pentago

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About pentago

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    Junior Member
  • Birthday 06/05/1978

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  • Gender Male
  • Location Brisbane, Australia
  • Interests green technologies, greenhouse effect reduction, co2 emissions, green cars, alternate energy sources
  1. Who would have thought that from the simplest and the most basic things would pave the way to the introduction of much more comprehensive and convenient concepts of machines and equipment that most often than not, help people in accommodating their day-to-day routines ensuring the best outputs later on? Construction, with the advancement of technology, has incredibly experienced staggering developments aiming to improve quality of lives. Starting from the drawing up of blueprints up to acquiring environmentally and healthy designs of infrastructures, it has now been touched by technology and innovation. If one would care to look deeper into this, they’ would be surely introduced to the concept of LEED certification. The LEED Certification Concept LEED, which basically stands for Leadership Energy and Environment Design, is a certification program for third-party clients. This initiative has started in the year 2000 by the US Green Building Council or USGCB aiming to offer standards and concepts for designs, operations and the overall construction of high performance buildings tailored to the specifics of the environment. The LEED encompasses a whole lot more objectives as opposed to what it may seem since it does not only focus on ensuring that buildings are designed with compatibility to the health of the environment but also for business and company owners to have an infrastructure that is profitable. Ask why profitability? Well, that is simply because acquiring the LEED certification would allow one to have the means and the knowledge to practically and successfully cut down the operational costs from the ever increasing bills for electric and water consumption. Yes, as you have realized by now, any kind of infrastructure is often packaged with all sorts of machines that consume a lot more energy and water than you can imagine. This then equates to overwhelming energy and water bills that cut a huge chunk from the company’s earnings. With the great performance of buildings that have acquired this certification, LEEDhas been awarded with points thus acknowledging its edge for sustainability and energy efficiency. Going Green with LEED and Its Notable Advantages At the surface, one could simply read that acquiring certification would help in cost cutting of utility bills. However, looking closer into it would surface more convenience and advantage than just simply lowering your operational costs. With such certification, one could simply achieve and experience the following benefits: Ensured cooled and heated infrastructures as needed with minimal energy usage Tested to minimized duct-work and envelope leakage Minimized indoor and outdoor water usage Predicted to only utilize approximately 30% to 60% less energy compared to other established buildings without the LEED Certification. Recycling materials that can be used for building constructions Supplying power and energy via renewable and unharmful methods Reduced and minimized environmental impacts during construction as well as maintenance as with this certification emission of greenhouse gases and other substances and elements that often occur with just the traditional design of buildings The LEED Tiers Since we have already tackled about the basics of LEED, let us get to more detailed and important elements about it such as the Tiers. There are 4 known tiers of the certification. This tiers indicate the increasing sustainability of building practices among clients. The first tier is the Certified equating to 40 to 49 points, the Silver for 50 to 59 points, the Gold for 60 to 79 points and the platinum, which pertains to 80 points and above. While it is true that the higher levels of LEED can be quite challenging to achieve, there are still efforts that one could do to achieve it. After all, nobody knew before that we could have things we have right now, right? Achieving higher levels would surely provide one with much overwhelming benefits, which they could later on take advantage. An example of which is a high LEED certification level making a great selling point that are often used by corporations to court environmentally aware and conscious consumers as well as investors toward their business. Aside from this, it has also been noted that there are respective incentives in the form of local and federal tax benefits or other subsidies that are made available for high level certified LEED infrastructures. Some Well Known Buildings with LEED Certification To give you more facts about the incredibility of this program, let us make a quick list of some of the known buildings that are certified with LEED. One of the latest most buzzing names when it comes to this is the Serbian IT park. Its known as the first infrastructure which is certified with LEED in the region. This has greatly affected their operations making the management more productive while having the means to save money and to have a healthy and comfortable workplace for the whole team. Another LEED certified building is the Hearst Tower in New York City. With its continued efforts to live green, this building has now gained Gold level with over 90% of its steel used for structure that came from recycled durable materials. David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh is known, on the other hand, as a gold and platinum level holder being the first convention center in the globe to acquire the LEED. The Connecticut avenue building in Washington D.C. also has a LEED platinum status and is known as the first redeveloped office building on the US East Coast to acquire the LEED certification. University of Texas at Dallas, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens as well as the Yale University are proud infrastructures having the LEED certification, which they acquired through thick and strict efforts to go green and live a practical and energy-efficient office lifestyle. Be among them now and start making a lot of profits than you can imagine without posing harm to the environment. LEED Certification would also enable you to provide the best working environment to your clients, partners as well as business investors pushing them to be more productive. Invest in this venture now and harvest the fruitful and unimaginable benefits it could provide, not just to you but to the people and the community surrounding you as well.
