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Found 131 results

  1. For the very first time in Germany’s history, clean power is supplying nearly all of its power demand, making a milestone for the “Energiewende” policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel which aims to boost renewables and eliminate dependency on fossil fuel and nuclear energy. Just recently, the country’s renewables supplied 45.5 gigawatts of the 45.8 gigawatt demand, according to an energy consulting firm in Berlin, Agora Energiewende. Power prices dropped during periods of 15 minutes, going as low as -$57 (50 euros) per megawatt hour based on Epex Spot’s data. European countries are building more and more renewable capacity to lower carbon emissions and increase supply security. More and more energy consulting firms are being hired by companies who want to become energy efficient. In 2015, Denmark’s wind farms provided 140% of the demand. In the United Kingdom, no coal-fired power stations were used for roughly 4 hours on May 10th. Bloomberg’s analyst for New Energy Finance, Monne Depraetere, said that it is events such as these that show that at some point in the future we may begin limiting due to an oversupply. This may eventually provide a case to create technologies that will help manage such oversupply including energy storage and inter connectors. Germany’s shift to clean energy has gripped coal margins while increasing cost for consumers in the biggest power market in Europe. The increased clean energy flow have also put pressure on the grid and now Germany is considering excluding some regions from wind power auctions in the future if local grids are already having a difficult time keeping up with the high volume of renewable energy supplies. According to Depraetere, although Germany used 100% renewable energy for a day, it’s unlikely that the current generation will see a 100% supply of clean energy. Meanwhile, Europe’s clean technology industry overall has fallen into a fast decline and last year’s low carbon energy investments have plummeted to a record low. In 2010, Europe comprised 45% of the global clean energy investment but in 2011 after peaking $132billion, the EU investment dipped by around 50% with just $58billion invested in 2015. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)’s chairman of the board, Michael Liebreich, stated that the global financial crisis is partly to blame. However, he also pointed out that policymakers also made their share of mistakes and they collectively created a boom-bust cycle by first showing strong support for renewable energy and then rowing back due to their fear of the costs of subsidies. Manufacturers in EU have also suffered. They were once the world leader in solar panel manufacture and now they no longer have any companies that belong to the top 10 globally. Jobs have been lost and in Europe, employment in PVs have fallen to over a third. The future of clean energy technology is still uncertain in Europe and in most parts of the world however, awareness still continues to grow among the general population.
  2. Seems like everyone these days is trying to become a little greener. You probably already recycle and if you’re lucky, maybe have even upgraded to a hybrid car. But what can you do for your home? There is certainly an environmental benefit of conserving energy and resources and can help the earth stay clean, but in the end it also saves you money to improve your energy at home. There are small things you can start doing today and more long-term solutions that you can plan for in the near future to make your living space much greener and more wallet-friendly. Close Doors Any rooms or spaces in your home that you use on a minimal basis do not need to be consistently heated or cooled. Any spare rooms or even closets that you can close off means less space that you are using energy to heat or cool. Just by simply closing a door or two, you can cut down on heating or cooling costs depending on the season. Use Curtains In the wintertime as soon as the sun is up, open your curtains. Free heat! It will come in through your windows and warm your space so your heater is not working as hard. Likewise, in the hotter months, draw the shades during the warmer hours of the day so you keep the sun out and cool air in. This will decrease the use of central air and any air conditioning units that have a built in thermostat. Insulate It's pretty simple to do at least temporary insulation around your home. Quick weather stripping around doors and plastic covering over unused windows are quick and easy insulating jobs that take minimal time and money. Less obvious insulating options are things like using a propane tank Powerblanket and insulating any indoor duct systems. Lighten Up If you are building a house, or planning to replace your existing roof, choose a lighter color shingle for your roof. It's one of the things that many people don't think of, but darker colors attract sunlight which in turn attract heat which makes for a much more difficult time cooling your home in the hotter seasons. This is a more long-term solution, but can really make a difference in how much energy you spend. Tree Time Obviously, planting a tree at all is a long-term commitment and although you can get fairly mature trees, it takes time for most to reach the point of maturity to offer shade. But it's one of the greenest ways to add shade to your home in a natural and beautiful way. Try deciduous trees for great results, and see if you can add bushes for added shade as well. Install Smart Systems Many new homes come equipped with smart systems for everything, but you can start installing these same systems in your home especially for energy purposes. The easiest solution is a thermostat you can control from your smart phone to regulate temperature and energy use of your heating or cooling system even when you're not home. There are countless small and innovative ways to maximize your energy resourcefulness in your home. Some you can easily start today, and many you can start planning today. Either way, make a plan to have a greener dream home.
  3. Most manufacturers understandably focus on essential business systems like Kanban, Six Sigma and lean manufacturing. However, green manufacturing processes will also lower costs and increase revenues. Here are three major benefits of implementing green manufacturing into your business. Reduce Energy Costs Energy and water bills are very high for most manufacturing companies. A large portion of these expenses are actually caused by long periods of equipment standby and downtime. Strategic production planning and tighter schedules will reduce waste. Regular equipment inspections help through identifying problems, such as air compressor leaks. Changing product processing and packing can also save time and costs. Consider switching to energy-efficient lights and upgrading equipment to energy-saving models. There are many government reimbursements available for companies that buy efficient machinery and install solar or wind energy equipment. Manufacturers must also research how to sell production waste. For example, lumber manufacturing facilities often sell bark and sawdust. Sustainable Maintenance A green maintenance approach proactively evaluates the impact of machine failures on both employee performance and environmental conditions. The goal is to monitor equipment functioning and implement preventive maintenance actions. For example, dynamometers are used to monitor heavy equipment testing systems. Some companies, like Power Test Inc., have dynamometers that test electric engines. Performing such tests makes production easier to manage. Sustainable maintenance will accurately predict when energy consumption levels peak and when material degradation threatens the environment. As a result, maintenance managers can effectively mitigating risks and avoid operational repair costs. One of the best ways to implement an eco-friendly preventative maintenance program is through regular equipment maintenance check sheets that are performed by operators and turned into maintenance. Designing for Sustainability When new manufacturing systems are proposed, life cycle cost analyses should be performed during the conceptual design stage to evaluate the best engineering solutions that offer the highest levels of reliability and maintainability. This will help key decision makers identify potential financial gains or losses from poor operational and maintenance practices. During the planning stage, management can evaluate and compare the maintenance needs and energy consumption levels of proposed equipment. Management can thus select higher efficiency motors, alternative fuels or more eco-friendly energy sources. An additional benefit of sustainability planning during the life cycle cost analysis is that it will be easier to smaller, energy-efficient alternatives and avoid oversized equipment. Complex production systems will most likely require an outside consultant to perform an environmental impact and risk analysis. Sustainable businesses practices will control costs and curb environmental impacts through efficient asset and maintenance management. Keep in mind that these benefits and improvements are often realized as annual savings instead of quick, short-term savings.
