About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the CEO of BioEnergy Consult, and an international consultant, advisor and trainer with expertise in waste management, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, environment protection and resource conservation. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biogas technology, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. Salman has participated in numerous national and international conferences all over the world. He is a prolific environmental journalist, and has authored more than 300 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. In addition, he is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability through his blogs and portals. Salman can be reached at salman@bioenergyconsult.com or salman@cleantechloops.com.

Waste-to-Energy in Saudi Arabia

waste-jeddahUrban waste management has emerged as a big challenge for the government and local bodies in Saudi Arabia. The country generates more than 15 million tons of municipal solid waste each year with per capita waste production estimated to be 2 kg per day, among the highest worldwide. Municipal waste production in three largest cities – Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam – exceeds 6 million tons per annum which gives an indication of the enormity of the problem faced by civic bodies.

The Problem of Waste

Municipal waste generation in Saudi Arabia is increasing at an unprecedented rate. Due to high population growth rate, rapid urbanization and fast-paced economic development, MSW generation is expected to cross 30 million tons per year by 2033. More than 75 percent of Kingdom’s population is concentrated in urban areas, and collected garbage is thrown in landfills or dumpsites without any processing or treatment.

Most of the landfills in Saudi Arabia are non-sanitary and prone to problems like leachate, vermin, flies and spontaneous fires, apart from greenhouse gas emissions.  It has become necessary for the Saudi government to devise an integrated waste management strategy, using international best practices and modern technologies, to tackle heaps of garbage accumulating across the country.

Promise of Waste-to-Energy

Waste-to-energy provides a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution to both energy demand and MSW disposal problems in Saudi Arabia. Increasing waste generation, inability of existing solutions to tackle waste and expansion of cities into ex-dump sites are strong drivers for large-scale deployment of WTE systems in the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia has tremendous waste-to-energy potential due to plentiful availability of good quality municipal waste. Modern waste-to-energy technologies, such as RDF-based incineration, gasification, pyrolysis and anaerobic digestion have the ability to transform power demand and waste management scenario in the country.

A typical 250 – 300 tons per day garbage-to-energy plant can produce around 3 – 4 MW of electricity and a network of such plants in cities around the country can make a real difference in waste management as well as energy sectors.  In fact, such plants also produce tremendous about of heat energy which can be utilized in process industries and district cooling systems, further maximizing their usefulness.

Key Challenges

Around the world, waste-to-energy finds wide acceptance as a tool to manage urban wastes, with more than 1,000 waste-to-energy plants in operation globally, especially in Europe, China and the Asia-Pacific. However, waste-to-energy is struggling to get off-the-ground in Saudi Arabia due to several issues, the main reason being the cheap and plentiful availability of oil which prevents decision-makers to set effective regulations for waste-to-energy development in the country.

Waste-to-Energy is widely accepted as a part of sustainable waste management strategy worldwide.

Waste-to-Energy is widely accepted as a part of sustainable waste management strategy worldwide.

Policy-makers in KSA should consider waste-to-energy as a sustainable waste management solution, rather than as a power-producing industry. Unlike Western countries, waste management services are practically free-of-cost for the waste generators which act as a deterrent for governmental investment in new waste management solutions and technologies, such as waste-to-energy. Infact, waste collection, transport and disposal methods in Saudi Arabia do not match the standards of a developed country.

Future Outlook

Vision 2030, touted as most comprehensive economic reform package in Saudi history, puts forward a strong regulatory and investment framework to develop Saudi waste-to-energy sector. An ambitious target of 3GW of energy from waste is to be achieved by 2025.  A methodical introduction of modern waste management techniques like material recovery facilities, waste-to-energy systems and recycling infrastructure can significantly improve waste management scenario and can also generate good business opportunities.

To sum up, environmental issues associated with non-sanitary landfills, ineffectiveness of prevalent waste management model and rising energy demand are key drivers for development of waste-to-energy sector in Saudi Arabia.