  2. Recently, I wrote on and their recycling. This time I’ll cover cell phone batteries which are growing concern and environmental hazard. Read on. The disposal of cell phone batteries has become a very big issue in the United States and that is because more and more handsets are released on the market, featuring batteries that not only last longer, but batteries that can also be charged much faster. This in turn causes a lot of people to dispose of their old handsets along with their batteries in an irresponsible way that only leads to higher environmental pollution levels. According to the EPA, in 2009 there were more than 141 million cell phones retired from services, but only 8% of those have been disposed of properly. However, the rest of the over 130 million mobile phones have been discarded improperly which means they are a great danger for both human health and the environment. Even worse is the fact that this problem is not a new one and despite that, there are still no special programs in place that could help recycle batteries that are deemed obsolete or non-usable. Learning More About Mobile Phone Batteries Cell phones use li-ion batteries which means they can be recharged every time their energy depletes. Lithium-ion batteries are the best type of rechargeable batteries currently used and that is because size wise they aren’t too large, they’re light and they also offer a high energy density. Added to that the zero loss of charge when not in use and the no-memory effect, they are currently the best type of batteries used by millions of portable devices around the world. In order for a li-ion battery to work, it needs to have 3 working components, including the electrolyte, the positive and the negative electrode. While positive electrodes are made of either spinel, polyanion or layered oxide, the negative electrode is made of graphite. The older versions of these types of batteries couldn’t be charged as quickly as the modern types and most of the times you would have to wait for around 2h until you could get a full charge. However, mobile phone batteries have advanced a lot in the last few years and now you can find models that can be charged in as little as 3/4 of an hour. If you’re lucky, you may get a 90% charge in just 10 minutes depending on the type of battery you have. Since cell phone batteries have advanced so much, this is one of the reasons to why so many of them have accumulated in such a short period of time. One thing to keep in mind is that li-ion batteries may experience thermal runaway if you overcharge or overheat them. If you keep heating them up to high temperatures, the cell will rupture or will be completely destroyed. And while many of the battery’s components are environmentally safe, its outer shell isn’t, since it’s made of metal. The Reason You Should Recycle The epa has deemed batteries of any kind to be hazardous waste and in order to protect the environment, they should be disposed of properly and that doesn’t mean along with your regular household waste. Every part of the cell phone battery can be reused in order to make new ones, so it only makes sense for you to devote some time and energy into making sure they will not end up in landfills. For example, when batteries end up in landfills, over prolonged periods of time the nearby groundwater will be contaminated by the metal content. Even if they are incinerated, the danger will still be there. That is because the ash of the incinerated batteries contain metal contaminants which are very dangerous for humans, as well as animals and the environment. Where Can You Recycle Your Cell Phone Batteries The majority of municipal drop-off and curbside recycling programs aren’t properly equipped for collecting cell phone and rechargeable batteries in general. Because of that, the task of recycling mobile phone batteries falls on your shoulders so you need to ensure they end up to the proper recycling channels. For instance, Call2Recycle is the only company in the country that allows you to drop off your batteries to one of their 30.000 locations across the United States where they will eventually be collected and recycled. No matter if you’re an individual, a business or maybe a retailer, you can easily take advantage of their services. After the batteries are dropped off, they will be collected and shipped to the sorting and recycling facilities. There, they are sorted by the type of metals they contain and by chemistry type. Next, each type of battery will be processed by content type and used for making a new product. In some cases though, there may be no rechargeable cell phone battery collection locations in your area and if that is the case, then you just need to call your cell phone manufacturer or provider. Most of them have mail-in programs which means that you can easily ship them your batteries and mobile phones and they’ll make sure to recycle them. Sell Them On Ebay A very effective and simple way of making sure the batteries and unused cell phones won’t end up in landfills is to sell them on eBay. There are a lot of people who need them and some of these individuals are even going to pay you so you send the batteries over for recycling. Before you deal with any user on eBay, read their profile description carefully and check their feedback as well. Conclusion In the last several years, the number of mobile phone batteries has increased exponentially, especially due to the fact that more and more cell phones are released on the market and these models have far better performing batteries than the previous generations. Therefore, if you ever need to replace the battery of your cell phone or just discard it, do it properly and get in touch with a specialized company that can help you with this. Call2Recycle has a wide coverage in the United States, so it’s best to check their drop-off locations online by inputting your address on their official website. This way, you’ll help protect the environment and also reduce the chances of toxic materials entering the water stream. Interesting infographic by EPA called The Life Cycle of a Cell Phone: http://www.epa.gov/osw/education/pdfs/life-cell.pdf