  4. If you're in need of a new water heater for your residence, you may want to consider taking the tankless path. Tankless water heaters are becoming more and more common in homes these days due to their numerous energy-efficient advantages. These types of water heaters can be terrific for households that are serious about using less money. Tankless Water Heaters Last Long Tankless water heaters generally have longer lives than their standard water heater counterparts. They also don't cost anywhere near as much money to run. The majority of tankless water heaters out there can stay in good condition for more than two decades. If you want to enjoy reduced energy and running costs for 20 plus years, a tankless water heater in your home can indeed be a wise and energy-efficient option to consider. If you want to get a tankless water heater, a company like Knights Plumbing & Drain can help you with the installation process. The Frustration of Standby Heat Loss Storage water heaters are often linked to drops in standby heat. The H20 in storage water heaters is being heated nonstop. That can lead to wastes of energy at all times, which is referred to as standby heat loss. If you want to avoid the stress of wastes of energy, getting a tankless water heater can be highly beneficial for you. Tankless water heaters are the sole water heaters that don't trigger standby water losses. If you want reduced monthly utility bills and a mind that's totally free of worries about standby water losses, then a tankless water heater can indeed be a good thing for your property. Power Needs Tankless water heaters are convenient because they solely require sufficient power to heat the exact amount of H20 you need for the specified time. If you don't like the idea of being wasteful and heating water that you simply don't need for the time-being, a tankless water heater can be a source of immense peace of mind for you. These kinds of water heaters, simply put, only heat what they immediately need. There's no simpler way to put it. There are truly many exciting energy-efficient perks that are part of owning a tankless water heater. There are also, however, a number of advantages that don't involve energy efficiency. These go beyond money savings, too. Tankless water heaters can be great for compact residences such as apartments. They don't require anywhere near as much space as other types of water heaters. They also are great because they can always provide you with nice hot water, no matter what.
  5. Efficient energy is something that the world desperately needs now. Growing populations in many areas of the world have stretched the needs of energy suppliers who often need to struggle to keep up with the demand. For many populations in need, the existing infrastructure cannot keep up with the demands. In other cases, the supply of energy is too expensive for the community. 1. Much of the World Lives Without Electricity Many find it hard to believe, but experts estimate that, by 2035, there will still be one or two billion people living without access to power. Most of these people live in developing countries where economic resources to get electricity are rare. Some of the solutions that people in this situation require use a lot of power making efficiency more important. Professionals need to find a careful balance between meeting demand while keeping the energy sources efficient. 2. Some Places Require Greatly Increased Capacity Although power plants will expand by a relatively small margin, some areas will require a large installed capacity rate. For example, if Sub-Saharan Africa were to increase their capacity to match that of South Africa's, the increase would need to be by 33 percent. Many companies, such as Opportune, work to explore economic solutions where places in need of more power can meet their demands. 3. Greater Efficiency Saves Money Efficient energy has fewer costs for both suppliers and customers, which is a winning situation all around. It is easier to expand energy resources in growing areas when residents have economic choices. In areas where people are receiving electricity for the first time, economical options make the delivery easier. As these communities save money, they will have more to reinvest when they must upgrade their infrastructure. 4. Efficient Options Help the Economy There are many ways in which efficient energy helps boost the economy. People who don't need to spend as much on energy costs can spend more in their local economy. Another advantage of efficient energy is the fact that it encourages further innovations and also encourages job growth to help deliver more energy. This combination is one that has the greatest overall benefit. As the world's population grows, efficient sources will become more necessary. However, there are many power-related resources available to help make energy more efficient as the demand grows. Professionals in the industry are dedicated to working hard to ensure that the growth and efficiency can keep up with the demand.
  6. At the end of 2013, the wind farms installed in more than 85 countries had a combined generating capacity of 318,000 megawatts, which would be enough to meet the residential electricity needs of the European Union’s 506 million people. New data from the Global Wind Energy Council show that wind developers built 35,000 megawatts of new generating capacity worldwide in 2013. This was down from 45,000 megawatts installed in 2012—marking only the second time in 25 years that installed capacity increased by less than it did the year before. The principal reason for the decline in new capacity was a more than 90 percent drop in U.S. wind farm installations from a record 13,000 megawatts in 2012. Although the United States has the second-highest wind power capacity in the world—some 61,000 megawatts—a lack of long-term policy planning has led to several such boom-and-bust cycles. Despite the dearth of new capacity, there were many bright spots for U.S. wind power in 2013. Wind accounted for at least 12 percent of the electricity generated in nine states, including Iowa (27 percent) and South Dakota (26 percent). Iowa will get another boost from a $1.9 billion deal announced in December 2013: Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Company purchased Siemens turbines totaling more than 1,000 megawatts, all destined for Iowa wind projects. When complete in 2015, these wind farms will likely bring the wind share of electricity in Iowa to at least 33 percent. Wind’s contribution to the grid is also growing in Texas, the U.S. wind capacity leader with 12,400 megawatts. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas reports that wind farms produced nearly 10 percent of the electricity delivered to its 24 million customers in 2013. And with the early-2014 completion of state-funded transmission projects linking windy West Texas and the Panhandle to population centers to the east, Texas can accommodate even more clean electricity on the grid. The state has 7,000 megawatts of new wind power capacity under construction, more than half of the 12,000 megawatts currently being built nationwide. China has led the world in installed capacity since surpassing the United States in 2010. In contrast to the drop in U.S. installations in 2013, China’s wind construction accelerated—adding 16,000 megawatts to reach a total 91,000 megawatts. Wind further solidified its role as the number three electricity source in China (behind coal and hydropower), out-generating nuclear power by an impressive 22 percent. The National Energy Administration aims to make wind-generated electricity cost-competitive with coal by 2020. (See data.) As in Texas and many other places around the world, some of China’s best wind resources are found far from major cities where electricity demand is high. High-voltage transmission lines now under construction will connect wind-rich provinces in the north and west with more populous ones in the central and eastern provinces. For example, one project linking remote Xinjiang province to the 4 million people in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, was completed in early 2014. Infrastructure projects such as this one will be critical in reaching the official Chinese goal of 200,000 megawatts of grid-connected wind capacity by 2020. India, the country with the fifth-highest amount of installed capacity, added 1,700 megawatts in 2013 to cross the 20,000 megawatt threshold. Although this was 25 percent less new capacity than in 2012, India is poised to grow its wind power base dramatically in the coming years. In January 2014, the government announced a National Wind Energy Mission—in the spirit of the country’s National Solar Mission—to be launched mid-year. By beefing up the grid and using incentives to attract investment to wind hotspots, the program aims to hit 100,000 megawatts of wind within eight years. Development is picking up elsewhere in Asia as well. In Pakistan, wind power capacity doubled to 100 megawatts in 2013 and will double again when two 50-megawatt projects go online in 2014. Thailand also doubled its wind capacity in 2013, reaching 220 megawatts. And the Philippines has seven projects due for