Zero Waste Trends to Watch

Most people have heard about concepts such as single-stream recycling, but there’s another approach known as zero waste. People who support the concept of zero waste agree that, in a broader sense, it means reducing dependence on landfills and increasing reliance on material recovery facilities. But, after that, the definition varies primarily based on industries, manufacturers and even entire countries.

Even so, there are inspiring trends that show how people and companies are working hard to reduce the amount of waste produced, thereby getting ever closer to that desirable zero benchmark. Below are some of the major trends taking place across the world in the field of zero waste:

Circular-Economy

More Reusable Packaging

We live in a world where it’s possible to order almost anything online and have it quickly arrive on a doorstep — sometimes the same day a person placed the order. And, society loves the convenience, but the dependence on delivered products causes an increase in packaging materials.

It is often astounding how many packing peanuts, layers of bubble wrap and cardboard cartons come with the things we buy. And, the manufacturers and shipping companies consistently bring up how boxes get dropped or otherwise mishandled during transit, making the extraordinary amounts of protective packaging products necessary.

packaging-LCA

Packaging that adorns your product can have serious environmental impact.

On a positive note, a company called Limeloop makes a shipping envelope designed from recycled billboard wrapping people can reuse thousands of times. Another company called Returnity communicates with distributors to urge them to use the establishment’s boxes and envelopes, both of which people can rely on dozens of times instead of throwing them away after single uses.

If you are a business looking to adopt eco-friendly practices, you should read this article on green packaging methods.

Ceramic Mugs in British Coffee Shops

In some regions of the world, customers who visit coffee shops don’t get asked whether they’ll be drinking their coffee on site or taking it with them to go. However, many leading coffee shops in the United Kingdom find out that detail from customers who order drinks, then serve the beverages in non-disposable mugs to people who’ll enjoy their purchases on the spot.

Also, all 950 Starbucks locations in Great Britain recently began charging customers five cents for getting their drinks in disposable cups. Conversely, it rewards them by taking 25 cents off the costs of their orders when they bring reusable cups into the stores.

Creative Ways to Cut Down on Farm Waste

Manure (or fertilizer) is a reality on farms around the world. And, the commercially bought versions of it contribute to excessive waste and inflated costs. Some even harm future growth when farmers apply manure too heavily and negatively affect the soil’s balance.

But, besides avoiding commercially-sold manure and not applying it excessively if used, what else can people in the agriculture sector do to make farm waste more manageable? They can look for unique outlets that may want to buy it.

Agriculture_Waste_Biogas

One startup uses a detailed manure-refining process to extract the cellulose from cow dung. Business representatives then use the cellulose — a byproduct from the grass and corn cows eat — for a new kind of fabric.

What about using animal waste for energy? A forward-thinking farmer did that with his manure lagoons, making them produce biogas that powers homes.

These unusual solutions highlight unconventional use cases for animal droppings, such as poultry litter, that support zero-waste goals, provided farmers want to explore them.

An Uptick in Reusable Food Containers

People often pack their lunches in plastic containers before heading off to work, but when they get food delivered or pick it up from a provider to eat at home later, the associated containers usually fill up garbage cans after people chow down.

Some facilities are trying to change that. At The University of California Merced campus, a pilot program occurred where students who stopped by dining halls for meals to take away brought reusable containers with them. After people ate the food from them, they could return them to get washed and ready for future meals.

Moreover, a pizza restaurant in Wales provides an aluminum box for people to use again and again when taking their pies home. One of the problems with cardboard pizza containers is they can’t be recycled when contaminated with grease. However, people can buy the metal ones for a small, one-time fee.

Opt for reusable containers for food and beverages

Then, by using them, they get 50-cent discounts on their pizza. The restaurant also backs the boxes with a lifetime guarantee and will replace them for no charge if necessary due to breakage or damage. Also, because metal conducts heat, the material helps pizza stay hotter for longer than it would in cardboard boxes.

Innovations to Complement Commitment

Adhering to a zero waste lifestyle undoubtedly requires dedication and a willingness to look beyond old habits. However, for people who show those characteristics, numerous inventions and improvements make it easier to do away with the throw-away culture.

Protecting Transgender Employees

When you think about workplace safety, what comes to mind? Perhaps it’s being issued protective equipment to reduce injury, processes to report employer misconduct, or a clear and concise evacuation plan in the event of a fire or other emergency.

