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Found 19 results

  1. How to Design a Green Home

    Turning your home into an eco-friendly place is definitely not an easy task. Still, in order to answer the question of how to design a green home, we first need to answer the question of what a green home actually is. While there are several factors that can make your house more or less eco-friendly, here are some of the major ones (some of which you could definitely use during the planning stage).h 1. Building a tiny house The first thing you might want to consider when planning on designing a green home is the size of the place. First of all, a smaller place requires less material, and is therefore both effort- and budget-efficient, aside from being eco-friendly. Additionally, the smaller the place, the easier it is to heat it up or cool it down, which is once more a green trend. For this reason alone, the tiny house movement became a thing, where people all over the globe advocate construction of homes between 100 and 400 square feet large. When compared to an American average of 2,600 square feet, you can see just how revolutionary this idea actually is. Earlier, we’ve also mentioned the matter of budget-friendliness. According to statistics, 68 percent of tiny house owners have no mortgage to their name whatsoever. 2. The materials used Another thing you might want to consider during the construction of your home is the choice of construction materials. First of all, there are two things that make a material eco-friendly. The first one is the nature of the material. We are talking about grasscrete, rammed earth, hempcrete, bamboo, recycled plastic and even some of the more traditional ones like timber. You also need to consider the location at which these materials are produced. You see, importing Italian marble would mean that you have to ship it all across the world and this kind of transport costs a fortune. Because of this, opting for materials that are available in your county is a better choice. Finally, you need to make sure your home is 100 percent safe for all the inhabitants. This is why, in case you are simply doing some construction work on an already existing structure, you might want to look for materials such as asbestos. In case where you already have some in your home, you might want to consider removing it, but this alone is not a simple task. Your best bet would be to search for people who deal with asbestos removal in Sydney and get in touch with them. 3. Zero-energy home In the end, in order to make your home truly green, you need to think about bringing it one step closer to becoming truly zero-energy. This consists of two parts. The first one is finding a way to make your home generate its own power, while the second one is reducing the carbon footprint of your household. When it comes to the first-mentioned issue, the most obvious solution would be installing some solar panels on your roof. This way, you can make your household quite self-sustainable. On the other hand, this is an investment that can take from 8 to 12 years to pay off. With this in mind, people who are on a tighter budget may want to consider doing something less radical like installing a solar-powered water heater in their bathroom (which can pay off within the first 2 years). When it comes to reducing your home’s carbon footprint, there are also two things you might want to consider. The first one is switching to low-power appliances and LED lights. The latter method gives you the same intensity of illumination with a much more convenient watt-to-lumen ratio. Aside from this, you might need to invest quite the sum in insulating your home and installing quality double-glazing windows. This can save you a small fortune. Conclusion This list could go on and on, and the three above mentioned tips are simply the tip of the iceberg of all you can do to make your home greener. You should also check the area before you start building to make sure that you are not disturbing surrounding wildlife with your presence. One last thing, those who truly intend to go green need to look beyond this construction and realize that eco-friendliness is not a trend but a lifestyle.
  2. What Is Sustainable Building?

    The sustainable building trend is not just good for the planet, but for the economy — green construction is expected to account for 3.3 million jobs in the U.S. alone by 2018, a 143.5 percent increase over 2015. Green construction involves the design, construction and/or operation of buildings in ways that reduce any harmful impact on the environment and/or on human health. Some of these include reducing the carbon footprint of manufacture, preserving air and water quality, minimizing toxic emissions, and increasing energy efficiency in building operations. Sustainable building also can be economically beneficial. Using green materials and practices often benefits local economies, and the focus on energy efficiency frequently results in significant savings for property owners. The following infographic was created by Accurate Perforating Company and highlights 10 green building materials to consider for your next green building project. green-building-materials.pdf
  3. The top 10 benefits of solar energy

    Not that there are many households that actually support solar energy, we could all use a little education on the matter. Once solar energy benefits become available, i.e. known to the broader public, the chance to actually switch to solar will be getting bigger by the second. Solar energy is one of the best ways to ensure you have plenty of energy, without investing too much or causing harm to your immediate environment. Besides being an affordable alternative, there are many more benefits you should review before upgrading your home to solar power. If you’ve been considering switching to solar energy, these are just a few facts you should be aware of: Cheap Energy Solar energy is a renewable energy source, which means you only need the sun to ensure you’ve got enough energy for your daily chores (run appliances, gadgets, etc.). Luckily, the Aussies have plenty of sunny days, which means your battery will be filled and ready at any time. Low Investments Although it might seem you have to pay a lot at once, over time, your rig will