What is the True Cost of Sustainable Living in the US?

Protecting the environment is something most Americans are passionate about. In fact, a recent study found that over 65 percent of Americans would be willing to make drastic changes to protect the Earth. For years, people have searched for a way to live a more sustainable life.

While this can be beneficial, sustainable living is not cheap. Getting all of the different eco-friendly systems in place can be quite expensive. Properly preparing for your path to a sustainable life can help you avoid biting off more than you can chew financially.

Planting more trees and vegetation will go a long way in reducing heat in urban settings.

The following are some of the things you need to know about the true cost of green living.

A Sustainable Lifestyle Starts With Rethinking Your Power Supply

Most homeowners spend about 55 percent of their utility bills on electricity. Lowering these costs can be easy when using a website like Texaselectricityplans.com, but in order to make your power supply sustainable, you will have to make some changes.

Using solar power can be cost-effective over time, but initially, it will be a bit expensive. Getting a 24-volt solar power system with a backup generator will cost you around $40,000. As this technology is perfected and mass-produced, these initial costs will continue to decline.

Using the Power of Wind Turbines

Another popular power option for people who are trying to live a sustainable existence is wind turbines. While you can’t use this technology solely to power your home, they can be used as a backup to the solar system you have in place.

These systems are great to have, but they can be pricey. The typical wind turbine system will be around $11,000. If you are going to go completely solar-powered, you definitely need to consider including this backup to ensure your lights and appliances stay powered.

Revamping Your Water and Septic Solutions

Once you have your power problems figured out, finding a better way to get water and dispose of waste should be at the top of your list. If you are looking for a way to reduce your dependence on water treatment facilities for drinking water, then utilizing the power of a well is a good idea. Studies show that nearly 15 percent of Americans are using wells for their home drinking water.

If you are using your city’s sewer system to dispose of waste, you need to think about getting a standalone septic tank installed. Getting a well and a septic tank installed will cost around $13,000. There are greywater systems on the market, as well as waterless composting toilets. These systems take some getting used to but are a great eco-friendly waste disposal option.

Establishing an Independent Heating Source

Staying warm in the winter is something everyone views as a priority. Traditional HVAC systems use a lot of energy, which is why you need to establish an independent heating source if you want to live sustainably. One of the best ways to do this is by using wood-burning stoves or propane heaters. A propane tank splitter connects two propane appliances into one fuel tank, which helps in running two cookers in a single tank

Since wood is a renewable source of energy, you can use it as much as you want in your sustainable life. Buying a wood stove and lumber to keep it going will cost you around $4,000. This is a good deal when you figure out how much you pay in electricity costs during the winter and how much of a strain this puts on the environment.

Creating a Sustainable Lifestyle Takes Time

The journey to a sustainable life will not be easy. The amount of hard work and effort you put into converting your home into an eco-friendly paradise will be well worth it in the long run.

Australia: A Climate Crisis

The world, as we know, is getting warmer and warmer. Weather across the globe is changing significantly, and it’s all down to climate change. From increasing sea levels, the melting of polar ice caps and not forgetting constant reports on hurricanes and heatwaves, the world is going through a climate crisis, and there isn’t long left to attempt to reverse the changes that have been made to our environment.

 

Evan following the huge European heatwave recently, and mass historical data showing that there’s ‘no doubt left’ regarding global warming, one place, in particular, is expected to be hit harder than any other.

That place is Australia.

Australia’s Climate

Due to Australia being located within the southern hemispheres, the seasons are opposite of North America and Europe and feature an abundance of diversity. This includes everything from golden sandy beaches and tropical rainforests to a rich coral reef, filled with diverse marine life, huge, sparse deserts and equally as vast grazing lands.

As you may know, the majority of the population in Australia is confined to the edges of the country, with most people living within the cities and larger towns.

While Australia is warm, and known to be an extremely hot country, 2018 was the third-warmest since records began, with the mean temperature sitting and 1.14°C above average.

While this may not seem much considering the already warm nature of Australia, it’s quite an alarming statistic. Alongside this, the warmth was persistent throughout the year with many of the months recording temperatures within each month’s top ten.

Rainfall was also down, standing at 11% below the average when compared to 1961 – 1990. You can find the rest of the stats here.

Continuing issue

These shocking figures have continued into 2020.

During May, Sydney, Darwin, Melbourne and Brisbane were all facing water restrictions. This was due to dams only being 50% full, or lower, as a result of higher temperatures and low rainfall.

The statistics for Sydney are considerably alarming. As the lowest dam percentage since 1940, the 11 dams were at a combined capacity of 55%, which itself was down by 18% in the year from May 2018.