For many of us, feeling safe at work is something we’ve become accustomed to and may take for granted. But for others, especially members of minority groups and the LGBTQ community, workplace safety can feel like an afterthought.

This is certainly true for transgender individuals. Transgender – or trans – is the term used for people whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned to them at birth. Some trans people identify as trans men or trans women; others describe themselves using descriptive terms including non-binary, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, agender, or bigender. One in three Americans know someone who is transgender – these are our friends and family members, our neighbors, our peers, and our colleagues.

transgender employees

Challenges Facing The Transgender Community

The trans community faces tremendous stigma in society, and discrimination against transgender people is all too common in school settings and the workplace. The Center for America Progress notes that “90 percent of transgender workers report some form of harassment or mistreatment on the job” due to their gender identity. This includes being overlooked or fired from a job, having received a negative performance review or been denied a promotion, or verbally or physically abused.

Employers should familiarize themselves with the challenges facing their trans employees. Doing so can help ensure employers are in compliance with federal, state, and local laws established to help protect the trans community, but also with the goal of creating a healthy workplace environment for all.

1. Gender Dysphoria

Some trans people might experience something called gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria refers to the discomfort and distress felt among individuals whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth. This condition can become debilitating and interfere with day-to-day activities. Mind Diagnostics offers a confidential test that may be helpful when looking to determine if you’re experiencing gender dysphoria. Based on the results, you can work with your doctor to help manage your feelings.

2. Violence

The rate of discrimination against trans people at the workplace is staggering, and stigma and harassment are also rampant in society. In some cases, harassment can become violent and even life-threatening. According to Human Rights Campaign, the rate of violence perpetrated against trans people is more severe than that against the average person. The majority of transgender people have experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner, and 47% have been sexually assaulted. Nearly 30 trans and gender non-conforming people were violently killed in 2020.

3. Lack of Healthcare Coverage

The U.S. healthcare system falls short when it comes to serving the trans community. Human Rights Campaign Foundation data shows 22% of trans people and 32% of trans people of color live without health insurance and 29% have been refused healthcare because of their gender identity.

4. Poverty

Studies show that 29% of trans adults live in poverty, and this figure increases for trans people in the Black, Latinx, Alaska Native, Asian, Native Americans, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.

Workplace Discrimination Against Transgender People Is Illegal

The Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that federal law prohibits anti-transgender discrimination in the workplace (Bostock v. Clayton County). Yet, more work is needed to ensure all employees are properly protected.

The National Center for Transgender Equality offers helpful information about transgender rights and the avenues transgender individuals can pursue should they be discriminated against at work. In summary:

  • Federal law makes it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, harass, or otherwise discriminate due to gender identity, gender transition, sex assigned at birth, or transgender status.
  • Trans people have a right not to be fired or refused a job or promotion because they are transgender.
  • Severe or widespread sex-based harassment is unlawful when an employer does not take steps to stop it. Harassment may include jokes or derogatory comments, intentional misuse of names or pronouns, and invasive or disrespectful personal questions.
  • Trans people have the right to safe and adequate access to restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity.
  • Employers cannot prohibit or force a trans person from disclosing their transgender status or gender identity, nor can they disclose someone’s transgender status without consent.

Why Recycling Can Help With Anxiety

The kinds of products that one can recycle today is astonishing, as are the number of recycling services available across the country. Even folks living in more rural areas can typically reach a local recycling center in a matter of minutes where they can recycle plastics, cardboards, and glass.

Many grocery stores nowadays even have soft plastic recycling bins you can use to deposit used grocery bags, food wrappers, and other soft plastic material including netting and dog food bags. Recycling offers the opportunity for any individual to keep material out of landfills and reduce waste by turning old material into new products for reuse. But, it has other benefits too. Recycling is an excellent way to get organized and reduce anxiety around the house.

spring cleaning and anxiety

Spring Cleaning/Recycling can help reduce anxiety

If you’ve been feeling increased anxiety at home, take a look around the house. Sometimes a fresh start can help bring a sense of calm and clear headedness to your life. It may not be a cure-all for all of the anxiety you may be feeling, but a good spring clean may go further than you may think.