  3. Electric cars are considered more environment friendly cars compared to oil driven cars. The cars are powered by a battery which gets charged just like any other ordinary battery. But one thing that most people do not understand is that these batteries are made of certain chemicals and metals which pose some negative impacts not only to the environment but also to human beings and animals. This article will take a keen look into the compositions of some of the electric car batteries and the environmental impacts that these batteries and their components have. The ecological footprint of electric vehicles can be assessed in two dimensions; the good and the bad. Nickel Electric Car Batteries Some of the electric car batteries are made of nickel metal. Such batteries contain nickel oxy-hydroxide (NiOx) and hydrogen(H) elements as well as potassium hydroxide (KOH). When these chemicals come together they form two components of nickel hydroxide (NiOH2) and potassium hydroxide. Potassium hydroxide is considered as a highly poisonous substance which can cause severe pain, vomiting, diarrhea, body weakness and fainting when swallowed by both humans and animals. On the other hand it has been proven that nickel hydroxide can cause cancer in both human beings and animals. Nickel hydroxide chemical releases toxic gases and vapors such as nickel carbonyl into the environment especially when left to decompose. Another dangerous metal that is found in nickel batteries is lanthanum, metal which is used to hold hydrogen; this metal is also highly toxic. Lithium Electric Car Batteries Another type of the most common electric car batteries are the lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are made of metals which produce lithium-ion and elemental lithium and graphite. These batteries also contain lithium carbonate (Li2CO3), which is a poisonous substance to both humans and animals. The substance can also react with water to form hydrofluoric acid (HF), which is a major pollutant and is also highly poisonous. Nickel and cobalt batteries have led to the overproduction and extraction of both nickel and cobalt compounds. This has led to the depletion of the two minerals and the degradation of the environment. The two elements have also been associated with global warming, poor respiratory systems, pulmonary effects and other neurological disorders. It is also important to note that the electricity grids used in charging lithium-ion batteries also contribute to global warming and other environmental and health impacts. The Reason Resources with doubt in green nature of electric vehicles: Electric cars 'pose environmental threat’ How Green Is a Tesla, Really? Electric Vehicles Better for the Environment than Gas-Powered Ones? How Green are Automotive Lithium-Ion Batteries? Recycling Of Electric Car Batteries To control and minimize the negative impacts that these batteries pose on our environment, the materials from the batteries can be recycled and reused after the battery has lived its full duration. The manufacturers of such batteries need to be extra careful when manufacturing the batteries in order to prevent harmful components from making their way into the environment. Other remedies may include the substitution of the cathode materials being used in different batteries as well as using a solvent-less electrode processing method. In terms of charging the batteries it will be more environmental friendly to use coal energy because it is natural, it emits less greenhouse gases and is also renewable. Because the electric car market is still small and limited the market of recycling the batteries is also still limited. Commercial electric car battery recycling would greatly help in keeping hazardous and poisonous materials from entering the waste streams and polluting the environment. The toxic chemicals from these batteries can find their way into water bodies and the environment during the production of such batteries of at the end of the batteries life and recycling will help in curbing this dangerous menace. There are different types of battery recycling, which include the following: The Smelting Battery Recycling Process Smelting is a recycling process in which important and basic elements or salts are recovered during the production of the batteries or at the end of the batteries life. This type of recycling is done on a large scale and can handle all types of electric car batteries. Smelting is normally done at extremely high temperatures, and involves the burning of organic materials like electrolyte and carbon anodes into fuel. The valuable metals and components are then recovered and sent for refining so that they can be reused. The remaining materials like lithium are normally used as kept aside for other uses including being used as an additive in concrete. The Direct Recovery Battery Recycling Process In the direct recovery recycling process, the materials are recovered directly. In this process the components are separated using both physical and chemical processes. Direct recovery process operates on extremely low temperatures and requires very little energy. However, this process does not accept all types of electric batteries. The Intermediate Battery Recycling Processes This process of recycling car batteries can be used