Here’s some great information about the affordability of installing solar panels. This video focuses on San Diego, but the same principles apply around the country. Learn more at SolarAllianceofAmerica.com.
Turning your home green does not mean grabbing a can of paint and changing the color. If you are truly interested in protecting the environment, turning green will help you to reduce your carbon footprint. Here is a list of fairly easy ways that you can contribute to the going green effort and turn your home into a more energy efficient place to live.
1. Check your appliances to ensure that they are Energy Star listed. If not, consider trading them in for appliances that are. Energy efficient appliances like stoves, refrigerators, washer and dryers are easily found in most stores today. They may be a bit more expensive to purchase but the energy savings you will enjoy more than makes up for the added cost.
This article was written by Enerfina, an independent market intermediary in the renewable energy sector. For more information on how we can help you to turn your home green, click here.
Everyone should recycle. Not because some environmentalist says so, but because it’s just a responsible use of resources. If something can be reused or broken down and rebuilt into something useful again without consuming new resources, it means less trash building up and more resources available for the future.
But not everything is as easy to dispose of as plastic, cans and paper. And some things shouldn’t be thrown away because they may be harmful to the environment or are still usable. This often applies to technology. Old tech often needs to be recycled or disposed of in certain ways. Here is how to dispose of or recycle some common pieces of technology.
New blackberry phones are great. They offer so many wonderful features and can replace most any phone on the market. But what should be done with the old cell that the blackberry is replacing? Like all the technology in this article, cell phones really shouldn’t be thrown into a trash can. They contain plastics and metals that shouldn’t be incinerated or left to accumulate in landfills.
The EPA has a program called “Plug-In to eCycling” through which people can dispose of their old phones. The program either recycles them or donates them to community organizations who distribute them to people who can still use them.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs
CFL bulbs use less energy than standard incandescents and can reduce energy costs. Disposing of CFLs can be tricky though. They contain a small amount of mercury, which is harmful. If CFLs are thrown away then there will be a small but cumulative amount of mercury in landfills.
CFLs should be taken to recycling centers. The materials of the bulb can be recycled and used again. The EPA recommends using Earth911.com to find local disposal sites.
Also, in the event a CFL bulb breaks and leaks its mercury, the EPA provides clean-up instructions.
Televisions / Computers
Computer monitors and televisions, both LCD and CRT, need to be disposed of correctly. Both may contain hazardous materials. Broken or burnt-out televisions or monitors should be taken to a recycling center (check Earth911.com for locations). The EPA’s Plug-In To eCycling program also takes televisions and computers.
If the TV or computer still works, consider donating it to a charity. But, also consider using a disk drive cleaner to remove any potentially sensitive information from the hard drive.
Refrigerators and air conditioning units both contain many materials that are harmful to the environment (like oils, mercury, fluorocarbons, foams, metals, etc.). Many of the materials in these appliances are reusable, and some utility companies offer appliance recycling programs. Or, once more, Earth911.com provides local disposal sites for large and small appliances.
Recycling may take some extra effort, but it’s not difficult. It is said that the earth is not ours, and that we borrow it from the next generation. If that is the case, we should try to recycle and dispose of things correctly so we don’t leave them with a mess.
As the world has become more climate-conscious, sustainability has become a key theme in many corporate mission statements. Firms want to highlight the fact that they care about the environment and the future of our planet. But it is not just about promoting the corporate brand – companies have become keenly aware of how a green approach to business can easily translate into cost savings.
Flyerzone.co.uk is one example of a firm which has quickly learned that green issues and cost savings go hand in hand; by using as few resources as possible, the firm produces less waste and spends less – cost savings which can then be passed on to the customer. The key to this approach has been to make green issues integral to the corporate identity. That way, every aspect of the business – from sourcing materials to manufacturing the products – is approached from a sustainability viewpoint.
The same principle has been developed at computing giant Microsoft, which has recently announced that it expects to be carbon neutral by July this year. Microsoft has achieved this mammoth task by putting a carbon price on everything it does, and instilling a commitment to offsetting this deep within the corporate structure. As chief operating officer Kevin Turner put it, the firm has a plan to “infuse carbon awareness into every part of our business around the world”.
For companies looking to follow this lead, appointing a senior member of staff specifically charged with tackling green issues is a good place to start, according to Zoe Robinson, sustainable development manager at bed manufacturer Warren Evans. The whole structure has to buy into the green ideal, so it is advisable to have someone driving this process who really believes in what they are doing.
Research and planning have to be undertaken if a firm is to get the best cost savings from a green approach. Otherwise, Ms Robinson told Business Link, things get done on an ad-hoc basis without having a sound business rationale behind them. However, there are things that you can do immediately to get some quick interim results in both carbon and cost reduction. Energy consumption is an area where it is easy to make quick savings – computers left on standby rather than being shut down use between ten and 15 watts. Multiply this by the number of machines in the office and there is a potentially large saving.
There are free tools out there to help firms identify areas where their business can be made greener, along with plenty of advice about how this translates to long-term cost savings.
Here’s an excellent debate at the City Club of Cleveland between Michael Chadsey of Energy in Depth Ohio and Jack Shaner of Ohio Environmental Council to discuss fracking in Ohio.