There is something to be said about walking into a room that is free of clutter and arranged in an inviting way. It increases a sense of pride in your home and your life, and makes room for your mind to focus on other things. It can stimulate productivity in other areas of your life, also. But how do you get started when the whole task of cleaning out and recycling seems a tad too overwhelming?

How to Get Started

Begin with one room at a time, tackling the easiest one first so you don’t get overwhelmed too quickly. This may be a room such as the pantry or office, or an extra bedroom. Decide how long you want to spend on each room, one weekend for example, and try your best to stick to your schedule. This process may fill you with anxiety at first, but once you get started you may begin to notice just how therapeutic the process really is.

Next you’ll need to create piles to sort your goods into: keep, trash, give away, and recycle. You can place these piles in each room or create a master pile somewhere inside or outside the house.

1. Keep Pile

This pile should be one of the smaller piles, believe it or not. It is reserved for items you absolutely need, use often, or has the highest sentimental value when compared to other items.

2. Sell Pile

Items in the sell pile are those with enough value not to throw away or recycle, but not worth holding onto because they are no longer needed or wanted. Use an online marketplace to sell them or do it the old fashioned way via a yard sale.

3. Give Away Pile

This pile is meant for all those items you love, but you really don’t need. These items you may have a hard time donating to strangers or recycling, but you may feel better about giving away friends or family. Examples of items appropriate for this pile could be gifts given to you that you’ve used seldomly, expensive items you no longer need or use but are hard to sell, or items with sentimental value.

4. Recycle Pile

Anything you can’t donate, sell, or give away should be considered for the recycle pile before going to the trash. Items that can be recycled include electronics of all kinds, paints, oils and other toxic substances, wood, yard clippings, plastic, metal, glass, soft plastics, cardboard and paper products, eyeglasses, and clothing.

Role of Biomass Energy in Rural Development

Biomass energy systems not only offer significant possibilities for clean energy production and agricultural waste management but also foster sustainable development in rural areas. The increased utilization of biomass energy will be instrumental in safeguarding the environment, generation of new job opportunities, sustainable development and health improvements in rural areas.

biomass-bales

Biomass energy has the potential to modernize the agricultural economy and catalyze rural development. The development of efficient biomass handling technology, improvement of agro-forestry systems and establishment of small, medium and large-scale biomass-based power plants can play a major role in rural development.

Sustainable harvesting practices remove only a small portion of branches and tops leaving sufficient biomass to conserve organic matter and nutrients. Moreover, the ash obtained after combustion of biomass compensates for nutrient losses by fertilizing the soil periodically in natural forests as well as fields.

Planting of energy crops on abandoned agricultural lands will lead to an increase in species diversity. The creation of structurally and species diverse forests helps in reducing the impacts of insects, diseases and weeds. Similarly the artificial creation of diversity is essential when genetically modified or genetically identical species are being planted.

Improvements in agricultural practices promises to increased biomass yields, reductions in cultivation costs, and improved environmental quality. Extensive research in the fields of plant genetics, analytical techniques, remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) will immensely help in increasing the energy potential of biomass feedstock.

Rural areas are the preferred hunting ground for the development of biomass sector worldwide. By making use of various biological and thermal processes (anaerobic digestion, combustion, gasification, pyrolysis), agricultural wastes can be converted into biofuels, heat or electricity, and thus catalyzing sustainable development of rural areas economically, socially and environmentally.

Biomass energy can reduce 'fuel poverty' in remote and isolated communities

Biomass energy can reduce ‘fuel poverty’ in remote and isolated communities

A large amount of energy is utilized in the cultivation and processing of crops like sugarcane, wheat and rice which can met by utilizing energy-rich residues for electricity production. The integration of biomass-fueled gasifiers in coal-fired power stations would be advantageous in terms of improved flexibility in response to fluctuations in biomass availability and lower investment costs.

There are many areas in India where people still lack access to electricity and thus face enormous hardship in day-to-day lives. Biomass energy promises to reduce ‘fuel poverty’ commonly prevalent among remote and isolated communities.  Obviously, when a remote area is able to access reliable and cheap energy, it will lead to economic development and youth empowerment.

Make Your Pool More Sustainable Now!

The word sustainable has no single definition since its meaning changes to different people over time. But simply put, sustainability is the use of practices that creates the least blueprint to the environment. When you choose materials or implement policies that promote environmental awareness, you are practicing sustainability.