both at the production stage as well as at the recycling stage. It can be used to extract dangerous and important components from batteries at the end of the battery life. It is a very vital process during battery production because it helps in minimizing the amount hazardous substances that make their way into the environment. This process accepts all types of batteries. The extraction of different components from different batteries can be however tricky, especially if the components are high value components. For this reason manufactures have been encouraged to incorporate battery recycling and dismantling processes during the production stage; they need to manufacture batteries that can be easily disassembled and recycled. They have also been urged to standardize the batteries and use materials that are easily recyclable as well as coming up with simple battery designs. Manufactures can also resort to using battery components which are not harmful to the environment and humans because this will also help in minimizing these environmental effects. Car owners also need and must be part of this process, they should make sure that the batteries they use reach their complete life duration and they must ensure that at all costs the batteries are not dumped anyhow. The cost of recycling electric car batteries might be slightly higher but it is nothing compared to effects such batteries can cause to our environment. At The End: Sustainability Interesting take in reusing of EV car batteries (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7zPcyBC6q0
  4. Camping Grounds Ecology+Etiquette

    Recently, I went camping with friends in beautiful Acadia Park and was horrified by how some people are careless and how they ruin camping place behind without even noticing so I decided to write a bit on this issue. Going on a camping/hike once, twice and even for a few long periods doesn’t make you an expert. This hobby requires practice, dedication, discipline and commitment for you to become the best you can be. You need to know about the basic and fundamental strategies when hiking, which practically include surviving in the woods or wherever your campsite may be along with the etiquette of being responsible camper, leaving place clean and/or intact. Resources on camping etiquette: http://www.todaysparent.com/family/activities/camping-etiquette/ http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/eco-tourism/questions/whats-the-bathroom-etiquette-when-you-go-camping http://www.tour-guide-canada.com/camping-etiquette.html Maximizing The Beauty Of Nature Without Posing Damage The beauty of camping as compared to other outdoor hobbies is that one could simply experience it without having to pay for any fee such entrance fee and whatnot. However, this has become a vulnerability for campsites as human tend to exhaust the resources and still disregard the welfare of nature. So, campers should be reminded about the most basic thing about this activity and that is to always assume that these natural resources are theirs. And just as how they value their things, they should also give importance to the environment. The basic ruling when camping is to always ensure that they leave the place free from any damage and loiters. This is in relation to taking good care of the surroundings and also to maintain respect to those who'd be camping in the place as well. Always keep in mind to use non-harmful materials like when cooking and doing other activities in the campgrounds. Don’t ever leave trash and don’t try to disrupt the living creatures living in the environment. In basic terms, leave the place untouched just like how it was when you arrived. It is also a great habit to make the campsite even better by initiating to throw trashes that are left behind properly. Recommendation At The End: Stealth Camping Some hiker enthusiasts prefer camping in a non-established compounds for the reason that most established ones have, most likely, become bear-magnets due to a number of people cooking, eating and some even loiter in the area. Aside from this, this kind of compound has hard-packed soil, rodents and inhabitants that could get a little noisy making it impossible to experience serenity even after midnight. With the use of tents made of tarps and other materials you prefer using, you may opt to get to those that are far from such elements enabling you to have better connection with nature. This would be fairly more suitable for camping given that you've built your campsite and shelter well enough.
  5. Ecological Impact of Printing

    The age-old dilemma of adverse effects of technological advancements on the ecological balance resurfaces when one looks at the impact of printing ink and paper on the environment. Despite a lot being said about the ill-effects of our increased reliance on the process of printing and growing humdrum around green initiatives, the global work culture is still far from adopting the utopian paperless communication and documentation process. The fact that PDF files, e-mails and soft copies of documents have failed to reign over their printed counterparts is evident from the fact that the global consumption of paper has increased three-fold in less than three decades. However, even today a majority of people do not think of the long term hazards before pressing the print button. Ironically, a substantial number isn’t even aware of the fact that the printing process impacts the ecology on multiple levels and the loss is not just limited to losing trees for manufacturing more and more paper. Environmental Impact of Printing Ink: How Real is the Threat? Have you ever thought about the composition of ink, cartridges and toner used in the printing process? Have