How’d the Housing Marking in College Towns Fare Post-COVID?

Distance learning and COVID-19. This combination is every parent’s worst nightmare. It creates the perfect storm of stress, madness, and desperation. But, parents are making the best out of a terrible situation because education can’t be put on hold due to a global pandemic.

The real question is what if you have kids in college? The question many people have is regarding COVID-19’s impact on college towns.

HomeLight’s Q3 survey reveals that the coronavirus has left college towns in a tough spot. Local businesses such as bars and restaurants rely heavily on college students to keep business afloat. However, 2020’s fall semester has proven to be more detrimental than some would expect.

housing-college-towns

University towns become ghost towns

Many colleges and universities have shifted from in-person learning to distance learning and sent their students home. The result of the mass exodus has rendered many of these towns a proverbial ghost town.

According to insights from top agents who participated in HomeLight’s Q3 2020 survey, this student housing market in these cities are predicted to increase from 5.2% during the 2019 fall semester to 7.4% in 2020’s fall semester. Unit vacancies have increased by 1% during that time and because of this, property owners will have no choice but to lower their rental fees just to get people through the door.

Some towns are unaffected

Although some major universities said they were discontinuing in-person learning in favor of remote learning, there are universities who are keeping in-person classes. In these towns, landlords are likely to see an influx of rental applications if/when on-campus housing closes.

Real estate investing is on shaky ground

For real estate investors, buying rental properties in college towns seems like a gold mine – especially if the rent is going to be cheaper than an out-of-state student paying for room and board on campus. For example, the average monthly rent for Ann Arbor, Michigan is about $1,600 and room and board at University of Michigan is $11,996.

Now, room and board at the university may be cheaper, but when you factor in other living expenses, it could add up quickly. However, if four students rent a 4-bedroom apartment that costs $3,300 per month… Each student would pay $825 per month or $9,900 per year, which is quite a bit cheaper, especially when you factor in that the students aren’t staying on campus the entire year.

Inventory fluctuates

Thirty percent of real estate agents that participated in the survey state the rental vacancies in their area have either stayed the same or are starting to decline. Even though the housing market in a particular area may differ from others, 81% of agents said their inventory is at an all time low, despite the fact that many landlords are selling their rentals.

The truth of the matter is this, COVID-19 has affected almost every aspect of our lives and the housing market in university towns remains on shaky ground. As more students and faculty contract the virus, universities are closing their doors and students are going home. Even students who live off campus are leaving the area and are going back home to save money.

Local businesses in university towns are suffering due to a lack of patronage. Unless schools open back up in a safe manner, who knows what the 2020 Spring semester will fare. Will students return to university? Will real estate investors start investing again? Will the economy pick back up?

There are just so many questions that cannot be answered right now. But, we’re keeping our fingers crossed and are hoping for the best.

4 Amazing Benefits of Using Natural Gas for Your Home

Homeowners have a variety of energy sources to choose from to power their homes. Each kind offers its own set of benefits and disadvantages. When you are wanting to be more eco-friendly with your energy consumption, there are many benefits of considering natural gas as your go-to energy source.

Uses Of Natural Gas

Natural gas is non-toxic, colorless, odorless and the lowest-carbon hydrocarbon. It can be used for heating and cooking purposes in both residential and commercial settings. It can also be used to fuel power stations to create electricity for use in businesses and homes.

Natural gas can also be found in many industrial processes to create goods and materials from clothing to glass. Plastics and paints are some important products that have natural gas as a crucial ingredient. The uses of natural gas are many and diverse.

Benefits of Natural Gas

Below are some of the top benefits of natural gas to understand.

1. Affordability

In most areas, natural gas is much more affordable than electricity for heating your house and your water. For the same heating tasks, natural gas can cost almost half as much as oil or coal when used as the energy source. Natural gas is a deregulated utility. This means that consumers have fewer restrictions and are able to have control over how much they pay for the gas. Affordable natural gas prices mean a lot of savings throughout the year for homeowners.

2. Eco-Friendly

Natural gas is not as eco-friendly as renewable energy sources like wind and solar. However, it is the cleanest form of fossil fuel available. When compared to coal, natural gas releases almost a third less carbon dioxide and half as less than oil when it is burned. Compared to other fuels, it also lets off little to no sulfur.