completion in 2014 that will expand wind capacity there 13-fold to 450 megawatts. Before China’s recent surge, Europe was the leading wind power region. Germany, which added 3,200 megawatts in 2013, ranks third worldwide in total capacity, with 34,000 megawatts. Four of its northern states regularly get half or more of their electricity from wind farms. When it comes to wind’s contribution to national electricity needs, European countries top the leaderboard. Denmark gets one third of its electricity from wind, well on its way to a target of 50 percent by 2020. Portugal, Lithuania, Spain, and Ireland come in at around 20 percent each. In fact, wind came within a percentage point of beating nuclear power for the title of Spain’s number one electricity source in 2013. And Germany, Europe’s largest economy, obtained 8 percent of its electricity from wind farms. While some of the larger European wind power markets, including Spain, Italy, and France, have slowed down, smaller players are speeding up. Poland and Romania each expanded their wind power capacity by 36 percent in 2013, to 3,400 and 2,600 megawatts, respectively. And in Turkey, even though the approval process for projects is slow, wind capacity grew by 28 percent to nearly 3,000 megawatts. One region with enormous wind potential but little development so far is Latin America. Brazil, best known for getting 80 percent of its electricity from large hydropower, hosts the most wind power capacity in the region—now close to 3,500 megawatts after a 950-megawatt addition in 2013. At government auctions, wind companies have won more than half of all contracts to sell electricity since 2011, according to Bloomberg data. Some 10,000 megawatts of wind may be installed in Brazil between 2014 and 2019. Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay also added wind power in 2013. In all of Africa, just one project added capacity in 2013. The final 90 megawatts of Ethiopia’s 120-megawatt Ashegoda Wind Farm went into operation, more than doubling the country’s wind capacity to 170 megawatts. South Africa has 2,100 megawatts of wind power in the pipeline, including 750 megawatts to be added in 2014 alone. Offshore projects account for just over 2 percent of the wind capacity installed worldwide. Having hit a seventh straight annual installation record in 2013, however, offshore wind is growing fast. More than half of the 7,100 megawatts of offshore capacity belongs to the United Kingdom, which installed 730 megawatts in its waters in 2013. Denmark, Germany, and Belgium each added at least 190 megawatts to their totals, while China added 39 megawatts. Both Vietnam and Spain added offshore wind capacity for the first time, as did the United States, although the U.S. project was one very small demonstration turbine off the coast of Maine. Offshore wind is still one of the more expensive electricity generating technologies, but onshore wind is often highly competitive with coal, natural gas, and nuclear power in areas with strong wind resources. And costs continue to fall as wind manufacturers steadily improve turbine efficiency, harnessing more wind per machine. In the United States, the average price of wind-generated electricity has dropped 40 percent since 2009. After a slower year in 2013, world wind installations will bounce back in 2014, perhaps to a new record—the Global Wind Energy Council sees the potential for 47,000 megawatts. Roughly half of the total will be built in China and the United States (around three times more in the former than in the latter). This is good news for the wind business, for electricity consumers, and for people who value cleaner air and water. But increasingly dire scientific warnings about the consequences of climate change mean that the world will need to accelerate the shift to carbon-free, renewable sources of energy even more so in the years to come. By J. Matthew Roney.
  7. There are about 15 million cars on the roads of Australia and half a million motorcycles, compared to the 255 million cars in the U.S., account for 40% of their fuel consumption. Interestingly enough, only 16% of the consumed fuel is used for driving, the rest is for heating and supporting other systems in the vehicle. A professor from Virginia Tech's College of Engineering, named Lei Zuo has the solution. He developed a way to harvest energy from the car’s suspension. There are three ways to generate energy while driving, he said. First one is through the heat released by the working engine, second one consists in recovering kinetic energy captivated during braking, and the last one is via vibrational energy given off by the car’s shock absorbers. Zuo’s innovational shock absorbers translate the vertical vibrations into circular motion, which rotates a generator. The electricity, produced in it, is delivered directly to the car’s electrical devices or battery. What was challenging until now, is the conversion of bidirectional motion into a unidirectional one, necessary to drive a generator. Zuo invented a brilliant combination of gears which allows the two-way motion to convert into electricity. Virginia’s professor calculations suggest that among 100 and 400 watts of energy can be provided by the vibrations of car’s shock absorbers. And this is only if you are driving on a normal road. Rougher tracks would generate even more energy. It will increase the fuel efficiency up to 5%, which will save up to $19 billion spent on fuel per year. Zuo says that his innovation helps the generator to work at a constant speed, which decreases the load on the gear teeth and makes the whole system more stable and efficient. Additionally, the generator keeps spinning even after the shock absorber have stopped vibrating, which increases the volume of harvested energy. His students have built the exemplary model with off-the-rack components and have tested it on the campus roads. Their model has managed to harvest 60% of the available energy, which is an essential progress in comparison to other designs. Besides, Zuo is certain that with quality components and precise manufacturing the efficiency could come up to 85%. Furthermore, Zuo explains that his invention can be modified entirely in terms of function and space, and can be joined in every vehicle without changing anything on it. Resources: mechanism.com Geelong house cleaners phys.org
  8. The demand for energy grows as the population of our planet increases. By conserving, recycling, repurposing, and creating new sources of energy, we can get the same job done without depleting our natural resources and adding to pollution. Here are four modern problems surrounding energy issues and how they can be solved. Sustainable Communities People living in highly populated urban areas need energy resources in large amounts, creating high demand and large impacts on the environment. Developing energy solutions used in highly populated areas have a major impact. For example, making it easier for people to ride public transit, cycle, or walk for everyday trips conserves energy and reduces the use of fossil fuels. Developing green buildings, which emit less pollution, results in cleaner air and water as well. Biosolids The sewage generated from large populated areas was traditionally pumped into the waterways causing pollution. As sewage management progressed, the solids filtered from sewage were transported to landfills or incinerated. None of these methods are earth-friendly. The advent of biosolids, which turns sewage into agricultural materials by using industrial dryers, greatly reduces fuel consumption. Companies like Uzelac Industries use this self-sufficient system to recycle biosolids into useful agricultural materials. Recycling Food Waste Today, high volumes of food waste in the beef and poultry industry, as well as many other types of commercial food waste from manufacturing, is a concern for many environmentalists. As organic removal and recycling services grow, they help many food manufacturers reach recycling goals and reduce waste output. The waste collected is recycled into high-energy animal feed ingredients which reduces the amount of waste put into landfills, provides animal feed, and saves energy that would be used to transport and process the waste. Recycling makes a useful product out of material that would otherwise be an adverse issue. Substitutes for Fossil Fuels Finding alternatives in place of costly fossil fuels is a need in many industries. Many different types are still being experimented with and studied, like ethanol, biofuels, and hydrogen fuels. Urban waste water can be used as an inexpensive, carbon-neutral substitute for fossil fuels. Using drying systems, large metro areas take the huge levels of sludge a large population generates, and reduces the liquid. Then, this dried sludge can be used to produce energy that's sustainable, easily available and cheaper than fossil fuels. The levels of energy needed to sustain the population grow each day. Solutions that preserve the environment and conserve energy are important to the health of the planet. To meet that demand, it's important to look to adopting earth-friendly solutions that recycle and conserve energy while creating renewable sources.