allow you to save some money. Furthermore, there’s a low payback period for those who wish to take out a loan on it. Reports from 2016 show that Australians are hooked on solar energy and aren’t afraid to upgrade. It’s a smart – AND CLEAN - investment, after all, so we totally understand the rush! Become Sustainable With a government incentive to help you get started, your home is bound to become more sustainable over time. Since the energy crisis in southern Australia, it’s become even more attractive to get your solar panels. Plus, you will be giving a bit back to nature and the government as well. Actually, feeling like you are contributing on a global scale is pretty great, don’t you think? Increasing Your Home’s Value No matter how long you plan on staying in your current home, there’s a chance that you might sell it sooner or later. Adding solar panels will only increase its value, especially if you install other upgrades to make it better. Think of it as a long-term investment that will make your home better. Easy to Scale Sometimes it’s rather hard to plan how much energy you will need for your home, and with solar energy, you’re not at the mercy of an existing gridline. Since you can get solar panels from Sydney, transport costs won’t be too expensive either. This is why the best thing to do is explore your options before you purchase and opt for the best quality possible. Predictability No matter how much you want to make energy usage calculable, it’s impossible in most cases. However, with a professionally installed solar energy system, you will be able to predict exactly how much you have to pay, every month. Without any hidden costs. Phenomenal AND cost-effective! Reliability The only bad side of solar energy is when you don’t have enough sunny days, which you have plenty of in the great Outback. This is exactly why Australia is investing in one of the world’s biggest solar energy farm, with a huge battery to back up everything. Over time, it will help alleviate the ongoing energy crisis. New Jobs Besides helping your own home become better, the solar energy industry allows for more people to find jobs. With a bigger demand from year to year, it comes as no surprise that there’ll be a shortage of workers soon enough. Steady Electricity Prices You cannot stop prices from rising, and no matter what you do, you have to go with the changes, i.e. pay whatever it is they tell us we need to pay. Still, with more alternative energy to help the system out, it is possible to keep a steady price range. Opening up New Markets With the chance to improve your environment and open up new jobs, it’s only a matter of time before the solar energy business expands even more. Australia is already becoming a major force in solar battery sales, and it doesn’t seem it is about to slow down at all. With new battery technologies being developed, the market will become ever more profitable.
  4. Hi everybody, Last time I had to go for shopping I took my car, even if I felt bad about it for not taking the bus. But it is so comfortable for me to drive rather than changing 2 buses to get to my organic shop. What about you? what is the most difficult sustainable act for you?
  5. This year, we have been thinking a lot about how to be more eco-friendly. We know that we can turn off lights when we leave the room, walk rather than taking the car where possible, and avoid products which use a lot of plastic packaging. But what can we do at Christmas time to be better for the environment? Here are some tips. Shop local Every product which is imported, from your presents to your tree to your food on the table, has a carbon footprint. If something has travelled overseas then it needs to either fly or come by truck over a ferry, neither of which are great options. In order to reduce the carbon footprint of your Christmas, you can try to shop locally. This will also help to grow your community and support local businesses, which is a great bonus. While you might not have farms supplying everything in your locale, you can at least choose things which have been produced within your country. Choose your tree Make sure that you are getting your tree from an eco-friendly source if you are buying a real one. You should be able to check how the tree is grown and whether or not it is done in a sustainable way. If you are going the plastic route, buy a tree for life. Don’t throw it away after one year – plan to keep it for 20 or 30. This will offset the carbon cost of making the tree because of the amount of use that you get out of it. When you do get rid of your tree, try to recycle it or donate it to charity rather than just throwing it in the bin. Send green If you have gifts that must be shipped out, then make sure that you do it the green way with PACK & SEND. They have practices in place which mean that your carbon footprint will be reduced by using their services as opposed to a postal service. Think about the way that you package your gifts, too. Do you really need all those layers of cardboard and bubble wrap, or would a smaller parcel work just as well to protect the gifts? Change your bulbs Make sure that your fairy lights aren’t draining your electric bill and putting a strain on the environment! Pick out a set with more eco-friendly bulbs and both will be improved. LED fairy lights are a good choice as they take less electricity to run and don’t cause any heat, which makes them less of a fire hazard. It’s also fun to sit with only the lights of the tree in the evening and turn off your main lights, which will save a lot of energy! Try to watch your energy usage in general – could you turn off the television and play board games together, for example? Remove food waste When doing your shopping before Christmas, try to be more realistic about what you actually need to buy. So much food is wasted every year because we make such big feasts which are not actually eaten. When you have vegetable leftovers that can’t be used, try to turn them into compost or feed them to a pet. Eat up leftovers where possible. If you can’t get rid of all of your food, you may be able to find a nearby shelter which takes spare food donations. It’s easier than you think to have a green Christmas. Just think about reducing waste and shopping local, and the rest will fall into place!