3. Dependability

Using natural gas as your energy source is more reliable and dependable for your energy needs. When a big storm hits your area and the power goes out, you will not be able to depend on any appliance that runs off of electricity. For some homeowners, this means no lights, air conditioning, heating or hot water until the power is restored. When you run your appliances using natural gas, you can still operate them when your power is out.

When you have water heaters and other important home appliances operating using natural gas, the gas is often fed to your home in underground pipelines. This allows your energy source to be safe and well-protected from extreme weather conditions such as heavy storms. If you lose electricity, you will not lose all of your comforts while waiting for the power company to fix the issues.

4. Domestic Energy Source

Much emphasis is put on finding energy sources locally instead of having to depend on foreign oils. In addition to being more abundant and economical, relying more on local energy sources is great for the economy and creates more jobs and revenue.

Learn More About Using Natural Gas In Your Area

If you are looking to turn your home into an eco-friendly environment, turning to natural gas can be a great place to start. Natural gas providers offer plans and pricing options that can be suitable for all homeowners and budgets. Allowing most or all of your appliances to receive energy derived from natural gas can bring you many rewards as a homeowner and someone who cares about their impact on the environment.

This alternative energy source over oil and coal will be good for the global community for generations to come. The use of natural gas is on the rise and will become more competitive as consumers and energy providers look to reduce the impact on air pollution and the environment.

Green Ways to Travel the Globe

According to a recent report, 87% of travelers want to travel more sustainably, but only 39% say that they accomplish the task on most or all occasions. Well, in a world that often focuses so heavily on comfort and convenience, it’s understandable. Many cultures and individuals are certainly making great efforts to lead eco-friendly lives, but many are still left wondering how to make those changes. Read on to explore a wide array of green ways to travel the globe.

Where You Go

Carefully choose your destination. Shorter distances without air travel are ideal, but obviously, that’s not always possible. So, if you’re planning to travel a little further, look into visiting destinations that value sustainability as well. It will be easier if the surrounding culture has the same eco-goals.

Places like Amsterdam are great because they do not rely heavily on vehicular transportation. They stick to bikes and their own two feet most of the time which makes a huge difference. Additionally, make sure that you’re not visiting a destination that is already overwhelmed with tourists and travelers to the point of causing harm. You don’t want to be a part of the problem.

How You Get There

It’s no secret that air travel is a non-ideal form of transportation right now, but since it is often unavoidable, there are a few small things that can help. First, do your research and choose the most fuel-efficient airline and second passport. When you do, book a non-stop, flight and sit economy.

A significant portion of a flight’s emissions is during take-off and landing, and business select or first class is responsible for three times more emissions than economy seating. And in preparation, pack lightly because an aircraft burns more fuel when it is carrying a heavier weight.

green-travel

But, if you can avoid flying, go for a relaxing train ride. Traveling by train is widely popular in places like Europe and in the United States, you can make it the highlight of your journey.  If you need to rent a car, you can check eco friendly car rental before you book.

Rentagile as a reliable source for electrics & hybrid car rentals.

Where You Stay

Look for accommodations that prioritize sustainability. Do your research and look for places that have certifications from a third party, like the Global Sustainable Tourism Council or the Rainforest Alliance. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have the amenities that you may want or need, it just means that they abide by a particular set of global standards that aim for a more “green” operation.

Parting Shot

Even if you aren’t able to choose the ideal location, avoid air travel, or stay at a certifiably eco-friendly hotel, don’t worry. There is still plenty that you can do to lighten the load. Support the local economy, bring a reusable water bottle, carry a rain jacket, take shorter showers and go for ecotourism. Just do the best that you can, and you’ll be on the right track.

How To Design Grow Rooms For Your Plants?

So, you’ve decided to set up a grow room for your plants. Despite being such a great idea, not many people get to make it a reality, perhaps due to its seemingly intimidating nature. All plants require specific levels of nutrients, humidity, air circulation, and lighting. As such, it may appear quite complicated, especially for the beginners.

However, recent innovations in the construction industry and other technologies have made it simpler to build a grow room. All you need is to find enough space that’ll serve the purpose and you’ll be ready to roll. Wondering how to go about your next project? Read on for some tips on designing indoor grow facilities.

grow-room

Deciding On The Space

The best thing about this project is that you can use just about any space. For instance, if you have spare bedrooms, sheds, walk-in closets, or garages, then you have a place to start. The next step will be to decide how much space you actually need to avoid congestion while also preserving parts of your home for other purposes.