  9. All families should be interested in saving on their energy costs, but it can be difficult for some to achieve these savings during the winter. Energy costs are going to naturally go up as the temperatures cool down, but there are still several ways you can save some money. If you follow these four tips, then you should be able to live comfortably in your home, while still saving a few dollars each month this winter. Lower Water Heater Temperature Most people have their water heater temperature set higher than they actually need. Setting your water heater around 120 degrees Fahrenheit has the potential to save you a lot this winter. It may take slightly longer to get hotter water in the sink and shower, but the savings makes the wait well worth it. Open Curtains during the Day The sun may not come out every day during the winter months, so you need to take advantage of it when it does appear. Opening the curtains to let the sun in is a great way to naturally heat your home without have to spend any money. Make sure to close the curtains and blinds when the sun goes down so you keep all of this extra heat in your home. Turn down Thermostat The cold weather outside may compel you to turn up your thermostat a few degrees, but you need to resist this urge if you want to save money. Keeping your home a few degrees cooler than normal has the potential to save you hundreds of dollars during the winter season. You should have no problem staying comfortably warm in your home if you wear a sweater or bundle up with an extra blanket. Properly Insulate Your energy costs are going to be high enough this winter, so don’t add to your own costs with poor insulation. If you do not have the proper insulation, then the warm air from the furnace will escape your home at a faster rate. This requires your furnace to run longer than it should to make up for the escaping warm air. A local heating company like Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc. should be able to direct you to problem areas you might have, and keep your heat pumps running smoothly. There is no reason to be intimidated by the potentially high energy costs this winter. When you implement these four changes into your normal routine it will help your house run a little less energy, and keep you toasty and warm.
  10. 8 Ways To Go Green At Home

    As everyone is talking about the climate changes, global warming and sustainability, it seems like all “passionate” supporters of the green idea are just talking, but they lack action. But I’m happy that you want to take action and change things for good. If you want to live in a greener, cleaner planet, remember that any change begins within ourselves. Limit your environmental impact, live a healthier life and save money by following these simple steps. 1. Forget about bottled water. Instead, buy water filters to clean tap water. When on the go, opt for a reusable bottle, preferably aluminium one. 2. Borrow. Go to the library and borrow the books you want to read, instead of buying them from the bookstore. 3. Make your own natural cleaners: Usually all the ingredients you need are vinegar, baking soda, lemon and soap. When choosing a cleaning company, hire the one that uses bio detergents in the cleaning process. This company, for instance, works with natural, eco-friendly detergents. 4. Get out of the car. Reduce the harmful exhaust emissions by walking or cycling to work. In addition to the saved money, you will also improve your health and reduce the risk of obesity. 5. Save energy: Turn your thermostat down a few degrees in the winter and increase the temperature a few degrees in the summer. This way you will save money on heating and cooling. Replace the old incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent ones. Unplug appliances when not being used, or buy "smart" power strips. They feel when appliances are off and eliminate "phantom" energy use. Instead of machine drying, hang the laundry on a clothesline or on a drying rack. Improve the insulation, install solar panels, upgrade the windows. 6. Save water: Invest in a low-flow showerhead. Take shorter showers, bathe with warm, not hot water. In the garden, grow native plants which require few and far between waterings. 7. Use reusable shopping bags. Put one in your handbag, at home, on your desk, in the car, or any place where it would be useful. 8. Buy smart: Look in thrift stores, garage sales and consignment shops for clothing and furnishings. Buy in bulk. Save on packaging and money. Invest in high-quality products. Paying more now means less frequently replacing of household items, clothes, appliances, etc. Resources: Worldwatch.org
  11. In the recent past, doing your part to save the environment meant recycling plastic containers, buying organic vegetables and using canvas tote bags. Today, there are more ways to live green than ever before. In fact, a few simple changes can help you create a greener, healthier home. Here are five decorating ideas to consider. Marry Your Interior and Exterior Home One of the easiest ways to green up your home is to blur the lines between the interior and exterior living spaces. Opening your doors and windows is one way to bring the outdoors inside. If you are planning a home renovation, consider installing a window wall that opens an entire room to the outdoors. Screens allow you to let in fresh air while keeping the bugs and other pests outside. Install Energy-Efficient Lighting Fixtures The right lighting fixtures can give your home an aesthetic appeal that is eco-friendly and functional. Old fixtures use a lot of energy, which can drive up your electricity bills. Replace them with energy-saving fixtures, such as those with Energy Star certification, or even solar-powered models. Replace your standard, incandescent bulbs with energy-saving alternatives such as light-emitting diodes (LED) or compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Decorate With Indoor and Outdoor Plants Nothing says green living like live plants. Besides adding beauty to your home, plants from places like Green Smart Decor provide a relaxing outdoor hobby and help reduce indoor air pollution. Choose low-light, low-water houseplants for indoor decorating, and water them with rainwater or water you would otherwise discard. Outdoors, use the right soil and appropriate fertilizers, and water your plants frequently to keep the soil from drying out. Beautify Your Home With Reclaimed Water While luscious greenery is a great way to green your home and lawn, it comes at the price of high energy bills. If you are renovating your home or designing a new one, consider installing reclaimed water solutions. For example, try drainage systems that use rainwater to feed your lawn and outdoor landscaping. Save Water With Artificial Leaf Panels Artificial leaf panels are a good way to green your home without adding to your water bills. In addition to their easy installation and natural appearance, polyurethane panels provide ultraviolet (UV) protection and noise insulation. They are also weather-resistant, pest-free and unattractive to pets. Green Smart Décor offers a variety of panel options including ficus and ivy. "Going green" does not have to mean "going expensive" with solar panels or bamboo flooring. Simple changes like the ones above can make your home a greener, safer, healthier place to live. Begin with small steps and make a commitment to change your habits over time.
