Easy Ways to Make Your Business Energy Efficient

Nowadays, smart business owners are taking steps towards making their company more efficient in every way. By establishing more efficient processes, these businesses are capable of getting more done in a shorter amount of time, and they’re also saving money along the way. But, beyond helping their employees perform better, business pros are also working on implementing tools and strategies for becoming increasingly more energy efficient so that their business can be greener and so that they can save money on their energy bill.

If you are ready to take your basic eco-friendly office to the next level, keep reading for some helpful information on how to become more energy efficient at work.

Make the Switch to Laptops

Desktop computers that are always plugged in are always consuming some level of energy, even when they are turned off. Unless you have all of your electronics plugged into a power strip that is turned off at the end of every workday, those devices will continue draining energy, and you will see it on your energy bill. For this reason, a lot of businesses are opting to make the switch to using laptops rather than desktops.

Laptops only need to be plugged in when they are in need of a charge; the rest of the time, they use a built-in battery to function. This can help you save quite a bit of money on your energy bill, and it can also help you save much-needed space because laptops are smaller than desktop computers with separate monitors. This is one of the easiest ways to make your office more energy efficient, and your employees will likely welcome the change to laptops as well.

Purchase Products Having Energy Star Seal

Another way to save money on your energy bill while making your office more energy efficient is by switching to Energy Star appliances and office products that will use up far less energy than their counterparts. Properly dispose of old appliances, such as your office’s refrigerator and microwave, and replace them with Energy Star appliances so that you can start to save money and allocate it towards more important aspects of your day-to-day operations.

Beyond appliances, office products like printers, scanners, copiers, and computers can also come with the Energy Star seal, so be sure to stick with those as well. Because you use these products every day, and for hours on end, making the switch to energy efficient office equipment is wise.

Get Smart About Lighting

Another way to become more energy efficient at work is by focusing on the lighting throughout your office. It is important to replace outdated light bulbs that are less efficient than modern options. So, for example, you could replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs, which do not contain the harmful mercury that compact fluorescent light bulbs contain. Beyond that, you can check to see if there are any light fixtures that you do not really need to have in place after all. Plus, simply turning the lights off when you leave a room can be a great way to save money really easily.

You can even opt to install light fixtures that use sensors to determine when there are people in a room, thereby allowing the lights to turn on and off automatically. And, finally, whenever possible, take advantage of natural light during the day so that you can rely less upon artificial, energy-consuming light.

Keep Your Staff Comfortable, but Save Money Too

What temperature is your office thermostat currently set to? Do you think that you can maybe tweak the temperature a bit so that you could save money, while also keeping everyone comfortable? Many times, office thermostats are set at temperatures that end up costing the business a lot of money. Small changes in temperature can make a big difference in your energy savings, but your staff are not likely to notice the changes because they will still feel comfortable while they work.

For example, you can save money during the summer by setting the thermostat to 78-80°F. When the workday is over, you can allow the office to reach 80°F because no one will be there anyway, so you don’t need to bother keeping the air conditioner going. In the winter, on the other hand, you can keep your thermostat set anywhere from 65-68°F, and you can let it drop to 60°F overnight when no one is in the office. Go ahead and change the temperature setting by a degree or two for a month to see how much you can save.

Conclusion

It is pretty clear to see that it is very important to become more energy efficient at work. The first step involves setting up an eco-friendly office. But, once you have set the foundation, you can go even further by becoming energy efficient for the planet and for your bottom line.

Why Should Your Company Commit to Renewable Power?

Roughly one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from burning fossil fuels to create electricity, according to Climate Collaborative. Using non-renewable gas, oil and coal adds to a rapidly growing carbon footprint, increases global warming and spells disaster for our fragile planet’s future.

Companies and large corporations have the ability to change this, however, by committing to transition to renewable energy in the coming months and years. Not only will this benefit our planet, but it also promises success for companies who choose to commit to it.

Reduce energy costs by producing your own energy

Utility bills are a huge expense for businesses, many of which are at the mercy of utility companies that could raise their rates at any moment. Renewable energy is an attractive alternative to electricity and the bills that come with it. Wind installations are one option, but solar panels are even better as they are more predictable, efficient and affordable.