Unending Benefits of Solar Street Lights

solar-steer-lightsSolar power is getting increasing popularity as a dependable source for street lighting all over the world. Some of the benefits associated with solar street lights include reduced dependence on conventional energy, conservation of energy and less reliance on the national grid. In countries experiencing abundance of sunlight, solar lights are the best option to illuminate the streets, garden, parks and other public spaces.

Nowadays, solar street lights are powered by PV panels, in-built battery, LED lights and smart sensors, all integrated into a single compact unit. Solar LED street lights have emerged as a cost-effective and environment-friendly to light up roads and public spaces. LED lights are widely acknowledged for energy conservation, are long-lasting and good-looking, and are maintenance-free. These characteristics make LED-base solar street lights well-suited for commercial as well as domestic lighting applications.

Key Features

A modern solar street light has embedded solar panel, inbuilt lithium-ion batteries, battery management system, night and motion sensors as well as automatic controls. The fully automatic device comes with LEDs, inbuilt and replaceable Lithium-ion battery and passive infrared (PIR) sensors. A typical solar street light is weather-proof and water-resistant, has low insect attraction rate and low glare and has a longer life.

The embedded solar panel converts solar power into electrical energy which is stored in the inbuilt battery, and used for dusk-to-dawn lighting operations. The main innovation of modern solar street lights is the battery management system which is facilitated by the presence of night and motion sensors. During the first 5 hours of night, the system works at average lumens brightness. Subsequently, the intensity of the light reduces till dawn or until PIR sensor is activated by human movement. When people are within a certain radius away from the light, it automatically turns to its full brightness. This smart feature makes solar street lights device a perfect combination of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Solar powered lights by Deelat Industrial has been tried and successfully tested in a wide variety of domestic and commercial applications. The device is well-suited for lighting up streets, courtyards, gardens, parks, compounds, boundary walls, car parks etc. in an eco-friendly and cost-effective manner.

Unending Benefits

Due to off-grid nature of solar street lights, solar street lights incur minimal operational costs. Such lights are wireless in nature and are independent of the utility company. Compared to conventional street lights, solar street lights require almost zero maintenance. Due to the absence of external wires, these lights do not pose any threat of accidents like electrocution, strangulation and overheating. Infact, solar lights illuminate the streets throughout the night irrespective of power cuts and grid failures.

Solar-powered lights are a perfect eco-friendly green lighting solution

Solar-powered lights are a perfect eco-friendly green lighting solution

Solar street lights are a delight for environmentalists around the world as it can provide significant lowering of carbon footprint of individuals, homes and businesses. In other words, solar-powered lights are a perfect green lighting solution. In terms of cost, solar street lights are a better investment than conventional street lights if the capital as well as O&M costs are considered.

Bioplastic – Understanding the Major Issues

Bioplastic is a widely used term now to distinct new ways of production, which should reduce the use of oil-based plastic.  Some scientists regard it as a solution to the plastic pollution problem, yet the issue is much more complex. First of all, this is an extremely broad term that includes various types of substances. Secondly, it is important to evaluate the cost and the actual influence on nature. This will help in figuring out whether it is more sustainable and environmentally-friendly.

If you are a student having an assignment for the environment-related subject, there are a few options. You can easily purchase essay on a given subject from professionals. Or, if you want to do everything on your own, let’s have a closer look at the term and what it means.

What is meant by Bioplastic

Bioplastic can refer to two kinds of things – the ones that are made of renewable bio ingredients instead of fossil fuel and to the materials that are biodegradable. Bio-based plastic is produced from alternative sources, such as corn starch, beet sugar, hemp, or even mango. There are several sources that can be used in such manufacture.

Biodegradable materials are ones that can be broken down by enzymes present in nature. It means that they can be manufactured from a renewable source, but still be not biodegradable and vice versa. It is hard to find a solution that will address both issues – production and recycling.

Alternative materials can solve one of the problems. They can either reduce the usage of fossil fuels or solve the recycling and degradability issues.

Biodegradable Doesn’t Mean Harmless

The next issue is that even if a thing can be degradable, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is not harmful to the environment. First of all, there are several kinds of degradability.

Degradable Items

Basically, any plastic is degradable, but in different circumstances. The traditional one can be degraded and recycled in an industrial environment. However, it cannot be reduced to the materials simply returning to nature.

