Ways Businesses Can Become More Sustainable

You’ve probably heard the word “sustainable” many times by now, but you may wonder what it has to do with your business. Sustainable business means that you’ll be you’ll be increasing the odds that you company can continue indefinitely by minimizing social and environmental impacts while ensuring financial stability. Studies have shown that sustainable business perform better financially, including one report by nonprofit CDC, reported by The Guardian that found they secure an 18% greater return on investment (ROI) than organizations that aren’t, and 67% more than companies who refuse to. How can you help your business become more sustainable?

green-economy

Think Greener in Procurement Sources

One of the best, and easiest, things you can do to make your business more sustainable is to practice environmentally-friendly procurement. Take a close look at your current suppliers and make changes as necessary by using suppliers that don’t use excessive packaging or sell products that contain substances that are harmful to the environment.

As often as possible, choose recycled items made from renewable material. Ask plenty of questions when researching various suppliers to find out where their goods are coming from, including whether the manufacturer is a sustainable business.

Whenever possible, use local suppliers, rather than purchasing online.

Seek Help from an Energy Broker

An increasing number of businesses are embracing renewable energy and energy management today. Your office can be powered with a variety of alternative sources like biomass, hydropower, geothermal, solar and wind power. There are hundreds of companies that supply energy in a myriad of different ways, affecting your bottom line and sustainability.

While there are usually a few suppliers dominating any given market, many other small suppliers are known for getting more creative in their offerings. Trying to figure out which one is best for your organization can be a very difficult task which is why using an energy broker who is knowledgeable about all the complexities that come with this sector, can best analyze the energy market to provide you with the greenest, most cost-effective options.

Reduce Water Usage

Water shortages are becoming an increasingly bigger problem in many places around the world, including North America. Whether your organization is located in a drought-stricken area or not, decreasing water use will help to conserve a valuable resource and help you save money at the same time.

Instead of using a sprinkler system to keep lush lawns around the building, switch to a drip irrigation system to significantly reduce water usage or consider changing the landscaping to something more drought tolerant. Fix plumbing leaks and dripping taps and install low-flow faucet aerators in your bathrooms.

Switch From Gas To Electricity

Electricity is much easier to source sustainably than gas and oil, especially if you use solar panels to collect energy from the sun. So by switching over some of your gas-powered company owned equipment to their electric counterparts you can ultimately help your business become more sustainable.

Some equipment to consider switching could include: switching from gas powered to electric vehicles (especially for companies that rely heavily on transportation), switching from gas-powered to electric-powered riding mowers (especially for landscaping businesses).

As there are so many different types of lawn mowers available, sites like home gear expert show us interesting comparisons which will help you find the one which best matches your needs.

A good electric riding mower with good user ratings will cost you a couple thousand dollars but could save you money in the long term plus make your business more sustainable.

How To Make The Moving Process More Sustainable

Moving homes is an inevitable part of life for many but leaving a huge carbon footprint when you do doesn’t have to be.

While big businesses are responsible for producing the greatest amount of greenhouse emissions, the planet is ours as well, and every tiny bit of eco-friendliness goes a long way.

But choosing to move in a more eco-friendly way comes with its own questions. What kind of packaging should I use? How do you avoid producing unnecessary waste? Questions such as these are an essential part of the “eco-friendly move” discussion.

If you’re someone who’s looking for eco-friendly tips for your next move, then don’t worry. This article was written with people like you in mind! Here are some tips and tricks on how to make your move more sustainable and eco-friendly. So, let’s get started!

How To Make The Moving Process More Sustainable

 

1. Donate or sell everything you don’t need

A move is a perfect opportunity for getting rid of items you no longer need. Being selective about what you want to keep will also help make your move more manageable and the process much smoother.

Before you start packing, go through all your clothing, kitchen items, and furniture and start making piles of things you don’t want to keep.

Then instead of throwing it all away, consider selling or donating the items you think you won’t need. Craigslist and Facebook are examples of good platforms for selling used household items.