In fact, the cost of renewable energy is dropping at an incredibly rapid rate. The total cost of developing wind power has dropped 55% in the last five years while solar energy has dropped a shocking 74%. These low prices stem from massive global investment and rapid technological advancement. And major corporations that are already using clean energy are only looking to buy more in the coming months.

renewables-investment-trends

Boosting public relations

An increasing number of companies are committing to renewable power to boost public image. Smart businesses know that, in today’s world, renewable power is a source of competitive advantage. Social pressure to reduce emissions continues to rise as consumers look for ways to be involved in saving the planet. This green movement has driven a demand for green products. And companies that can sustainably create these products are winners in the public eye.

Renewable power is also reliable and predictable

Unlike coal or oil, we’ll never run out of wind or sun. This makes the cost and savings of wind and solar power quite stable. Solar panels installed on top of business structures will produce a consistent amount of energy year after year as long as they are properly maintained. This strong reliability makes budgeting easier and ensures a less volatile bottom line.

Reducing carbon emissions

Every one killowatt-hour of energy produced keeps 300 pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere. So, replacing non-renewable energy with renewable resources naturally decreases global warming emissions. And that’s good news for everyone on earth because if we’re left with more carbon than oxygen, it’s going to be a little difficult to breathe.

How Can You Commit to Renewable Power?

The first step in committing to renewable power is shifting your perspective. Take time to personally research these benefits of renewable power. Once you decide sustainable energy is worth implementing, on both an individual and global scale, you can begin to look for ways to create your own strategy.

The best way to brainstorm and execute strategy is to develop a team with specific goals in mind. This team should include members from different departments such as legal, financial, environmental, sustainability and operations. Once there is a team in place, you can begin to integrate energy into the company’s vision and operations.

The team should begin by assessing current energy impacts and how they might change them. Analyzing impact and comparing your own to competitors’ will reveal performance opportunities and gaps. The team can then develop a plan of action. Aggressive targets should reflect the degree and pace of emission reductions necessary to mitigate climate change.

Once goals are outlined, the team must create incentives for employees and consumers alike to make energy an actionable priority. From there, they can measure and manage energy usage as the company transitions from non-renewable to renewable energy sources.

Why Businesses Need to Reduce Their Carbon Output

According to a recent Nielsen study, 81 percent of consumers feel strongly that businesses should be taking measures to reduce their impact on the environment. This passion is shared across generations, and it’s safe to say that businesses that have little regard for their corporate social responsibility are significantly less desirable to consumers.

Despite this, a 2018 survey by Carbon Credentials found that only 10 percent of UK businesses had strategies in place to cut carbon emissions. Of those that did, none had a set science-based target in their carbon reduction plan. We know that climate change will devastate the economy and drastically increase the cost of doing business. That’s not even mentioning how it will impact resource scarcity and the global population as a whole. At the same time, businesses that take the initiative to reduce their carbon footprint can look forward to many more immediate benefits. Here’s why your business needs to reduce its carbon output and what you can do to champion climate action.

Cost Savings

Naturally, your expenses go down with your resource usage. From using more efficient equipment to streamlining your transportation operations to recycling office supplies, there are countless measures every business can take to make this happen. Within the first month, you’ll have more money to allocate towards growth – instead of utility bills.

Regulatory and Tax Compliance

Year-on-year, laws are passed to penalise businesses that don’t make an effort to reduce their impact on the environment and reward those that do. In the UK, this includes the Climate Change Levy, the EU Emissions Trading System and capital allowances on energy-efficient equipment, among other schemes.

Public Image

A 2015 Nielsen study of 30,000 consumers found that 66 percent of them would pay more for sustainably manufactured products. Among millennials, that portion increases to 77 percent. Gen Z is known to be even more conscious in this regard. The more your business cares, the more your customers will care about your business.

Employee Morale

In a similar light, going green fosters positive feelings from your employees as well. This has many benefits. For one, your staff will be more productive and motivated to achieve if they know they’re working for a good cause. Additionally, turnover will be reduced as employees will be less compelled to leave a work community that cares.