However, don’t stress yourself too much on this as any space you have can work fine. Anything upwards of 2x2x4 should be adequate for your plants. You just need to plan it well to not only sustain the plants but also accommodate the equipment that will be used in creating the right environment.

Creating A Controlled Environment

To have a successful grow room, you’ll need to control the environment to favor the growth of plants. This entails the use of various techniques and tools such as dehumidifiers, LED lights, and an air circulation system. Of course, some of these things will depend on your geographical location and the room itself.

1. Lighting

One of the biggest investments you’ll need for your grow room is proper lighting. The best option when it comes to this area is the LED grow lights which will not only provide sufficient light, but also help in the temperature department. In addition, you may need to buy a few cables if the room doesn’t have a power supply.

Keep in mind though that these bulbs are high-wattage and will consume a significant amount of power. As such, make sure to make a few adjustments in your utility bill budget as it will most definitely increase with time.

2. Irrigation

Of course, a grow room isn’t complete without a water source as this is one of the basic needs in the growth of plants. You’ll need to design an irrigation system, which will require a set of pipes and a tank or a connection to your home’s main water supply. While still working on plumbing, install a floor drain to avoid stagnation and ensure that you use waterproof walls for durability.

grow-room-plants

3. Air Circulation

A good grow room is one that supports sufficient air circulation to ensure proper growth of plants. Therefore, your HVAC system must be able to accomplish this need. If your geographical location hinders the quality of air, you can use a filter to ensure that the air within the room is of a higher quality. The reverse can also be done if the air from the room emits a distinct odor.

4. Temperature Control

There’s a need for consistent temperature and humidity control as this is crucial in the success of your project. If the temperatures are too low, plants will grow slowly and might not reach their desired level. Hot environments, on the other hand, will lead to damaged crops. Most people with indoor grow rooms use air conditioners for this purpose and fans to get rid of the hot air. The fans also prevent the lights from searing your plants. To enhance the operation of all these instruments, it would be a good idea to insulate the room, especially if the temperatures in your region are not favorable.

Conclusion

Although it might seem quite straightforward, coming up with a well-designed grow room is a demanding adventure for many people. However, you’ll find it a lot simpler if you follow the tips discussed in this article. Decide on the room that you’ll want to redesign for this project. Apart from the size and other basic features, make sure that it’s at a safe distance from your main home, especially if you expect a lot of noise from fans and other machines.

Among the most important factors that will need a little investment on your part include lighting, plumbing, flooring, walls, water supply, and air conditioning system. Remember that bringing new components like bulbs and fans into the mix will have a significant impact on your utility bills. Therefore, be ready to make the necessary adjustments going forward.

Analysis of Agro Biomass Projects

The current use of agro biomass for energy generation is low and more efficient use would release significant amounts of agro biomass resources for other energy use. Usually, efficiency improvements are neglected because of the non-existence of grid connections with agro-industries.

Electricity generated from biomass is more costly to produce than fossil fuel and hydroelectric power for two reasons. First, biomass fuels are expensive. The cost of producing biomass fuel is dependent on the type of biomass, the amount of processing necessary to convert it to an efficient fuel, distance to the energy conversion plant, and supply and demand for fuels in the market place. Biomass fuel is low-density and non-homogeneous and has a small unit size.

Crop_Residues

Consequently, biomass fuel is costly to collect, process, and transport to facilities.  Second, biomass-to-energy facilities are much smaller than conventional fossil fuel-based power plants and therefore cannot produce electricity as cost-effectively as the fossil fuel-based plants.

Agro biomass is costly to collect, process, and transport to facilities.

The biomass-to-energy facilities are smaller because of the limited amount of fuel that can be stored at a single facility. With higher fuel costs and lower economic efficiencies, solid-fuel energy is not economically competitive in a deregulated energy market that gives zero value or compensation for the non-electric benefits generated by the biomass-to-energy industry.

Biomass availability for fuel usage is estimated as the total amount of plant residue remaining after harvest, minus the amount of plant material that must be left on the field for maintaining sufficient levels of organic matter in the soil and for preventing soil erosion. While there are no generally agreed-upon standards for maximum removal rates, a portion of the biomass material may be removed without severely reducing soil productivity.