Measured through high tech devices, similar to ones available from RS Components, Sydney went on to receive its first water restrictions in more than a decade as drought gripped New South Wales.

Meanwhile, high temperatures and low rainfall are expected to continue according to The Bureau of Meteorology.

The future

As you can guess from the warnings issued to the population of the world as a whole, climate change is only going to get worse unless something is done, and this applies greatly to Australia.

Back in 2015, it was reported that by 2090 it was predicted that the temperatures would rise by up to 5.1 degrees Celsius in Australia alone. As you can see, this is already happening, with significant rises just three to four years after the comprehensive report was put together.

Alongside this, sea level rises were also expected to increase significantly too. This was projected to be between 26 – 55 cm under low emission scenarios, whereas high emissions scenarios could see rises between 45 – 86 cm. This was estimated based on relative data between 1986 and 2005. If scenarios were worse, then sea level rises could be between one and three metres after 2100.

With the majority of the population living in built-up areas on the edge of the country, which is where much of its tourism comes from too, things could get worse for Australia in more ways than first imagined. With a climate crisis dangling above us, the time to act on it is now to prevent these scenarios from happening or worse, happening quicker than first thought.

Share of Renewables in the UK Energy Mix

The Earth is facing a climate crisis, as the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity and power our cars overloads the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, causing a dangerous atmospheric imbalance that’s raising global temperatures.

A report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released earlier this month cautioned that the planet has just 12 years to dramatically curb greenhouse gas emissions, by overhauling our energy systems and economies and likely, our societies and political systems. Even a half degree rise beyond that would cause catastrophic sea level rises, droughts, heat, hunger, and poverty, spelling disaster for our species.

UK’s Commitment to Climate Change Mitigation

The UK government has committed to reducing carbon emissions by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050, a process that will involve overhauling our energy supply, which is responsible for 25% of greenhouse emissions in the country, just behind transport (26% of all emissions). But it may be too little too late. The government has already said it is reviewing these targets in light of the IPCC report and in the spring began consulting on a net-zero carbon emissions target for 2050.

But despite these dire prognoses and the enormity of the task facing us as a species, there’s reason to be optimistic. The UK has already managed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43% on 1990 levels, with much of the reduction coming from a 57% decline in emissions from energy generation. This is in part thanks to several providers offering you the chance to have a 100% renewable domestic energy supply.

Reduction in Coal Usage

The use of coal has plunged nearly overnight in the UK. In 2012, 42% of the UK’s electricity demand was met by coal. Just six years later, in the second quarter of 2018, that figure had fallen to just 1.6%. Emissions from coal-fired power stations fell from 129 million tonnes of CO2 to just 19 million tonnes over the same period.

A coal-free Britain is already on the horizon. In April 2017, the UK logged its first coal-free day since the Industrial Revolution; this past April we extended the run to 76 consecutive hours. In fact, in the second quarter of 2018, all the UK’s coal power stations were offline for a total of 812 hours, or 37% of the time. That’s more coal free hours than were recorded in 2016 and 2017 combined and in just three months.

When the UK does rely on coal power, it’s primarily to balance supplies and to meet demand overnight and during cold snaps, such as during the Beast from the East storm in March. The UK is so certain that coal is a technology of the past, that the government has plans to mothball all seven remaining coal-fired power stations by 2025.

Share of Renewables in Energy Supply

The decline in coal has been matched by an explosion in renewable energy, particularly in wind power. In the second quarter of 2018, renewables generated 31.7% of the UK’s electricity, up from under 9% in 2011. Of those, wind power produced 13.3% of all electricity (7.1% from onshore turbines farms and 6.2% from offshore wind farms), biomass energy contributed another 11% of the UK’s electricity, solar generated 6% and hydro power made up the rest of renewables’ pie share.

The UK’s total installed renewables capacity has exploded, hitting 42.2GW in the second quarter of 2018, up from under 10GW in 2010. That includes 13.7GW of onshore wind capacity and 7.8GW of offshore wind capacity—a figure which will get a boost with the opening in September of the world’s largest wind farm, the Walney Extension, off the coast of Cumbria, itself with a capacity of nearly 0.7GW. Solar panels contributed another 13GW of renewable capacity, and installed plant biomass infrastructure reaching 3.3GW.

However, while renewables are transforming electricity generation in the UK, our energy system consists of more than simply electricity. We also have to account for natural gas and the use of fuel in transport, and renewables have made fewer in roads in those sectors.