The Bigger Picture

This should go without saying, but reducing your company’s environmental impact has lasting benefits for your community and the economy as a whole. The likelihood of your long-term success and prosperity is far greater if the environment is in better shape.

What You Can Do

The list of measures your business can take to become more environmentally conscious is quite frankly endless. Get started by taking a look at this post on Utility Bidder, an energy supplier comparison website, about some simple ways that businesses can reduce their carbon output. The internet serves as a wealth of information on this topic.

Implementing greener practises is extremely beneficial to your business and more often than not, it is a dead-simple process. Getting started today will help you reap the benefits and reach your business goals sooner.

Going Green: Ways to Reduce Business Energy Costs

Do you stress over your electric bill every month? Or do you assume that’s just part and parcel of owning a business, and you’ll simply have to keep up with costs? Well, that’s not exactly true. You don’t have to endure the increased energy costs; in fact, you can lower your bill while maintaining a fully functioning business.

Here are some simple changes you can make today that will ensure you’re conserving energy.

  • Turn Off Lights And Devices

Yes, this one is self-explanatory; however, you will be surprised how often it gets overlooked. How many vacant rooms have all their lights switched on? And how many temporarily unused computers are sitting there? Make sure, whenever leaving a room, turn off all lights and equipment such as printers, coffee machines, televisions, or heaters. 

  • Use Natural Sunlight

Absorb as much as you can from natural sources if you happen to work in the day time.  Switch off unnecessary lights and take advantage of that glorious sunshine! Why increase costs on lighting when you have the brightest light of all, the sun!

  • Consider Alternative Suppliers

If you are feeling run-down by overpriced utilities, or perhaps struggling to stick to a budget, it is vital that you become aware of the different business utilities where you’re located. Not only will this generate more power, but it will also help your organization thrive toward success.

  • Input LED or CFL bulbs

Save energy, costs, and the environment at the same time with light-emitting diode (LED) or long-lasting compact fluorescent light (CFL). They can really make a drastic, positive change to your savings. These energy-efficient bulbs will not only decrease your electric bill, but will also last a lot longer than the average light bulbs.

  • Upgrade To Energy-Efficient Office Equipment

Whenever you are in need of photo-copiers, monitors, scanners, or any other appliances, consider purchasing office equipment that is energy efficient. But these will still need to be unplugged when not in use, as some equipment still consumes energy while switched off.

  • Invest In Programmable Thermostats

Installing programmable thermostats will automatically adjust the temperature of your workplace. This will reduce the use of heaters and air conditions, and will result in significant business savings!

  • Energy Audits

Getting an energy audit will benefit your business’ energy usage and costs. These will help you identify what exactly is consuming the most energy and where you can increase energy efficiency while trimming down your electric bills.

  • Go Green, Literally!

Spend your free time gardening and discover how trees save energy through cooling the room in the summer, and blocking cold wind in the winter. This will reduce your usage of heaters and air conditioners. Just make sure to plant them strategically. 

  • Get Motion Detectors

Lighting is a huge factor to consider when it comes to high electricity bills. So using motion detectors with automatic dimming controllers, where lights are constantly necessary, can fulfill your energy needs.

Now you can follow these simple steps and have a clear understanding of how impactful energy-efficiency is. You can save plenty on your electric bill, reduce energy costs, and use renewable energy sources at your workplace. Your business energy costs will no longer be an obstacle in your organization. 

Bioenergy in the Middle East

The Middle East region offers tremendous renewable energy potential in the form of solar, wind and bioenergy which has remained unexplored to a great extent. The major biomass producing Middle East countries are Egypt, Algeria, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Jordan. Traditionally, biomass energy has been widely used in rural areas for domestic purposes in the Middle East. Since most of the region is arid/semi-arid, the biomass energy potential is mainly contributed by municipal solid wastes, agricultural residues and agro-industrial wastes.

