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Found 10 results

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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).
  9. 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?
  10. 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.