  6. The key to living healthy starts with farming green. Organic farming is the most recent trend that has now become a billion-dollar industry. Millions of farmers are participating in new techniques that reduce the reliance on heavy machinery and toxic pesticides. If you are interested in green farming, know that this industry is new and growing fast. Learn about a few initiatives that have grown in this past decade. Organic Farming Organic farming is the boldest and most environmentally safe step farmers today have taken. This type of farming involves using few or no chemicals to plant crops and the fertilizers used are all natural without toxic or artificial ingredients. Many crops planted into the ground are eaten or put into skincare products. Organic farming has reduced the harmful effects associated with toxins and pest immunity. Farmers like organic methods because machinery is usually not involved and the instructions are easy to follow. Becoming organic means using the tools and materials that come from nature. No-Tillage Farming Soil is essential in any sustainable farming plan. No-till farming reduces the use of tilling to break up the soil which causes less damage, such as excessive drying and loss of nutrients. Instead of tilling the soil, farmers use herbicides to get rid of weeds. They engage in crop diversity to reduce the growth of weeds naturally. The use of heavy machinery is reduced, and the soil retains its natural state. Recycling Recycling is not a new technique but has increased in popularity over the years. In front of most suburban homes are recycling bins that were not found there a few decades ago. Most products nowadays are being reused and recycled. Glass, metal, and wood come in recycled versions that are exactly the same as the original ones. Green farmers are encouraged to buy recycled tools and most already use quality products like Accurate Products Inc. rubber grommets for their shipping and harvesting processes. Many of them recycle the materials used to produce crops. They build compost piles consisting of soil, leaves and rotting food and are used as natural fertilizers. In the past, green farming was an experimental approach to traditional farming. Few people knew about the idea or its practices. Today, it is an industry that is internationally practiced and regulated by governments it is important to know how farmers have reduced their effects on the environment.
  7. Unfortunately, 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.
  8. Factory farming is responsible for 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is due to the resource intensive feeding, slaughtering, processing, and transporting involved in the process. This has led many to reach for an alternative to conventional meat, and it may seem surprising that many are choosing to raise their own livestock at home, however if you look at the specifics of the process you may find that it’s not such an outlandish option. Why it is a Green Alternative By keeping the process as small and local as it gets, you can enjoy high quality, ethical meat while negating many of the sources of emissions associated with factory farmed meat. The transportation of both the livestock’s food and the meat itself are cut out of the process, as are the emissions produced by the large farm equipment that industrial producers rely on. Furthermore you can monitor what, if any, antibiotics and hormones are used, making healthier meat that uses less resources. What You Need Obviously this is not the right option if you live in a small apartment. You need at least 1.5 acres per cow for adequate grazing, or the ability to supplement with oats or hay. While you can get by without any expensive farm equipment it may be helpful to have a riding mower for keeping your pasture manageable and a trailer for transporting your livestock. Of course you will also need a sturdy fence and padlock to keep your livestock safe and a large freezer for keeping the resulting meat. It can be ideal though if you have a lot of acres to maintain, and don’t want to spend money on landscaping or a lot of yard upkeep. The Cost There are numerous costs associated with raising livestock, not all of which are upfront. You will need to pay for the livestock itself, any farm equipment you find necessary, supplemental food, veterinarian costs, slaughter, and processing the meat. You can always save money at places like Central Farm and Garden on pasture alfalfa and grass as well. Overall it is difficult to give an estimate for the total cost of raising a cow from birth to slaughter as it varies widely, but most agree that the cost would exceed the market value of the meat due to economies of scale. However, the increased quality of the meat and the peace of mind from knowing that the animal was raised humanely, and sustainably is a huge non-monetary reward for raising livestock at home. Alternatives If you don’t have the space or ability to raise your own livestock, there are other options. You can invest in a share of an animal raised on another person’s property, and receive a portion of the meat. You can also buy your meat from small livestock farmers directly at farmers markets or their farm. Most are happy to answer any questions you may have on their practices. If you have room and time, chickens might be a more sustainable option as well since they provide not only meat, but eggs. If you decide raise your own meat you’re in for a rewarding and eco-friendly experience, but it is important to conduct a lot of research before you begin, both for your own sanity and for the health of the animal. However, all this effort is worth it to enjoy high quality meat with fewer environmental costs.
  9. Colliding with a 20 sq ft container floating just 18 inches above the water surface isn't something that happens every day, yet is possesses great danger for blue water sailors. Facts & Figures: Shipping Container Accidents Despite the fact that about 99% of the vessel transported containers make it to their final destination, an approximate of 1% each year slides down the board and starts its own journey crossing the deep blue ocean water. It may seem like an insignificant omission, yet there are over 160 million storage containers crossing the sea every 12 months, which means over 1 million containers being dropped offshore during a sea storm or because of an accident. And while transported good containers have insurance, the world maritime organizations and shipping companies have little or no obligations at all whether or not they need to report the lost containers or close their eyes when an accident occurs. The Cause: Re urposed Container Homes Despite the government's weak control over shipping containers, innovative thinkers have found a way to reduce Earth's carbon footprint, by putting those left-behind, time-damaged containers to use. After the big wave of log cabins have conquered the world real estate market, many designers have turned their attention to creatively incorporate reused materials in the creation of comfort-size homes. Suffocated by the ever-developing urbanism of metropolitan areas, nature can be barely seen hoping for a ray of sunlight somewhere between the cracks of a central pavement. The need of a sophisticated real estate market which offers Eco home solutions entangled with its surrounding nature had lead to an even grandiose project putting old prefab containers into use. Maintenance of Prefabricated Container Houses Jumping into the world of eccentric architecture does have its benefits in terms of interior and exterior appearance of the future project, yet maintenance is a whole new chapter of the book of modern building. Being a main transportation source for various types of good including hazardous ones, shipping container use resembles a challenging perspective for better living. Old prefab containers may have been previously used as refined oil products, for example, making cleaning a true hell. Yet, many of the widely spread used containers on the world market are nothing short of a time bomb. Potential shipping container goods and previous uses: Transporting bulk carried goods such as grain or wheat. Carrying non-bulk good such as machines or components. Toxic flammable and non-flammable substances. Easily spoiled food. and many more. While radioactive material is certainly out of the topic, as mild radiation could stay around the shipping vessel for years, specific dangerous goods such as flammable gases as well as oxidizing and corroding substances may be a ticking explosive in a newly built dwelling. If being thoroughly cleaned by following specific protocols, such containers may be easily shifted into a pretentious abode. Container Cleaning and Quality Standards Yet, specialists warn it is not a one-man job and certainly not a job for a non-professional. When dealing with hazardous substances, following quality standards is of prime importance. Larger cities in Australia offer a wide variety of certified residential cleaning teams which can guarantee 100% safe and disinfected work environment for further renovation processes, building and living. Needless to say, a not well-disinfected container may cause havoc in the later developed dwelling. It may put the health of its owner at risk, because of unwanted air pollution indoors or simply cause corrosion and damage the structure. But, with the required care and maintenance, reused container homes resemble one of the best Eco residential solutions in years. By offering quality insulation and a strong base structure, storage containers provide an easily modifiable base for the creation of futuristic looking abodes.
