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HannahWhittenly posted a blog entry in HannahWhittenly's BlogWhen you want to cut your heating and cooling bills, selecting high-efficiency HVAC equipment makes a big difference. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sets efficiency standards for HVAC systems because they’re the most energy-hungry of all home appliances. Better efficiency translates to lower demand for electricity and fuel and reduced energy bills for you. HVAC Efficiency Ratings When choosing central HVAC systems, look for high ratings. The DOE requires efficiency ratings on the equipment itself and its packaging. Higher is always better regardless of whether you’re buying a furnace or an air conditioner. The Energy Star and Most Efficient labels indicate products that use the least amount of energy for the best results. For example, a high-efficiency furnace uses measurably less fuel each time and requires less heating services because it runs better than regular models. Lower fuel usage helps preserve natural resources and saves you money. Making Energy Energy production exacts a toll on the planet, especially when the fuels to generate electricity include fossil fuels and nuclear power. While renewable resources like solar, wind and hydro have environmental impacts up front, the resources they use to produce electricity are clean. Fossil fuels, on the other hand, contribute to atmospheric warming on a continuous basis because of their byproducts. Nuclear is a clean source of energy but the nuclear waste it produces is one of the most dangerous substances on the planet. Power Production Efficiency If energy production were 100 percent efficient, using less efficient HVAC systems wouldn’t have the impact it does. However, power plants are not very efficient themselves. For example, coal-fired plants waste over 60 percent of the coal they consume. Nuclear and natural gas are slightly more efficient, while electricity produced by hydroelectric plants is nearly 100 percent efficient. The phrase experts use to describe this power plant efficiency is the heat rate. It describes how much of the fuel that’s used goes toward producing electricity as opposed to being wasted. The efficiency of furnaces and air conditioners follows the same principle. The most efficient systems waste less energy. Atmospheric Warming If the fuels used to produce electricity didn’t have waste products like carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide that warm the atmosphere, it wouldn’t be so important to use high-efficiency HVAC equipment. But when equipment needs more fuel and energy, the volume of gases going into the atmosphere increases. Since the heat they hold warms the planet, using more efficient HVAC systems helps reduce harmful greenhouse gases. Until all power plants are 100 percent efficient or use clean, renewable fuels, it will be important to conserve energy usage. HVAC systems are front and center for conservation efforts since they use the most energy of all home appliances. More efficient systems help you save energy without sacrificing your comfort.
BrookeChaplan posted a blog entry in Brooke Chaplan's Green BlogMany businesses today tout themselves as being green, but they are not always as eco-friendly as they could be. Green businesses have a positive edge in marketing and public relations. Some green efforts, such as installing solar panels on an office building, may offset expenses. However, there is much more involved in going green from a commercial perspective than using solar energy. Active management and regular improvements are required to run a business that is truly eco-friendly, and special attention in these specific areas is required. The Impact of Logistics Producing and packaging products as well as getting them to market can create a tremendous amount of pollution and produce unnecessary waste. Actively focusing your attention on improving logistics is essential. This can include investing in communications equipment from companies like altechradio.com and business software specific to your industry. For example, rather than ship your products on diesel trucks, you may use hybrid or electric trucks. This is only one of many ways that you may improve logistics to run your business in a more environmentally-friendly way. The Production of Eco-Friendly Products Even when you run a green company, your products may be a major source of pollution. Consider if your products produce waste when they are used by your customers or if they are bad for the environment in any other way. Perhaps they are not usually recycled and wind up in the landfill a few years later. Look for ways to improve your products so that consumers can continue to enjoy their benefits without contributing to pollution and other environmental concerns. An Improvement in Internal Operations To run a green company, you also should analyze your company’s regular operations and processes. Look for inefficient processes that may lead to pollution and that may easily be improved. For example, if your workers in the field normally drive around a work area in a motorized vehicle to communicate, simply investing in two-way radios can improve productivity, eliminate unnecessary pollution and conserve energy. Reviewing your current operations and processes regularly is an important first step. Finding these implements can be as easy as searching online for something like “two way radios in NYC” and shopping around locally. Keep in mind that new technologies are being unveiled regularly, and these may help you to continue to improve in this area going forward. With numerous benefits associated with running a green business, it makes sense to continually work toward improvements in this area. While some companies are content to simply install solar panels, you can see that there are many additional steps that you can take to take your environmentally-friendly business to the next level. A smart idea is to make steady improvements over time as new opportunities become available.
