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Found 21 results

  1. When it comes to living a sustainable lifestyle, it's the activities you do every day that tend to be more important than the big and impressive things you do. That's why it's important to find ways to make your everyday activities more sustainable. The good news is that making your lifestyle more sustainable doesn't have to cause major inconveniences. In fact, there are many aspects of sustainable living that are more enjoyable than their non-sustainable counterparts. Compost If you have the space, composting is an excellent way to live a sustainable lifestyle. Rather than sending organic waste to the dump, you can keep it on your property and turn it into rich fertilizer for your garden. Even if you live in a city, you can use a desktop composting bin to create smaller amounts of compost that you can use in a window box or herb garden. Buy Products Made From Recycled Materials Recycling is a key component of creating a healthier planet for future generations. In order to support recycling efforts, though, it's important to buy products made from recycled materials as often as possible. Without a solid market for products made from recycled materials, companies will be forced to use virgin materials, which typically have a more significant impact on the environment. You can find ways to buy recycled materials, like dog toys or yarn from a site like bionicyarn.com. Combine Errands Although vehicles make everyday tasks much more convenient, they add a significant amount of pollution to the atmosphere. While the best response to this problem is to buy a car that gets better gas mileage, that isn't always feasible. A more simple solution is to be more careful about planning your errands so that you can reduce the amount you drive, thus reducing your carbon footprint. Collect Rainwater Water is one of the most vital resources in terms of completing everyday activities around your home. Since water is a limited resource, though, it's important to conserve it whenever possible. One great way to overcome this problem is to collect rainwater as it leaves your home's gutters. Using rain collection barrels, you can ensure that you always have water available to water your plants and do other outdoor tasks. This will help lower your water bill and ensure that there's water available for future generations. One reason that people pollute more than they should is that they simply fall into a rut and don't think through their actions. By continuing to do things the way you've always done them, you will likely use more energy and create more pollution than you would if you took some time to observe your actions. By thinking through the things you do every day, you can begin to search for new ways to do these things so that you can help make the world a better place.
  2. Home decor is the latest industry to include sustainable materials. When it comes to home decor, it is generally about aesthetics and less about whether a product or materials are sustainable. But, there are plenty of options that are both beautiful and functional as well as green. Everything from the paint on your walls to the natural stone tiles on your floor can be sourced with sustainability in mind. The ease of finding these products means that you don't even need to make many changes to your personal style or worry about a huge expense in order to easily use sustainable materials. These are a few easy changes to consider and ways in which you can easily make your home more sustainable. Select Furnishings Made From Sustainable Materials Anytime you need to update or redecorate items in your home, focus on options that are made from sustainable materials. Fabrics, wallpaper, cabinetry, flooring, and furniture are all choices that help establish a room and make a great backdrop for smaller decor pieces. More brands continue to offer sustainable options with each year as options become available and consumers show interest in swapping out less earth friendly choices. Choose Quality Over Fast Decor Like fast fashion, decor is available cheap and on trend. Stop buying items that fall into the category of fast decor and instead choose quality pieces that will last a lifetime and can be incorporated into your decor scheme year to year and season to season. Quality pieces will include those that are made from reclaimed wood, covered in organic natural fabrics, sourced from natural stone outcroppings, and from brands that have earth friendly manufacturing processes. Repair and Purchase Second Hand In addition to purchasing quality decor and furnishings, consider purchasing secondhand or repairing those items you already own to breathe life into old items. Along with overbuying fast decor or purchasing pieces that will not last, buying secondhand is a great way to keep items out of the landfill. You can quickly reupholster a chair or couch with sustainable fabric, making it as good as new. Small home furnishings from lamps to shelving to art pieces can be purchased secondhand or repurposed in a way that suits your personal style. DIY projects are also a great way to use up sustainable materials in a way that coordinates with the decor in your home. All of these ideas can help you create the home of your dreams.
  3. Growing your food is enjoyable, rewarding, satisfying, and has many benefits. Besides getting fresh farm produce, growing your food also saves money and limits waste in the garden. Many people utilize the spaces in their homes to set up a garden no matter the size, and the results are breathtaking. However, it needs dedication and the right knowledge for a successful process. Find the Space Finding the perfect spot for gardening doesn’t have to make you sweat. Even with the smallest space in your garden, you can grow your food. Start with a small portion so that you watch out on the progress, and if it goes well, you can add more plants with time. You can also install raised beds or use containers. You don’t need big containers, any small or medium ones will do, but you’ll need to punch holes to create a drainage system. You can start with micro-seedlings, and you’ll need to re-sow them every one or two weeks. Don’t forget to check the seedling package when buying the seeds and go for one with the most. Plan Ahead It would be best if you established your gardening goals. Most plants have their seasons, and you’ll need to find a suitable time before you proceed. Make the right timing within the year to get a good harvest. Mark the dates in the calendar or write down in a diary to stick to the appointed time. Also, create a budget for the seedlings, and determine the quantity that you’d like to plant. Once you have goals, you can go ahead with the process, but you can always make additions if things go well. Know your soil Soil type is a crucial factor to consider when planning to grow your food. Do a simple residential drilling test and determine whether you need to make the soil better and suitable for your desirable crop. If you go ahead without doing a soil test, the crops might grow unhealthy. Mix it No matter the size of your garden, you can mix up seedlings to maximize the available space. It doesn’t stop the growth of the seedlings. You can grow in a couple of containers. You may need to start with a particular seedling before planting the rest. For instance, you can start with beans and mix up vegetables after the germination. Most of the food you buy from grocery stores or supermarkets stay longer before getting to your doorstep. However, you’ll be safe with your garden since you will have fresh produce and will save you the time you would spend going to the grocery store.