you ever spared a thought about the environmental impact of ordering a print job? These facts about the ill-effects of printing ink will establish how tangible the threat is: Over 350 million waste cartridges of toner and ink are disposed off every year in the US alone. Decomposition of empty ink cartridges can take up to a 1,000 years Similarly, the manufacturing process of one toner cartridge leads to emission of 4.8 kg of Carbon Dioxide Toner cartridges are laden with harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are known to be hazardous to human health. There are top concerns and reasons why in majority of western countries exist special niche of business, called “managed print services“ which capitalize on reducing costs and environmental impact of printing jobs they offer to environmentally responsible companies. How Printing Ink Impacts the Ecology The printing process affects the environment and disturbs the ecological balance on more than one level. Right from the raw materials used to manufacture inks and other elements such as solvents and toners used, the production process, their application and waste disposal, every aspect of the printing process has adverse effects on the environment in one way or the other. Raw Materials Printing inks are manufactured from a wide array of raw materials. A significant number of inks available in the markets today use natural and renewable resources such as vegetable oil, cellulose derivatives, ethyl acetate and ethanol derived from natural bio-sources, as their components. However, these natural raw materials form only a part of the entire composition and their proportion depends on the printing process for which the ink will be used. Apart from these renewable resources, these inks are laden with metals and other elements which are considered harmful not only for human health but also for the environment. The four toxic metals present in almost all printing inks include mercury, lead, hexavalent chromium, and cadmium. Besides, some other metallic elements such as nitrogen oxides and tri-organo tin present in printing inks are known to environmental hazards on aquatic life, ozone layer and the atmosphere at large. Manufacturing Though the hazards may not be as substantial, the process of manufacturing printing inks causes certain emissions that have ill-effects on soil, air and water. The manufacturing of printing inks leads to emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), extender dusts and pigments into the atmosphere. In addition to this, the manufacturing process leads to generation of waste streams and dumping of excess solid waste materials into the landfills. Though there are a large number of regulations in place to check the generation of harmful by-products in the manufacturing of printing inks, the generation of harmful waste products cannot be completely ruled out. Application The negative impacts of inks and toners used in printers is not restricted to just the raw materials and manufacturing processes alone; even the process of application of the inks, solvent and toners has its side-effects on the environment. The Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emitted during the process leads to photochemical reactions which are harmful to the atmosphere. The energy requirements of the printing process also have its implications on the environments. Wastage of ink in the process of printing, release of solvent-based cleaning fluids, as by products, and dumping of empty, dry ink containers in open landfills are some of the common repercussions of application of inks in the printing process. Disposal The disposal process of used ink and toner cartridges and other waste products generated in printing process pose great environmental risks. Though great emphasis is being laid on reuse of used cartridges to minimize environmental hazards and make waste management more effective, collection and sorting of empty cartridges, particularly those made of plastic, acts as a roadblock. The basic calorific content and slow process of biodegradation – an empty ink cartridge can take up to 1000 years to wither away – adversely effects the landfills, and thereby disturbing the ecological balance. Environmental Impacts of Printing Paper The use of ink in printing is not the only factor to blame for ecological imbalance – the increased use of paper and the production process to meet the ever growing requirements too has serious effects on the environment. Affluent released from paper mills are a leading cause of land, water and air pollution, so much so that the pollution caused due to paper production is often separately categorized as paper pollution. Waste generated from paper, like most other waste materials, contains toxic elements such as polymers, dyes and inks, which have carcinogenic elements in high quantities. In fact, the process of paper recycling is also not entirely pollution free. Gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), responsible for greenhouse emissions, are emitted in large quantities from paper mills in the process of paper production. Besides these gases, affluent released in liquid forms pollutes water streams and landfills, alike. Also, felling of trees for paper production has adverse effects on the ecological balance. Statistically put, pulp extracted from a single tree can make up to 80,500 A4 paper sheets. More stats here. To Conclude: In all, none of the printing processes and elements used in the present times offers a universally environmentally congenial solution. Taking a serious look at greener initiatives such as paperless offices is the only way to save the environment from the hazardous impact of printing ink and related processes.