Technically, biomass removal rates of up to 60 to 70 percent are achievable, but in practice, current residue collection techniques generally result in relatively low recovery rates in developing countries. The low biomass recovery rate is the result of a combination of factors, including collection equipment limitations, economics, and conservation requirements. Modern agricultural equipment can allow for the joint collection of grain and residues, increased collection rates to up to 60 percent, and may help reduce concerns about soil compaction.

The Importance of Indoor Air Quality Monitoring

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns. Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.

Health Impacts of Air Pollutants

Some health effects may show up shortly after a single exposure or repeated exposures to a pollutant. These include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Such immediate effects are usually short-term and treatable.

Sometimes the treatment is simply eliminating the person’s exposure to the source of the pollution, if it can be identified. Soon after exposure to some indoor air pollutants, symptoms of some diseases such as asthma may show up, be aggravated or worsened.

The likelihood of immediate reactions to indoor air pollutants depends on several factors including age and preexisting medical conditions. In some cases, whether a person reacts to a pollutant depends on individual sensitivity, which varies tremendously from person to person. Some people can become sensitized to biological or chemical pollutants after repeated or high level exposures.

In long-term effects, other health effects may show up either years after exposure has occurred or only after long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects, which include some respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal. It is prudent to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are not noticeable.

Reasons for Poor Indoor Air Quality

Gas and respirable particulates in the air are the primary sources that contribute to poor IAQ. Sources can include inadequate ventilation, poorly maintained HVAC systems, cooking stoves, non-vented gas heaters, tobacco smoke, vehicle exhaust emissions, building materials, carpeting, furniture, maintenance products, solvents, cleaning supplies etc.

safer-air-quality-in-home

The actual concentrations of these pollutants can also be amplified by other external factors including poor ventilation, humidity, and temperature.

Air Genius – Best Indoor Air Quality Monitor

Air Genius is a state-of-the-art indoor air quality monitor that you should have at your house or in your office to monitor the air that we breathe. The device, developed by India-based Next Sense Technologies, uses the latest sensors to determine particulate matter, VOCs, total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), carbon dioxide, temperature, humidity and other important parameters.

We have taken a leap in technological advancement by relaying the data automatically to the server so that you can access the data remotely and in real-time. Through this, one could take initiatives on switching on the Air purifier or by keeping the window open for allowing the fresh air.

Typical Applications for Air Genius Indoor Air Quality Monitor

  • IAQ complaint investigation and analysis
  • HVAC system performance monitoring
  • Air quality engineering analysis
  • Mold investigation and remediation
  • Health and comfort assessment
  • Airport lounges, shopping malls, offices
  • Colleges, schools and kindergartens
  • Hospitals and healthcare establishments

For business enquiries about Air Genius Air Quality Monitor, please visit  http://www.nextsensetechnologies.com/ or contact Mr. Mohammad Hamza on +91-9540990415 or email on enggenvsolution@gmail.com or salman@bioenergyconsult.com

Thermocouples: Types and Uses

Thermocouples are sensors used to measure temperatures. These devices consist of different metals to form two wire legs forming a junction. Manufacturers weld together these two wire legs to make sure the connection is stable. Thermocouple junctions are used to check for changes in temperatures. There are different types of thermocouples available in the market, and these models have distinct characteristics and features.

The Types of Thermocouples

The manufacturing of a thermocouple requires producers to classify units with distinct color codes. Manufacturers classify these codes in either ANSI/ASTM E230 OR IEC60584. The thermocouples, their calibrations, and their color designations (in ANSI/ASTM E320) are:

  • Type K: Yellow (+) / Red (-)
  • Type T: Blue (+) / Red (-)
  • Type N: Orange (+) / Red (-)
  • Type S: Black (+) / Red (-)
  • Type C: N/A
  • Type J: White (+) / Red (-)
  • Type E: Purple (+) / Red (-)
  • Type R: Black (+) / Red (-)
  • Type B: Black (+) / Red (-)

Conversely, here are the thermocouples once more and their calibrations, but with their IEC 60584 color designations:

  • Type K: Green (+) / White (-)
  • Type T: Brown (+) / White (-)
  • Type N: Rose (+) / White (-)
  • Type S: Orange (+) / White (-)
  • Type C: N/A
  • Type J: Black (+) / White (-)
  • Type E: Purple (+) / White (-)
  • Type R: Orange (+) / White (-)
  • Type B: Orange (+) / White (-)

Thermocouple Temperature Range

Aside from the color codes, thermocouple types have specific melting points and continuous maximum temperatures. For example, the thermocouple Type B with a platinum 30% rhodium (+) composition may have a temperature range of 2,500 to 3,100 degrees Fahrenheit. Conversely, a platinum 6% rhodium (-) composition of the same thermocouple type may yield a similar temperature range.