  4. The most common material in your home is wood. Your patio chairs, bed, or even flooring is made up of wood. Like every other industry today, the wood construction industry is shifting towards ethical furniture and the use of sustainable timber. Today, preserving the world’s trees and forests is essential for the survival of the human race. Therefore, buying wood is a bit challenging since you have to know where it is coming from and how it was harvested. What is sustainable timber? Many homeowners do not want to take part in deforestation; hence, they want to avoid the ‘bad’ wood. Sustainable wood is timber from sustainably managed forests. Sustainable wood is renewable as it is grown to prevent damage to wildlife or the ecosystem. Controlled forests last for the long term, meaning they will control carbon emissions for generations to come. On the other hand, unsustainable sources just cut down the trees leaving bare land, thus leading to full destruction. Why buy sustainable timber? Buying timber from unsustainable sources has some severe effects on their places of origin. Without their knowledge, homeowners who purchase unsustainable timber may promote the hunting of endangered species and abuse human rights in those places. Ninety two percent of the earth’s forests are not adequately protected from destruction. Thus, buying sustainable timber is a way of preserving the future earth’s forests and the coming generations. Which timbers are more sustainable? Timber is usually classified as either softwood or hardwood. Simply because softwoods like pine and fir grow fast, they are sustainable. Buying European timber is a safe choice for homeowners as the EU introduced measures to protect its forests. Today more trees are planted than felled therefore European forests are growing instead of diminishing Here are exotic timbers that you should avoid: • Ebony • Teak • Wenge • Sapelle • Murbau How to identify sustainable wood Here is what homeowners need to do to ensure they spend their money on sustainable timber: Buy reclaimed timber: This is the best way of ensuring you are using responsibly sourced wood as no tree is cut down when homeowners buy reclaimed wood. Buying reclaimed wood prevents unnecessary logging. Look for the FSC logo: The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent non-governmental organization that promotes responsible management of the earth’s forests. Their certification method provides internationally recognized standards and trademark assurance to homeowners who support responsible forestry. No FSC logo? Inquire more: When homeowners are interested in timber, which is not FSC certified, they should ask questions like the country and region it originated from and the lumber company that harvested it. If the retailers don’t have the answers, they should go ahead and ask their suppliers. This will enable them to know the history of the timber. For your home renovations and upgrades, visit a supply company like Old World Lumber Company, for a large selection of reclaimed wood perfect for the environmentally aware homeowner.
  5. From rising sea levels, extreme weather conditions and greenhouse gases, today’s climate change speakers ask hard questions. How will all these changes affect species across the globe and communities? And, most importantly how much time do we have to change our ways? Around the globe environmental speakers and young people are mobilizing to demand greater action on environmental issues. More than a million young people have tuned out for global strikes that are also driving home the links between social injustice and climate change, economic inequality, seeking the opportunity of these strikes to collectively raise their voices for a grater desire in defense of the defenseless and at-risk communities impacted but the unimpeded environmental changes. These climate change speakers say yes highlighting what we, as individuals must do on a political, personal and environmental level to ensure a healthier and greener future. Naomi Klein A journalist, award-winning columnist and bestselling author, climate change advocate, Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything disclosed the long-lasting myths of the climate debate. Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Naomi is known to be one of the most prominent voices in the antiglobalization movement. In “This Changes Everything” Naomi has exposed the conflicts between the unimpeded capitalist initiative and the mitigation of global warming. While exposing the climate crisis, Nomi said that it’s always easier to reject reality than to allow our worldview to be shattered. Much of her book is concerned with exposing the fact that those powerful, well-financed and lobby groups are responsible for the denial of climate change in the last few years. Due to human activities, considerable environmental changes are under way, and if left unchecked, it will alter the world in which our kids will have to live. Chris Hines MBE Chris is an authoritative figure on climate change and former Sustainability Director of the Eden Project. As an environmental campaigner and a highly appreciated communicator, Chris Hines uses his deep understanding of the equilibrium between environmental, social and financial aspects of sustainability to encourage others to take action. He aims to find solutions through communication which eventually led him to drive a £5 billion investment on the U.K.’ coastline. In February 2020, Chris Hines was invited by Beyond Skin to Northern Ireland to sustain a workshop but also to do some talks. During his stay in Northern Ireland, Chris mentioned that while living in times like this, we feel scary as we become increasingly aware of the fragility of our environment and the level of destruction we have caused. But as an optimistic-activist, Chris feels lucky to be a part of a campaign that leads to a massive environmental change and keen to share the lessons and knowledge he had learned from almost 30 years of the campaign. Andy Pag Famous environmentalist and public speaker, Andy Peg is no stranger to the speaking circuit. Any is an experienced TEDtalk speaker, who spent almost two decades doing torus and witnessing the impact our carbon footprint has on the planet. Andy is also known as an Eco-Adventurer and reporter to BBC who spent two years driving around the world in a bus-powered by cooking oil. Peg was inspired to change all things in his life that were unsustainable, which eventually led him to experiment with all kinds of power resources during his journeys. Today, Andy Peg relies on his entertaining talks to share how all his adventurous and experimental journeys have taken him closer to understanding what sustainability really means and even more insights on how to achieve it. Greta Thunberg There is no social media platform or News channels who don’t mention her name. Greta Thunberg is a 16-years-old Swedish climate activist famous for striking outside the parliament building in Stockholm. Greta is now the founder of the Fridays for Future, a climate change movement