  6. Energy Efficient Living

    Yeah, i agree, i just figured out that pasting from my text editor messes up the formatting. Will be better from now on
  7. Our growing reliance on excessive use of technology has resulted in some adverse effects on the ecological system. While there is no denying that the evolution of modern technology has greatly contributed in improving the quality of human life, it is equally hard to overlook the fact that the same technological developments have thrown the ecological system off balance. Green Technologies One of the most imposing threats to the world’s ecology stems from an incessant increase in energy consumption. The threat perception emerging from current state of ecology has led to the genesis and evolution of green technologies. Green Technology in a Nutshell Green technology encompasses use of one or several forms of environmental sciences with a view to safeguard natural resources from the fall-outs of human dependence on technology. The concept is based on bringing about changes in daily lifestyles and using innovation to counter effects of technological developments, particularly since the advent of information technology nearly two decades ago. Green technology is based on a broad framework of: Sustainability: It aims at devising means and ways to meet society’s technological requirements without hampering the ecological balance. Source Diminution: Bringing about changes in ways of consumption and production with a view to limit waste generation and pollution. Innovation: Looking for alternative means to meet technological requirements. For instances, energy generation through wind turbines and photovoltaics. Feasibility: The ultimate aim is bring about a paradigm shift so that economic activity in the future is centered on environment-friendly products and technologies. Green Technology in IT Today, great stress is being laid on imbibing models of green technology in the IT sector. The process is also known as Green Computing (gC) or Green IT (gIT). The following approaches are being adopted with a view to align IT processes with the core value of sustainability: Achieving product longevity. Improving data center designs with a view to increase energy efficiency and performance, and improve utilization of data center space. Aiming at deployment and software optimization with an aim to achieve algorithmic efficiency and better resource allocation. Creating storage devices that consume lesser per gigabyte power. Basic Steps for Green IT Green Computing or Green IT is not a mere white-wash expression for climate control agencies, governments and businesses to take refuge in. Instead, it is a tangible initiative to encourage companies to make an assessment of the way they use their IT resources and find new ways to improve energy efficiency. The ultimate aim of protecting the environment and restoring the ecological balance through responsible use of technology related equipment can be achieved by following a few basic steps: Turning off all parts like CPUs when idle for extended amount of time. Multitasking in order to reduce use of hardware time and amount of energy used to keep it running. Switching on peripherals with high energy consumption such as laser printers only when required Replacing cathode-ray-tube monitors with LCD ones. Preferring notebooks computers and laptop over desktop computer whenever possible. Minimal print jobs and use of paper. Investing in recycling paper waste. Following government regulation on disposal of e-waste. Using alternative sources of energy to keep computers, data centers, and servers operational. IT Companies and Green Technologies Realizing the importance of environment conservation and living up to their social responsibility, more and more IT companies across the world are taking to green computing. The trend is not just limited to well-known IT giants. Even smaller IT companies like Australia-based MacquarieTelecom (well known for their green tech aspirations), are doing their bit by incorporating green technologies in everyday operation. After having studied its energy consumption patterns for over a year, the company decided to go-green and bring down their energy consumption levels considerably. Besides these lesser-known green initiatives, there are popular green initiatives undertaken by global IT giants: Google: The leading tech giant has a comprehensive and detailed sustainability plan in place. In addition to its basic green IT plan, Google also resorts to some out-of-the-box eco-friendly initiatives like having the fields near its Mountain View headquarters mowed and fertilized by goats every spring. This innovative technique of replacing harmful chemical fertilizers and noisy lawn mowers with something as natural and eco-friendly as goats has drawn applause from various quarters. IBM: The data centre expansion by the IT giant in 2007, costing a whopping $86 million, speaks volumes about its commitment to Green IT. The company today resorts to all popular green computing approaches such as high-density computing systems, energy-efficient cooling systems, and storage and server virtualization. The company has also committed to investing a billion dollars every year towards achieving energy efficiency in IT operation for itself as well as its clientele. Dell: The Company has an ambitious Green IT goal of cutting down emission of green house gases by 40% by the year 2015. In keeping with this commitment, it is also focusing on energy reduction of 25% in its product line. Intel: One of the biggest feathers in Intel’s hat is its investment in green energy arena. A sizable 51% of company’s energy requirements are met renewable energy sources such as biomass, wind and solar energy generation techniques. Hewlett-Packard: Computer, software, calculators and networking equipment – you name it, and Hewlett-Packard offers it, making it one of the most diverse IT companies of present times. It also boasts of an equally diverse and effective Green IT policy, where the entire focus is on reduction in energy consumption, presence of toxic chemicals in its line of products and waste generation. HP has also partnered with World Wildlife Fund with a view encourage research on climate change.