Also, if you have a bunch of old mobile devices or batteries lying around, remember to dispose of them properly because they can cause significant harm to the environment.

Best Buy (and other large electronic stores) often allow you to bring in your old electronic devices and recycle them on your behalf.

Finally, if the items you no longer need can’t be sold or donated, you can have a professional removalist company like 1300 Rubbish take care of them.

2. Use clothes and linens to wrap fragile items

Not only is this packing method zero-waste, but it’s also a very creative way of packing soft fabric items like towels, clothes, and blankets.

Wrapping ceramic plates and other breakables in linens or clothes often works as good as bubble wrap and can help you cut down on the need for unnecessary single-use packaging materials.

The best part about using soft clothes and linens as cushions? They are free, always readily available around the house, and are a great way to move more sustainably. If you are using a professional moving company, however, this might not be an option.

3. Pack items in containers you already have

You’re always going to need at least some boxes during your move. But you can significantly cut down on the total number required by thinking out of the box!

For example, instead of using moving boxes, you should try using containers you already have lying around the house to pack your items. Some household containers you could use instead of boxes include:

  • Suitcases
  • Gym bags
  • Plastic bins
  • Recyclable grocery totes
  • Drawers

Basically, if you have any item that can store other things inside, always be sure to use up that storage space before packing it. Because the more we can fit in containers we already have, the more we can prevent relying on moving boxes.

4. If you do end up needing boxes, get them used

To make your move more eco-friendly, consider packing your items in leftover or used boxes and try to keep buying new moving boxes as a final resort.

Ask around, call your friends, family members, or local retail stores to see if anyone has boxes leftover that you can reuse for your move.

During my last move, I got a bunch of boxes from my nearest grocery store at no cost. Most stores are more than happy to give them out for free.

5. Buy biodegradable supplies

Traditional packing practices involve using a myriad of eco-unfriendly items such as styrofoam packing peanuts and plastic wraps. These single-use items are often the biggest contributors to waste during a move.

Luckily, there are now tons of sustainable alternatives to traditional packing supplies. For example, instead of buying standard styrofoam packing peanuts, you can get biodegradable cornstarch peanuts instead to move more sustainably.

6. Try renting reusable moving boxes

Many moving companies offer rental services for reusable plastic boxes, which is something that you should definitely consider using.

reasons to hire local moving firm

But you might be wondering, “Isn’t plastic terrible for the environment?” Well, not in this case. Because most moving companies use storage boxes made from recycled plastic and materials and are reused many times over, reducing landfill waste from one-time use boxes.

7. Hire a green moving service

One of the easiest ways to leave a smaller carbon footprint during your move is to hire a “green” moving company that adopts sustainable practices.

Most green moving companies use vehicles that run on biodiesel or hybrid fuel instead of regular gas and can also provide you with reusable moving boxes to curb the need for cardboard boxes.

But before going with a local eco-friendly moving company, be sure to go through their website and their reviews to find out if they really do practice what they preach.

PKS From Africa Can Fuel Biomass Power Plants in Japan

Japan’s biomass fuel requirement is estimated to be tens of millions of tons each year on account of its projected biomass energy capacity of 6,000MW by the year 2030. To achieve this capacity, more than 20 million tons of biomass fuel will be needed every year which will be mainly met by wood pellets and palm kernel shell (PKS). The similarity of the properties of wood pellets with PKS makes PKS the main competitor of wood pellets in the international biomass fuel market.

PKS-biomass

PKS has emerged as an attractive biomass commodity in Japan

Canada and USA are the biggest suppliers of wood pellets to the Japanese biomass market while PKS mainly comes from Indonesia and Malaysia. With the size of the material almost the same as wood pellets, but at a cheaper price (almost half the wood pellets) and also available in abundance, PKS is the preferred biomass fuel for the Japanese market. PKS can be used 100% in power plants that use fluidized bed combustion technology, while wood pellets are used in pulverized combustion.