The UK is meeting just 9.3% of its total energy needs from renewable sources, short of the 15% it has earmarked for 2020 and far behind its peers in the EU, where Sweden is already running on 53.8% renewable energy.

Conclusion

Emissions are dropping overall in the UK, largely due to an ongoing revolution in electricity generation and a decisive move away from coal. But these reductions have concealed stagnant and even increasing levels of greenhouse gas emissions from other sectors, including transport and agriculture.

Our transition to a sustainable economy has begun but will require more than wind farms and the shuttering of coal-fired power stations. It must encompass electric vehicles, transformed industries, and ultimately changing attitudes toward energy and the environment and our responsibility toward it.

Renewable Energy is the Future for Humanity and This is Already a Trend

Throughout the entire contemporary age, human beings have been using fossil fuels to meet their energy needs and requirements. Natural gas, oil, and coal have made it possible for people to receive power in their homes as well as power machinery for many years, thereby pushing civilization forward. However, human development has undergone a steady acceleration, thereby making the unsustainability of such energy ostensible or apparent. There was deterioration of global fuel supplies which have had a major contribution in polluting the atmosphere. So, to guarantee a sustainable future, the search of renewable energy sources took effect.

The civilization of today stands at a precarious moment. People are on the verge of embracing clean energy at a level which has never been seen before. However, before people choose to adopt clean energy and renewable power continuing its hasty advancement, right decisions have to be undertaken. By the stats of essayzoo.org, the introduction of clean energy in the worldwide scenario has raised questions regarding its stability and scalability.

Unsteady guidelines and procedures for influencing future growth at a macro level underwent exacerbation because of lack of funding and technological immaturity. Nevertheless, there has been a vast growth and development of clean energy installations, irrespective of the slow pace, until a histrionic hike some few years ago.

The cost of alternative energy systems has dropped sharply in recent years

Today, a significant proportion of the globe’s electricity comes from renewable energy. Many countries have thus set up sheer volume installation targets to ensure they reduce the causes of pollution in their environment. Embracing various types of clean, renewable energy such as solar power, hydropower, and wind power help lessen the causes of pollution in a particular region. Thus, it is advisable that as many countries as possible choose to adopt renewable energy trends and get to enjoy and benefit from its merits.

Renewable energy is a warranty for human survival

As aforementioned, renewable energy helps reduce cases of pollution in an area. Traditional sources of energy such as kerosene lamps and diesel-run generators, cause air pollution as they generate huge volumes of pollutants, thereby creating poor air quality. This can lead to respiratory conditions among people as well as early deaths. However, renewable energy provides an ecological alternative. Also, industries emit gases which pollute the air, thereby putting human life at risk. But, renewable energy helps improve the situation.

Renewable sources of energy such as wind power, geothermal power, and solar power enable people from different communities to utilize natural resources in the production of green, clean energy. Hence, this enables people to manage their energy in an independent manner.

Renewable energy also helps reduce global warming. Human activities overload the air with carbon dioxide and other emissions from global warming. Renewable energy does not produce global warming emissions, albeit the processes it undergoes to produce clean energy. Hence, this helps keep the atmosphere clean and does not put the lives of many people at risk.

Renewable energy is also a warranty for human survival as it helps generate job opportunities for many people and other economic benefits. Renewable energy industries are more labor demanding, unlike fossil fuel technologies. Solar panels involve human beings for installation. Also, wind farms entail technicians for efficient maintenance. Hence, this implies that there is the creation of jobs during the generation of each electricity unit from renewable sources of energy.

Clean, renewable energy can improve the future

The future of clean energy shows a better environment and living conditions for many people. Human beings will not have to rely on other sources of energy to get their activities running. They will not have to ensure certain types of ailments, such as heart disease, cancer, and bronchitis, among other health conditions. Adopting renewable energy helps minimize the likelihood of these disorders happening.

Additionally, they will be able to create job opportunities for themselves when they embrace renewable energy rather than rely on fossil fuels for energy. Fossil fuels are not only capital intensive but also mechanical. Human beings will have to spend a lot of money on such a form of energy. Also, it does not require much of their effort to be put to use. On the other hand, renewable energy requires a lot of labor. There are various solar panels which require installation and wind farms which need maintenance from professional technicians. Thus, adopting renewable energy helps them to have jobs which can generate some income for them, thereby helping them to improve their living conditions.

Solar panels are becoming more accessible, for homeowners and businesses

Clean energy is also ideal for the future in that it helps reduce global warming. Human activities contribute to the overloading of the air with carbon dioxide and other discharges from global warming. But, renewable energy industries do not produce any global warming emissions. Hence, this makes the atmosphere safe and conducive for people to live in. It does not expose them to certain health conditions. Thus, they do not have to worry about their health now and then when using renewable energy.