  12. With energy costs on the rise along with pollution and traffic congestion, energy-efficient vehicles are excellent investments. Most of us own vehicles and depend on them for daily transportation. It makes sense to get one that can save money while also helping to keep the environment clean. The benefits like environmental friendliness and savings on fuel are well known; however, there are a few other benefits that you may not know about. Lower Costs The cost of gas is not the only expense with which vehicle owners have to contend. Insurance is another significant cost that comes with owning all types of vehicles. Many car insurance companies provide their customers with discounts for owning an energy-efficient vehicle. Some insurance companies even have divisions that are dedicated to policies for eco-friendly vehicles and which provide discounts. Hybrid drivers may also be eligible for good driver and other discounts as well. All major insurance providers offer some sort of discount for drivers of hybrids and electrical cars. Aside from replacing parts like tires and wiper blades, there is not a lot of maintenance needed for electric cars. For one thing, the brake pads last longer since these vehicles use regenerative braking to slow the vehicle down. Regenerative braking converts the energy used in slowing the vehicle into electricity, which is stored in the battery. They Are Safe Hybrid and electric vehicles are as safe as cars that are fueled by gasoline. In the past, concerns have been raised regarding the potential for accidents to cause chemical spills because of the batteries; however, such accidents have not occurred in the decade since these cars first became widely available. Still, it is necessary to take precautions when driving any vehicle, regardless of the fuel source. Eric Harron, a car accident lawyer in Austin, advises all motorists to avoid aggressive driving and to minimize distractions regardless of what vehicle is being driven. They Are Just as Comfortable as Conventional Vehicles When it comes to comfort and ease of driving, there is no difference between an all-gas vehicle and an energy-efficient. Hybrids are able to accelerate and to cruise just as fast on the highway. Most hybrids come with the luxury features expected of modern vehicles. These include navigation systems, keyless start and automatic climate control. Most hybrids are able to move at least four adults in reasonable comfort and some can transport as many as eight. They are a Good Investment The economic aspects of buying an energy efficient vehicle can be tricky. Many experts have deemed hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles to be poor investments based on the fuel savings. It is true that the value of a hybrid can fluctuate depending on gas prices. However, one area that many calculations fail to take into consideration is resale value. One 2011 study by Carnegie Mellon University used auction data to show that two energy efficient vehicles (the Toyota Prius and the Volkswagen Jetta TDI) retained thousands of dollars of their value in comparison to gas-only vehicles. More people are turning to hybrids in order to save on fuel and to help protect the environment, which means that there is a greater demand. That demand leads to above-average resale value. The Technology is Not New Even though hybrids and electrical vehicles have been on the market for a while now, many motorists may be concerned about investing in what may be perceived as relatively new technology. The truth is that electric cars were around as far back as the early 20th century. They were among the earliest American-made vehicles. The technology has evolved considerably since then and modern electrical cars are even more efficient and powerful. The benefits above are some of the reasons that hybrids and electrical vehicles are among the fastest growing segments of the auto industry. Furthermore, the popularity of energy efficient vehicles means that there is a wide variety from which to choose. Shop around to find something that meets your needs and those of your family.
  13. Three Incredible Uses of Paper Bags

    Since their invention over 100 years ago, paper bags have become one of the most ubiquitous products on the planet, and they continue to impress in the modern age due to their eco-friendly credentials. You can use an old paper bags to cook popcorn, protect your plants, cover your children’s text books, make puppets, or construct luminaries, and that’s just a small list. Some people have taken reusing paper bags to the next level. Paper Bag Stairs Rachel Evans’ staircase is one of a kind. Upon first inspection you might imagine that they are made of either cork or burled wood, but look very close and you might just notice that they’re MDF covered with stained brown paper. Of course, you probably wouldn’t guess that real wood hadn’t been used. This inexpensive solution made the treads look totally authentic, and Rachel did it all using just the brown craft paper from which paper bags are made, white glue, dark walnut stain, and floor-grade polyurethane semi-gloss. Paper Bag Lamp Shades Perhaps not quite as striking as Evans’ paper bag stairs, one homeowner decided to do something a little more immediately arresting. When you turn a lamp on in their house, you’ll find yourself bathed in the warm, homely glow produced by light filtering through a paper bag. Folded cleverly around and they attached at each end, the paper bag lamp shade looks great even when the lamp is off. Turn it on, and something usually seen as drab becomes something completely out of the ordinary. Paper Bag Wall A man named Duane posted something similarly eye-catching on popular creative site Cottage in the Oaks. Duane reported that he have saved up every square inch of wrapping paper and decorative paper bags for years. Once he felt like he had enough, he began to wallpaper his foyer with them. The result is a fascinating patchwork construction of corporate logos, strikingly patterned wrapping, and odd bits and pieces which would otherwise have been long forgotten. Each piece was stuck down to a patch of wall covered in wet paint. They were then smoothed out and covered in a water-based sealer. Of course, you don’t have to take things that far, but it’s always fascinating to hear about those who have done so.
  14. Did your last energy bill take you by surprise? Yes? And you thought your home was energy efficient. So the best choice you have in order to avoid unpleasant surprises of that particular type is to singlehandedly assess your home's energy efficiency. You can run some tests and see for yourself what you have to do in order to make make your house more energy efficient. If you do, you'll not only save money on electricity bills, you'll also be ensuring your personal safety and the safety of your home. Look for Air LeaksSo to start with, first check your house for any air leaks (drafts). These drafty areas fail to keep warmth inside during the winter months and respectively, the cool air in the summer. Fixing these problems can help you save as much as 30 percent on energy bills each year and on top of that will make your home much more comfortable. Begin by checking for air leaks near windows, doors and vents. If you find any you can easily take care of them yourself by simply airsealing around doors and resealing the caulking on your windows. Make sure you check your flooring and vents as well as all outside areas where different materials meet. Replace Inefficient LightingMost people don't know that, but around 10 percent of your electricity bill is due to lighting charges. So if you still haven't replaced your old incandescent light bulbs, it's high time you did. You can opt for the spiral compact flourescent lamps (CFLs), or the so-called LEDs – light-emitting diodes. They are a bit more expensive than your ordinary bulbs, but are a much better investment because they last a lot longer. Something more, they also let off more delicate light and use less energy, which is another plus and significantly contributes to the return on your investment. Large Household Appliances InspectionAn important step towards making your home more energy efficient and reducing your electricity bills is inspecting your household appliances. The surest sign something's not right with a device would be the loud noises coming out of it and its impaired efficiency. To lighten the workload of some devices, prolong their lifespan and save up on energy, you might want to consider: Buying new and more energy-efficient home appliances with the Energy Star label. It might seem a bit on the expensive side but in the long run the investment will pay off, especially if you take good care of the new device.Switching off or unplugging items from the power grid when you aren't using them. Unplugging them will prevent the so-called vampire draw or phantom loads which refers to the consumed by your appliances electricity when they're in switched off.Regular Air Filter ReplacementReplacing your air filters can also go a long way towards making your home more energy efficient. Ultimately, you should replace the air filters of your ventilation on a monthly basis. Otherwise the debris and dust in the air system will impair the airflow and cause the system's capacity to go down. As a consequence, it will need more energy to heat/cool your house. The regular air filter maintenance also means that no dust and debris will fall out of the vents. So you're saving money on both energy and house cleaning services. Insulation CheckupIn the last few months Melbourne, and Australia as a whole, saw some scorching heats. So if you want to stay cool this summer you better check the insulation of your house. Otherwise, given today's energy prices, the cool loss during the hot summer and the heat loss in winter will make your energy bills skyrocket.