RachelleW posted a blog entry in Shades of an Apple Green HomeUnfortunately, one of the largest sources of pollution in industry is chemical manufacturing. The byproducts of chemical manufacturing processes are often very harmful to humans, plants and animals. Once released, this pollution can keep affecting the environment for many decades into the future. However, if a strong effort is made to lower the risks of chemical manufacturing for both living things and the environment at large, this problem can be solved. Below are a few ways how. Move Towards a Philosophy of Green Chemistry Overall, one thing manufacturers should do is move towards a philosophy of “green chemistry.” This simply means being much more mindful of the effects chemicals can have on animals, people and ecosystems during every part of the chemical manufacturing process. The goal here is achieving sustainability and minimizing all environmental impacts. Doing so can also have other benefits as well. Increased efficiency in the production process leads to lower costs. Do a Rethink of Your Entire Production Process Overall, becoming greener means having to reexamine past decisions that weren’t viewed with ecological sustainability in mind. There are probably adjustments you can make to how you use chemicals that can both decrease environmental impact and increase efficiency. For example, many companies, like Powerblanket, know that improving the flow of viscous materials keep expensive chemicals from freezing. Such a design improvement can lessen the possibility of environmental contamination and save money related to waste simultaneously. Consider Green Alternatives Many companies in different industries simply use the same chemicals in their production processes that they have used for decades. Many of these chemicals will always be hazardous to the environment and living things. While attempts are made to store, handle and dispose of them properly, mistakes are still often made. Instead, you might want to start considering alternatives that won’t have the same kind of environmental impact. In fact, a nonprofit group, Clean Production Action, was set up specifically to help companies select less hazardous chemicals for their manufacturing processes. Obtain an Environmental Impact Assessment One way to determine what kind of impact your chemical manufacturing is having on the Earth is to have an environmental impact assessment performed by an independent third party. This can give you a clear view of exactly how your company affects the surrounding environment and what you can do to mitigate that impact. Chemicals will still probably be a very important party of industrial manufacturing years into the future. However, that doesn’t mean the use of chemicals has to create pollution. Consider less hazardous alternatives, new technology and alterations to your production process that can make your company more environmentally friendly.
Coal mining has changed in many areas since the early days of commercial mining and certainly from the old boom town days of the late 1800’s. New technology and new philosophies make underground mining faster and easier than ever before. But there is a limit to how much coal is available for people to use for energy. The modern market for coal reflects these facts, and the processes used today make coal accessible and appropriate for the needs of modern society. Corrosion Resistant Metals Corrosion resistant metals will play a huge role in the future of the mining industry. Corrosion refers to the process by which metals are oxidized based on chemical reactions. Metals that resist corrosion are valuable for mining, and inside the depths of the mines, metals corrode easily over time due to all the elements that comprise the coal mines. These metals will allow workers to continue extracting coal for longer periods of time without having to replace their tools so often. Recently in Weir Minerals Africa, slurry valves were replaced with corrosion resistant valves and have benefited from less leakage and rapid wear. Proximity Detection Proximity detection technology allows mining companies to keep track of the resources and the people they work with at all times. When a person or object is in the path of a machine, an alert will go off inside the machine. This can save lives in addition to keeping the machine focused on the real targets of the operation. Proximity detection will save time and money, and has helped everyone stay safer inside the mines so far. Ceramic Mineral Processing Technology Ceramic mineral processing uses some of the newest technology to create dense ceramic components for machine parts. Companies like Ceramic Technology Inc. provide ceramic fabrications and mineral process equipment which now line mine processing machinery, reducing noise. This means the companies save time and money with improved, cleaner, and safer operations. And won’t have to use pressure machines like previous generations did. Coal mining has evolved tremendously over the years. The days of dangerous mining are now almost completely gone as miners are safer and better protected than ever with the new technology open to them. The work is now more efficient and the evolution of the mining industry has forever changed the way people participate in and view the collection of coal and other resources.