Nowadays, some bioplastics are more degradable, but they still leave a microplastic residue that pollutes the environment. For example, there is oxo-degradable material dependent on oxygen influence. Yet, it still pollutes nature; that’s why the EU wants to ban it.

Biodegradable

It means that the item can be broken down into natural material, such as water, carbon dioxide, and compost by microorganisms. Yet, it requires specific conditions, mostly at a particular temperature.  If such material is simply thrown into the ocean, it will not be naturally eliminated.

bioplastics

Compostable

Such items degrade on compost site up to carbon dioxide, water, inorganic waste, and biomass. Biodegradable plastic can be produced from traditional petrochemicals (oil-based). At the same time, material produced from renewable sources can be as hard to break down as a traditional one.

Other Issues With Bioplastic Materials

There are several concerns that these new ways of manufacturing plastics raise. They show that there should be much more research and planning done before naming something an ultimate solution.

  • Bioplastic materials are not necessarily much better for the environment. The manufacturing process might affect the nature as well. For instance, the production of Polybutylene Succinate (PBS), a biodegradable substitute for propylene, results in a huge amount of greenhouse gases. Eventually, it is not much better for nature.
  • They are not cheap. Unfortunately, from a capitalistic point of view, there is no market demand for such innovations. They are much more costly for businesses. The main reason to introduce them into wide use is an environmental concern and governmental actions. Otherwise, huge corporations won’t be interested.
  • They are not easy to recycle or decompose. The majority of these materials cannot be recycled by the same plants that recycle oil-based formulas. If they get into the same plant, they are going to pollute and decrease the quality of the material. It means that there have to be new factories to recycle these particular elements.

Conclusion

Bioplastic is a broad term that refers to various options regarding sources and degradability. It attracts a lot of attention from scientists, researchers, and the general public as the environmental situation is declining.

Some of the professionals claim that it is the future that will have little to no impact on nature. However, in reality, the issue is more complex. It requires further research into extended effects, possible recycling, and affordability.

Nowadays, bioplastic has only 1% on the market. It grows steadily, but nothing like traditional manufacturing. The issue needs governmental measures taken in terms of funding research and banning harmful practices. As of now, it is a long journey to substitute all oil-based material with a greener option.

Saving Energy and Money With Effective Heating and Air Conditioning

Did you know that heating and air conditioning can make up for half of your total energy bill? That’s a lot of money and a lot of energy use. If your heating and air aren’t working properly they can’t effectively use that energy and that costs you money and sends more greenhouse gases into the environment. Below we will list a few ways you can keep your energy bill low and your heating and air systems running smoothly and efficiently.

Limit Use

Use the seasons to your advantage and limit your use of heating and AC. Close your blinds in the summer to keep the sun from working against your air conditioning and open the curtains in the winter time to have the sun help your heating.

Consider if your thermostat has a feature that can be set on a timer so you can limit the use of your heating and air conditioner when no one is in the house or at night. These seem like simple things but they can reduce your costs significantly when done regularly.

Regular Maintenance

Don’t forget to do regular maintenance to ensure your HVAC system is working efficiently. Simple things like changing you air filters can make a huge impact on how well your heating and air conditioning runs. Have a professional come at least once a year to check for any problems you may miss and ensure everything is OK.

hvac-repair

Your contractor should measure the voltage of your motors and tighten electrical connections. They should also check for drainage that may cause water damage to your home. These regular check ups also ensure your systems are running properly and safely.

Sealing Ducts and Leaks

Ducts are responsible for distributing the air around your home. However, about 20 percent of air is lost through leaks and poorly connected ducts. This means you’ll be pumping up the AC to no affect and losing money in the process.

Sealing leaks that are visible in the attack, crawl space, or basement of your home is as easy as buying a sealant or tape meant for insulating your ducts. Check for and seal any visible leaks or poor connections. If you prefer to stay away from dirty attics or crawl spaces a contractor can easily do this for you as well.