  15. With utility bills on the rise, we are all looking for the most feasible ways to maximize the energy efficiency of our homes. Multiple studies performed by some of the most authoritative experts in the US, show that the roof is the easiest and often the most cost-effective way to cut down on electricity bills. Here are the top ways for greener roof and home: Choose Reflective Roofing Materials (The Cool Roof) The materials traditionally used for roofing tend to absorb the solar energy rather than deflect it, which often leads to higher energy expenses. When the roof temperature is high, more heat gets into your house and your air-conditioning appliances consume a lot more energy to reduce it. However, over the past few years a new type of materials emerged, which have solar reflective properties and help reduce the temperature of the roof with up to 30 percent. Furthermore, the modern cool roofing solutions are also very effective at releasing the accumulated solar heat and this is commonly known as high emittance property. Probably the simplest and most effective way to cool down your roof is with special coating, which is applied on top of the existing structure. In cases when you build new residence or remodel an existing roof, you should consider using lighter colored versions of asphalt and shingles. A great source of information about how to make virtually any type of roof cool is made available by the US Department of Evergy. Insulate the Roof & Attic To insulate your roof and attic in order to maximize energy efficiency around the house is really a no-brainer. However, when it comes to choosing the most suitable insulation for your specific needs, things get a bit more complicated – there are so many types out there that even experienced professionals can get confused. My personal advice is to use the R-value of the insulation to determine its heat transfer resistant properties – the higher these are the better ability the insulation will have to keep the heat inside your home, so that you don’t spend a fortune on utility bills. Sustainability Whether you are remodeling the existing roof of your house or you are building a new one, choosing the most sustainable materials will almost immediately result in energy savings. Most of the time with up to 30 percent! Choosing sustainable roofing materials requires seeking professional advice, from experienced roofer, like Apex Roofing in Texas. I don’t say you can’t get the job done yourself, but it will be much difficult as there are so many factors to consider, such as climate in the area, the type of the house and off course your budget. Once all these considerations are in place, you are ready to proceed with your roofing project and pick up the materials you will use. With these top ways to maximize the energy efficiency of your roof, you can quickly cut down on electricity bills by as much as 50 percent! If you do basic calculations for your utility savings, you will quickly realize how cost-effective roofing actually is.
  16. Conserving energy is a really big thing. The environment has really been suffering, and we need to something about it. Well, there’s a lot you can do, and starting with your home is the first step taken towards a greener, more economic home, and a healthier world. Energy efficient homes are becoming a real trend in the world, and that’s not without a reason. A lot of funds have been put into creating ideas for more energy efficient funds, and today, we can give you some tips on how to make your home more energy efficient. It’s actually quite possible to make your home more energy efficient while keeping the same comfort level, or even increasing the comfort level in the home. Energy efficient building practices can do wonders in that field. When you are building a new home, or you are renovating your current home, you can save a lot of money by going green. And even if you are not trying to renovate your home or build a new home, using green power can reduce the energy consumption from fossil fuels even more. The carbon footprint can always be lowered, and it’s the most green thing you can do. Going green is imperative in today’s world, since the world we have is taking a turn for the worse. So, why not save energy, save money, and contribute your little part in saving the world today? Make your home more energy efficient to do just that. But how do you do that? Where do you actually start? Try going small. Take the small steps towards achieving the big goal. For example, if the energy bill is really high, try cutting down on it. You can do a lot to reduce that number and actually help save the environment, and save money too. You should calculate the energy usage per every room in your home, and actually figure out what the cause of that much energy spending is. Maybe you are keeping the lights on too long. Maybe your windows aren’t really sealed well and are costing you a lot of energy. A lot of energy can be lost through windows, and it doesn’t really depends on curtains or blinds, they need to be sealed properly to prevent the endless wasting of energy in your home. Your light bulbs can also be a big waster of energy in your home. Lights bulbs that are outdated or that don’t fit the right power you need will spend a lot more energy than is needed, and will cost you a lot of money and energy, which in turn is not really a good thing for the environment. Lastly, you can always consult an expert. If you really don’t have a solid idea on what should you do to make your home more energy efficient, there are people who are in charge of that and can help you with that.
  17. Creating an eco-friendly home doesn't just mean switching off lights before heading out of the house or installing Energy Star appliances. Many families just need to change a few common habits in order to cut down on energy consumption. Before carrying out an expensive “green” overhaul of your home, take a look at these 5 mistakes that many families make during the summer without even realizing it. 1. Using Insulation Rolls and Batts Checking on insulation should be a yearly habit for everyone, but replacing old insulation with ineffective products is one common mistake that could cost you in the long run. Traditional insulation often comes in pre-fabricated shapes such as rolls and batts, but it is only blown-in and spray foam insulation that will get your attic's nooks and crannies. 2. Skipping an Energy Audit Most families aren't going to hire professional home energy auditors every single year, but you should never skip it for more than a few years in a row. These technicians are trained to go through almost every component of your property to find any energy inefficiencies. Even if they find just a single problem, an audit will often pay for itself within a few months. 3. Forgetting the AC Tune-Up An annual tune-up carried out by a company such as Team Electric is not only going to increase the lifespan of your HVAC system, but it is also going to cut down on monthly utility bills. Just as with any other major component in your home, these systems go through an incredible amount of wear-and-tear and a tune-up often includes changing filters, topping off fluids, lubing moving parts, and checking the accuracy of the thermostat. 4. Allowing Phantom Power Loss “Phantom” power loss is the name given to the small amount of electricity that devices and appliances consume when they are not actively being used. Everything from laptop chargers to coffee makers could be consuming enough electricity to increase your bills by hundreds every year. Attach these devices to a single power strip and turn them off before bed and when you are leaving for work. 5. Not Setting Your Programmable Thermostat Correctly A programmable thermostat is one of the single best investments for saving energy around the house, but many families are not using them to their full potential. The ideal settings are 82 degrees Fahrenheit when no one is home and no lower than 78 degrees when family members are in the house. If you tend to forget about changing the settings, consider setting automatic timers on the thermostat. When all of these common mistakes are remedied, your family could be looking at thousands of dollars in savings during the hottest months of the year.