Municipal solid wastes represent the best bioenergy resource in the Middle East. The high rate of population growth, urbanization and economic expansion in the region is not only accelerating consumption rates but also accelerating the generation of municipal waste. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait rank in the top-ten worldwide in terms of per capita solid waste generation. The gross urban waste generation quantity from Middle East countries is estimated at more than 150 million tons annually.

In Middle East countries, huge quantity of sewage sludge is produced on daily basis which presents a serious problem due to its high treatment costs and risk to environment and human health. On an average, the rate of wastewater generation is 80-200 litres per person each day and sewage output is rising by 25 percent every year. According to estimates from the Drainage and Irrigation Department of Dubai Municipality, sewage generation in the Dubai increased from 50,000 m3 per day in 1981 to 400,000 m3 per day in 2006.

The food processing industry in Middle East produces a large number of organic residues and by-products that can be used as source of bioenergy. In recent decades, the fast-growing food and beverage processing industry has remarkably increased in importance in major countries of the Middle East.

Since the early 1990s, the increased agricultural output stimulated an increase in fruit and vegetable canning as well as juice, beverage, and oil processing in countries like Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. There are many technologically-advanced dairy products, bakery and oil processing plants in the region.

date-wastes

Date palm biomass is found in large quantities across the Middle East

Agriculture plays an important role in the economies of most of the countries in the Middle East.  The contribution of the agricultural sector to the overall economy varies significantly among countries in the region, ranging, for example, from about 3.2 percent in Saudi Arabia to 13.4 percent in Egypt. Cotton, dates, olives, wheat are some of the prominent crops in the Middle East

Large quantities of crop residues are produced annually in the region, and are vastly underutilised. Current farming practice is usually to plough these residues back into the soil, or they are burnt, left to decompose, or grazed by cattle. These residues could be processed into liquid fuels or thermochemically processed to produce electricity and heat in rural areas.

Energy crops, such as Jatropha, can be successfully grown in arid regions for biodiesel production. Infact, Jatropha is already grown at limited scale in some Middle East countries and tremendous potential exists for its commercial exploitation.

The Middle Eastern countries have strong animal population. The livestock sector, in particular sheep, goats and camels, plays an important role in the national economy of the Middle East countries. Many millions of live ruminants are imported into the Middle Eastern countries each year from around the world. In addition, the region has witnessed very rapid growth in the poultry sector. The biogas potential of animal manure can be harnessed both at small- and community-scale.

Financing of Solid Waste Management Projects

waste-mountainFinancing of solid waste management projects can be pretty overwhelming for the city government, especially if the government see it as a critical part of the service they should render to the citizen and if the citizen also hold it as a basis for measuring the performance of the government and using it as one of the conditions for re-election.

Solid waste management entails different aspects. Generally speaking, waste management consists of pre-collection, collection, transportation, storage, treatment, and disposal. The modern hierarchy of waste management includes prevention, minimization, reuse, recycling, energy recovery, and disposal.

All these aspects require proper funding in rendering a good waste management service to the society. As citizens, we hardly give any thought to the different aspects and what it takes to ensure it is carried out efficiently and effectively.

Financing Options for Solid Waste Management

There are four different options for financing of solid waste management projects. The option chosen will be dependent on various factors. The chief factor will be “what is the end goal of providing waste management service to citizen” and this is to be determined by the city government. Therefore, we say finance option is directly related to waste management goal of a city or State.

Public Financing

This primarily involves funding of waste management service entirely by the government through budgetary allocation. The government determines how it will generate the cash for service and this can be through taxation or redistribution of funds generated from other sources like sales of city natural resources or combination of various sources of funds.

In developing countries, this is generally inefficient due to the corruption within the government and lack of proper waste management capabilities in most instances. The government might decide to charge a service fee or not.

Private Financing

This involves infusing funds from the private sector into waste management service and also overseeing day-to-day running of the service. However, the hired company will charge a service fee which will be determined by calculating the amount of invested funds, operating cost, and profit envisaged. This will be spread over a period of time.

This financing option can deliver optimal result in providing waste management service but the private sector needs to be checked in order not to set a high fee that will end up scaring citizens which might lead to citizen abhorring the service.