Although there is abundant PKS in CPO (crude palm oil) producing countries, but fluctuations in CPO production and increase in domestic demand has led to reduction in PKS exports in Southeast Asia. In palm oil plantations, it is known as the low crop season and peak crop season. When the low crop season usually occurs in the summer or dry season, the supply of fruit to the palm oil mills decreases so that the CPO production decreases and also the supply of PKS automatically reduces, and vice versa in the peak crop season. When demand is high or even stable but supply decreases, the price of PKS tends to rise.

In addition, a wide range of industries in Indonesia and Malaysia have also began to use PKS as an alternative fuel triggering increased domestic demand. In recent years, PKS is also being processed into solid biomass commodities such as torrified PKS, PKS charcoal and PKS activated carbon. Thus, there is very limited scope of increasing PKS supply from Southeast Asia to large-scale biomass consumers like Japan and South Korea.

Palm oil mills process palm oil fruit from palm oil plantations, so the more fruit is processed the greater the PKS produced and also more processors or mills are needed. At present it is estimated that there are more than 1500 palm oil mills in Indonesia and Malaysia. Palm kernel shells from Indonesia and Malaysia is either being exported or used domestically by various industries. On the other hand, in other parts of the world PKS is still considered a waste which tends to pollute the environment and has no economic value.

Palm Oil Producers

Top palm oil producers around the world

West African countries, such Nigeria, Ghana and Togo, are still struggling to find a sustainable business model for utilization of PKS. Keeping in view the tremendous PKS requirements in the Asia-Pacific region, major PKS producers in Africa have an attractive business opportunity to export this much-sought after biomass commodity to the Japan, South Korea and even Europe.

Simply speaking, PKS collected from palm oil mills is dried, cleaned and shipped to the destination country. PKS users have special specifications related to the quality of the biomass fuel used, so PKS needs to be processed before exporting.

PKS-export

PKS exports from Indonesia and Malaysia to Japan are usually  with volume 10 thousand tons / shipment by bulk ship. The greater the volume of the ship or the more cargo the PKS are exported, the transportation costs will generally be cheaper. African countries are located quite far from the Asia-Pacific region may use larger vessels such as the Panamax vessel to export their PKS.

11 of the World’s Most Eco-Friendly Cities

Cities often compete with each other, whether they’re seeking to have the highest quality of life or fostering innovation. However, the increasing world population and a changing climate have made eco-friendly living a priority for residents and city leaders alike. This has now led to cities competing to be the most environmentally friendly. The global movement towards more sustainability is also pushing for more innovation and change. Here are 11 of the world’s most eco-friendly cities as well as a brief overview of what they’ve done to achieve that status.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and ranks among the most eco-friendly cities in the world. This is partially due to their harnessing of abundant geothermal energy for power and keeping the freezing northern city warm. Their small population is densely packed into the city, so people can get around by walking, biking or via public transit.

The city is offering incentives to encourage people to drive electric cars, such as free parking and lower taxes. They’re also going the old-fashioned route by encouraging the other 96 percent of the population to ride public transit, including their brand-new hydrogen powered buses.

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver is sandwiched between the ocean and the mountains, though the surrounding coast is covered in forests. The local administration found out that the city’s environmental footprint was just too big to be sustainable and decided to make some real changes. As a result of these initiatives, the city now has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions level for any major city in North American city.

They are doing yet even more to reduce the city’s footprint. For example, the city is doing a lot to attract clean technology companies and increase the number of green jobs. They’ve seen a 23 percent in green jobs since 2013. They’re also encouraging local food production so they can feed people without wasting energy transporting food from thousands of miles away.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco is one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the world. Where San Francisco stands out is the sheer number of ways it is lowering its ecological footprint from the top down.

recycling-in-offices

For example, consumers and city agencies systematically shop for organic and locally sourced food. Living waste-free seems like a dream, but the city itself has that as a goal by 2020. The city is roughly eighty percent of the way there. They’ve dramatically reduced waste and increased recycling, while they encourage businesses and individuals alike to switch to reusable containers. As a matter of fact, San Francisco became the first city in the US to completely ban plastic bottles. A large part of the organic waste produced in the city is turned into compost and used by local farmers.