Insulation

Insulating your home can save you up to 10 percent on your annual energy bill and make your home comfortable all year long. The attic is an ideal place to add insulation to your home and when done correctly can save the most money and energy. Also consider your windows and doors.

Heating and cooling can easily escape through old doors and windows making your system inefficient. Have a contractor look at these places in your home and see if they can help insulate your home so it can run comfortably.

These are just a few examples of ways you can make your home more energy efficient thus saving your wallet and giving a little help to the environment. Find a contractor like Empire HVAC that can look at your home and determine the best route for your house. Different systems have different needs and a professional can tell you everything your house needs to keep you comfortable, regardless of weather  conditions.

5 Ways The Oil Industry Helps To Keep The Environment Clean

When you think of oil companies, it’s likely you don’t also think of “environmentally-friendly”. We see news about spilled oil, burning tankers, and other issues, and assume that all oil companies are disregarding the health of our planet. This simply isn’t the case, and you’ll be happy to know that the oil industry is actually working to keep the environment clean.

Here are five ways the industry is helping out with Mother Earth.

1. Information

The first step to improving anything is realizing there’s a problem to begin with, then gathering necessary information on the problem. Every time a spill, accident, or fire occurs, the oil industry is gathering precious data to use to combat future problems.

When a spill occurs, it can be devastating for the local ecosystems. Flora and fauna alike are affected by the viscous liquid, often restricting their ability to move, breathe, or perform daily functions. The Deepwater Horizon Rig that caused a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 was much more than just an industrial and environmental disaster; it was a learning experience for the oil industry.

Scientists and researchers from all over the world descended on the Gulf after the spill, and though we’re still learning from it a decade later, the information that was collected has been incredibly beneficial to the industry and has helped pave the way for new containment processes.

2. Better Pipe Maintenance

Maintaining pipelines is a crucial component of keeping the environment clean. Pipes can rupture, leaking oil or natural gas into the environment or even causing explosions and fires under the right conditions. The oil and natural gas industries have focused heavily on creating better maintenance processes and safety standards for pipelines across the country in recent years.

Not only do faulty pipelines put the environment at risk, but they also put thousands of workers at risk as well. Keeping workers and the environment safe not only shows care for the Earth and the industry’s employees but also helps potentially save millions in cleanup dollars.

3. Decreasing Freshwater Usage

Certain processes, such as fracking or separating oil from sands, use millions of gallons of fresh water. This is incredibly damaging to the environment not only because there’s already a shortage of freshwater on a global scale, but also because the wastewater that’s produced is stored in man-made containment units that aren’t always good at containing it.

Fracking wastewater is laced with chemicals that are both harmful to the environment directly and can contaminate other freshwater sources. The oil industry is working hard to minimize the use of freshwater in fracking and separation processes, as well as reducing the amount of wastewater and improving containment.

There’s also some promise in the area of recycling the water itself for use in future processes. In the US, produced water from fracking is being used in certain applications and even some water treatment plants are focusing on better treatment processes to make the water drinkable.

4. Investing In Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is on the horizon, and with the continued focus on wind, solar, hydro, and even tidal energy, the oil industry is starting to take notice. These energy sources offer a promising future, but as of yet, they’re not able to meet the world’s energy demands in an affordable way.

Right now, gasoline, natural gas, and crude oil are much cheaper and more profitable to source, acquire, and sell to the public. Pipelines can transport natural gas thousands of miles away, serving isolated regions and maintaining a constant flow of raw resources throughout the country.

Not to mention, the Canadian economy is highly invested in oil and natural gas, being the 5th and 6th largest producer of each respectively. However, the oil industry isn’t ignoring renewables. With continued investments, we could see a partial or full transition to renewable energy within our lifetime.

5. Using Technology For Better Planning

As technology improves, so too do the processes by which pipelines are planned and built. With new software, engineers can better plan a pipe’s path through an ecosystem in order to minimize the environmental impact. Better diagnostic software can identify issues long before they become spills or ruptures, and even AI tech is playing a role in the oil industry.

Moving Forward

Believe it or not, the oil industry is committed to a safer and more sustainable world. By using technology and data, the industry is improving its processes and ensuring that renewable energy remains an option for the future of energy production.