A pool is not a pool without water, electricity, and chemicals for its maintenance and operation. With this in mind, is it possible to own a pool without damaging the environment?

The answer is yes. There are many ways to have a highly sustainable pool. Here are some of them:

swimming pool maintenance

1. Use water-neutral method

Water-neutral pools have water-saving and water-harvesting devices like water reservoirs to collect rainwater that can replenish the pool. Another way to save water is by installing backwash-minimization systems to reduce the amount of water needed to maintain the swimming pool. The upfront cost for buying water-neutral devices can be expensive, but considering the benefits they offer, they are practical tools in the long run.

2. Use eco-friendly technologies

Another way to make your pool greener is to use eco-friendly accessories such as LED lights instead of the usual halogen bulbs. LED lights use less power than other types of lamps. This means that they consume less electricity too, which means it lets you save on money. They are also easier to automate, so you can set a timer for them through your mobile phone. If you have older pools that come with halogen lamps, you may consider changing them for LED bulbs.

3. Harness the power of the sun

There is nothing more satisfying than taking a dip in a warm pool. However, running your pool heater consumes a lot of electricity which causes a surge in your electric bill. Installing additional 2-3KW solar panels on top of the pool heater can cover the cost of running pool accessories. You can connect the pool pump to the solar panel and let it run between 10 am to 3 pm while the sun is up. This solar pool setup will save you a lot of money later on.

If there is a downside to installing a solar panel, it’s the fact that it needs ample space and the right location where it can get a lot of sun rays.

4. Use a thermal pool cover or solar “bubble blanket”

One of the simplest ways to prevent pool heat loss is to cover the pool when not used. Pool covers help in heat retention, reduces evaporation, lessens the need to top up the pool, and maintains chemical balance.  Thermal covers are specially designed to withstand strong UV, which helps retain the heat more. Thermal blankets with the highest R-value work best in heat retention.

5. Keep your pool clean

Cleaning the pool is a lifetime responsibility. Skimming the pool to remove visible objects, vacuuming the walls and floor to loosen up dirt and algae, and using chemicals to remove bacteria and other microscopic organisms are all part of the cleaning process.

Typically, pool cleaning needs your pool pump and water filtration to run to replenish the pool and backwash the filter to remove the debris. However, there is a better way to clean your pool without wasting a lot of water and electricity.

swimming pool maintenance

Using an automatic pool cleaner (also known as pool vacuum) to maintain the water’s good condition is efficient and eco-friendly. A pool robot saves a lot on electricity since it has its own pump and filtration system, meaning you don’t need to run the pool system while cleaning. A pool vacuum has four different types: suction-side, pressure-side, pressure with booster pump, and robotic.

Some of the best pool cleaners only use the same amount of energy as a standard light bulb or about 5 cents per hour. If it takes three hours for them to clean, it translates to an additional 15 cents on your electric bill. This amount is definitely lower compared to running the pool’s pump and filter at the same time.

A pool robot also comes with filters for collecting debris. The dirt is trapped inside the device, not in the pool’s filter system. This process reduces the need to apply chemicals and performs backwashing to clean the pool’s ducts and filter system.

Biomass Energy in China

Biomass energy in China has been developing at a rapid pace. The installed biomass power generation capacity in China increased sharply from 1.4 GW in 2006 to 14.88 GW in 2017. While the energy share of biomass remains relatively low compared to other sources of renewable energy, China plans to increase the proportion of biomass energy up to 15 percent and total installed capacity of biomass power generation to 30 GW by 2030.

biomass-china

In terms of impact, the theoretical biomass energy resource in China is about 5 billion tons coal equivalent, which equals 4 times of all energy consumption. As per conservative estimates, currently China is only using 5 percent of its total biomass potential.

According to IRENA, the majority of biomass capacity is in Eastern China, with the coastal province of Shandong accounting for 14 percent of the total alone. While the direct burning of mass for heat remains the primary use of biomass in China, in 2009, composition of China’s biomass power generation consisted in 62 percent of straw direct-fired power generation and 29 percent of waste incineration, with a mix of other feedstock accounting for the remaining 9 percent.