famous among young people. Although diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, Asperger and selective mutism, Greta inspired many other young people with speech impediments to take action and raise their voice. Her ardent speeches left powerful politicians speechless, and many young people inspired around the world. Famous for her “only speak when necessary”, made young activists around the globe to credit Greta’s unyielding dedication and bravery to advocate for climate change for inspiring them to take action in their own cities. Through her name, bravery and dedication Greta has helped mobilize the young mind movement that has brought more than 1.6 million people into the stress around the work to ask for greater defense for our planet. According to Greta “you are never too small to make a difference no matter where you come from.” Vic Barrett Vic comes from New York, and she first felt our impact on climate change after witnessing Hurricane Sandy. Vic is now a partner with the Alliance for Climate Education, and he spoke for the climate change at the U.N. headquarters in New York City. Soon after she marched for solidarity with more than 500.00 people at the People’s Climate March, he started to organize all kinds of local climate campaigns. He is currently an undergraduate student at UW-Madison and can be found among 21 youth activists who are vigorously charging the government to take a stand in climate change. Severn Cullis-Suzuki Since she was only 12-year-old, Severn Cullis Suzuki was eager to grab international attention. She delivered a speech at the Rio Earth Summit, asking for the delegates to take greater actions at preserving the planet. Since then she continued to fight for environmental changes – justice for future generations – sharing to people around the world the view of returning back to our most profound human values and taking action with the future in mind. In 2000, Cullis took part in a cycling trip across Canada for climate change awareness and clean air to the gratitude of responsibility agreement, which she took to the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
  6. Recently, sustainable shopping has become more popular. Consumers are now looking for businesses that care about the environment and their impact on the planet more than ever. Consumers are currently looking for ways to become more eco-conscious in their own lives, which includes the way they purchase products. Here are ways to make sure you are buying the most sustainable products possible. High Quality Investing in high-quality products means you will be less likely to need to replace that item in the near future. This leads to higher sustainability. Through this, you will be using less materials and be requiring less energy to manufacture the product. Thrifting high-quality pieces of clothing or furniture can be a great move toward sustainability as well. However, if thrifting isn’t your thing or you are having trouble finding the right products, making new high-quality purchases is the next best thing. Sustainable Materials Today, more businesses are becoming mindful of the materials they use for their products. A great way to ensure you are consuming products made from sustainable materials is to look for ones made with recycled materials. This is becoming a more popular option. There are many options available for clothing and accessories made with recycled bottles or even recovered plastic from the ocean. Companies, like BionicYarn.com, are making this possible. Locally Made The less a product needs to travel to get to your home, the more sustainable it will be. Less travel cuts down on carbon emissions and leads to a better impact on the environment. Now is a great time to start supporting small, local businesses. A great way to do this is to visit farmer’s markets in your area for local food and handmade goods. Ethical Manufacturing Green manufacturing processes are more important than ever right now. It shows how responsible a business is when it comes to doing their part for the environment. Treatment of factory workers also plays a role in flourishing the economy and leading toward general sustainability. Look for businesses that offer transparency about their production practices. Only support those that act responsibly and are doing what they can to minimize their environmental and economic impact. Transitioning to a sustainable lifestyle can seem overwhelming in a world full of consumerism. However, each individual doing their part can make large strides in improving climate change and the environment.
  7. Overfishing has become a major concern among environmentalists. All fisheries are aware of illegal, wasteful fishing practices that are putting the local fish populations at the risk of being depleted. Alaska is one of many regions that has strict fishing regulations. People who consume fish should do their part to eat more sustainably. Don’t Eat Endangered Fish Do not eat fish species that are on the endangered list. It’s easy to find this list by doing a simple search online or visiting the Marine Conservation Society’s website. Environmental organizations provide lists of fish to avoid and to eat on a regular basis. Eat More Sustainable Fish Eat more fish that are sustainable, meaning they are in abundant supply. Sardines are a plentiful, fast-growing species that are found in many locations in Europe and North America. Alaskan salmon, clams, oysters, tuna, mussels and mackerel are caught responsibly by modern fishermen. Prepare meals that are more sustainable like a salmon or tuna recipe, and save the rare, exotic fish for special occasions. Buy Local or Seasonal Fish Buy fish that is caught and sold by local fishermen. They are more likely to use smaller nets and use less destructive fishing techniques. Buy less of the kind that is overfished in the oceans, caught in large nets and shipped over long distances. Also, buy fish that are available only during certain times of the year. Buy Organic Fish Organic fish is grown, caught and sold in its natural state without pesticides or harmful chemicals. Organic fish products have a long list of stringent requirements that they must pass before being labeled as organic. Organic fishing is not as common as traditional fishing that includes the use of longline nets. Buying organic fish is another conscious method of preserving different fish species. Read the Label Know the origins of your fish by reading the label. Some fish have sustainable labels. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has blue labels that indicate which wild fish and seafood products are certified to meet their standards of sustainability. Everyone enjoys seafood from tuna to Alaskan salmon. However, not everyone practices safe, environmentally conservative fishing techniques. When they go out into the ocean, they take out more than they can put back into the water. Many fishermen and fisheries are taking up the practice of eco-fishing. People who love seafood are encouraged to eat sustainably to protect the wildlife in the oceans, rivers and lakes.