San Francisco is also ahead of the curve in terms of renewable energy. The city has many zero emissions and hybrid electric buses. Solar installations in the Bay Area are surprisingly common. This is in part because they pay themselves off in less than seven years when you take rebates and tax credits into account. For example, San Francisco’s GoSolarSF program encourages people to install solar panels. The average homeowner receives 300 dollars per kilowatt and up to 2000 dollars per kilowatt if the residents are considered low income. This will remain in effect even if the federal tax rebates for solar installations start to phase out.

Another side effect of the eco-conscious population is that renewable energy becomes a selling point for properties that have it. The best solar companies in the Bay Area, including firms like Semper Solaris, install quality solar panel systems that add value to your home. They also make it easier for people in the region to afford systems by adjusting them to their particular needs. Not only that, but they also offer battery storage so users can still use solar energy when the sun isn’t shining. The increased home value is based in part on the future reduced utility bills the homeowners expect to receive.

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki sits on the Gulf of Finland. It stands out for its delicate balance between eco-friendliness and tourism. Roughly three in four hotel rooms in the city are certified as eco-friendly. Most of the remainder have some environmental impact reduction plan in place to reduce energy consumption, minimize waste, and lower the environmental impact of their food and water supply.

The city makes use of wind energy and solar power. The “green district” Viiki is an experiment in sustainability. This is why the first solar powered apartment building in Finland is located here.

Capetown, South Africa

Capetown is another example of a city that has gone above and beyond to reduce its ecological footprint. One of the ways they are doing so is by reducing their reliance on unsustainable energy sources and turning to alternatives like solar energy instead. And it has paid off, especially when considering the amount of sunlight the city enjoys every year.

They’ve also heavily invested in wind power. As a matter of fact, the city has started focusing on building wind farms since 2008. And the city made it a goal to meet 10% of its energy needs using renewable energy sources by 2020, which could very well be possible given all the different initiatives they’ve started.

They’re also trying to pattern the behavior and habits of residents and push them to adopt a more outdoorsy lifestyle. Not only that, but they’re facilitating bike transport by allowing bicycles for free on their My Citi express bus service.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin is one of the most famous and historical cities in the world, and the reason why it made that list is also tied to history. After WWI, residents in the city were forced to become very self-reliant, and had to find ways to grow and raise their own food, which is a tradition that continues to this day. Germans in general also value their green spaces and gardening.

electric-cars

Berlin is also doing a lot to accommodate electric vehicles owners by adding over 400 charging stations around the country. They’re also trying to raise awareness among gas vehicle owners and trying to sway them into going electric. Not only that, but Berliners also are more prone to using public transit or sharing vehicles then using their personal car.

Portland, Oregon

This is the second west coast city in this list, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that the west coast is and has always been a hotbed for the environmentalist movement. And while the city’s population keeps on growing, they are continually working to minimize the effect of the city’s activity on the environment. They also put a ban recently on plastic bags to curb their effect on the ecosystem, with other cities on the west coast following suit.

But one of the main reasons why Portland made this list is the people of the city. Environmental consciousness is part of the city’s DNA, and Portlanders take it to the next level. Did you know that roughly 25% of the city’s workers do their commute through carpooling, biking, or public transit? Out of all the people in the city, 8% also stated that they only use their bike for transportation. This is thanks in part to the city’s massive bike path and lane system.

The city also gets 33% of its energy from renewable sources and recuperates roughly 1,200,000 tons from the 2,434,840 tons of waste they produce every year, which is pretty impressive for a city its size. The city also managed to cut their carbon emissions by as much as 17%, even with the increasing population.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is bar none one of the most avant-garde cities when it comes to environmental initiatives, and has worked for a long time to limit its energy consumption from unsustainable sources. As a matter of fact, the city was one of the first to introduce widespread sustainability initiatives with a goal to reach a wide variety of benchmarks by the year 2020.