  8. Energy Efficient Living

    With the deepening global energy crisis, energy conservation has become a must in every part of the world and Australia is no exception. But with the addition of new appliances to the existing pile almost every day, the energy needs of homes across Australia have exponentially increased, thereby posing a challenge to the energy conservation initiatives. Since our daily lives revolve around these appliances, we cannot eliminate them in an effort to save energy. The best way to keep your energy bills in check is to adopt energy efficient practices in your home. There are several ways of cutting down on your monthly energy bills. If you want to make your home energy efficient, here are some tips that you may want to consider. Use energy-efficient appliances To address the rising energy consumption, the US government came up with an energy-efficient standard for various appliances – the “Energy Star” (www.energystar.gov). The standard became global after adoption by various countries across the world such as Australia, Taiwan, Japan, the European Union and New Zealand. The Environment Protection Agency (www.epa.gov) and the Department of Energy (energy.gov) were the US government agencies behind the creation of the “Energy Star” label. “Energy Star” rated appliances helps consumers to cut down on their energy bills and minimize air pollution. They include dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, kettles and energy saving lights. The energy consumption of an energy efficient appliance is below the energy limit set by the EPA. Keep your home insulated If you are looking for the most practical and cost effective way to keep your energy bills in check, then you should consider insulating your entire home. Insulation not only keeps your home cool during the hot summer season, but also gives the necessary warmth during the cold winter season, thereby saving about 40% in the costs of heating and cooling. Without proper insulation, more than half of the heating and cooling energy used in a home may leak out. Lack of proper insulation in the ceiling or roof can lead to the loss of up to 40% of heating and cooling energy. On the other hand, wall insulation can reduce the energy used to heat and cool a home by up to 20%. If your floor is properly insulated, then it can reduce your energy bills during the winter season by up to 5%. Hot water systems usually lose heat through exposed water pipes running from the heating system to the house. To avoid this, insulate any externally exposed pipes. For more information about home insulation, you can check this official resource: energy.gov/energysaver/articles/adding-insulation-existing-home Install properly designed skylights, windows and doors The design of skylights, windows and doors play an important role in determining the comfort level of a house as they can make the house too hot or cold when poorly designed. When properly designed, they will not only reduce your heating and cooling energy, but would also keep your house comfortable. Windows and doors are known for providing fresh light and air, but they can also make the house too cold during winter and too warm during summer. To prevent this, it is advisable to buy windows and doors with proper insulation and glazing to reduce your energy costs. Skylights provide natural light that brighten ups a house, thereby reducing the need for many bigger windows. In fact, the amount of light let in by a skylight is triple than that of a window. Properly designed skylights will help reduce heat gain or loss, which reduces the need for heating and cooling using energy-consuming systems. As a result, your monthly energy bills will significantly reduce. For more information about window insulation, you can check this official resource: www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Insulation/Windows Carry out energy-efficient home remodeling projects Having an energy efficient home will help you save money and make your house more comfortable. Therefore, you should consider incorporating energy efficient features in your home, whether you are constructing a new home or remodeling an existing one. The first step when remodeling an existing home to be energy efficient is to assess its energy needs and find out how to reduce energy consumption. The approach should be whole-house systems where the homeowner and building professionals undertake a comprehensive analysis of all the details, variables and factors that determine the energy consumption in a home. After that, they will come with measures on how to make the most out of energy efficient capacity of each component. These components include home appliances, insulation, air sealing, lighting and day lighting, heating and cooling, water heating, and skylights, windows and doors. When designing energy efficient homes, the local climate and site conditions of the home are also considered. Designers can capitalize on these factors to ensure heating and cooling is energy efficient. For more information about energy efficient home remodeling, you can check this official resource: energy.gov/public-services/homes/home-design-remodeling Proper conditioning systems When it comes to heating and cooling systems, there are a wide variety of options with different efficiency levels and energy sources. The local climatic conditions, type of system used, how it’s installed and where it’s installed in the house will determine if it can improve the comfort levels in your home without consuming too much energy. Before buying a heating and cooling system, it is advisable to take measurements of the room where you plan to install it to determine the right type of system that corresponds to the size of that room. Although air conditioners are essential appliances that play an integral role in making the home more comfortable, they are the biggest energy leaks in the home. So if you want to reduce energy consumption in your home, focus more on managing these systems. Thanks to the AirConWA technicians (www.airconwa.com.au/faq/energy-efficiency/) who installed my new inverter, I was able to learn that the Australian government has come up with some measures (link:goo.gl/3BclZg) to help consumers keep the energy use of their AC in check. These measures include introducing AC and home energy efficiency requirements, creating energy efficiency schemes, carrying out electricity demand management trials and so on.