How Eco-Friendly Packaging Can Impact Your Business

In today’s world plastic has become an everyday item.  We use plastic in most areas of our lives.  In the home, in schools and workplaces.  Even in the cars and transport we use. But while there is a lot of talk about how bad for the environment plastic is, not a lot of people realise how many types of plastic there are and that not all of them are damaging to the planet.  There are a lot of eco-friendly and green packing innovations that are using bio-plastics to offer sustainable solutions.

With a worldwide focus on global warming, there are a lot of ways we can all make changes to help reduce greenhouse gasses.  Studies have shown that close to half of all emissions from the USA can be linked back to the energy used in the production, packaging, shipping, and disposal of food and other consumer products.  If packaging world-wide changed to using sustainable plastics it could have a massive shift in the environmental impact.

What is sustainable packaging?

How can you know if the industrial packaging uses is made from sustainable materials?  A major element to consider is where the materials have been sourced from.  For plastic to be classed as sustainable, the raw materials need to be extracted using clean methods.  The chemical properties used are also important as they need to be safe for consumption and won’t release toxins into the products packaged.

Why should you make the switch?

Cost-saving is always going to be a major factor in motivating manufacturers to change to more eco-friendly packaging options.  And when they can reduce their impact on the environment and reduce their expenses at the same time then it’s a no-brainer.

Luckily there are quite a few cost-effective options available for most packaging needs.  Polyolefin is a lightweight material that can be used in the place of corrugated paper or glass.  When it’s produced it uses less energy than to make the alternative materials which mean fewer greenhouse gasses are emitted.   It also reduces transport and storage costs as it is a much lighter material.  Polyolefin is also easy and cheap to dispose of as it is recyclable, reusable and often compostable as well.  It’s very durable and easy to handle and process so will also cut down on time and labour.

Using recyclable materials is a great way to minimize the amount of plastic waste, but it also has other benefits for your company.

With consumers becoming increasingly aware of the impact of plastics on the environment, it pays for companies to show their customers what they’re doing to help.  Recent surveys in multiple countries found that one in four people would choose a brand that clearly showed their packaging was made with sustainable materials over those that didn’t.  Up to 80% of consumers in America agreed they felt better when they chose to buy items that show they are sustainably produced.

Using more environmentally safe products can also help you increase your market share and expand into countries that have stricter restrictions on product packaging.  When Hewlett Packard made the decision to stop using lead soldering during manufacturing, it gave them access to sell products to countries in the European Union which had previously been unavailable due to the ban on lead products.  This exposed the company to millions of new customers.

What are your choices?

Depending on your industry, there are already a number of sustainable packaging options available on the market. Polyolefin is just one of the materials available but is versatility sees it used in multiple products.  There are shrink film and stretch wrap as well as carded packaging options you can try. Many packaging companies offer rentals on certain machines and equipment.

By making some small changes to your packaging choices, you can have an impact on how your customers view your brand and help the environment at the same time.

How to Choose Weather-Resistant Siding for your Home

There used to be only a couple of options available to cover the exterior of your home. Nowadays, new products are hitting the market with fervor. The problem is that with added options come both advantages and disadvantages. It is no longer just a question of wood, aluminum, or vinyl siding. Now you have better and longer-lasting materials to choose from, but the cost of siding can vary significantly, and it can become overwhelming to choose a material based on budget, weather conditions and aesthetic desire.

weather-siding

The biggest problem with exterior siding, especially in warm or humid regions, is going to be its weather resilience. Water build-up is going to be one of your biggest enemies.

There are four types of siding to choose from. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. If you are limited either by your climate or the money you must spend, below is a breakdown from farming tips canada, to help explain which might be the best for your area, seeing as how the harshest home sidings are tested on the farm.

Vinyl siding

Vinyl siding is going to be one of the least-expensive materials you can put on the exterior of your home. That makes it one of the most common types of materials used. The advantages to vinyl siding aren’t just the price. It is impervious to water and many insects.