  8. More people are becoming more environmentally friendly. More of us are realizing how important it is to use various measures for a cleaner, healthier air for our families. And while many eco-friendly measures have been adopted in our homes, we can also implement these practices in our businesses. Sustainability is often ignored in businesses, and as a result, there are more toxins released in the air which can cause different health ailments, ranging from allergies to even cancer. Because of this, it is vital to implement the sustainability of resources in your business, and the following includes four ways to implement sustainable usage of resources in your business: Change Your Light Bulbs Changing to LED lighting is great. These lightings utilize much lower energy than regular light bulbs. Also, these bulbs don’t have toxic gases, like mercury, that are contained by fluorescent and incandescent lights. And even though they are more expensive than other bulbs, they last five times longer than other bulbs as well. Stop Using Plastic Bottles There are millions of plastic waste bottle generated in the US every year even though some of these bottles were recycled. To reduce this ecosystem burden, installing a water filtration system is a good idea for your office. The water will be clean and fresh, and you will save money and time by eliminating the package water buying routine. Use Green Vendors From septic tanks to recycled paper for your printer, you can do business with reputable companies. Perform your due diligence in researching which companies are serious about their sustainability efforts. Doing this is key to finding the right vendors. Search for businesses that use energy-efficient manufacturing plants and vehicles. Conserving Human Energy An energetic, healthy staff is more productive and creative. To help keep your team healthy, you can serve healthy snacks at meetings, such as nuts, dark chocolate, and organic fruits and vegetables. You should also maintain a safe, non-toxic environment. There are more toxins released in the air which can cause different health issues. In some cases, health issues can be dangerous. Nevertheless, we all can join the movement to sustain a healthier environment even at our companies. Using these sustainable ways will help businesses significantly in this movement. Not only are more homes participating, but businesses are doing their part as well to make a difference.
  9. A household consists of a thousand moving parts. If you count trinkets and paraphernalia into that mix, then the number of constituents is pretty much endless. This is why every home needs reasonable storage solutions, especially if you are prone to hoarding. Thankfully, in the times of eco-friendly trends, there are many storage ideas out there that are truly inventive. If you are thinking about the balance between storage and sustainability, here are the most sensible solutions for your home. Go vertical There are many sensible green home renovation techniques out there, some of which are obscure while others are known around the world as go-to practices that simply work. For example, vertical storage is warehousing 101 and a solution that can virtually save your household should you choose to implement it. Simply speaking, the amount of square footage and resources you can save by going vertical is immense – it is the most logical eco-friendly step. On the one hand, you will invest in the future, on the other, you won’t have to spend money on the additional building. Furthermore, storage that spreads floor to ceiling and across the wall can also serve as an additional layer of sound-heat insulation. Keep the shelving modular Armoires, old cupboards and stylish vintage cabinets are perfectly fine aesthetic choices that are recommended by interior designers around the world for people who want eclectic combos. However, if you are a green thinker, the first question you should ask if whether it’s functional and space-saving? Aesthetics are secondary when you are looking into superb adjustable shelving for the most flexible solutions, though they can look absolutely crisp should you choose well. What you’ll want is a storage option that consists of numerous modular units which can easily be rearranged according to the changes in your interior. This way you’ll have future-proof durability and flexibility. Reused building materials Do you want your sustainable storage units to be built from zero? If you want to keep the process eco-friendly you should consider reused or recycled materials, especially if you require fine wood and stained wooden surfaces in order to keep the storage in sync with the rest of the room’s overall style. Thankfully, it has become so much easier to find retailers that deal in reusable goods, as well as carpenters and other building professionals that have a lot of experience with recycled materials. In addition, you can go with sustainable materials if you want them fresh – for example, cork and bamboo. However, you should keep in mind that these are not as flexible as some less-sustainable variants. Push it out into the garage Do you own a garage, a shed or an exterior storage space of some shape and form? If you do, you might want to consider moving as much as you can out of the house and pushing it into that storage. Typically, this will be a garage wall reserved for storage units. Whether it’s simple pallet racks made out of (recycled) plastic or full-fledged cabinets, keeping most of your clutter out of the house gives you more elbow space to arrange the interior according to your wishes. Plus, it will keep the otherwise cluttered rooms larger. You may also want to bring more sustainable lighting solution in the proximity of your storage so it would become easier to see what hides behind cabinet doors. Of course, only LED or CFL lights should be considered in this case, as they do not only waste less energy but last significantly longer than incandescent bulbs. A cluttered home looks messy, ugly and, let’s be perfectly blunt, downright depressing. If you want to avoid the horror of clutter, you should consider the sustainable storage solutions mentioned above. Implementing at least one of them can make a lot of difference, so you’ll probably want to go all the way with these sensible solutions for your home as soon as you try one method.