Public-Private Partnership (PPP)

This is a special type of arrangement which brings together the government and private sector in providing funds and management capabilities for the delivery of waste management service.

All things being equal, this arrangement is best because the government will be able to regulate and have a say in how the service should be delivered especially as it relates to the setting of service fees which might be difficult in the solely private financing option. The PPP can equally be extended to be a Joint Venture (usually termed as Institutional PPP).

Donors and Grants

This funding mechanism is dependent on the interest of the donor organization. While it is a good way to develop a city’s waste management infrastructure, attracting and utilizing grants is solely reliant on what the donor considers as important. Hence, it might be difficult for a city government to dictate how the funds should be distributed among the various aspect of waste management.

Waste management projects based on public-private partnership (PPP) model has more chances of success in developing countries

However, this type of financing can be combined with a PPP arrangement to cater for a specific waste management aspect that is in tandem with the interest of the donor and can be part of the city government contribution to the PPP.

Conclusion

In conclusion, waste management financing is quite dynamic just like many other services and infrastructure provided by a city government and the best option for financing the provision of waste management service can only be made after appropriate due diligence and consultation with relevant stakeholders has been made and observed.

Note: The original version of the article was published on Waste Watch Africa website at this link.

What Should You Look for in an Environmental Consulting Firm

If you or your business has ever wanted to develop a property, chances are, you have probably worked with an environmental consulting firm at some point in the process. If you haven’t yet, the chances are that you will. Environmental consulting is one of the most critical aspects of the planning process for any project. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

If you think you might be in need of environmental consultants for your project, keep reading to learn more about two of the most important services they can provide. Also, try to keep in mind that while these services may increase your initial costs up front, they save you time and money in the long run by ensuring things are done correctly from the start. This can also protect you from potential liabilities later on, should something go wrong on your property or with your project.

What Environmental Consultants Do

Environmental consultants offer many services that provide information necessary for any project, such as environmental impact assessments, ecological studies, and environmental and natural resource management systems. Some consultants, like the Sydney-based environmental consultants Molino Stewart, also offer stakeholder and community engagement and education services. These can be helpful in cases where developers, stakeholders, and the community may harbor different views of a project.

Most environmental consulting firms offer a very wide range of important services. However, some can have a larger impact on the success of your project than others. Not all consulting firms are made equal, but the really great ones share a few key hallmarks: a solid community and stakeholder engagement/education program, and a well-organized environmental and ecological impact assessment and management service.

Ecological Studies and EIAs

Before you can begin any construction or development project, you have to conduct ecological and environmental impact assessments (EIAs). These assessments map the flora and fauna of the ecosystems potentially affected by the project and quantify the biodiversity in these locations.

This information is required by various environmental protection acts to gain approvals for a project. The outcomes of these studies might also require management plans for vegetation and wildlife.

A good environmental consulting firm will have experts with all the proper certifications required to conduct every aspect of the study. They will also help you with the process of submitting the results and developing biodiversity management systems.  A great firm will even offer the planning and technology to implement those systems and help you through the entire approval process.

Stakeholder and Community Engagement

No matter the project or what it entails, chances are that someone, somewhere, will have an objection. Therefore, one key service you should look for in an environmental consulting firm is a good community education/outreach or a stockholder education program.

What does a good education program look like? Well, the first indicator is an adaptive education plan that can effectively target a broad range of demographics. This encompasses everything from local government councils and nearby residents to businesses and schools. This will help clear up any objections borne of misunderstandings. It will enable the community to more fully understand how your project will impact their environment and help them feel engaged in the process.

When it comes to stakeholder education and engagement, you want to look for a slightly different approach. These are people who will be directly impacted by the proposed project and hold a stake in its outcome. An effective education plan will provide subject background information that is relevant to all concerned parties. It will also include learning activities that cover the scope of the topic and clear guidelines that establish when and what is being done to address the issue.

Conclusion

You can’t overstate the importance of environmental consulting, so it is critical that you go with a good firm. It can be a little tricky to know which ones are best. Your best bet is to stick with ones that have a strong outreach and education program and a comprehensive impact assessment and management service.

Is Your Commercial Cleaning Service Sustainable?