  10. Most manufacturers understandably focus on essential business systems like Kanban, Six Sigma and lean manufacturing. However, green manufacturing processes will also lower costs and increase revenues. Here are three major benefits of implementing green manufacturing into your business. Reduce Energy Costs Energy and water bills are very high for most manufacturing companies. A large portion of these expenses are actually caused by long periods of equipment standby and downtime. Strategic production planning and tighter schedules will reduce waste. Regular equipment inspections help through identifying problems, such as air compressor leaks. Changing product processing and packing can also save time and costs. Consider switching to energy-efficient lights and upgrading equipment to energy-saving models. There are many government reimbursements available for companies that buy efficient machinery and install solar or wind energy equipment. Manufacturers must also research how to sell production waste. For example, lumber manufacturing facilities often sell bark and sawdust. Sustainable Maintenance A green maintenance approach proactively evaluates the impact of machine failures on both employee performance and environmental conditions. The goal is to monitor equipment functioning and implement preventive maintenance actions. For example, dynamometers are used to monitor heavy equipment testing systems. Some companies, like Power Test Inc., have dynamometers that test electric engines. Performing such tests makes production easier to manage. Sustainable maintenance will accurately predict when energy consumption levels peak and when material degradation threatens the environment. As a result, maintenance managers can effectively mitigating risks and avoid operational repair costs. One of the best ways to implement an eco-friendly preventative maintenance program is through regular equipment maintenance check sheets that are performed by operators and turned into maintenance. Designing for Sustainability When new manufacturing systems are proposed, life cycle cost analyses should be performed during the conceptual design stage to evaluate the best engineering solutions that offer the highest levels of reliability and maintainability. This will help key decision makers identify potential financial gains or losses from poor operational and maintenance practices. During the planning stage, management can evaluate and compare the maintenance needs and energy consumption levels of proposed equipment. Management can thus select higher efficiency motors, alternative fuels or more eco-friendly energy sources. An additional benefit of sustainability planning during the life cycle cost analysis is that it will be easier to smaller, energy-efficient alternatives and avoid oversized equipment. Complex production systems will most likely require an outside consultant to perform an environmental impact and risk analysis. Sustainable businesses practices will control costs and curb environmental impacts through efficient asset and maintenance management. Keep in mind that these benefits and improvements are often realized as annual savings instead of quick, short-term savings.
  11. Ongoing trends in kitchen designs and interior home designs in general seem to be going the way of "green" and sustainability, and it helps homeowners to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint on the planet. By simply selecting eco-friendly materials, avoiding use of toxic chemicals, using low-flow faucets, and energy-efficient appliances, your new home design can reduce energy use and improve your own health at the same time. Bigger Is Not Always Better In designing sustainable kitchen areas, a smaller space consumes less building material, and less energy to both heat and cool the interior. Designing a smaller layout for cabinets and counter-tops ultimately makes wise use of a smaller kitchen space as well, and you can find other options like hanging pot and mug racks for simple and clever storage solutions. Creating Kitchen Gardens And Indoor Herb/Veggie Stations Connecting with nature and staying healthy in the kitchen can be done by creating an indoor herb or veggie station by a sunny window, or an outside small container veggie garden nearby the kitchen door. In doing so, you may find that even your indoor air quality improves significantly. Composting Composting, even on a small level, prevents up to 140 pounds of waste from ending up in landfills annually. As you begin composting practices, kitchen scraps turned to compost reduce your own need for fertilizer, pesticides, and even water. Keeping a container by the sink for collecting kitchen scraps goes a long way to help reduce your carbon footprint and make your garden more sustainable. Utilize Biodegradable Materials When Possible Buying kitchen counter-tops made from recycled paper, recycled glass, and reconstituted wood is one option. Likewise, natural paints made from natural ingredients are more environmental-friendly than other varieties. Floor coverings made from reconstituted wood is another good choice, as are tiles made from recycled materials. Consider Buying Energy Star® Appliances Think about retrofitting with energy-saving water efficient appliances. Incredibly, doing so is the equivalent of having 15,000 cars suddenly disappear from the highway. Yes, Energy Star® Appliances are more expensive to buy; however, their savings in energy costs may be worth it to many consumers as well as their long mechanical life. Window Replacement Having an environmental-friendly window arrangement in your home means a lot more energy savings in the long run. New window materials and the use of double-glazed Gilkey windows and fiberglass, are all viable means to help either reduce, or maintain heat in a home. When speaking of eco-friendly or environmental-friendly advice in creating kitchen sustainability, the options are almost innumerable. Since this seems to be an ongoing trend in today's home designs, careful research and selection is a must, so choose wisely.