  10. Air conditioning is one of the crucial components for creating a pleasant, comfortable atmosphere in a commercial environment. However, choosing the right air conditioning system for a specific commercial property is of the utmost importance. Not only will the system be more effective, but it will also provide owners with more savings opportunities. For instance, a single-split air conditioning system is more appropriate for small commercial buildings, such as small offices, cafés and shops, because they cool down and heat up individual areas. On the other hand, a multi-split AC system is more appropriate for restaurants, shops and offices because a single unit can provide heating and cooling for up to nine indoor areas. Finally, VRF (variable refrigerant flow) or VRV (variable refrigerant volume) systems are suitable for medium to large spaces, such as hotels, spacious offices, retail spaces and mixed-use properties, since they can meet complete heating and cooling needs of a large building. 1. Conduct an energy audit The first step in maximising the energy efficiency of your commercial AC system is conducting a comprehensive energy audit. This will provide you with a clear insight into the building’s energy consumption, which will enable you to identify possible areas for improvement. Performing an audit will also help you address certain HVAC problems more efficiently. 2. Learn how your entire HVAC system can affect your savings Your commercial HVAC system can have a crucial impact on your building’s energy consumption. Since it accounts for around 50 percent of your company’s energy consumption, it’s essential that you ensure that your HVAC system runs efficiently. If it’s damaged, aged or improperly installed, it will consume more energy without providing you with the desired results. Proper and regular maintenance, retrofitting and proper installation are key to your HVAC system functioning properly. 3. Have your AC unit regularly serviced AC units need to be regularly checked, properly maintained and repaired in a timely manner. Otherwise, their air filters can become covered with mould and dust, which will hinder their performance. An overlooked damage can lead to more serious problems and drastically increased energy consumptions. Therefore, proper maintenance and regular checks are of the utmost importance for preventing unnecessary costs and increased electricity bills, reducing your energy consumption by up to 40 percent. However, you should always leave this job to experienced professionals, especially in countries like Australia where unlicensed work is strictly prohibited. Namely, professionals for air conditioning in Sydney specialise in commercial AC maintenance and repairs, ensuring that their clients’ units are functioning properly. Thus, you should always hire highly trained and licensed technicians to make sure that the job is done properly, quickly and efficiently. 4. Opt for programmable thermostats and smart technology Maintaining a stable indoor temperature can be quite challenging, especially in spacious commercial buildings. Frequent fluctuations often cause tenants to keep the AC units running at all times, which consumes a lot of energy. Sometimes these units are even left overnight in order to create a comfortable atmosphere that occupants will enjoy. However, by installing programmable thermostats and smart tech features, you can easily solve this problem. They will help you maintain a pleasant indoor temperature by adjusting it depending on the time of day, or the presence or absence of tenants. Certain configurations can also be set up to help you conserve energy. For instance, these high-tech features can turn on air conditioning right before the opening hours. 5. Insulate properly Proper and quality insulation of your commercial space can also help you reduce your energy consumption and create a more comfortable indoor atmosphere. By insulating walls, floors, ceilings and attic, you can prevent heat loss or gain during winter or summer. Consequently, this will reduce the need for your AC system, enabling you to increase your savings in the long run. Improved insulation can help you cut your energy bill by up to 10 percent. 6. Seal the heating and cooling ducts Properly sealing the heating and cooling ducts of your commercial HVAC system is a simple upgrade that can enhance the energy efficiency of the system by around 20 percent. There are different ways to seal the ducts. For instance, blown-in duct sealant or mastic, foil tape can be used for this purpose. They can also be wrapped in insulation for enhanced efficiency. It’s advisable that you tackle the unprotected areas first, such as storage spaces or areas underneath the building. Of course, you can always leave this job to experienced technicians who can apply the most appropriate sealing solutions. After choosing an AC system appropriate for your commercial space, you should apply different measures that will enhance its sustainability and energy efficiency while also providing you with money-saving benefits.
  11. When designing buildings and homes, you need to take into consideration their impact to the environment. This means that each project needs to be carefully planned in order to reduce the amount of damage inflicted on the landscape. Here are some of the ways that structural engineering can be cleaner and greener overall. Invest in Design Efforts The size, shape, and position of the structure needs to be taken into account for how it fits within the landscape. This means that hills and other features need to be considered during the design process. Many engineers know that the number of windows that face the sunny side could impact the energy consumption of the structure. The type of insulation that is required may be different depending on the climate and the overall positioning of the building. You need to take all of these things into account when drafting the design. Use Reclaimed Products Recycled products are more eco-friendly than purchasing all new products. You can add many of these elements to give the building a more unique appearance. Many job sites will discard pieces of wood that are still usable for another project. The only thing that would be needed in this case is for you to find a place to store all of these leftover supplies. Discarding large quantities of usable items makes it more expensive for each project that is completed. Integrate Sustainability You can use products that release less chemicals to increase the sustainability of the structure. One example of this is in using less cement based products for the foundation. This can be done by using products that are more carbon-based. These could be recycled products or even aggregates that reduce the overall carbon footprint of a new structure. Designing and planning for these things in advance will make the project greener. Install Green Areas One of the biggest problem with the construction of newer buildings is that they tend to lack green space. This can present of problem when it comes to water drainage issues. If it’s left uncorrected, it can lead to erosion or even flooding concerns. Drainage basins and other green spaces can help to alleviate this problem. You can plan out courtyards and other unique green space features of the structure to save on energy consumption. The design portion of any structure is the most important part of making sure that the structure employs green methods. You can combine several elements to ensure that it’s as green and clean as possible.
  12. Since we only have one planet, it makes sense to do as much as we can to protect it, and yet we still seem to slow on the uptake of this fact. When it comes to greenhouse emissions, domestic emissions far exceed industrial emissions, meaning that your daily shower and boiling the kettle upwards of five times per day is doing more damage than the energy consumed by manufacturing. Moving towards more sustainable living arrangements should be an achievable goal, and yet these kinds of developments are few and far between. The UK recently announced its first carbon neutral building development to be constructed in Hemel Hempstead. The Beacon is a 17-storey development that will make use of solar power, triple glazing, a mechanical heat and ventilation recovery system and rainwater harvesting. Residents will have access to on-site recycling facilities, electric bike and car sharing scheme and a fully-automated robotic parking system that takes up a fraction of the space of a traditional parking level. While this is a step in the right direction, there are so many other developments going up in the UK and around the world that don’t have the same commitment to green energy sources. There need to be more incentives for buildings, investors and homebuyers to seek out greener alternatives. The Beacon is quite literally a beacon for green investment in the UK, as they are offering to cover the cost of conveyancing solicitors and valuation fees in a bid to attract more people. A report published by the UK government revealed that many eco developments fail because there is a lack of communication between different sectors, and then home owners aren’t fully educated on how to make the most of the energy saving systems. How would you resolve these failings within the green development industry?