Biomass Resources in China

Major biomass resources in China include waste from agriculture, forestry, industries, animal manure and sewage, and municipal solid waste. While the largest contributing sources are estimated to be residues from annual crop production like wheat straw, much of the straw and stalk are presently used for cooking and heating in rural households at low efficiencies. Therefore, agricultural residues, forestry residues, and garden waste were found to be the most cited resources with big potential for energy production in China.

Agricultural residues are derived from agriculture harvesting such as maize, rice and cotton stalks, wheat straw and husks, and are most available in Central and northeastern China where most of the large stalk and straw potential is located. Because straw and stalks are produced as by-products of food production systems, they are perceived to be sustainable sources of biomass for energy that do not threaten food security.

Furthermore, it is estimated that China produces around 700 Mt of straw per year, 37 percent of which is corn straw, 28 percent rice, 20 percent wheat and 15 percent from various other crops. Around 50 percent of this straw is used for fertilizers, for which 350 Mt of straw is available for energy production per year.

Biomass resources are underutilized across China

Biomass resources are underutilized across China

Forestry residues are mostly available in the southern and central parts of China. While a few projects that use forestry wastes like tree bark and wood processing wastes are under way, one of the most cited resources with analyzed potential is garden waste. According to research, energy production from garden waste biomass accounted for 20.7 percent of China’s urban residential electricity consumption, or 12.6 percent of China’s transport gasoline demand in 2008.

Future Perspectives

The Chinese government believes that biomass feedstock should neither compete with edible food crops nor cause carbon debt or negative environmental impacts. As biomass takes on an increasing significant role in the China’s national energy-mix, future research specific to technology assessment, in addition to data collection and supply chain management of potential resources is necessary to continue to understand how biomass can become a game-changer in China’s energy future.

References

IRENA, 2014. Renewable Energy Prospects: China, REmap 2030 analysis. IRENA, Abu Dhabi. www.irena.org/remap

National Academy of Engineering and NRC, 2007: Energy Futures and Urban Air Pollution: Challenges for China and the United States.

Xingang, Z., Zhongfu, T., Pingkuo, L, 2013. Development goal of 30 GW for China’s biomass power generation: Will it be achieved? Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 25, September 2013, 310–317.

Xingang, Z., Jieyu, W., Xiaomeng, L., Tiantian, F., Pingkuo, L, 2012. Focus on situation and policies for biomass power generation in China. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 16, Issue 6, August 2012, 3722–3729.

Li, J., Jinming, B. MOA/DOE Project Expert Team, 1998. Assessment of Biomass Resource Availability in China. China Environmental Science Press, Beijing, China.

Klimowicz, G., 2014. “China’s big plans for biomass,” Eco-Business, Global Biomass Series, accessed on Apr 6, 2015.

Shi, Y., Ge, Y., Chang, J., Shao, H., and Tang, Y., 2013. Garden waste biomass for renewable and sustainable energy production in China: Potential, challenges and development. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 22 (2013) 432–437

Xu, J. and Yuan, Z, 2015. “An overview of the biomass energy policy in China,” BESustainable, May 21, 2015.

5 Tips for Launching a Green Career

Are you passionate about the environment? Do you want to work on climate change or try to create sustainable buildings? Maybe you hope to work in national forests or affect government policy on environmental issues. There are plenty of opportunities for green-oriented jobs. Keep reading for more on careers that can be good for both you and the planet, whether you are changing careers or just finishing high school.

1. Consider Your Focus

You should start thinking broadly about what kind of renewable energy career you’d like to have. With a few years of school ahead of you or a career change, you’ll have time to learn more and decide, but it can help if you at least have a general idea about the direction you’ll pursue.

electrical-engineering

Maybe you’d like to work in science, or perhaps you want to write about the environment. You may want to pursue renewable energy degree or become an entrepreneur, founding sustainable companies. Start doing research as early as possible.

2. Plan for School

If you already have a degree, you may not need to go back to school. It depends on how different your new career is from your old one and whether your skills will transfer or if you need further education. If you don’t have a degree, it will be much easier to break into most fields with one, and in most cases, it will be necessary.

If you are worried about money, keep in mind that there are grants, scholarships and loans available. You can shop for a low interest rate on private loans to make sure that you get the best deal available for you.