Main types of clean, renewable energy

The energy trend shows that renewable energy is the future for humanity. Hence, this has had a major contribution in the discovery of various types of renewable energy. Some of them are as follows.

Geothermal energy

The production of this energy comes through the drilling of geothermal systems into the earth’s crust to reach deeper resources of geothermal power, thereby allowing broad access to geothermal energy. Geothermal plants are different in relation to the type of technology they use to cool and the one they use to transform the resource to electricity.

Wind power

Channeling power from the wind is one of the most maintainable and hygienic methods to generate electricity. This is because it does produce any global warming discharges or toxic pollution. Additionally, the wind is affordable, infinite, and profuse. Hence, this makes it a feasible and all-encompassing substitute for fossil fuels.

Solar power

Same to wind power, the sun offers a remarkable resource for generating fresh and maintainable energy.

Hydroelectric power

Hydroelectric power incorporates small run-of-the-river plants and massive hydroelectric dams. Increasing capacity at these dams and river projects help generate some energy.

Nowadays the question of renewable energy is heard more and more often. It’s getting closer to us. Research work is being conducted in universities, students are preparing dissertations on this subject and even third part services can write your dissertation paper in short time with no compromise in quality. So the future of renewable energy shows to be promising. People will no longer have to rely on fossil fuels to get energy. They can embrace the utilization of renewable sources of energy, such as hydroelectric power, wind power, solar power, and geothermal power.

Furthermore, this proves to be a guarantee for human survival on the basis of the points above. Adopting renewable energy is an ideal choice many people and nations need to embrace. Moreover, this will help them identify and recognize renewable energy developments and how they can adopt them in their day-to-day activities hence improving their living conditions.

Role of Environmental Engineering in Continuous Environmental Improvement

Learn more from here to see how the world has changed over the years. Obviously, the world is developing at a rapid pace. Infrastructures are built day by day to meet the demands of a fast-changing and evolving world. Every single day gives birth to a new technological advancement.

Unfortunately, as industries become technologically advanced and globally competitive, they forget about the environment. As companies join in the rat race, they focus more on the competition for being the best. However, they fail to pay close attention to the environmental damage they incur along the process.

As the environment greatly suffers from these companies’ negligence and irresponsibility, environmental engineering is in place to solve the damages. Different systems and processes are in place to counter the harmful effects of pollution brought about by factories, plants, manufacturing complexes and the likes.

environmental-engineers

Learn more from here to know what Environmental Engineering is all about

What is Environmental Engineering?

According to Live Science, Environmental Engineering is a branch of engineering which mainly deals with protection of people from dangerous environmental effects. These effects are contributed by pollution which decreases environmental quality altogether.

Environmental Engineering is especially omnipresent and essential especially in developing countries with poor sanitation and garbage disposal. As such, environmental engineering also contributes to the overall health and safety conditions of an entire population. With proper sanitation and waste disposal treatment, people somehow live a more conducive and safer lives.

modern-waste-disposal

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

With the help of environmental engineers, proper waste disposal and recycling initiatives are reinforced. They are also in charge of public health and water and air pollution control. They ensure that pollution levels are in check. They do so by constantly formulating environmental strategies and processes which take thorough testing before implementation.

What are the benefits of Environmental Engineering?

Aside from the improvement of health and safety conditions of people, environmental engineering significantly helps in controlling climate change. According to Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering also deals with the potential effects of climate change and other environmental infrastructure factors.

As per AECOM, Environmental engineering makes use of analytical skills to provide strategic direction particularly for sustainability initiatives. Such initiatives deal with low-carbon generation of energy. Environmental engineering also paves the way for development of new technologies to minimise carbon footprint.

With the help of environmental engineers, they develop solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells. These tools aim to increase the efficiency of manufacturing. With better use of alternative energy sources, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions are reduced.

ecofriendly-manufacturing

 

What is the future of Environmental Engineering?

With the help of engineers, environmental engineering shall continue to aid in continuous environmental improvement. Different environmental engineering companies also painstakingly improve their offered services to improve the following:

  • Garbage disposal
  • Water treatment
  • Energy efficiency
  • Use of alternative energy sources
  • Reduction of emissions with solvents
  • Process survey and evaluations

As Environmental Engineering improves these services one step at a time, people are guaranteed a better quality of life. New scientific discoveries pave the way to further the improvement of different environmental processes in place. Engineers are quick to adapt to changes, especially those that are geared towards improving the environment.