One of the main things people remember when they come to the city is the sheer number of cyclists, and Amsterdammers do love their bikes. But the city also did a lot to popularize electric vehicles, and owners can charge their vehicles in one of the 300 charging ports you’ll find all over the city. People in the city are also increasingly turning to solar energy and sustainable local farming. More people from the city are starting to grow their own food as well.

Stockholm, Sweden

With over 50 bridges and 14 islands, Stockholm has done a lot to improve the city and allow citizens to live a more sustainable life. The city also set a goal to eliminate the use of fossil fuels by 2040. In addition, they’re getting assistance from the European Union to become a smarter city.

 

waste-management-sweden

One of the ways the city has managed to be more energy efficient was by turning to biofuels, which are created from the city’s sewage waste. A large portion of cars in the city are powered using this biofuel. They also managed to recuperate some of the heat generated by their massive stadium. This heat can be used to heat over 1000 units in the city.

Copenhagen, Denmark

The capital of Denmark has also started to build a reputation as an ecofriendly city, and is taking steps to continue in the right direction and support eco-friendly initiatives. And this is mainly due to the city’s sustained and massive investments in clean infrastructure and renewable energy sources.

They also set the lofty goal of becoming the first major city in the world to achieve CO? neutrality by the year 2020. And residents in the city are also doing their part for this goal to become a reality. Less than a third of households in the city own a car, and people in Copenhagen are also big on cycling. As a matter of fact, it’s not uncommon for hotels in the city to provide guests with a bicycle upon arrival. The city also has one of the most extensive bike lane networks in Europe.

Another thing that sets the city apart is how many people choose to eat organic there.  About a quarter of all the food sold in the city’s markets is organic, and they’re also big proponents of local farming, which further reduces their carbon footprint.

Curitiba, Brazil

Considering the amount of natural beauty Brazil is nestled in, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see a Brazilian city on this list. Curitiba might not be as well-known as Rio and Sao Paulo, but it is known as one of the world’s green capitals. Where they excel is when it comes to recycling. As a matter of fact, it is said that about 70% of the waste produced in the city is recycled in the form of derived products or energy.

The city also puts a lot of importance on urban planning and has one of the best public transit systems in South America. Most people in the city rely on public transport too. The city is also not overly developed and has tons of green spaces with over 16 parks and 14 forests near and around the city’s core.

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

To incentivize cleanliness around the city, they installed a program that allows people to return and exchange recyclables for things like tokens, sweets, snacks, and cash. Not only does it encourage people to recycle more, but the program is also feeding over 7000 people in need in the city.

Bottom Line

The most eco-friendly cities in the world are seeking to provide a better environment for residents while reducing their impact on the planet, and they’re providing an example to the world that the rest can follow. We can only expect the trend to grow from now and into the future, and for residents from cities all around the world to start pushing for more green initiatives where they are.

Unending Benefits of Recycling Cooking Oil

Disposal of cooking oil is not an easy task. If you try to drain it, it will block your sink drains and cause you immense plumbing problems. Throwing it away is also not a good idea because it causes damage to the environment. Cooking oil cannot go to your usual recycle trash bin like other trash because the processes of recycling it are different. However, there are better ways of recycling cooking oil without harming the environment. You can have it recycled. If you are not able to do it by yourself, there are companies that offer cooking oil recycling services.

Benefits of recycling cooking oil

Recycling companies, like MBP Solutions, turn cooking oil into other products like stock feed, cosmetics and biofuel.  They also filter the oil for reuse. If you are not in any position to recycle your cooking oil, do not drain it down the sink or throw it in your waste bin. Wrap your cooking oil in a tight jar, make sure there are no spills and call the right people to come and collect it. MBP Solutions recycles both commercial and residential cooking oils.

Recycling cooking oil comes with several benefits. The technology used to recycle the oil is advanced and the final products help in both businesses and homes.

Below are some of the major benefits of recycling of cooking oil:

Renewable energy

Recycling cooking oil turns it into renewable energy used in many manufacturing firms for processing their products. One of the most notable fuels is biodiesel, which is from used oils, grease, animal fats and vegetable oils among others. Vehicles that use diesel can use this fuel effectively and businesses that use diesel-powered machines can use the fuel without any fear of harmful emissions.