Another example is a thermocouple type E with a chromel (+) composition. For this model, you may use it for handling temperature ranges of 200 to 1,650 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, consider the environment before using specific thermocouple types.

Uses of Thermocouples

Different thermocouple types may have diverse uses. Hospital thermometers, automotive technologies, and machines handling renewable energies might use thermocouples to help users detect changes in temperatures. Here are a few thermocouple types and their uses:

  • Type J

This thermocouple type may have an iron and Constantan leg. Various organizations in different industries find this model to be helpful in several operations. For example, it may be useful in reducing, oxidizing, and vacuuming atmospheres. Type J models may have durable constructions. Thus, these units may not require sensitive handling when installing them in other machines or industrial environments.

  • Type K

This thermocouple has a Chromel and Alumel composition for its wire legs. Consider using this type to oxidize or inert atmospheres with temperatures of up to 2,300 Fahrenheit. Companies may use this thermocouple model thanks to its relatively accurate and stable readings even at high temperatures.

  • Type N

Type N thermocouples may be akin to better Type K models. This type has a Nicrosil and Nisil composition for its wire legs. It also has a similar temperature range as the Type K. However, type N models might have better resistance than its type K counterparts thanks to its temperature cycling features. Furthermore, its hysteresis and green rot allow type N models to be more cost-effective units than type Ks.

  • Type T

A copper and Constantan composition reside in the wire legs of type T thermocouples. Like the type J models, type Ts help users reduce, oxidize, vacuum, and inert atmospheres. Still, this thermocouple class has excellent resistance against corrosion in several atmospheres. It may also offer high-stability readings at sub-zero temperatures.

  • Type E

For this thermocouple, it has one Chromel and one Constantan leg. Like the type T thermocouple, it may also be resistant to corrosion in various atmospheres. However, there’s one characteristic that may put type E thermocouples better than other models: Type Es may have the highest EMF per degree in comparison with different thermocouple types. Nonetheless, it might not be resistant to sulfurous environments.

  • Type C

Environments that have sweltering temperatures may use type C thermocouples. This model has a tungsten and rhenium composition for its wire legs. Organizations may use this thermocouple type in extremely high-temperature environments of up to 4,200 degrees Fahrenheit. While it can withstand high temperatures, this thermocouple may have a brittle construction. Proceed with caution when handling it as one false move might break the device.

Conclusion

Always consider the right thermocouple type when you want to read temperatures accurately in specific environments. For instance, consider the right thermocouple when reading temperature levels in automotive technologies and their hot engines. These devices may also activate gas shut-off modules aside from reading temperatures. Take time in researching the right model for the job to avoid complications.

Manage Trees With Sustainability In Mind

There is growing concern as forest land outside of conservation areas is steadily decreasing. There has been a disturbing reduction in primary forests of 40 million hectares in the last decade. The total area of forest within protected areas has increased by 94 million hectares in the past two decades and now accounts for 13% of the total of forests globally.

Tree healthcare for humans

Trees are well known for providing oxygen as a result of their photosynthesis process. It is in fact the carbon dioxide (CO2) that is removed during this process therefore helping to mitigate the negative effects of burning fossil fuels ie. CO2 production. The benefits to the world of this process make the existence and importance of the Amazon rainforest especially significant.

Trees benefit cities too

Not only are trees a beautiful addition to any city, they also serve a practical purpose by absorbing pollutants. Their presence makes a city appear more vibrant and more friendly. For example, San Francisco is home to 105,000 trees. Tree planting should be kept in pace with tree mortality and tree removal. A tree management plan is essential to ensure sustainability.

Tree management for woodland

Trees should be checked for health and also for the merchantability of the trees. When areas of the woodland require thinning out it is useful to produce a product that has a commercial value. This way waste management has been prioritized and has turned a Liability into an Asset.

The harvested wood/logs can be considered an asset and can be sold as fuel. Always ensure trees are removed when over-crowding is an issue to allow for tree growth of the remaining trees. The woodland is sustainable by including sufficient planting of new trees.