Is Environmental Engineering the answer to environmental decline?

The environment has significantly been damaged as one gets to learn more from here. Environmental Engineering takes the cue from this obvious problem. Thanks to the tireless work of experts and practitioners, we are assured that something is always brewing to make things right.

However, it is important to note that no matter what advances are in place, the environment shall continue to deteriorate if discipline is not practiced. Think of Environmental Engineering as delaying the effects. It is not the solution to the worsening global environmental condition. It all depends on the discipline, commitment and environmental awareness of each and every citizen of this planet.

6 Common Reasons Why Sidewalks Are Seldom Used

One of the common neighborhood problems is how people walk on the streets instead of sidewalks. Going to and from work or school, they find it more convenient to walk on the streets because it is free from obstruction. At the same time, the space is wider compared to the human traffic experienced in walking on sidewalks. Sidewalks are often dominated by vehicles limiting the volume of people they can cater to.

Not using the sidewalks may provide convenience at some point but it compromises the safety of the people. In building a community, one of the most important considerations is easy and safe means of transport. Allow the sidewalks to give the people a reason to walk instead of hopping on a bus or taking a cab. These 6 reasons will give you a clearer view on why people seldom use sidewalks.

(Image Source: https://www.citylab.com/life/2016/04/las-vegas-gamble-with-pedestrian-powered-streetlights-solar-kinetic-energy/476292/)

The Lighting Design is Poor

Lighting design is one of the considerations in order to maximize the utilization of sidewalks even at night. This does not just make them visible at night. Lighting also helps in making the people feel more secured. There are a lot of people who walk home at night. Walking in a dark sidewalk makes a person more cautious about the surroundings. There is the feeling of worry about how walking in a dark sidewalk alone will compromise their safety.

Most urban designers think highly of the lighting design of the streets. Apart from the fact that it compromises safety, this is the most common reason why few people choose to walk on sidewalks at night. There are a lot of all-in-one solar street lights with an innovational design that brings out the essence of well-lit sidewalks. Apart from the fact that it is energy-efficient, these street lights are also providing direct and vibrant light on the streets.

The Vehicles Dominate the Sidewalk

Instead of being able to pass through smoothly, small vehicles are parked on the streets. Being able to dominate the sidewalk limits the space where people can pass through. Spaces designated for small vehicles should be provided for the people to maximize the space designated for them. Most people park their bikes and motorcycles on sidewalks because there are limited spaces for them. This may seem like a small issue but it constitutes to why people choose not to walk on sidewalks.

The Space is Limited

In planning urban or rural sidewalks, the designated space depends on the volume of people. This is the primary consideration making it possible for the sidewalk to cater to the population. Know that not all have the means of transporting through bus or cab. Most people choose to walk block by block. When the space is limited, it will take time to walk from one block to another because you keep bumping on people.

Sidewalks with limited space are more likely not to be prioritized by people. This is one of the urban and rural issues which should be provided with a long term solution. Most people choose to walk on the side streets. Apart from the fact that it’s convenient, the human traffic is manageable compared to the ones in the sidewalk. Convenience and walkability feature is what the sidewalk should feature.

The Obstructions Affect Human Traffic

One of the best examples of sidewalk obstruction are trees that are too big for the sidewalks. With the limited space provided for the sidewalk, the growth of trees become uncontrollable. In choosing the landscapes for the sidewalks, the space it should be consuming ten to twenty years from now should be taken into consideration. Most landscape architects and designers choose large-scaled landscapes not for aesthetic purposes but for the natural sun-shading feature it provides.

The Sidewalks are Poorly Planned

When a sidewalk is highly utilized, they are more likely to undergo several planning and research for development. Not because there is a space designated for a sidewalk doesn’t stop the responsibilities of the planners. They have a lot of design considerations for sidewalks to consider before building, designing, and landscaping. These sidewalks are a life-long solution to people violating the rules and regulations.

The Sidewalks are Unfriendly for Pedestrians

Unfriendly sidewalks result to poor utilization. They are not used based on their fundamental function. Instead, they are used as an alternative designated for parking, portable toilets, alfresco for restaurants, and other means. When pedestrians find sidewalks friendly, they tend to maximize its utilization. They should be designated for people and not for any other purpose. This will not just manage the human traffic but most people will comply with pedestrian rules and regulations.

Conclusion

In order to come up with a walkable sidewalk, they should be designed according to what the users need. They need convenience and assurance that these are safe for utilization at any time of the day. Sidewalks should be friendly for people for them to consider walking instead of using public transportation. Moreover, a highly utilized sidewalk will constitute to less vehicular and human traffic.