  13. Crowdfunding Sustainable Innovation Video Will Crowdfunding Deliver Results Where Lobbying Falls Short? The phone is ringing. I answer and I am quickly introduced to Michael’s passionate and very logically reasoned request – will I chip in again on conservation and climate change efforts? This time I hesitate and after a few minutes Michael transitions to confirming interest and goes on to make a few more contribution requests. The call ends and a few days later I receive a follow-up letter in the mail from the group Michael represents. I can’t disagree with the outreach strategy, but the money the group is requesting is earmarked for lobbying efforts. It’s a familiar scenario. Michael is like the vast majority of us, knowing we must implement available solutions for a more sustainable planet. This time I decide against contributing to the group Michael represents and instead seek ways to support sustainable innovation and solutions in the businesses, startups, community leaders and entrepreneurs of today.Maybe you’re like me and are looking for some tangible solutions because you no longer want to see your efforts marginalized or see initiatives fall grossly short of their end goal. For the past two decades you’ve seen how a few skeptics, questioning obvious science, can lead to watered down legislation. You are wondering if all your lobbying donations have been effective. You are aware of solutions and are looking to change the results. So what are you going to do? It’s time to gather your crowd, pool resources and fund the projects you have been lobbying and working on for years. This can be done with Crowdfunding. You won’t be the first. Others have gone before you and have realized tangible success.What is crowdfunding? Crowdfunding is raising small amounts of money from a large number of people to fund a specific project, product or business and it’s done primarily online. Catchall Crowdfunding websites like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter have made headlines with million dollar funding successes for games and tech gadgets. Crowdfunding niche sites Wise Green Planet (Sustainability and Green Technology) and Tubestart (Digital Video & Film Projects) have emerged in response to the need for platforms dedicated to specific market segments. These crowed sourced funding sites give rise to alternative methods of financing projects and ideas by helping to democratize capital.If taxes or sustainability matter to you consider this, local municipalities can spend on millions on fossil fuels every year. When the price of fossil fuels rise, more money is spent and finite resources are consumed. With crowdfunding, you can seek to change this for the benefit your community. You can support or start your own crowdfunding project for the purchase of solar panels, wind turbines or another form of clean, renewable energy and even incorporate Elon Musk’s Solar Battery, the Tesla Powerwall, as part of your communities overall energy solution. Clean and 100% renewable energy is sustainable and the money currently spent on fossil fuels could be directed elsewhere. The money spent on fossil fuels could instead fund structural improvements to utilities or help your local school retain course offerings, extracurricular activities and sports programs. This can be a reality in your community and crowdfunding can be part of the solution.We can agree to continue to hold our elected officials accountable to the needs and priorities of society at large. However, we can no longer wait for legislation, we must act. We must ask if matching the climate laggards tit for tat, on the long, expensive lobbying road is an effective solution. Shouldn’t we instead be investing in progress, thought leaders and innovators through impact investing and crowdfunding solutions? A solar spill is a sunny day, but an oil spill is tax money wasted and far from progress. Lobbying has yet to stop oil spills, proving it can be an environmental wasteland. We can crowdfund sustainable innovation, divest from fossil fuels and create a healthier planet. The “Crowd” can be the catalyst for this shift by funding clean energy, green technologies and advancements in sustainability. It’s a choice. In the words of Bill Nye, “I want you all to preserve our world in the face of Climate Change and carry on as The Next Great Generation.” -Chris Kratochwill fund@wisegreenplanet.com Crowdfunding Sustainable Innovation Video
  14. With rising awareness about the well-being of our planet both sellers and buyers acknowledge the importance of green home features. Living in an eco-friendly house reduces your carbon footprint, limits the exploitation of natural resources and can significantly lower utility bills, but how cost-effective are they and how much value do they add to a home? If you are interested in ways to increase the value of your home and make it eco-friendly then read on to find out 6 of the best that you can incorporate into your home. Sustainable insulation One of the most important green home upgrades is insulation, as proper insulation – especially in the attic – will ensure that energy is not escaping through the roof. There are many types of insulation to choose from, however blown-in cellulose wall insulation is mostly recommended by home sustainability experts. For reinforced effects, consider upgrading weather stripping around doors and windows. Solar panels Installing solar panels is a huge investment and organizational challenge as it requires you to rethink the infrastructure of the entire house. However, a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research reveals that home sellers can look at an up to 97 per cent return rate when investing in new energy efficient strategies. Energy and water saving appliances ENERGY STAR rating is an internationally recognized symbol of energy efficient appliances, which offer significant energy and water savings without compromising performance. Experienced realtors from OpenAgent suggest that replacing old and used appliances such as ovens, fridges, water heaters, TVs and even showerheads significantly improves the appearance of the house and has the power to boost its overall value. This is because potential buyers look for house features that will save them money in the long run. As an added bonus you can wrap your water heater in an insulating blanket or install tankless water heaters that heat water on demand. Energy-smart windows For potential buyers, old single-pane windows can be a big turn off, therefore it can be a good idea to invest in multi-pane windows adjusted to your climate zone. It is said that homeowners can save up to $500 annually by upgrading their windows to high performing models. Low-emissivity glass windows can reduce energy bills and harmful UV rays, as well as improve overall quality of life by cancelling outside noise and beautifying your property. Also, adding in skylights is an efficient way of bringing natural light into the rooms, thus reducing the need for artificial lighting. Go LED You may be surprised, but changing the smallest things can have a huge impact on home energy efficiency. When it comes to lighting, CFLs and LED lights are a must-have, as they are said to consume from 75 to 90 per cent less energy and last 20 times longer than incandescent light bulbs. LED light bulbs also do not heat up as quickly as older models, which helps to keep the house cooler in the summer, reducing the need for air conditioning. Modern dimmer switches and occupancy sensor light switches that turn the light off automatically when someone leaves the room are additional cool features that could boost the appeal of your house. Thermostats One of the simplest ways of adding value to your home is installing programmable thermostats, as almost half of energy bills go towards heating and cooling the house. By installing and programming thermostats wisely, utility bills can be reduced by up to 10 per cent. These were our top environmentally-friendly home upgrades that give the best value for money. There is no denying that the real estate market is very competitive, therefore, if you want to sell your house and make significant profit, do make sure to implement these top 6 green and sustainable features to your home.