Arborists are trained to evaluate the health and ongoing sustainability of a tree. Oftentimes they can prescribe solutions to prolong a tree’s life, thereby protecting the environment as well as improving surrounding property values.

Most cities have tree service companies that offer trained arborists who can provide consultations. Depending on the depth of the consultation it may be free or at a very low price.

An ISA-certified arborist can make qualified decisions on whether a tree needs to be removed or if it can be saved.

Additionally, during their consultation, they will be careful to not damage the tree further. Trufast Tree Care has a certified arborist on staff for helping with these tree evaluations

Maintaining the urban trees

Your arborist can advise you of local procedures and the law regarding your trees which if not properly managed can become a legal liability. Some types of trees do not take well to heavy pruning, for example the Southern Live Oak is best not located in restricted areas where heavy pruning to clear avenues may be required. It is better to grow it in a larger landscaped area where it can grow with minimal pruning. They often reach 60 to 80 feet in height with a 60 to 100 foot spread.

trees-sustainability

The branches of Live Oak tend to droop as they grow so some careful pruning will be necessary especially as this type of growth can be a problem for vehicular or pedestrian clearance beneath. Many trees are not permitted to be removed without obtaining a tree removal permit first. This is good as it provides some protection for the trees.

Other tree varieties to grow with sustainability

The beautiful red maple is a great yard tree being very tolerant and is able to grow in nearly any conditions but especially in acid to neutral soils. Plant away from paths etc as the roots can raise sidewalks if too close. A good layer of organic mulch should be placed around the roots to feed and help retain moisture.

Presence of trees make a city appear more vibrant and eco-friendly

Another commonly found tree in the US is the Loblolly Pine. When found in plantations it provides the perfect habitat for wildlife such as deer, squirrels making it a very sustainable choice. Being a faster growing tree it requires more regular pruning.

Enjoy our future with sustainability for trees

Sustainability ensures we leave the world in a good state for future generations to enjoy, whilst still meeting the needs of the current population. Keep your trees maintained moving forward and always pay attention to the type of tree and manage accordingly. This way you can enjoy the many beautiful trees around you.

How to Properly Scale Up Your Environmental Consulting Firm?

Environmental laws are important to keep our planet safe, especially from large industries that can unknowingly impact our world. Hence, these laws are strictly enforced, with punitive measures that are apt for its necessity. That’s why an environmental consulting firm is necessary for every business, to ensure the highest level of compliance in terms of such laws.

Now if you’re reading this article, then, most you most likely already know this. What you’re probably really interested in is how you can expand your business and cast a wider net across different states and possibly tap a global market. So here are a few things you must know to properly scale up your environmental consulting firm.

environmental-consultancy

Perfect your Fundamentals

The reason I started this article with a pretty basic definition about what an environmental consulting firm is tasked to do is because I want to remind you of the core value that such companies should impart on their clients. If you’re failing to do this, then it’s not yet time for you to scale up. Perfecting your fundamentals like proper project management and follow through is important because you should polish your current services before thinking about growing the business itself.

Any business for that matter must be scalable to an extent and for that you would need an organized business plan that can make your enterprise repeatable and enforceable no matter where you go.

Prepare a budget ready for any situation

This goes without saying but a sufficient budget is necessary if you really want to expand your business. It will take a big enough money for you to add to existing operations and to prepare for any emergency situation that may arise from it. However, if you do have a business plan and follow it by heart, you will most likely be able to use your funds more efficiently.

Know who to trust

Scaling up a consultancy firm relies heavily on how big a network you have already built for yourself over the years. This network will not only give you a reliable supply of clients wherever you go, but also a good team of suppliers that you can trust for all your operational needs.

For example, you definitely need to tap a construction materials supplier who can keep up with your demand as your business grows. You also need a good mobility partner for all transport needs such as renting your fleet that can travel far and wide to bring the materials, supplies, and manpower to any site across different states.

You can also expand by experimenting on trustworthy subcontractors that could do the job for you at a fraction of the cost. Let’s face it, it may take more managerial work but it removes a lot more responsibilities off your plate, which is pretty valuable once you’re already growing your business.