Why Solar Panels Make a Difference in Minnesota

Many would be surprised to know that, despite its cold, northern climate, Minnesota receives a substantial amount of natural solar energy. The amount received is even comparable to places near the equator such as Texas and Florida.

Solar Energy Minnesota users have tapped into this phenomenon more and more. They utilize natural sunlight to power their homes and protect the environment. With the help of monetary incentives, they even save money while doing it!

minnesota-solar

By analyzing the environmental possibilities of the future and the fiscal incentives of the present, it is astoundingly clear why anyone would choose to invest in installing and maintaining solar panels. Due to its ever-growing importance and accessibility, this choice is only going to become more conventional.

An Eco-Conscious Undertaking

Excess greenhouse gases continue to deteriorate our ozone. Moreover, non-renewable resources risk becoming obsolete with each passing day. The question of how we must prepare ourselves is a recurring theme. We can make everyday decisions, like:

  • Recycling
  • Cutting down on plastic
  • Eating according to a vegan diet

Still, there are also larger steps, like using alternative energy sources. Solar energy is an exemplary renewable resource that is being encouraged for the state of Minnesota. This is because of its usefulness and the state’s considerably substantial accumulation of it.

It has been estimated that Minnesota can garner up to 38.5% of its electricity through solar power. This statistic can be jarring when considering facts like Minnesota used nuclear power for about 24% of its electricity in 2019 and is in the top 10% of ethanol producers in the country. Switching from these finite resources to a renewable one would positively impact both the state and the nation.

Financial Incentives

Just as everyone has a water bill and a cable bill, homeowners and property managers must also manage the responsibility of paying for power usage. The cost of electricity has a significant impact on how one goes about powering their home or business; however, numerous companies are now offering incentives to promote solar power usage.

solar-powered-home

Many people’s decisions are a matter of price and affordability. By companies distributing incentives for the installation and maintenance of solar panels, plenty of individuals who never expected to partake in such a transformative endeavor can now do precisely that for federal tax credit and/or a utility rebate with up to 51% of the cost credited back. This applies to residential and commercial uses alike.

Personal Savings

Research from 2016 claims that over a decade-long period, solar panels will actually pay for themselves, and in a twenty-five-year span, they will start to make money back. Even dismissing the incentives to get started, solar energy could start making back money once it has found a foothold. This is a consistently discovered statistic in the studies of environmental sustainability—the more effort we put into incorporating renewable resources now, the less long-term climactic troubles we will have that result in displacement or worse.

Additionally, many of these companies that promote solar panel usage also assist with installation and upkeep—maintaining your panels in the frigid Minnesota winter is just one example of aid offered to those who commit to the process.

Bottom Line

Due to eco-conscious values, fiscal incentives, or impending climate change, solar power is taking a front seat in Minnesota’s most commonly used energy sources. Right now may be the best time to invest in solar panels, as those who do are likely to get money back for their contribution to a cleaner, safer world.

While the eco-conscious choices yesterday were a matter of money, it is evident that tomorrow they will be affordable for all.

5 Eco-Friendly Home Decor Ideas

Global warming is one of the most discussed issues of the present times. Our planet is facing a crisis, and hence, we are all in the midst of danger. However, we have not reached the dead-end yet. So, there is so much that we can still do to save mother earth. The individual efforts count the most and can go a long way if everyone decides to play their part.

If you are a creative person who wants to decorate their home while trying to maintain a sustainable lifestyle, you would have noticed how most ways to decorate a house have a big carbon footprint. Don’t worry, you do not have to give up home decor to care for the environment. The following are some eco-friendly decor ideas that are sure to fetch you a ton of compliments on your aesthetic and mindful approach towards the environment.

green-decor-tips

Inculcate Houseplants

Who does not love greenery? It is the best way to stay close to nature while staying indoors. In the modern lifestyle, our living spaces are becoming more cramped than ever. Plus, not everyone is lucky enough to have a green bed of twenty-five cubic yards. However, that does not mean that you have to live without a touch of nature.

The easiest way to do so is by cultivating houseplants. It can be done pretty much anywhere and placing them in gorgeous bottles and containers can amplify the appeal. If you plan on adding a lot of houseplants, make sure to get high-quality glass containers from a trusted glass bottles manufacturer.

Go Vintage

The old school décor has been making rounds again. So, this is the perfect time to go thrifting and to rummage through your grandma’s stuff. It is one of the best and responsible ways to save money and to recycle old, discarded things lying in your home.