3. Start Now

You should start as soon as possible to learn about the issues and get involved. There is probably a community group near you that you can join. This can also help you get started networking and meeting other people who have the same interests and ambitions as you as well as professionals who may be well on their way in their careers.

You can learn a lot through volunteer work about the issues that you are most passionate about and what types of jobs you enjoy doing most.

4. Networking and Internships

If you are a student, talk to your professors, your advisor and the career center at your school about your ambitions and what career paths might be right for you. Whether you are a student or a career changer, see if you can set up informational interviews with people doing the types of jobs that interest you.

solar-rebates-faqs

5. Stay Balanced

Doing environmental work or another job that you feel passionately about does not mean that you have to throw your entire being into it. It’s still important to maintain a work-life balance, perhaps doubly so when you work for a nonprofit or in another field that tends to attract people who are as interested in the issues they are working on as in what they are being paid.

Be sure to carve out time for friends, family and hobbies so that you don’t burn out while trying to save the world.

What is the Future of the Construction Industry?

The story of the world economy over the last few decades has been one of rapid digitisation. New technology is playing a role in just about every facet of life – and the construction industry is no exception. We’re using computers to not only design and plan structures, but to actually build them, too. So what new developments can we look forward to in the future? Read on to know more about the tech trends in the construction industry:

1. Virtual and Augmented Reality

It’s difficult to get an idea of exactly how a finished building will look before it’s actually constructed. After all, a top-down plan of a proposed conservatory, loft conversion, or leisure centre, is not going to convey the full reality of the finished product. As such, we’ve always accepted a degree of uncertainty.

Virtual reality in construction

That’s likely to change in the near future, thanks to the emergence of artificial and virtual reality products. It’s now possible to use a VR headset to look around a computer-generated version of a proposed project, and make minor changes before a single brick has been lain. Or, we might use augmented reality as the project is ongoing to achieve much the same thing.

2. Green Buildings

The need to reduce emissions and make buildings sustainable has never been more pressing. This means more efficient envelopes, and energy that’s generated right in the buildings themselves. The homes of the future might come will ultra-efficient photovoltaic rooftops, or ground-source heat pumps.

3. Construction Insurance

As the industry progresses, firms are likely to come up against new and unexpected kinds of risk, which will necessitate specialised forms of construction insurance.

4. Smart Homes

The smart home has been something of a buzzword in recent years. With all of the energy-consuming appliances and devices able to communicate with one another, we’re afforded an accurate picture of a given home’s energy consumption – and we’re able to tweak the dials via algorithms. The rollout of smart meters means that energy companies can react swiftly to changes in demand, thereby lowering costs and bolstering overall efficiency.

smart-homes

Over the coming decades, it’s likely that this principle will be expanded to encompass not just individual homes, but entire estates, and eventually cities.

5. 3d Printing

Additive manufacturing is something that’s been revolutionary in the world of prototyping, but hasn’t quite lived up to the considerable hype in the world of construction. It’s probable that in the future, construction as we know it will be done through entirely different means, and that walls will be thrown up using materials extruded from a machine-controlled nozzle, in much the same way as small-scale 3d printers do today.

It’s possible to throw up buildings incredibly quickly and cheaply using this technology – provided that the initial expense of the printer itself is overcome.

3 Reasons Why Your Business Should Invest in a Generator

Residents of Texas who recently experienced life without power for a significant time period will tell you it can be pretty debilitating. For business owners, the problems presented by power outages are manifold and can be catastrophic for the bottom line. One way to mitigate the risks associated with power outages is to invest in a good quality generator which can assist when trouble strikes.

Generators don’t come cheap, so it’s understandable that business owners will want to do their research before taking the plunge and making a purchase. If you find yourself on the fence when it comes to investing in a generator for your business, here are a few points that may help you with your decision:

energy-company

It Will Keep Your Business Running During a Power Outage

Anyone who has been out shopping or eating at a cafe during a power outage will know how inconvenient it can be. Often, you won’t be able to buy anything and operations will cease. If, however, the business were to have a generator that kicks in the moment the power goes down, then things will be significantly different.

Having a generator ensures that critical systems can continue to work and you won’t have to contend with disappointed customers. Be sure to investigate your options with a reputable supplier like Blue Diamond Generators who can advise you on the various models available and help find a model that is most well-suited to your business needs.