  18. If you are a concerned eco-friendly entrepreneur, there are many inspiring and creative ways to make and keep your business “green” and help the environment in safe ways at the same time. Feel good about helping Mother Nature to maintain our natural resources for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. There is an extra benefit because it helps your reputation that consumers want to support a green business, and you can thus show customers that you care about the environment and are making strides for improvements within your business. Eco-friendly LandscapingProfessional landscaping for your business property lawn can be ordered that will save energy, water and money. Such inclusions can be drought-resistant plants, synthetic turf, strategically placed trees and more. Use All-natural, Organic and Recycled ProductsCleaning products and soaps can be purchased that use common organic materials that are much better for the environment. Office supplies including all types of paper, file folders, toilet paper, paper towels, cups, and plates can be purchased made from recycled products. Aerial Imagery and Conscience DiggingLearn from an oil company that uses the aerial photographic services of Terra Server to get imagery and the geography of areas to find appropriate places to dig where it will not harm the environment. You might have the type of business that needs to evaluate and analyze the working area landscape. Encourage Employees to RecycleKeep waste bins separate from recycling bins, and make sure they are clearly labeled to make their use easy. Explain to employees how good this is for the environment and how it cuts trash expenses. Also, ask the employees to make suggestions for ways the company can be made more eco-friendly. Cut Down on Wasted EnergyBe less wasteful and more energy-efficient by closing off unused rooms so they do not need to be heated and cooled, and setting the thermometer higher or lower depending on when you are open for business and when you are closed during non-business hours. Additionally, have employees shut off unused equipment including their computers at the end of the work day. By making your business more eco-friendly, or “going green”, the above measures will cut down on costs. By saving money in as many areas and ways as possible, you can spend more on important things such as marketing to grow your business.
  19. Energy waste and misuse is at an all-time high. This poorly coincides with the current state of the economy and job market. Home owners need to carefully conserve both resources and their hard earned money through being energy efficient. Below explains four tips to make your home more energy efficient. Energy Conservation One of the appliances that consumes the most energy is the water heater. Ensure that the water heater temperature is below 120 degrees. This will save energy and avoid potential overheating of plumbing pipes. Make sure that the dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer are energy efficient models. A recent USA Today report revealed that Americans waste 4 billion dollars every year through inefficient clothes dryers. A standard dryer will consume as much as an energy efficient refrigerator, dishwasher and clothes washer. Research by McKinsey & Company in 2009 found that American homes and businesses spend over $130 billion dollars to power standby appliances. If an appliance is not in use, unplug it. Schedule Regular Air Conditioner Tune-ups Most homes need an AC to regulate temperatures and maintain indoor air quality. However, air conditioners consume an enormous amount of energy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Energy Star certified AC’s are 15 percent more efficient than conventional models and can be installed by companies like Spokane Air Conditioning Installation. If an upgrade isn’t necessary, regularly scheduled AC maintenance will ensure that the unit runs smoothly and will save money in the long run. Most people don’t realize that indoor air pollution can be worse than the outside air. A recent study by the National Institute of Health has shown that cardiovascular health can be improved through air conditioning. Windows According to the National Resources Defense Council, over 30 percent of a home's total heat loss occurs through windows and doors. Replace older single-pane windows with double-pane windows. Check for drafts and seal all window edges and cracks with caulk. Consider using shades or drapes to keep out the heat during the summer and keeping them open on sunny winter days. Light Pollution Light pollution isn’t something to take lightly. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, over 30 percent of lighting is wasted. Incandescent lights are very inefficient and over 90 percent of the energy is wasted as heat. Fluorescent lights conserve more energy the longer they are turned on. Most importantly, turn off lights when nobody is in the room. Home owners can conserve energy and save money through upgrading appliances, scheduling AC tune-ups, upgrading windows and reducing light pollution. Through these steps, you will be well on your way to running a more energy efficient home while also saving some cash along the way.
  20. New data from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) shows that wind energy installations outperformed both coal and gas last year in the European Union. In fact, Europe closed down and retired more coal and gas capacity than they commissioned in 2014.   Across the 28 EU member states, the wind industry built a total of 11,791 MW to the European grid. In comparison, coal and gas added only 3,305 MW and 2,338 MW respectively of new capacity. The wind energy capacity increased by 3.8 percent in 2014 and cumulative installations is now standing at 128.8 GW in the EU. Wind power now cover 10 percent of the EU’s electricity consumption, up from 8% the year before. All in all, renewable power plants (and not just wind energy) accounted for 79.1% of new installations during 2014; 21.3GW of a total 26.9GW. Thomas Becker, chief executive officer of the European Wind Energy Association, said: "These numbers very much show Europe's continued commitment to renewable and wind energy. But this is no time for complacency. The uncertainty over the regulatory framework for the energy sector is a threat to the continued drive toward sustainable and homegrown energy that will guarantee Europe's energy security and competitiveness for the long-term." A Davos report, released earlier in January, warned that badly located renewable power plants are hampering the production from these new installations – and costing Europe as much as $100 billion. A solution to these sub-optimal deployments of renewable energy resources could be a more unified European energy market. “It's time for Europe's political leaders to create a truly European Energy Union and send a clear signal of their support for the shift to a secure and sustainable energy system,” Becker said. “Political will on their part is an essential piece of the puzzle.” These new EWEA-statistics also shows something worrying. This renewable energy transformation is not happening equally across Europe. Almost 60 percent all-new installations were in just two countries: Germany and the United Kingdom. These two country’s installed 5,279MW and 1,736MW respectively of new wind energy in 2014. "What we've seen in 2014 is a concentration of the industry in key countries," Becker said, adding "while markets in eastern and southern Europe continue to struggle in the face of erratic and harsh changes in the policy arena. We expect this concentration to continue into 2015." New wind power installations also saw a dramatic decline in countries such as Spain, Italy and Denmark who all installed much less wind than in previous years. Denmark might be nearing “peak wind” as it saw a drop in installations by over 90 percent. You can read the full EWEA report here.
  21. China has been the world’s largest consumer of energy since 2009 when the country surpassed the US. The majority of the energy which is produced and consumed in China comes from dirty fossil fuels. According to numbers from the International Energy Agency (IEA), about 78 percent of the total electricity generated in China between 2004 and 2010 came from coal. In 2007 China surpassed the US – yet again – and became the world’s largest greenhouse gas polluter. It’s worth pointing out though that China’s per capita emission numbers still lags behind those of more developed countries. However, this has obviously caused massive negative effects for the global climate, the local environment and Chinese people’s health. To combat this, China is investing heavily in more sustainable and cleaner energy sources. And they have done so for several years now. The country invested a total of $56.3 billion on wind, solar and other renewable projects in 2013. That year, China invested more on renewables than all of Europe combined and became the world leader in renewable energy investments. Last year China became a powerhouse for solar and wind as the country’s investments in renewable energy increased by 32 percent, to $89.5 billion. Unfortunately not everything is renewable energy as China has plans to triple its nuclear power capacity by 2020. And more than a third of the world’s nuclear reactors currently under construction can be found in China. But nuclear energy can’t seem to catch up with the deployment speed of renewable energy sources. Not even in China. Last year, China’s nuclear capacity reached 20,000 megawatts. But at the same time China added 23,000 megawatts of new wind energy capacity – a world record. Chinese wind power now has an amazing cumulative capacity of 115,000 megawatts. While Beijing plans that nuclear energy will generate 50,000 megawatts by 2020, analysts expects that the country’s wind power capacity will then have already reached 200,000 megawatts. To put things into perspective: wind power alone is now capable of powering more than 110 million homes in China. And if we only look at capacity, Chinese wind power now produce more energy than all of the nuclear power plants in the US. Renewable energy sources are being deployed much faster and on a bigger scale. And for the foreseeable future, nuclear energy is unlikely to match wind power in China. Despite this, coal remains king in China. But the energy landscape is changing ever so rapidly. And according to official data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics, coal dropped nearly 3 percent in 2014. All of this is encouraging. Particularly as new IEA data shows that global CO2 emissions stalled in 2014 while the economy actually grew. This marked the first time in four decades that the world economy grows while carbon emissions don't. Experts say that this change is likely due to an increasing worldwide deployment of renewable energy – and especially, a changing energy landscape in China.