So, to start with, make use of those vintage suitcases that we all have in our attics. Dust them off and with the help of a little DIY, you can turn them into a table. Attach wooden dowels to the painted suitcase to turn it into a side-table. The fact that you did not have to buy anything new, and didn’t use any fuel to go to the supermarket, gives this DIY a small carbon footprint.

Make Use of Old Textbooks

When you are in the process of redecorating your space, it sounds quite tempting to get rid of everything that has not served you its purpose in years. But do not throw away your old textbooks. Use them to your advantage because there are plenty of DIYs that you can do.

decor-from-old-books

For instance, renew your old lamp by pasting some old pages on your lampshade and stack some books under it. Remember, recycling is the first step to ensuring that you do not produce a lot of waste that is harmful to the environment. So, let your creative side shine and up-cycle old items and turn them into decorations.

Make Your Own Scented Candles

Scent and fragrance have been serving us for ages. When your environment smells great, it gives a sudden uplift to your mood. There is nothing better than coming home after a long day, lighting a candle, and feeling the stresses of the day melt away.

But instead of buying your candles or investing in expensive air freshener dispensers, you can make your own scented candles at home. The following are the supplies that you will need for this:

  • A jar
  • Candle Wick
  • Soy Wax
  • Scissors
  • Spoon
  • Measuring Cup
  • Any essential oil

Instructions

  • Measure the wax according to your jar size.
  • Melt it and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
  • Hold the candle wick into the jar and carefully pour the melted wax.
  • Wait for the wax to become solid and cut the extra wick that is sticking out.
  • Voila! You have your own organic candle!

Invest in LED Lighting

The idea may sound a little intimidating if you look at the cost but there is nothing that pays off like LED Lighting. The traditional lighting system is a huge source of energy waste, not to mention the massive power that they consume. So, it is an excellent decision to invest in LED lighting and ensure that you are not hurting the environment. So, accessorize your home with some elegant LED Lights, that are not just reliable but also completely eco-friendly.

indoor-gardening-grow-lights

Conclusion

It is truly a domineering task to redecorate your home and to bring novelty to your creativity. To top it all, there is this added pressure of being environmentally responsible. However, if you are determined to contribute to your planet, now is the right time. For starters, just staying conscious about the waste and resources will eventually become your second nature. And soon, you would not have to think twice before taking on a task as daunting as eco-friendly home décor.

5 Interesting Facts About Waste-to-Energy Projects

Waste-to-energy (also known as energy-from-waste) is a complicated technology in the realm of renewable energy. There are a lot of hidden truths and myths about this technology that people need to be aware of. Renewable energy technologies, like solar and wind, have much more simple processes and gain most of the attention from media outlets.

On the converse, renewable energy sources that are highly complex like nuclear energy have a bunch of media attention as well.

So, why don’t we discuss a bit more about this relatively unknown technology and asset class? Here I’ll discuss a number of the most important facts about waste-to-energy (abbreviated as WTE).

Interesting Facts About Waste-to-Energy

Let’s get into our facts about waste-to-energy that you need to know.

1. Waste-to-Energy Can Provide Baseload Power

The most familiar renewable energy resources such as wind and solar can only provide power if the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. WTE projects can actually provide baseload power that is used to serve consumers and the grid no matter the time of day or if the sun is shining or not.

Baseload power is essentially when intermittent resources like solar and wind become more prevalent.

2. Not All WTE Projects are Clean and Green

While waste-to-energy projects would seem to be green and clean because they turn trash into power or gas. However, some projects require long hauling of trash to bring to the actual incineration facility. This actually ends up require much more emissions from the trash haulers than alternatives.

One solution to this would be to help promote the use of electric vehicles and electric vehicle technology to be installed in trucking, like waste hauling.

3. WTE Projects Can Reduce Use of Landfills

Landfills have increased at an exponential pace the in last 100 years. Waste-to-energy projects are an awesome alternative to landfills as the trash is used to provide electricity or fuel.

WTE projects reduce waste volumes by approximately 90%, which results in fewer landfills that are needed to process ash. This ends up protecting our natural resources and land in a dramatic fashion.

5. WTE Projects have Multiple Revenue Streams

Waste-to-energy projects are extremely complicated and expensive to build. Most of the investor economic interest is driven by financial incentives, renewable identification numbers, tax credits, etc. to help these projects get financed.

Beyond these other financial incentives, some of the waste-to-energy projects produce a byproduct, named biochar, which has multiple applications and fetches good prices. The biochar can usually end up providing the most value in the revenue stream or investability of the project itself.