Generators Can Also Help During Brownouts

While the rise in the use of renewable energy is certainly a welcome development, one of the issues is that the power supply from these sources can be somewhat variable. Solar panels and wind turbines are being built at a rapid rate but they don’t always serve people when they need power most.

For example, wind power tends to be strongest during the spring and fall seasons but not necessarily during the summer and winter months when people actually need more power. Often when these systems become overloaded with demand for power, brownouts are implemented as a means of regulating the power supply.  Having a generator means that your business can remain environmentally-friendly but also continue operating should the renewable energy sources prove unreliable.

Investing in a Generator Can Be Cost-Effective in the Long Term

When you consider the amount of money your business loses as a result of a power outage or a brownout, then the cost of a generator doesn’t seem so bad. For example, in the catering trade, a loss of power results in food expiry, and these expenses are rarely recoverable. If you find that such events become regular then these expenses quickly build up. Owning a generator and fuel reserve could prove to be a long-term investment, especially if your business is operating in an area which is susceptible to storms of natural disasters.

If you’re able to find the funding,  then investing in a generator ultimately allows your business to keep running even when others can’t. Not only will this give you a comparative edge over other businesses, but you could potentially make significant savings in the long run, especially when you consider any potential losses and disruptions that could happen as a result of a power outage.

Why Passive Homes Will Be the Future of Home Building

As individuals and companies alike begin to consider more sustainable building options, Passive Homes are an excellent solution. Referred to as “Passivhaus” in German, this construction concept focuses on airtight insulation to create a living space that does not require additional heating or cooling.

Developed in the 1970s, developers have incorporated the PassivHaus design in homes all over the world and in a variety of climates. As an affordable, eco-friendly and versatile construction solution, these homes will play an essential role in the future of homebuilding.

Affordable

Professionals often regard eco-friendly building solutions as too expensive. While construction costs for passive homes can cost 5 to 10% more upfront than a traditional build, these fees are negligible compared to future savings. As sustainable options become standard, these costs may drop. Passive Homes rely on design principles that promote peak energy efficiency without external systems.

With a focus on proper insulation and minimizing air leakage, homeowners can save on conventional heating costs without needing to invest in expensive forms of renewable energy. While solar panels or other types of eco-friendly power are popular, because of the efficiency of the Passive House, their usage is minimal.

Adaptable

People build Passive Houses all over the globe in a variety of climates. The five main principles of passive homebuilding are versatile and can be altered depending on the environment. The airtight construction utilizes proper heat balance, ensuring that warm air remains inside in cooler climates, and properly ventilates in warmer ones.

Another nice feature of Passive Home construction is the ability to modify each project aesthetically. Unlike other forms of sustainable building, such as straw bale homes or shipping containers, professionals can construct Passive Homes using a variety of eco-friendly building materials. This style does not limit builders to certain architectural styles. Because supplies can vary, many homeowners choose to add to the overall sustainability of their homes by using post-consumer building materials.

Eco-Friendly

Passive Homes are eco-friendly by design. In Europe, it’s the standard building practice of the future. According to The Resolution of the European Parliament, its implementation will be mandatory in new home construction by all member states in 2021.

The elements of Passive Homes are sustainable by default and do not require relying on alternative energy systems for primary energy. The standard principles are the result of research at the Passive House Institute, and include:

  • Airtight structures
  • Double and triple-insulated windows
  • Continuous insulation
  • Thermal sealing
  • Air quality management

Passive Home design principles do not rely on renewables as a primary source of energy, focusing instead on insulation and passive solar to maximize heat efficiency. They’re also the most affordable way to achieve zero-carbon, resulting in energy savings of up to 90% compared to conventional energy systems.

Passive Building for the Future

Passive Home design incorporates efficient ventilation, heat recovery and super insulation to create a high-quality structure that is not only efficient but also extremely comfortable. A contractor can adapt these buildings to any climate or design preference. While Passive Homes are already a standard — and future mandated — construction in Europe, they’re also becoming more popular in the United States.

Thanks to a U.S. Department of Energy “Building America” Grant, the PassivHaus Institute established new building standards that take into account market and climate variables throughout North America, including comfort and performance.

Any architect or contractor can easily utilize the Passive Home style, and the building standards are available via online distribution. As consumers and developers look towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly future, this style of building should be at the forefront of construction.