Improve your Efficiency

Improving your efficiency may be something you’d want to do before actually trying to scale up your business. But it’s also better if you can explore ways to automate processes like basic consultations and your financing. You can also try to develop an application or look for an existing software that can do most of the dirty work for you.

environmental-engineers

Know your End-Goal

What’s the point of expanding your consulting business? Do you want to make a bigger impact for the environment? Do you want to offer more jobs to people especially during this time? Or do you simply want to earn more money and make a name for yourself in the industry? To be honest, any of the aforementioned reasons are perfectly valid. However, you should once again keep in mind that your business thrives for a reason: you keep big corporations in check against possible environmental issues and make them sustainable. This means you have a social responsibility to keep that and ensure that this happens especially to all your clients.

Your end goal should guide you in how you will operate your consulting firm. There must always be an objective and an endpoint so you can properly rest on your laurels and won’t allow yourself to be a corporate slave for the rest of your life. Remember that there are ways you can let go especially if you feel like it’s already time.

Blindly pushing to expand your environmental consulting firm has serious repercussions not just for your company but also for the environment in general. So you must do your part and understand the list above so you can successfully scale up and be known as one of the best eco consultants not just in your area, but perhaps in the entire world.

Bioenergy Developments in Malaysia

Malaysia is blessed with abundant renewable sources of energy, especially biomass and solar. Under the Eighth Malaysian Plan, renewable energy was added in the energy mix to unveil a Five-Fuel Strategy to achieve 5 percent contribution by 2005.

Among the various sources of renewable energy, bioenergy seems to be the most promising option for Malaysia. The National Biofuel Policy, launched in 2006 encourages the use of environmentally friendly, sustainable and viable sources of biomass energy. Under the Five Fuel Policy, the government of Malaysia has identified biomass as one of the potential renewable energy.

Malaysia produces atleast 168 million tonnes of biomass, including timber and oil palm waste, rice husks, coconut trunk fibres, municipal waste and sugar cane waste annually. Being a major agricultural commodity producer in the region Malaysia is well positioned amongst the ASEAN countries to promote the use of biomass as a renewable energy source.

Malaysia has been one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of palm oil for the last forty years. The Palm Oil industry, besides producing Crude Palm Oil (CPO) and Palm Kernel Oil, produces Palm Shell, Press Fibre, Empty Fruit Bunches (EFB), Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME), Palm Trunk (during replanting) and Palm Fronds (during pruning).

Malaysia has approximately 4 million hectares of land under oil palm plantation. Over 75% of total area planted is located in just four states, Sabah, Johor, Pahang and Sarawak, each of which has over half a million hectares under cultivation. The total amount of processed FFB (Fresh Fruit Bunches) was estimated to be 75 million tons while the total amount of EFB produced was estimated to be 16.6 million tons. Around 58 million tons of POME is produced in Malaysia annually, which has the potential to produce an estimated 15 billion m3 of biogas can be produced each year.

Malaysia is the world’s second largest producer of crude palm oil. Almost 70% of the volume from the processing of fresh fruit bunch is removed as wastes in the form of empty fruit bunches, palm kernel shells, palm oil mill effluent etc. With more than 451 mills in Malaysia, this palm oil industry generate around 100 million dry tonnes of biomass. Malaysia has more than 2400 MW of biomass and 410 MW of biogas potential, out of which only a fraction has been harnessed until now.

Rice husk is another important agricultural biomass resource in Malaysia with good potential for power cogeneration. An example of its attractive energy potential is biomass power plant in the state of Perlis which uses rice husk as the main source of fuel and generates 10 MW power to meet the requirements of 30,000 households. The US$15 million project has been undertaken by Bio-Renewable Power Sdn Bhd in collaboration with the Perlis state government, while technology provider is Finland’s Foster Wheeler Energia Oy.

Under the EC-ASEAN Cogeneration Program, there are three ongoing Full Scale Demonstration Projects (FSDPs) – Titi Serong, Sungai Dingin Palm Oil Mill and TSH Bioenergy – to promote biomass energy systems in Malaysia. The 1.5MW Titi Serong power plant, located at Parit Buntar (Perak), is based on rice husk while the 2MW Sungai Dingin Palm Oil Mill project make use of palm kernel shell and fibre to generate steam and electricity. The 14MW TSH Bioenergy Sdn Bhd, located at Tawau (Sabah), is the biggest biomass power plant in Malaysia and utilizes empty fruit bunches, palm oil fibre and palm kernel shell as fuel resources.