Cleaner environment

We all need a clean environment and it is not what we always get. Fuels are some of the major contributor to health hazards because of emissions. Petro-diesel is very toxic as compared to biodiesel. Biodiesel is eco-friendly and does not damage a vehicle’s engine. Petro-diesel on the other hand, produces chemical compounds like sulphur that are acidic. This acid can spoil the engine. Biodiesel production is green in nature and keeps everything safe.

Saves costs

Recycling cooking oil saves costs in many ways. At home, you can reduce your disposal costs by calling a recycling company to come for your waste oil. If you try to dispose of the oil by yourself, you may end up spending more on extra waste bins, transportation and special disposal procedures.

Companies that use recycled oil have a chance of preventing their equipment from spoiling faster than they did before the recycled oil. Maintenance costs go down and recycled oil like biodiesel is much cheaper as compared to the other kinds of imported fuels.

Creates jobs

Disposing of waste materials and recycling them is one way of creating jobs for the masses. Instead of using that money to import petro-diesel, the government uses the money to employ more people to recycle oil into more beneficial biodiesel.

Make money out of it

You can make an extra buck out of disposing your used oil. Instead of throwing your oil away, look for companies that recycle the oil and pay you for it. This will also save you on transport costs to go and dispose of your oil, because the recycling companies come to pick it up.

Wrapping it up

The most important factor about recycling is that we are working towards one goal. That goal is to maintain a greener, healthier and cleaner environment. That is our goal and recycling cooking oil is one way of doing that.

Reasons Why Greenhouse Ventilation is Essential

The essential function of a greenhouse is to have the right environment for plants to grow. Thus, good greenhouse design is vital. Among the features of a greenhouse is ventilation.

The greenhouse needs excellent ventilation to create a balance in the indoor climate, maximizing the sun’s power while maintaining the air quality and optimal temperature to ensure that the plants will grow vigorously.

Why Greenhouse Ventilation is Essential

Whether operating a backyard greenhouse or a commercial greenhouse, keep in mind that air exchange is vital, not only for providing fresh air and carbon dioxide so your plants can photosynthesize. It will also regulate the indoor temperature in your greenhouse in all weather conditions.

A good ventilation layout is necessary

You need a good ventilation layout so you can effectively cool the greenhouse on a hot day. Use exhaust fans to blow the stale, hot air out of the structure. You also need intake shutters mounted opposite the exhaust system to take in the cooler fresh air.

For a commercial greenhouse, the exhaust fan system should change the air between one to three minutes in summer, which will keep a reasonable temperature inside the greenhouse. If you have a small greenhouse, the system will only need one minute.

Your commercial greenhouse should also have complementary equipment, such as variable-speed motors, motorized shutters and louvered fans. There should also be roof and side vents to keep a steady supply of fresh air and improve the cooling of the greenhouse.

If the summers are long and hot in your area, evaporative coolers could be the solution. They will add humidity, cooling, and air movement inside the greenhouse. You can use evaporative coolers together with the exhaust shutters.

Ventilation tips

It is essential to understand the needs of your specific crops so you can implement the right combination to boost their growth. Working with an expert in greenhouse structures will be beneficial in providing you with the perfect growing space under all weather conditions.

Cooling the greenhouse with wind and thermal buoyancy is one of the concepts that has been around for ages. The concept uses louvers or vents that open to allow excess heat to escape while cooler air from outside is allowed to enter.

grow-room-plants

But when large polyethylene sheets became a popular covering for greenhouse roofs, placing the vents on the roof became a challenge. So engineers developed a system of using fans to draw outside air through louvers installed in one end of the structure and an exhaust fan system at the other end. The ventilation system using this method uses thermostatic control.