  12. In an era of information that esteems the progress of science, today’s populous is becoming keenly aware of the impact human activity has on the environment. Particularly and prominently, the decline of the planet has steadily come to international attention. With a cataclysmic global crisis impending, people are left to wonder what is being done. Is there anything proactive, or are our communities continuing in detrimental disinterest? One of the most important variables we can control is our waste output. By mitigating the waste our community produces, we decrease the size of landfills and preserve the earth’s most precious resources. Recycling Communities recognize that most of us can contribute less waste simply by not wasting anything. The average household produces over four pounds of garbage daily. It is becoming more and more important for everyone to pay attention to what is being thrown away. Some of these efforts have been put to good use by recycling plants. Recycling plants are established specifically to reuse resources such as paper, cardboard, and plastic. Companies like Lakeshore Recycling are even making an effort to make it more convenient and easy to recycle by providing bin rentals to communities and private companies alike. Ascribing to a Lifestyle Part of recycling effectively, is making it a part of a daily lifestyle. Families toady are constantly looking for different forms of recycling. Rather than allowing old clothes to go to waste, communities consider passing them on to another, and online sellers and purchasing make it easy to get rid of and recycle old materials all over the world. This way less is contributed to landfills, and more waste is reduced. Families also purchase items that are eco-friendly, such as reusable shopping bags, rechargeable batteries, washable water bottles and other items that have been recycled. A Call to Action Communities are willing to respond to good information about causes that matter. This is what is happening across many communities in the United States. As we encourage more people to live eco-friendly lifestyles, and make them aware of the waste that they produce and how it has compromised the planet, people are willing to listen and change their behavior. Information and education is key. With the internet as pervasive as it is, communities are able to spread information and make their causes known and more easily fought for. Leading an eco-friendly life, and finding better, easier ways to recyle is all a part of how communities today are changing and becoming more aware of limited resources. We are concerned with the sort of world we are leaving for our children and grandchildren. By reducing our landfill waste, they will not be plagued with a dying world.
  13. When people think about environmentally friendly living, they normally think about their own homes. You might consider how to reduce electrical usage by watching less TV and using lamps, recycle more of your used containers, and reuse all sorts of items to cut down on waste. However, all of these ideas and more can be carried over to the office to create a clean, healthy, and sustainable workplace. Unplug Keeping unused appliances plugged in can drain a huge amount of electricity every day. Employees should be sure to unplug the small things they can, such as toasters and coffee makers, in break rooms and should place computer and printers on electrical strips to enable quick electrical shut off at the end of the day. Reduce Paper Usage Most workplaces go through mountains of paper every week. To decrease this, employees should be instructed to reread and rewrite papers before printing them and to eliminate excessive printing. Many offices can also go completely digital with records kept in virtual clouds. Bring in Fresh Plants Offices that want to take going green quite literally can bring in live plants to set in sunny locations. These plants not only brighten up the atmosphere, but also create cleaner, healthier air without the use of an electrical air purifier. Brown Bag It Instead of using vending machines, employees can be encouraged to bring brown bagged lunches from home using reusable glass containers. You can create a welcoming space with plenty of chairs and tables for socializing and lunch in the break room. This also helps the environment by reducing vehicle emissions from cars being used on lunch breaks. Keep It Clean Every office has to be kept clean and sanitary, but even this can be done in an eco-friendly way. While environmentally friendly cleaning products were quite scarce a few years ago, they can now be found in nearly any big box store. Some examples include Mrs. Meyer’s and Seventh Generation brands. Make It Easy Almost anyone can be convinced to recycle cans, glass, and plastic if it is made easy. Offices should install recycling bins in all break rooms and cans for paper waste near each desk. Even offices going through remodels can search for a building repair company that recycles building materials. Companies like Sullivan Engineering can even be consulted with to explain the beneficial reasons for green roofing and come up with a plan to make your entire building more sustainable. Every person can make at least a small contribution to greener living both at home and at the office. From reducing electrical usage and making use of natural light to coming up with new ways to inspire coworkers to recycle, any size office can have an impact on the health of the earth. It is up to each person to keep the world clean and healthy for future generations.
