant torque delivery and keep the world cleaner. They seem far better than petrol cars. So, why aren’t they in the lead?

Well, the technology is still in its baby years. The batteries are heavy, they take up loads of space and they still don’t provide the electric cars with the range that would satisfy buyers. There are cars which are emerging as breakthrough models, such as the Tesla S, but they are vastly expensive. It is not that they are not worth the price, but vast majority of buyers can’t afford to buy a car whose price is well into six figures, so we can’t really expect them to be a common sight just yet. In order for the electrics to take the lead, certain conditions need to be fulfilled.

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Still, there is a solution why we are waiting. Hybrids! They employ standard internal combustion engines, so they allow us to fill them up with fuel and drive normally, but they also make use of the new technologies, combining it with an electric motor, thus improving fuel efficiency, range and performance. Speaking of the performance, even ultimate supercars such as the McLaren P1 and the LaFerrari are employing hybrid powerplants.

So, which are the best ones for 2015?

Well, they need to be relatively reasonably priced, so the P1 and the LaFerrari are out of the list for the same reason the Tesla S is. These are the cars that you can buy and use as everyday means of transportation.

BMW i3

For the people who are familiar with the industry, including the i3 in this list is no surprise. The famous German manufacturer is well known for their prowess, and they are bound to release respectable cars. The i3 is a whole new concept for BMW. It is a four-door car with compact dimensions, but loads of interior space. Plus, the design is very futuristic.

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The i3 is powered by an electric motor, but you can also opt for the range extender version which makes use of a small 2-cylinder engine serving as a generator of energy for the battery. The range goes from about 130 km to about as double as much for the range extender option. The top speed is limited to 150 km/h, which is more than enough for a city car and the acceleration to 100 km/h takes about 8 seconds. The i3 already has its markets, with the UK and Norway buyers being particularly interested in it, so it has been tested on the road. And it works just fine.

Mercedes C-Class Hybrid

If you are worried that a whole new approach to the i3 is a bit too much, an even more revered manufacturer has provided you with more conventional, but still very modern hybrid cars. Although you can opt for the top of the range and ultimately plush S-Class Hybrid, we have chosen to present you with a more reasonable buying option in the form of the C-Class, since the S-Class is a fairly expensive car.

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The C-Class C 300 BlueTEC Hybrid, as it is called, is a regular, tested and venerated C-Class car with a modern hybrid powering options. It packs a 2.1 l diesel with 201 hp and a 27 hp electric motor which give it the acceleration to 100 km/h in just 6.4 seconds. Additionally, you can get the fuel efficiency of about 3.6 l/100 km, which is amazing for a car of this class and performance. However, bear in mind that the C-Class Hybrid is still mostly powered by the diesel engine and that the electric motor is only there to help. It reduces the consumption and increases low-rev torque, providing better driving response, but the C-Class is still a conventional car with improved efficiency. On the plus side, it is not an all new car like the i3, so buyers might feel more confident buying a proven piece of equipment.

Another perk with the C-Class is the possibility of numerous additional equipment options, including the air suspension. There is no way Mercedes would gamble their reputation by making a gimmick out of a several-decades-present C-Class. It is a good car.

Volkswagen Golf GTE

A car which offers less than the Merc, but also costs significantly less. Comparing these two hybrids is like comparing the standard Golf and C-Class. The C-Class is better, but the Golf is still amazing and probably a better value for money.

Its fuel efficiency is rated at about 1.5 l/100 km and it has an option of electric-only driving for about 45 km, which is more than most drivers will ever need in a city. When all of the horses are unleashed, it gives the top speed of 222 km/h with the acceleration to 100 km/h of just 7.6 seconds. Almost as good as the infamous GTI.

As with any Golf and most German cars, you get amazing build quality and reliability, and the balanced Golf chassis inspires confidence and provides loads of driving fun.

Toyota Prius

If the previous cars on the list were new for you, you can educate yourself by finding loads of high-quality content online, but the Prius is almost a household name. It might be called the first common hybrid car in the world and it can already boast with several generations, which is amazing knowing that most other hybrid or electric cars are still concepts.

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The current model has improved range, lowered emissions and better fuel efficiency reaching the equivalent of 2.6 l/100 km. The electric-only range is also increased to about 20 km and the top speed in no fuel burning mode is at 100 km/h. It is more expensive than the Golf (but significantly cheaper than the Mercedes) and it includes loads of comfort perks as standard.

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