The biggest disadvantage is that it can melt, burn or crack. In high winds, it can also make rattling noises. Also, if you are going for an upscale look, vinyl doesn’t have the same aesthetic appeal that other siding materials can deliver, and it typically isn’t used on higher-priced homes.

Plastic siding

Plastic siding is a relatively new alternative. The advantage of plastic siding is that it can resemble more expensive roofing material and requires very little upkeep. It is much thicker than its vinyl alternative, but that makes it more expensive.

Although it’s costlier, if you are looking for a good weather-resistant siding, it is a grade above vinyl and may save you money in the long term as it is less prone to damage or necessary repairs.

Fiber cement siding

Fiber cement siding is also a new material on the market. It is typically a blend of cellulose, sand and cement and gives a much more aesthetically appealing look to the house. It looks much more like real wood than both plastic and vinyl. Its advantages are that it is insect- and fire-resistant. However, if you live in a harsh climate, it is probably not going to be your best choice.

Plastic siding is one of best options for weather-resistant conditions

Plastic siding is one of best options for weather-resistant conditions

Water that can accumulate from the freeze-thaw cycle can damage the siding if you don’t maintain it correctly by painting it with water-resilient paint. You can buy it pre-painted, but it is much costlier and the colors that you must choose from can be somewhat limited. The pre-factory paints tend to last longer. Although higher-maintenance than plastic and vinyl siding, it still requires less maintenance than wood siding.

Wood siding

Wood shingles and clapboard are considered the most aesthetically pleasing materials for your siding. They are also going to be the costliest and require the most maintenance. Wood siding is easily attached using a coil siding nailer and they have a traditional charm that you can’t get from other materials. Clapboard is going to be less expensive than wood siding, but it is still pricier than other alternatives such as vinyl, plastic and cement board.

Wood shingles are not going to be the best weather-resistant materials for harsh conditions. It is not uncommon for them to succumb to insects, be less fire-resistant and to twist or warp when subjected to harsh climates. Overall, it requires the most maintenance too. Painting frequently is a must. Although being capable of being factory-primed and painted, it will take periodic maintenance to keep it looking good and safe from exterior conditions.

Conclusion

Of all the choices, available, plastic siding may be the best for weather-resistant conditions. Offering you a hardy material, it can stand up to a lot. It may not be as aesthetically appealing as the other options, but you don’t have to worry about maintaining it or siding replacement. Whether budget is an issue or not, plastic siding offers the best protection against the harsh conditions of nature.

Producing High Precision Machine Parts From Non-Hazardous Ceramic Waste

Never before has our society had such a massive and noticeable predilection for recycling. Many industries now want to show that they have a minimal carbon footprint and are doing everything in their power to reduce the burden they cause on the planet as a whole.

This desire has now come to the machining industry. Ceramics often go unused in many industries. This can be things such as broken or excess tiles from a construction site or any other number of ceramic using industries. Previously, we didn’t really know what to do with this excess waste and carted it off to landfills for it to live out the rest of its days.

Now, we are able to grind the ceramics into a fine powder that can then be repurposed for a staggering number of alternative uses. Turning this powder into useable machine parts is just one of these uses that is now seeing some major traction.

Why machine parts?

Many people are woefully unaware of just how prevalent ceramic parts are in the industry. Everything from electrical insulators to use in high-powered lasers and even as durable nozzles for dispensing materials from. Ceramic is highly prized for its thermal resistance, toughness, and applications in the electrical field.

Any of these parts, however, require careful machining of ceramics to get the parts to the right specifications. What this means is that there is a huge demand for people who can take ceramic waste, break it down, and then change it into a useable part.

Okay, but why ceramic?

Ceramic parts are one of the biggest places for growth in industry application currently. Both designers and engineers are finding new ways to apply ceramic to their needs, and part of this requires heavy testing. It can be prohibitively expensive for consistently machine parts from new ceramic for testing in ways that haven’t been proven to be economically viable yet, so using repurposed and recycled ceramics are a great way to test ideas before taking them to market.

The low weight and toughness of ceramics mean that over time, many parts thought only usable if they were made from metal or specialized materials can now be created from relatively simple ceramic materials. As chemistry advances and allows us to create new forms of ceramics in all manner of shapes and sizes, so do our possible applications for these ceramics.