  14. Engineered or activated water is increasingly taking place in the cleaning industry. It has three major types, which are used for cleaning -- ozone, hypochlorous acid and water electrolysis. Despite the fact that none of these have been recognized as a disinfectant, they are good sanitizers, perfect for cleaning glass and other surfaces. The main thing here is that these activated water solutions help minimize the use of harmful chemicals, thus protecting yours and your children’s health. Many cleaning businesses have adopted the usage of natural, bio detergents, but this technology is on a next level. The fact that cleaning industries can take advantage of the engineered water technology is not a recent finding. The large machines, needed to put into operation this innovative technology, have been around for many years, but customers weren’t happy with their size and price. Recently, technologies have evolved and now even the small, hand-held devices can activate water for cleaning purposes. The rising public awareness of sustainability and global warming issues determines this technology as a great step towards providing eco cleaning services at a very decent price. Еngineered water is obtained through electrolysis, which causes nearly undetectable pH and other changes in its chemical composition. Еlectrolysis is a process which uses electricity to break down water molecules into positively and negatively charged water ions. When you apply water in electrolyzed form to a certain area, the charged ions attach to dirt particles and lift them off the surface. More information about the process you may find in this interesting article. Activated water products and devices are mostly used in educational establishments, retail and healthcare facilities, commercial buildings and owner-occupied properties. Many building service contractors also embraced the idea. What drives the increase in activated water usage is that this technology provides a great value for little money. The usual cleaning chemicals require high costs for production, transportation and storage. In our case, these costs do not exist for the reason that engineered water can be produced on site.
  15. The concept of airless tires has been around for ages, in fact, Michelin has been developing this concept since 2005. It is only just recently that airless tires have become a readily available to the average consumer. Hankook recently announced that their airless tires should “hit the market very, very soon.” So, what exactly is an airless tire? Also known as non-pneumatic tires, airless tires are those not supported by air pressure. While they are usually used in certain lawnmowers and golf carts, airless tires are now being created for regular vehicles as well. Previously, there have been certain disadvantages associated with airless tires. For one, these provide much less suspension than regular pneumatic tires. Also, they lead to a lot of heat buildup. However, with developing technologies, these disadvantages have been severely minimized. Currently the benefits of using the modified airless tires far outweigh the disadvantages. Bridgestone’s airless tires, that are currently being developed, sport a unique spoke structure that is easily able to support passenger vehicles. Perhaps the largest advantage of these airless tires is that they are environmentally friendly, made with 100 % recyclable material. According to Bridgestone, “No part of a non-pneumatic tire ever needs to go in the garbage, which goes hand-in-hand with Bridgestone’s effort to create a “cradle-to-cradle” system in which all tires are first recycled and then factory-refashioned into new tires.” Furthermore, these tires promise reduced carbon emissions. You might wonder how tires can play an active part in reducing emissions. Well, a significant part of energy loss that comes from tires rolling resistance is due to changes in the shape of regular tires as they roll. Airless tires seem to promise a much simpler structure, leading to fewer changes in shape and thus reducing emissions. In terms of production too, Hankook, another airless tire brand claims that the production of these tires is halved from the production of normal pneumatic tires. This means that the footprint left behind due to trie production is also lessened, further supporting the sustainability and eco-conscious aspect of these tires. From a practical standpoint too, airless tires nullify the possibility of flat tires. This makes sense, as these tires cannot leak since there is really no air to be leaked! This means that drivers won’t have to worry about running over a sharp object, and tire change frequency will be visibly reduced. All in all, airless tires are a revolutionary concept in auto-production. With increased functionality and a much more positive impact on the environment, we are excited for these tires to hit the market, and soon become the accepted norm!
  16. Build your own low-energy, sustainable dwelling using nothing but a mallet and a drill. Four people are needed to assemble the first WikiHouse kit, which is now released and free to download and buy in the UK. Print and build a beautiful timber house, customized to your own needs! And the most important is, people won't have to spend their whole lives paying mortgages. Even me, an employee of this small housekeeping agency, can afford to build a house like this. The WikiHouse Studio, displayed on the pictures here, can be purchased for only £14,500! The basic type of housing can usually be erected by a team of amateurs in 1-2 days. Depending on the project and the design, the other building elements can vary, but it usually takes a total cutting time of 4 weeks and a construct time of 2 weeks. The WikiHouse project is happening thanks to the collaboration of many designers and architects, whose main objective was to create a DIY kit for a timber house which could be constructed by everyone. Various types of buildings can be constructed, like guest or granny houses, tourism cabins, kiosks and small houses which can be grouped around a common facility like a BBQ, a pool or a shared kitchen. Graham Osborne is the principal of Origen Architects in Queensland, and he is the coordinator of this project. He said that the combination of numerous sustainable elements makes this design suited for “the worst case scenario” and he is confident that it will work well no matter the location, weather conditions and climate. The Australian project’s engineering consultant Arup ensures that each WikiHouse meets the building code requirements, as well as both bushfire rating and cyclone rating requirements. Each WikiHouse is made of timber walls and a system of timber cassettes for flooring, OSB cladding and entry beams. Each element of the kit weighs less than 80 kilos, which means that you don’t need a special machinery to lift it, just a few buddies of yours. The houses are designed to sit on stumps and thereby the need for a concrete slab and in-ground fortifications is avoided. The timber cassettes provide a good thermal isolation too. You can download the open source plan from the WikiHouse website, where you can also learn more about their mission, technology, different designs and the annual, locally-held workshops.