It’s becoming more evident with time that people who want to ensure any form of financial security in the future need to start their own businesses. You can’t rely on your day to day job anymore to give you that feeling of financial security, and many are starting to realize this. So, people invest their money in all sorts of ventures, but one in particular has much potential for it if you know what you’re doing: commercial cleaning services. It’s probably crossed your mind at one point or another to start one, but there’s a problem stopping you. Is it sustainable? It can be, if you do all the right things.

A huge industry

In case you didn’t know it, the cleaning services industry is a multi-billion dollar one that is growing every year, and it’s a great business to get into if you know what you’re doing. The first thing you should do is identify if you want to get into residential cleaning or commercial cleaning. The latter naturally takes the bigger chunk of the industry as a whole since companies hire cleaning services for regularly maintaining their office spaces. Residential cleaning is also relevant to millions of people calling services to keep their houses clean, but it definitely isn’t as big as its commercial counterpart, and that’s why you probably started your cleaning service in the commercial sector. If you are aiming to make your business sustainable, you need to do a couple of things.

Stick to your niche

So, you started a commercial cleaning service, and there’s a lot of money in it. But that doesn’t mean you should get greedy and try to get into residential services as well. Spreading yourself too thin could be the end of your business, and you don’t really need to do it because the commercial cleaning industry is more than capable of sustaining your company. Even if you hit a dry spell, don’t think about abandoning your specialty for the sake of another; instead, wait it out and things will get better for your company.

Cost VS quality balance

One of the most important things you need to do to keep your commercial cleaning service running is maintaining a balance between keeping the cost low and yet giving your customers excellent quality. You need to understand that there are dozens of others like you out there, so if your business sees a dip in quality, you’ll lose all your clients. Instead, you can cut costs by not having a large office space, for instance, or opting for older cleaning technologies, while still maintaining quality.

Invest in your people

As a commercial cleaning service, your most important asset is your people, and you need to invest as much as you can in training them and making sure they’re experts in their fields. They need to know how to handle the chemicals and how to ensure they give the client the best possible results. More importantly, they should always maintain a professional conduct.

These are the most important points you need to tackle in order for your commercial cleaning service to be sustainable. If you can do that, the sky’s the limit for your business.

Global Trends in the Biomass Sector

There has been a flurry of activity in the biomass energy and waste-to-energy sector in recent year, with many new projects and initiatives being given the green light across the globe. This movement has been on both a regional and local level; thanks to the increased efficiency of green energy generators and a slight lowering in implementation costs, more businesses and even some homeowners are converting waste-to-energy systems or by installing biomass energy units.

Latest from the United Kingdom

Our first notable example of this comes from Cornwall in the UK. As of this week, a small hotel has entirely replaced its previous oil-based heating system with biomass boilers. Fuelled from wood wastes brought in from a neighboring forest, the BudockVean hotel has so far been successful in keeping the entire establishment warm on two small boilers despite it being the height of British winter – and when warmer weather arrives, plans to install solar panels on the building’s roof is to follow.

Similar projects have been undertaken across small businesses in Britain, including the south-coast city of Plymouth that has just been announced to house a 10MW biomass power plant (alongside a 20MW plant already in construction). These developments arein part thanks to the UK government’s Renewable Heat Incentive which was launched back in 2011. The scheme only provides funding to non-domestic properties currently, but a domestic scheme is in the works this year to help homeowners also move away from fossil fuels.

Initiatives (and Setbacks) in the US

Back across the pond, and the state of New York is also launching a similar scheme. The short-term plan is to increase public education on low-emission heating and persuade a number of large business to make the switch; in the longer term, $800m will be used to install advanced biomass systems in large, state-owned buildings.

A further $40m will be used as part of a competition to help create a series of standalone energy grids in small towns and rural areas, which is a scheme that could hopefully see adopted beyond New York if all goes well.


Unfortunately, the move away from fossil fuels hasn’t been totally plain sailing across the US. Georgia suffered a blow this week as plans to convert a 155MW coal plant to biomass have been abandoned, citing large overheads and low projected returns. The company behind the project have met similar difficulties at other sites, but as of this week are moving ahead with further plans to convert over 2000MW of oil and coal energy generation in the coming years.