 

In short, nobody wants to be left behind as better ceramic products are created which in turn is creating a huge demand for ceramic waste for recycling purposes.

They say that technology advances at an exponential pace, meaning that the time it takes for us to double our relative amount of technological advancement is shrinking with each major technological milestone. There’s very little opportunity for those who can’t manage to keep up, with obsolescence coming quickly, there is a major incentive to be on the cusp of any given field’s knowledge. Having the newest and best ceramic parts is just part of this drive for future-proofing businesses, meaning ceramic waste is at a premium currently.

12 Ways Small Businesses Can Save Energy

Saving money is important for businesses and saving energy is important for all of us – so here is the perfect mix of both and some great tips for small businesses to save on energy.

  1. Get A Free Energy Audit

A full energy audit helps identify issues that might be causing energy wastage – these include insulation issues and air leaks. Most electricity utility companies offer these audits free of charge. The inspection not only helps you determine how energy is used but also ways to address energy wastage.  The audit report will also recommend ways to keep your energy usage on the low, such as investing in energy efficient lighting and equipment.

Inquire with Josco Energy Corporation about a free audit.

  1. Invest in Energy-Efficient Office Equipment

Energy efficient (energy-star rated) appliances use up less energy as compared to older non-rated ones. That said, it would be advisable for you to lease/buy energy star rated office electronics.  This should help see your energy bills drop significantly, hence substantial cost savings in the long run.

  1. Avoid Peak Demand

Peak demand can be defined as the time of the day when there’s a high demand for energy. These are the hours when energy usage is the highest. The typical peak hours start from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Reducing your demand for electricity during these times and only running the factory and heavy equipment early in the morning, and later in the evening can help reduce energy consumption. Reducing your demand for energy during peak hours also means the business spends less on energy usage at the end of the day.

  1. Use Programmable Thermostats

Smart thermostats make it easy to monitor and control temperatures in the workplace when everyone is in the office (9 – 5), and away. The thermostat can be programmed to turn OFF the heating and cooling appliances during the night, and back ON a few minutes to ‘work hours’. This in return sees you save lots of energy that would have otherwise been wasted had the HVAC systems remained on through the night.

  1. Switch Off Lights in Unused Areas

Most offices have an always-on lights setup. This means the lights in all rooms including bathrooms, conference rooms, breakrooms, and even unused corridors. This leads to energy wastage which can be preserved if lights were only turned on when needed. Installing sensors to turn the lights on or off when required could help too.

  1. Switch to Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs use up more energy for the same amount of light when compared to CFLs and LEDs that use just a fraction of it. Switching from incandescent bulbs to CFL or LEDs should help the company use less energy in lighting. This is the simplest and easiest ways to save energy in the workplace.

  1. Make Use of Natural Light

Always take advantage of the natural sunlight whenever you can. You can do so by drawing the blinds, curtains, and opening the windows to allow the sunlight in. Be sure to switch off lights in well-lit areas well. Letting the sunlight in also means you get passive heating from the sun, hence no need to have the heaters on. While it may seem like nothing, taking advantage of the natural sunlight should help save the business a few kilowatt hours a day.

  1. Run Fans

Have fans installed in showrooms, warehouses, kitchens, and offices alike. The fans will help keep the air moving, hence facilitate optimal air circulation. This means the HVAC system will run more efficiently and smoothly translating to lower energy consumption.

  1. Power Down Computers and Other Office Equipment When Not in Use

Having everyone power down their computers at the end of the day should help save lots of energy. You might also want to set the laptops to go to sleep or hibernate if not used for a certain number of minutes or hours. Be sure to turn off and unplug other electronic devices from the mains sockets.

Although modern toasters, coffee makers, printers, and other office appliances have a ‘sleep’ mode when not in use, these continue to draw some current if left plugged. Unplugging these will save some more kilowatts. 

  1. Avoid ‘Phantom’ Energy

As mentioned earlier, some equipment will continue to draw electricity when plugged in.  That said, making it a habit of unplugging such devices or using a power strip on them, can help save some energy. With a power strip, a simple flip of the switch will cut electricity supply to the connected devices. 