  17. While prominent estate agent Knight Frank has recently claimed that the annual price of real estate in the capital dropped to 2% in June, widespread growth throughout the UK has more than compensated for this. Even with June’s figures down on last years’ corresponding number of 8.1%, there is still ample opportunity for home-owners to sell their properties for a handsome profit. We are still in the midst of a sellers’ market, meaning that anyone who is gripped by a ‘sell house fast’ mentality can optimise the resale value of their home while executing a quick sale. There are several elements that are crucial to achieving this, but the decision to invest in eco-friendly modifications is arguably the most important in 2015. These will not only offer a considerable return on investment (ROI), but they will also make your home appealing in a competitive sellers’ market. So, here are some ideas for three crucial rooms within the home: - Emphasise Insulation and Materials for your Living Room Let’s start with the living room, which is arguably the focal point of any home. Often a hub of activity, it is crucial that this room is energy efficient and capable of fulfilling its core purposes. You must therefore that it is insulated effectively, and while this is a standard feature of all homes built post-1996 older properties may lack this and leave you exposed to increased consumption. You should also use materials wisely when modifying your living room, prioritising fittings that are sustainable and constructed using non-toxic natural glues, wool batting, renewable woods and organic latex foam. Create a Functional and Energy-efficient Kitchen In terms of the kitchen, this room has evolved into the heartbeat of the modern living space. It must therefore be both functional and stylish, while it must also remain energy efficient given the rate of carbon emissions that it is typically responsible for. The first step is to invest in multipurpose and energy efficient appliances, each of which should have an EPC rating of A or better. Think carefully about whether or not you need specific appliances too, as you do not need to invest in a separate washer-dryer as this is not efficient all year round. On a final note, look out for a water aerator, as this is a standard faucet attachment that pumps air into the water and negates the need to operate the taps at full blast. Repurpose Fixtures to create an Efficient and Rustic Dining Room The dining room is an unusual space, as while it serves multiple purposes it is often overlooked from a design perspective. It is ideal for experimenting with repurposed fixtures and materials, however, as this can save you money and help you to drive energy efficiency in the home. Consider repurposing discarded chairs, old kitchen cabinet doors and table tops into freestanding storage solutions, for example, while also using renewable woods to create new unit doors. You can be creative as your skills allow when repurposing materials, although the key is to adopt a simple plan of action that can easily be maintained. Image: Pixabay
  18. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and GreenerCars.org have established a ranking system for the greenest cars for 2015. The list provides consumers with the lowdown on the most environmentally conscious models currently on the market. While each manufacturer offers a number of individualized options, the list serves as a starting point for consumers. Nissan Leaf The compact five-door hatchback comes equipped with an automatic transmission, an 80kW electric motor and a 24kW lithium-ion battery that runs up to 100 miles on a full charge. The Leaf offers 24-cubic feet of cargo space, which expands when folding down the rear seats. Additional features include automatic climate control, around view monitoring system, a navigation system, intelligent keyless entry and push button start. The 2015 model comes in S, SV and SL styles and lists for $29,010. Toyota Prius C The 2015 hatchback hybrid continues offering a 1.5L gasoline engine and an AC synchronous electric motor, which function independently or in combination. The Prius still gets an impressive 53mpg/city and 46mpg/highway. Options vary depending on which of four model choice consumers select. Features include automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone controls, cruise control, push-button start, backup camera and a 6.1-inch touch-screen display with USB input. The Prius C lists for $20,300 to $25,300. Smart For Two Electric Drive With a tight turning radius and the ability to park just about anywhere, the Smart For Two electric version comes with a 55kW motor and an automatic transmission. Available in hatchback or convertible styles, the 2015 model promises 68miles per charge on the vehicle's 17.6kW lithium-ion battery. Recharging takes approximately six hours if using a 240-volt outlet and 20 hours on a 110-volt plug-in. The ultimate mini-commuter lists for $25,000 - $28,000. Fiat 500e The little Italian hatchback features room for up to four passengers, comes equipped with seven airbags, a navigation system, Bluetooth communication and Sirius radio. The 83kW electric motor goes up to 87 miles on a full charge. The Fiat also has a single-speed transmission. The California 500e lists for $31,800. Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium The 2015 Subaru Outback ranked in the top five overall scoring green cars of the 2015 AAA Green Car Guide, making this compact SUV one of the greenest options on the market for the average car buyer. An expert with Findlay Subaru in St George says the 2015 Outback has been awarded the highest possible safety rating by the Insurance Institute for Highway safety, making this SUV as safe as it is green. Chevy Spark EV Proudly American made, the Spark EV features a 100kW electric motor that offers 140hp and a 18kW lithium-ion battery that lasts up to 82 miles when fully charged. The charging time varies from 20 minutes on a DC fast charging unit, seven hours on 240-volt outlets or 20 hours on 120-volts. Some of the many features include heated front seats, Bluetooth, OnStar, MyLink Infotainment and Sirius radio. The all-electric vehicle sold by GM lists for $31,800. Volkswagen e-Golf The e-Golf is new to the Volkswagen line-up for 2015. The two-door hatchback features an AC synchronous electric motor that has 115 hp and a battery pack capable of running up to 83 miles. Charging is accomplished using a 240-volt outlet or a DC fast-charging station. Available in East Coast and West Coast states, the e-Golf lists for $35,445. BMW i3 As many potential electric vehicle owners express concern over having a mere 80-mile capacity, BMW additionally offers the option of having a gas engine that functions as a generator, which doubles the range of the i3. There are three models available with a choice of a DC fast charging port, heated seats, ConnectedDrive synchronization, the Comfort Access System, keyless entry and leather-and-wool interiors. The upscale hybrid lists for $41,350. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 1995, there were a mere 250,000 alternative fuel vehicles available. By 2011, that number exploded to more than 11 million. The options of environmentally friendly vehicles continues expanding and becoming more competitive. Today's choices include electric, diesel, hydrogen and hybrid powertrains. Additionally, every year manufacturers include more features and upgrades in attempts at attracting new buyers.