Elsewhere in the US, a company has conducted a similar study as to whether biomass plant building will be feasible in both Florida and Louisiana. Surveying has only just been completed, but if things go better than the recent developments in Georgia, the plants will go a long way to converting biomass to fertilizer for widespread use in agriculture in both states.

Far East Leading the Way

One country that is performing particularly well in biomass energy investment market is Japan. Biomass is being increasingly used in power plants in Japan as a source of fuel, particularly after the tragic accident at Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011.  Palm kernel shell (PKS) has emerged as a favorite choice of biomass-based power plants in the country. Most of these biomass power plants use PKS as their energy source, and only a few operate with wood pellets. Interestingly, most of the biomass power plants in Japan have been built after 2015..

On the contrary, the US and Europe saw a fairly big fall in financing during this period; it should be noted, however, that this relates to the green energy investment market as a whole as opposed to biomass-specific funding. The increase seen in Japan has been attributed to an uptake in solar paneling, and if we look specifically to things such as the global demand for biomass pellets, we see that the most recent figures paint the overall market in a much more favorable light for the rest of the world.

Brighter Times Ahead

All in all, it’s an exciting time for the biomass industry despite the set backs which are being experienced in some regions.  On the whole, legislators and businesses are working remarkably well together in order to pave the way forward – being a fairly new market (from a commercially viable sense at least), it has taken a little while to get the ball rolling, but expect to see it blossom quickly now that the idea of biomass is starting to take hold.

The Technology Revolutionizing Commercial Waste Management

Every single one of us can do something to improve our impact on the planet, but it is a given that businesses of all sizes have a bigger footprint than families – commercial accounts for 12% of total greenhouse gas emissions. A big factor of that is waste management. From the physical process of picking up garbage, to the methane-released process of decomposition, there are numerous factors that add up to create a large carbon footprint.

Between hiring green focused waste management solutions and recycling in a diligent fashion, there are a few technologies that are helping to break down the barrier between commercial waste management and an environmentally positive working environment.

Cleaning up commercial kitchens

A key form of commercial waste is food waste. Between the home and restaurant, it is estimated by the US Department of Agriculture that 133 billion pounds of food is wasted every year. Much will end up in the landfill. How is technology helping to tackle this huge source of environmental waste? Restaurants themselves are benefiting from lower priced and higher quality commercial kitchen cooking equipment, that helps to raise standards and reduce wastage.

Culinary appliances for varied cuisines also benefit from a new process being developed at the Netherland’s Wageningen University. A major driver of food waste is rejected wholesale delivery, much of which will be disposed of in landfill. The technology being developed in Holland aims to reduce wastage by analyzing food at the source, closer to where recycling will be achievable.

Route optimization

Have you ever received a parcel from an online retailer only to find the box greatly outsizes the contents? On the face of it, this is damaging to the environment. However, many retailers use complex box sorting algorithms. The result is that the best route is chosen on balance, considering the gas needed to make the journey, the amount of stock that can be delivered and the shortest route for the driver. This is an area of intense technological innovation.

The National Waste & Recycling Association reported in 2017 on how 2018 would see further advances, particularly with the integration of artificial intelligence and augmented reality into the route-finding process.

Balancing the landfill carbon footprint

It is well established that landfills are now being used to power wind turbines, geothermal style electricity and so on. They are being improved to minimize the leachate into groundwater systems and to prevent methane escaping into the atmosphere. However, further investigation is being pushed into the possibility of using landfill as a carbon sequester.

AI-based waste management systems can help in route optimization and waste disposal

Penn State University, Lawrence Berkeley and Texas University recently joined together to secure a $2.5m grant into looking into the function of carbon, post-sequestration. This will help to shed light on the carbon footprint and create a solid foundation on which future technology can thrive.

Businesses of all sizes have an impact on the carbon footprint of the world. The various processes that go into making a business profitable and have a positive impact on their local and wider communities need to be addressed. As with many walks of life, technology is helping to bridge the gap.