  9. For the first time, the CO2 levels in the atmosphere have hit 400 ppm (parts per million). This threshold represents the growing influence of humans on the climate. The man-made emissions of CO2 have increased the concentration in the atmosphere from about 270-280 ppm in the 1700s to the current record – a 43% increase. According to scientists, this is surprising considering the rapid growth of global CO2 emissions from the frequent burning of oil, coal and natural gas. Last year, the global CO2 emissions reached 38.2 billion tons. This is an increase of around a billion tons more compared to the previous year. This means that over 2.4 million pounds of CO2 are spewed into the atmosphere: Every second. The increasing CO2 emissions are accelerating global warming, also known as the greenhouse effect. Future temperatures depend on the amount of CO2 that accumulated in the atmosphere and so, there is a need to reduce those emissions in order to minimize global warming. Official data: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/global.html http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/data-viewers/greenhousae-gases-viewer How To Reduce Global CO2 Emissions Since the increasing CO2 emissions are often associated with burning of oil, coal and natural gas, the best way to reduce them is to adopt green practices. For example, coal power should be replaced by zero-carbon nuclear power and renewable wind power. Natural gas which is used for heating and driving motors should be replaced by heat pumps and electric motors. Finally, transportation sector consumes over 70 percent of petroleum as motor fuels. The consumption of transportation petroleum can be significantly reduced by using electric vehicles. The Current State Of Green Car Industry With the need to reduce CO2 emission, electric cars have emerged as the viable alternative to the polluting cars that most people drive today. An electric car relies on an electric motor for propulsion. They use battery and not petrol. The current green car industry is dominated by the 6 car makers: Chrysler Ford GM Toyota Honda and Nissan The price of electric cars is much more than gasoline vehicles of the same size. For example, the price of the least expensive electric car on the market now, the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive car, is twice as much as the gasoline ForTwo. However, the operation cost of electric cars is a much less. For example, if gasoline costs $4 per gallon, your 25-mpg gas car will need a fuel of $16 to cover every 100 miles. On the other hand, an electric car uses $1-6.50 in electricity for the same distance. One of the most popular electric car models is the 2013 Nissan Leaf. It has recorded the highest sales. According to Klosters, (Australian car dealer) and their News section page about this vehicle , the new 2013 Nissan LEAF car is 6 times cheaper and more efficient as compared to a petrol-fueled car. More About LEAF If you are driving the Nissan LEAF for the first time, you will be impressed by the little difference between the car and comparable internal combustion hatchbacks. It is not a golf cart, and accelerates well just like most gasoline-fueled cars of the same size. It can comfortably accommodate four people (or even five for shorter distances), and has a considerable cargo room. The LEAF is a highly capable daily car whose operating cost is a fraction of gas-powered cars provided you pay attention to the battery charge state. The 2013 LEAF maintains the same styling as its 2011 predecessor, which is a good thing. It has a contemporary and conventional look and even its allowances for aerodynamics (such as the protruding headlights) look decent on the car. The base models have 16-inch steel wheels (along with wheel covers), while other models have alloy wheels. The distinguishing feature of the range-topping SL models is the solar panel attached to the roof spoiler, which provides supplemental charging for the 12-volt battery of the LEAF. The car is powered by an 80-kilowatt (107HP) electric motor which is driven by a 24-kWh lithium-ion battery. Although the vehicle is single-speed, it takes 10 seconds to run from 0-60 mph thanks to the instantly available motor torque of 207 pound-feet and the car can hit a maximum speed of up to 90-mph. Both figures perfectly fit its intended purpose. The 2013 LEAF handles competently and predictably. However, people who are seeking maximum entertainment behind the wheel may not be satisfied with the numb steering and detached road feel of the car. But since the primary mission of the car is to move from one point to another in relative comfort, that cannot hinder sales. As mentioned earlier, you need to pay careful attention to the car’s battery charge state. When completely depleted, the 24 kWh battery pack may take nearly twenty hours to reach its full charge capacity on standard home current (110V). Installing a 240V Level 2 charging station (sold by Nissan dealers) in your home will significantly reduce that time, and the new 2013 6.6-kilowatt charger (which comes with all Leafs except base models) can charge the battery to its full capacity in only four hours. That’s a great improvement compared to the previous 3.3-kilowatt charger, which took up to 10 hours to fully recharge from a 240V Level 2 charging station. With the advancement in technology today, a smartphone can be used to operate or control almost anything and the LEAF is no exception. Through a smartphone app, you can set charging times to maximize on off-peak rates, heat the cabin and cool the cabin for summer comfort. The smartphone app also allows you to keep tabs on the charging process as you will be alerted in case charging is interrupted. But if you don’t have a smartphone, don’t worry as most of these functions can be controlled via the display screen of the car. Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYWjd0-NuBI The Future Of Green Car Industry Although the electric cars are a bit costly today, the price will obviously reduce. More and more people will opt for the cars due to their benefits to the environment. There shall come a time when combustion cars would be so few and the air would not be full of CO2 that gasoline-fueled cars are often associated with. In fact, Nissan has tried to capture that period by creating an aromatic blueprint’ which imitates how the world would smell like in a green future with zero-carbon emission cars. Resources: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/leaf http://www.thegreencarwebsite.co.uk/blog/index.php/2013/12/12/nissan-creates-scent-of-the-zero-emission-future/ http://www.thegreencarwebsite.co.uk/blog/index.php/2010/12/09/cost-of-nissan-leaf-falls-as-experts-predict-47-residual-value/
  10. Hello pentago, welcome to Green Blog! :)