  1. Make Adjustments to the Surrounding Landscape

If you have control over the landscape around, you can then use it to your advantage. Energy-efficient landscaping, such as planting trees strategically to block winds and provide shelter, will go a long way in reducing heating and cooling costs.

  1. Involve the Employees

Encouraging the employees to take on energy-efficiency practices can help reduce electricity costs and energy wastage too. Train the employees to turn off their computers after work, switch off lights, as well as use energy efficient appliances in the workplace.  Inspiring them to save more energy should work well for the company. You can see more tips and tricks on how to improve employee energy-saving practices here.

Renewable Energy Industry in Africa: What Are the Opportunities For Foreign Consultants?

Currently, more than 600 million people living in Sub-Saharan Africa, out of a total population of 900 million, do not have access to electricity. Even those with some kind of electrical connection suffer from unreliable supply, lack of sufficient power on the grid, high energy prices, or a combination of these, meaning they lack full access to power.

 

However, the solution is in sight, and it is green. It could be that the majority of the “dark continent” will skip fossil fuel- based energy entirely, and skip straight to renewable energy solutions, from those living in refugee camps, to the cities. The renewable energy industry in Africa represents great opportunities for many, not only the local populations who will benefit from a stable electricity supply, but also local workers and international consultants whose expertise are greatly needed. Not to mention of course the benefits for the environment.

If you are a foreign consultant looking to work in the renewable energy industry in Africa, here is what you should know.

Opportunities in Renewable Energy Industry in Africa

The renewable energy industry is booming in many African countries, most notably Nigeria. Here, it is hoped that biomass will help to bridge the gap between the current electricity capacity of 12,522MW and demand of 98,000MW. This dramatic shortfall, despite Nigeria being an OPEC nation and the world’s 13th largest producer of oil, certainly shows the need for renewable energy solutions. Currently, only 1% of Nigeria’s electricity is powered by renewable energy with a small percentage of this being biomass. However, the country’s rich resources in biomass fuels such as agricultural residues and municipal solid waste means that biomass could represent the solution to the country’s energy crisis.

Across the continent, many countries are already implementing small-scale solar, wind and geothermal technology, particularly to provide energy to remote and under-serviced populations. The World Bank is committed to promoting sustainable energy solutions in developing nations, particularly in Africa. From 2014 to 2018, the World Bank funded $11.5 billion worth of renewable energy projects in developing countries. This continues to be a funding priority for the developing world’s largest financier.

Funding from the World Bank and others has led to a variety of renewable energy projects across Africa, which is only set to increase in future years. These projects have an intense need for foreign consultants, due to the demand for expertise outstripping local availability in many cases.

Guide For Working in African Renewable Energy Industry

Working in the renewable sector in Africa offers the opportunity not only to be part of an exciting, booming industry, but also one which has the potential to make a difference to the lives of millions of people. Working in the sector, and in Africa in general, does come with its own unique challenges, however, so it is important to be prepared.

1. Research Local Laws and Regulations

Firstly, it is important to be prepared that working in a new country will mean that many things will be unfamiliar. One of the key differences will be when it comes to laws and regulations. The company or organisation you are working with should be able to advise you on these matters, but it is also a good idea to do your own research ahead of time to get an idea of local regulations, and how these will impact on your work.

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2. Be Open to Local Customs

A big part of working in another country is adjusting to the local customs. Understanding local culture and traditions will not only help you feel more comfortable, but it will also make you more effective in your work. After you arrive in the field, make it one of your key priorities to absorb as much as you can of the local culture.

Additionally, you should be prepared that infrastructure and logistics may be very different from what you are accustomed to: this can impact on everything from internet connection and availability of supplies to transit times.

3. Make Sure Your Training is Upto Date

Availability of training while on site may be limited, so it is important to make sure your qualifications are up to date and that you have skilled up with all relevant training before you leave home. Consult with a UK-based company such as We Do Training to see what courses are on offer, and what may be helpful for you while in the field.