  19. My Favorite Ways to Green

    I think one of the really important things for us to realize in our fight to protect the environment is that it’s got to be personal. Like the ‘personal calling’ those with religious fervor feel, the personal conviction a good steward of the environment feels is the cornerstone of an authentic and unflagging purpose. And the reality of climate change is backed up by scientific evidence. So, the conscientious among us are the way we are because of the facts, and because we get a level of enjoyment from this lifestyle. This objective and subjective motivation creates a powerful drive. So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite means to live my life green. Repurposing Presents the chance to basically do an art project with stuff you might otherwise throw away. For example, lately I’ve been creating a collage from old compact disk sleeves. It’s a lot of paper with a lot of artwork bands took plenty of time to either create or curate. Instead of using a canvas, I’m gluing the plastic cases together with the interiors facing down. This makes for a flat surface on which I’ll paste the artwork. I plan on creating or buying a wooden frame to place around the exterior, both for visual appeal and hanging purposes. I’ve always had a big thing for wooden furniture. A good armless chair is priceless for sitting down and strumming the acoustic on a summer night. When it comes to wooden furniture, yes you can find a lot of scrap, but sometimes tools are pretty spendy and it’s a specialized game to make your own. So if you can’t DIY and you want something that looks decent, the next best option is “upcycled” furniture. Upcycling involves taking previously used materials and making them into something more upscale, something that functions well in the home and looks new. Eating Seasonally It’s easy to pick something up from the supermarket, but most of that produce is picked before ripe. According to Dominion Harvest, the average piece of produce travels an average of 1750 miles to get to the supermarket. Cutting a piece of produce from its stalk deprives it from the nutrient source. And, during the time it takes to ship, the vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content degrades, as does the overall quality. That’s why I either grow it myself or buy from a local farm. Again, you don’t have to be hardline DIY. It’s the vindictive, do-it-this-way-or-no-way attitude that scares people away from this practice. In my opinion, what matters is the intent. But if you have space to garden, first I recommend putting together some good compost. There are a lot reasons to compost and a lot of things you can compost, but if you’re not sure, try consulting a source of information on the subject. Two of my favorite things about composting are: I drink a ton of coffee, and I can use my organic filters and coffee grounds in my compost heap; on the objective side of things, compost captures and destroys about 99% of harmful organic industrial chemicals in the air. The coffee factor is my subjective enjoyment; the benefit for the environment is the objective end. And there are plenty of other environmental benefits that stem from eating seasonal, local produce. Huge monoculture farms use pesticides and insecticides to protect their crops from insects. You may have heard of Colony Collapse Disorder, in which adult honeybees abandon the hive, leaving the queen and the young and causing destruction of the colony. Although an indisputable link is tough to prove, a recent Harvard School of Public Health study points to a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids as a probable culprit. One indisputable fact is this: less fuel will be consumed if you eat seasonally. It just takes less gas for the goods to get to your table, and that makes environmental sense. Biking to work Conserving on fuel is paramount, and biking to work is one of the number one ways I choose to do so. There are a lot of motivating factors for this, especially this month since May is National Bike Month. I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of the bike ride. It helps me wake up in the morning, it provides me with a good amount of the cardiovascular exercise my body needs, and it’s just downright fun tearing down the street on your bike. Knowing my terms I’m a writer, so I like to stay up-to-date on the terminology and information relating to green practices. For me this comes down to the subjective enjoyment, but at the same time these terms and this information are essential for having an objective, knowledgeable conversation about the subject at hand. A lot of this stuff is downright fascinating. Ever heard of photovoltaic cells? These are the tiny units that make solar panels possible. Here we have materials that work to achieve a goal similar to the goal photosynthetic plant cells achieve: the conversion of sunlight into directly usable energy. Only, in this case the energy that results is in the form of electricity. What if we could find a way to put these cells in our windows while maintaining transparency? Even if not entirely realistic, for me imagining the possibilities is the most exciting part of the green pursuit. We each have our own reasons to get in on living a green lifestyle. Getting pleasure out of our practice is the only way we can sustain it. With that in mind, please share some of your green reasons and tips in the comments below.