  22. In this modern day and age, the amount of energy the world needs is increasing rapidly. This is due to many countries developing modern infrastructures that are able to support the heavy demands that increasing use of electricity creates. Along with the higher demand for electricity comes a higher demand for renewable and sustainable energy that keeps the world as eco friendly as possible. Let have a look at a few examples of some of the projects built around the world to supply this renewable energy. Three Gorges Dam, China China is at the forefront of many things in the world and they are now making a massive improvement to be at the forefront of being eco friendly. The Three Gorges Dam is the worlds largest hydroelectric dam and it's as impressive in performance as it is in sight. Its the first in the world to reach 18 gigawatts. To put that in perspective, 18 modern nuclear power plants cant even make that much electricity. This impressive project shows that even countries like China are doing a major part in keeping the world as clean and eco friendly as possible. ACWA Concentrated Solar Power Project Ouarzazate, Morocco This seriously impressive solar field takes use of suns rays to create energy. Built and created in Morocco, it generates around 160MW of electricity and holds up to 3 hours of storage. When it was built it was the first of its kind in Africa, although there have been several of these impressive built since its inception. It was built deep in the desert and some of the surrounding problems did cause a few threats but with a risk advisory service, the bio mass project was completed with a massive success. Tidal Barrage in Bretagne, France Just because renewable energy has become far more popular recently, it doesn't mean it wasn't thought of and created years ago! This huge project was built in the year of 1967 in France and cost $134 million to complete. The barge blocks the entrance to the River Rance, creating energy by allowing the water to pass through turbines, and is the largest type of power plant to do this throughout the world. Renewable and sustainable energy, like these projects, are vital if we are to keep our world healthy.
  23. Green Hybrid Cars: Top 2015 Models

    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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
  24. Members of the UK Parliament group, the Environmental Audit Committee, have in a report released last Monday called for a moratorium on the controversial shale gas extraction technology; fracking. This comes in the same week that Lancashire City Council in the North of England, was meant to have decided upon whether to grant fracking company Cuadrilla permission for two shale gas wells. On Wednesday the council said that they would need to defer the decision for eight weeks in response to legal advice. Half of the Environmental Audit Committee’s 16 members called for a moratorium on fracking in the report, which had been ordered following an inquiry on the environmental risk of the activity. The Committee consists of seven Conservative MPs, six Labour MPs, two Liberal Democrat MPs and one Green MP. In related news, on Monday, a cross party group of ten MPs also proposed a fracking moratorium motion in Parliament. One of the MPs, Labour’s Yasmin Qureshi, said: "The public have serious concerns about fracking that need to be listened to. In Lancashire where the council is set to decide on whether to allow fracking imminently, two thirds of the public are opposed. The Government should follow the example of New York and bring in a moratorium so that the risks of fracking can be properly assessed." That motion failed overwhelmingly when a majority of MP’s voted against it, including a large group of Labour MPs. However Labour did manage to insert amendments into the Government’s Infrastructure Bill that would tighten fracking regulation, which were subsequently accepted. Last week, Labour said that if they win May’s general election they will impose stricter regulations on the fracking industry, including banning fracking activities near water aquifers. Supporters of the growing anti fracking movement will say that the case for banning fracking is getting stronger, highlighting decisions like the one by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo decision to ban fracking in the New York state in the US. Environmental group Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Donna Hume stated: ‘’The call for a UK moratorium by senior cross party MPs is a further blow to an industry still reeling from the recent ban on fracking in New York State due to health risks. The truth is people do not want a high-impact fossil fuel industry that would leave a legacy of pollution and disruption and would lock the world into further climate change.’’ But the UK government remains adamant that a fracking revolution should take place in this country, having unveiled a series of tax breaks for the fracking industry and saying it would be foolish not to relish the golden opportunity that a shale gas revolution would bring. Meanwhile Cuadrilla have asked for today’s Lancashire City Council decision to be deferred. Cuadrilla was responding to the news that planning officials were encouraging the council to deny the permit for the two wells and made amendments to their application. It was due to these amendments that the Council was asked to defer for eight weeks for legal reasons, angering anti fracking campaigners. The Council said they regretted the decision but said they were left with no choice due to the legal advice being presented to them.
  25. Modern times are difficult where every homeowner is trying to do their best to save some money. At such times, any effective solution is much appreciated. One of the ways in which you can save some money is through your utility bills. You can easily save on your electricity and gas prices if you compare energy rates offered by various companies and suppliers. A Quick Way to Compare While it is possible to compare energy rates manually by checking with the management of every company, there is an easier way to do things. The internet offers the easiest and the quickest method of comparison. The internet has definitely made our life much easier today and like everything else the internet also makes it simpler to compare energy suppliers and the rates they charge. This is definitely a great way to save some valuable time. There are several websites today that offer you easy options so you can compare energy rates offered by different companies at the same time. You will also be able to compare energy rates easily by providing additional information on the site like your utility bills. These websites allow you to understand how much money you would be saving if you switch over from your current company to the one that offers better rates. Taking Benefits of Promotions and Offers Since the competition level in the industry is quite high today, these companies always offer incentives in order to attract more customers. Sites that allow you to compare energy rates will also offer you information about ongoing promotions and offers so you can take benefit of these offers and save as much as possible according to your lifestyle and budget. Because of the UK open market, there is a healthy competition in the market today among various suppliers. Users today want to compare energy rates and want to find a company that is also reliable. In UK there are several reliable energy companies like EDF Energy, Scottish Power, E.ON Power and British Gas. These companies have official websites where you can get information about their offers and compare energy rates. However, the easiest way to compare energy prices is through a comparison site. Capped Rates When you compare different suppliers and their rates you should also ensure that you go for a company that provides capped rates. Capped rates mean that for a fixed time frame your utility rates will remain unchanged even if other factors change. In the long run this is a good idea since it will protect you against price hikes. However, for short term it is preferable to go for un-capped rates since you may not always get the same deals or offers later. When you compare these companies, it is advisable to check a few websites since these sites often have special offers of their own for their customers. With a little research and some time, you can easily compare energy companies and their rates and save a substantial amount of money each month.