  15. The term “carbon footprint” refers to the overall amount of carbon that normal living puts into the environment. It includes all types of greenhouse gases that are produced as a result of various activities. For example, the carbon footprint of driving a vehicle includes not only the emissions it produces as it burns gasoline, but also emissions created in the production and refining of the fuel, as well as emissions that are created from the car’s manufacture and maintenance. A number of carbon footprint calculators are available online. When you begin to understand how many of your normal activities creates emissions that impact the environment, you can begin to alter your lifestyle to improve the health of the planet. Here are just a few simple ways you can begin to reduce your carbon footprint: 1 – Recycle More If you find ways to re-use and recycle household items, you can dramatically reduce the amount of carbon that goes into the environment each day to create new ones. Look for products that use recycled materials, reuse rainwater and find another use for items such as plastic containers, so they don’t wind up in landfills as quickly. 2 – Change the Environmental Impact of Your Home When caring for your landscaping, be aware that trees and shrubs have a beneficial impact on the environment in many ways and try to maximize their good effects. Plant trees that help to shade the parts of your home that are open to cold winds in winter and blazing sunlight in summer. These efforts can help to reduce your home energy use and reduce your overall carbon footprint. When caring for your landscape plants, use organic fertilizers, like the products found at Nature Safe, that have less of a negative effect on the environment. These compounds can prevent the runoff that causes ecological imbalances in nearby waterways. Organic types help to keep landscape plants healthier over a longer period of time, so you can apply less frequently. 3 – Drive Less and More Efficiently Walking helps to improve your health while it reduces the amount of carbon in the environment. Use your feet instead of the car to do neighborhood errands, or get on your bicycle for longer trips. Carpooling can be a good way to reduce the amount of gasoline emissions in the environment. If you must drive, make sure your tires are properly inflated for better mileage. Reducing the amount of carbon you use for everyday activities is not difficult. It simply requires an awareness of simple techniques that can make a significant impact on the amount of energy used every day.
  16. In March, Victoria's capital city was the country's hot-spot for green building and environmental safety. This exquisite event has met millions supporters through the years striving to educate Australia's population on the benefits of green investments and Eco-oriented lifestyle. Being one of the greenest cities in Australia, Melbourne had been chosen to be hot of this year's Green Cities conference. The event was held at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne where world-leading Eco organizations and specialists joined forces in order to help reducing the carbon footprint of the country. The prime topics, which had been discussed in March 18 and 19, vary from researches on the benefits green buildings for the environment and nature diversity of Australia, to the development of sustainability strategies by the leading industries in the Southern Hemisphere. Main place in the debates took the presentation of Kent Larson, a researcher and director in MIT. Along with topics such as uncovering the opportunities for retrofitting existing buildings, intensely discussed were some outstanding researches on the effect the employees' satisfaction on the success of green building investments. Speakers such as Sean Chiao, the CEO of Buildings and Places and Ann-Kristin Karlsson, the director of WSP Sustainable cities were also an important part of Green Cities 2014 (@GreenCitiesConf). With a huge following and a great cause, the conference got a massive response in the residents of Melbourne inviting more and more organizations to take the path of sustainable living. But being part of a more verdant community is not new to the residents of Melbourne. Cleaning agencies, such as the housekeeping team Cleaning House Melbourne, have long ago adopted the cause of green living by offering Eco-oriented services and applying cleaning methods, well-known to be beneficial for the reduction of the country's carbon footprint. Still, there are goals we are yet to achieve in order to help the the world become a better place for all of us and the Green Cities conference took us one step closer to our aim.
  17. 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.