In addition to other economic streams, waste-to-energy projects usually require high tipping fees. A tipping fee is what the trash hauler has to pay in order to dump the trash at the facility. With WTE projects, the tipping fee can end up being 50-60% of the overall revenue stack.

5. WTE Facilities are Net Greenhouse Gas Reducers

Methane has more than 20 times the potency of carbon dioxide and is ranked as a very dangerous contributor to climate change and warming of our planet. WTE facilities avoid the productions of methane and end up producing up to 10 times more the electricity than landfill gas projects. If you didn’t know, landfills can actually end up producing electricity by capture the methane gas and compressing it into a consumable natural gas for power.

Sysav–WTE-plant-Sweden

Sweden is one of the best proponents of waste-to-energy in the world

WTE projects will usually have much more capacity than any landfill gas projects.

Conclusions

You can’t use waste-to-energy projects at your home similar to solar or even wind to get free electricity. However, knowing about projects in your area and the relevant suppliers will help you understand whether or not the technology is a perfect fit for your community. If you see a project coming online in your surrounding area, you should know how to ask the right questions.

At the end of the day, WTE projects are green and clean. They just need to have the right systems in place to make them more efficient and less risky to appeal new investor appetite. What fact was your favorite about waste-to-energy?

Do you know much about waste-to-energy projects? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

Growing Organic Plants Indoors: What To Know

Indoor plants are a welcome addition to any home. They help spruce up the atmosphere and bring literal life into the room. But sometimes it is difficult to grow these plants due to a variety of reasons, and one of the bigger reasons is the lighting. Throughout the year, the amount of light changes, and it is difficult to find a single spot in the house where a plant will always get sufficient light, due to the movement of the sun.

To solve this problem, grow lights were created, and have become increasingly more popular for home botanists. People have used different types of lights including fluorescent,incandescent,and LED’s(Light Emitting Diodes).

LED grow lights are quickly becoming the most common choice for growing plants indoors.

LED-grow-lights

Why LED’s?

LED lights are the most common choice to go with because they are the most energy-efficient and have a wide variety of colors. The light color that works best for chlorophyll absorption, photosynthesis, and growth is a Violet-blue light in the 400-520 nanometer range. Red light(610-720) promotes flowering and budding.

LED growth lights produce a large spectrum of light, and the ones with the most complete spectrum will be the best ones to grow with. They also put off much less heat than the other options, making it possible for you to put the light closer to the plant in this case.

Types of LED Grow Lights

Standard Purple LED’s are the cheapest option for growing, which is their main selling point. They contain hundreds of small low wattage lights(3-5 watts per LED) composed of red and blue lights to emit a purple light.

COB lights(a.k.a Chip on board) lights have many hundreds of tiny lights to make up the one single small chip on the board. They emit a much stronger and brighter white light, which offers better light penetration than the purple LED’s.

indoor-gardening-grow-lights

Spread Style LED’s are another powerful light option, and are more specifically tailored to greenhouses with their “rack” style of lighting, which can cover a large area. They are one of the most efficient LED lights on the market, which also leads to them being a rather expensive option.

Plant position and light placement

The position of the plants and the lights should aim to mimic the natural position of outdoor plants.

  • Give each of the plants an even amount of space(unless it is a plant that may help seed another plant), and space the plants accordingly.
  • Use a level surface, and if possible, keep in a spot that is out of a cat’s reach(easier said than done, I know).
  • Hang the lights straight over top of the plants to mimic the sun, at about roughly 6-12 inches over(this distance can change depending on the plant type) Adjust the lights accordingly as the plants grow.
  • Make sure to test the lights out and confirm that all the plants are getting sufficient light. If you are looking to invest in more lights and more plants, testing out the amount of coverage that the lights have over a certain amount of plants may be the best way to determine how many more lights you should purchase.

How long should you leave the growth light on?

This again depends on the type of plant. Most flowering plants or vegetables grow optimally with a long summer day’s worth of light(12-16 hours), but remember that darkness is an important part of the cycle as well. Plants use the darkness to break down the energy that they produce during the day for growth and flowering, a process known as respiration.

To make sure that you do not exceed the recommended time to keep the lights on, you can set them up with timers. Once you set these timers up to go off at the appropriate time, it’s one less thing that can go wrong.

Conclusion

As stated multiple times, everything tends to be plant-specific, and even if you set something perfectly at first, the constantly changing plants will most likely require readjustment of the lights. Pay attention to the plants especially in the early stages to make sure they do not fall victim to LED burns or other complications from improper placement.