  18. While the concept of corporate responsibility is nothing new, there remains a demographic of entrepreneurs who do not understand the precise impact that this can have on their business. This ignorance has a detrimental impact on many aspects of business, from turnover and profitability to the way in which your firm is perceived by customers. Without a clear understanding how this can benefit your venture, you may be missing out on numerous opportunities. What Corporate Responsibility means for Brands in 2015 With this in mind, let’s take a look at the fundamental elements of corporate responsibility and how they can help to drive your business forward in 2015. For example: - The Calculation of energy usage and Associated Costs Sustainability is a key component of corporate responsibility, as this enables the implementation of practices that can lead to long-term savings and increased profitability. This can be measured with accurate, managerial accounting skills, which help you to calculate precisely what energy you consume throughout the business and how much this costs. The next part of the process requires you to associate these costs directly with the manufacturing and distribution of your products, so that you can estimate margins and establish profitable price points. Developing a Culture of Awareness While sustainability and corporate responsibility can help your brand to save money and generate profit, it can also help to develop a culture of awareness among your staff members. By encouraging good habits and reinforcing the importance of sustainability, you employees can embody the firm’s philosophy and create a more progressive representation of the brand (especially if motivated staff members immerse themselves in community-based environmental projects). This also creates an opportunity for further financial savings, as statistics prove that switching from an air conditioning system to an open window can reduce energy bills by more than 10%. Create a Sustainable and Identifiable Brand Identity According to a Nielsen study completed in 2014, more than 55% of global online consumers are willing to pay more for products or services delivered by socially and environmentally aware brands. This number is set to increase in the coming years, and it offers a unique opportunity for sustainable businesses to establish a vibrant and easily identifiable brand identity. With the use of sustainable materials and waste disposal processes, it is possible to effectively engage existing customers and reach out to new demographics. This not only creates a more cost-effective business model that benefits the natural environment, but it also ensures that your business is able to compete aggressively in its chosen marketplace.
  19. Four of nine planetary boundaries have now been crossed as a result of human activity, says an international team of 18 researchers in the January 16 issue of the journal Science. The four are: climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land-system change, altered biogeochemical cycles (phosphorus and nitrogen). Two of these, climate change and biosphere integrity, are what the scientists call “core boundaries”. Significantly altering either of these “core boundaries” would “drive the Earth System into a new state”. “Transgressing a boundary increases the risk that human activities could inadvertently drive the Earth System into a much less hospitable state, damaging efforts to reduce poverty and leading to a deterioration of human well being in many parts of the world, including wealthy countries,” says Lead author, Professor Will Steffen, researcher at the Centre and the Australian National University, Canberra. “In this new analysis we have improved our quantification of where these risks lie.” The new paper is a development of the Planetary Boundaries concept, which was first published in 2009, identifying nine global priorities relating to human-induced changes to the environment. The science shows that these nine processes and systems regulate the stability and resilience of the Earth System – the interactions of land, ocean, atmosphere and life that together provide conditions upon which our societies depend. The research builds on a large number of scientific publications critically assessing and improving the planetary boundaries research since its original publication. It confirms the original set of boundaries and provides updated analysis and quantification for several of them, including phosphorus and nitrogen cycles, land-system change, freshwater use and biosphere integrity. Though the framework keeps the same processes as in 2009, two of them have been given new names, to better reflect what they represent, and yet others have now also been assessed on a regional level. “Loss of biodiversity” is now called “Change in biosphere integrity.” Biological diversity is vitally important, but the framework now emphasizes the impact of humans on ecosystem functioning. Chemical pollution has been given the new name “Introduction of novel entities,” to reflect the fact that humans can influence the Earth system through new technologies in many ways. “Pollution by toxic synthetic substances is an important component, but we also need to be aware of other potential systemic global risks, such as the release of radioactive materials or nanomaterials,” says Sarah Cornell, coordinator of the Planetary Boundaries research at the Centre. “We believe that these new names better represent the scale and scope of the boundaries,” she continues. In addition to the globally aggregated Planetary Boundaries, regional-level boundaries have now been developed for biosphere integrity, biogeochemical flows, land-system change and freshwater use. At present only one regional boundary (South Asian Monsoon) can be established for atmospheric aerosol loading. “Planetary Boundaries do not dictate how human societies should develop but they can aid decision-makers by defining a safe operating space for humanity,” says co-author Katherine Richardson from the University of Copenhagen. Nine planetary boundaries: Climate change Change in biosphere integrity (biodiversity loss and species extinction) Stratospheric ozone depletion Ocean acidification Biogeochemical flows (phosphorus and nitrogen cycles) Land-system change (for example deforestation) Freshwater use Atmospheric aerosol loading (microscopic particles in the atmosphere that affect climate and living organisms) Introduction of novel entities (e.g. organic pollutants, radioactive materials, nanomaterials, and micro-plastics).
  20. Aquapods - sustainable fishing?

    Check out this video from Al Jazeera's Earthrise about aquapods, which they say could be the future of sustainable fishing.     "With the global demand for fish on the rise and wild fish stocks depleting just as fast, the need to find an alternative to damaging shallow water fish farms is as urgent as ever. Marine engineer Steve Page believes he has found a solution. The Aquapod is a giant structure which can hold up to 70,000 fish. It is submerged in deep water so that any uneaten food and fish waste is washed away by strong ocean currents, minimising the damage to local ecosystems. Working in Mexico's Baja Peninsula, Steve and his team are hoping their method of farming will help restore wild stocks to the ocean by preventing overfishing and offer a lifeline to fishing communities across the world. Russell Beard goes deep sea diving in the Sea of Cortez to see the Aquapod in action and back on land visits the hatchery producing the fingerlings which would make their alternative farming operation totally sustainable."   What do you think? Could this be the future of fishing? Is it sustainable or is it just factory farming underwater?
  21. I am moving to a new house soon with a big garden. So I was just wondering how I can make my new garden as green and eco-friendly as possible? For the moment it only has a two trees, some bushes and large areas of grass. But I want flowers, some nice bushes and maybe even a little pond.