Hoop style greenhouses are more effective in providing ventilation using roll-up sides. But greenhouses with roof and side vents are more effective when there is enough space as the vents should be large enough to allow for good air movement. Many manufacturers are producing open-roof greenhouses. You can easily control the roof’s opening to maximize heat and cool air entry as needed.

Working with an expert greenhouse manufacturer will ensure that the structure will fit the crops you want to grow and maximize all the design features according to your location.

Why Now is a Great Time for Developing a Green Economy

There’s no doubt that Covid-19 has taken a human and socio-economic toll over the course of the last six months, with more than 10 million cases and 500,000 deaths recorded so far. However, the pandemic has always provided moments of hope and economy across the globe, from the boom in ecommerce and the rise of remote working to the unexpected 8% emissions reduction reported in the UK. These trends have also been impactful across the globe, and there’s no doubt that they have the potential to sustain significant and positive change into the future.

This is definitely the case when it comes to the environment, but is now really the ideal time for a developing a green and sustainable economy?

green-economy-coronavirus-pandemic

What is a Green Economy and Why Should the World Care?

Of course, the Covid-19 outbreak came on the back of global environmental protests by organisations such as Extinction Rebellion, which sought to drive radical change and introduce a green economy that would make the UK carbon neutral by 2025.

This was deemed to be incredibly ambitious by some commentators, although the current Conservative government has pledged to create a greener, carbon neutral economy by 2050.

OK, we hear you ask, but what exactly is a green economy? In simple terms, this refers to an economy that aims to actively reduce the environmental risks posed by business and wealth generation and ecological scarcities, while also driving sustainable development without degrading the environmental landscape.

While regulations and multilateral agreements such as the Paris Climate Change Agreements take care of the first element of this, it’s socially responsible investment that drives the second.

The best example of the latter exists in the form of investment in renewable technology, which is arguably the single most important dynamic for future infrastructure spending throughout the global community.

Can Covid-19 Trigger Increased Green Technology Spending?

With this in mind, the importance of green economics and increased renewable energy technology spending is clear, while the sharp decline in emissions during the coronavirus outbreak has raised hopes that a green global economy may be on the horizon.

Green Finance

Remember, China was already emerging as the world’s leading investor in renewable technology prior to the outbreak, with a global report also highlighting the continuing decline of oil values as being indicative of a changing global landscape.

Of course, there’s some argument as to whether the record decline in oil prices is triggered primarily by an ongoing imbalance between supply and demand, while the recent fluctuations of the US dollar may also be influential.

Still, there’s no doubt that fossil fuel consumption is set to decline incrementally in the coming years, and this is definitely a factor when appraising the issues faced by oil of late.

Ultimately, these facts hint at a greener and more sustainable future, and it cannot be denied that most developed economies were investing in renewable energy sources at record levels prior to the pandemic.

The question that remains, of course, is to what degree the recent emissions reductions across the globe have been inspired by such changes? The answer is telling, particularly if it turns out the reduction in CO2 emissions over the course of the last two months was solely driven by the widespread lockdown measures that curbed road and air travel.

Regardless, now is clearly the ideal time to push a greener agenda and continue laying the foundations for a more sustainable future.

All You Need to Know About Sustainable Wood Flooring

Updating the flooring in your home is one option if you want to make an impact without breaking the bank. It’s also going to increase its value, especially if you choose wood flooring. Design trends come and go but you’ll never go wrong with a wooden floor. An increasing number of property owners are looking for ways to be more sustainable with their home improvement projects and, when it comes to sustainable flooring, engineered wood fits the bill perfectly. If you need some help with measurements check this free square footage calculator

engineered-wood-flooring

Why Engineered Wood is a More Sustainable Choice

The process of manufacturing engineered wood flooring uses far less of the tree per plank than a solid hardwood floor. This alone makes it a more sustainable, environmentally friendly, and natural wood product. Because the process doesn’t involve and toxic glue, engineered wood flooring is also better for your health. They manufacture bamboo floors and LVTs using toxic glues which are not good because they can contaminate the air you’re breathing.

How can you tell whether the wood flooring you’re looking to buy is really sustainable, and what does sustainability actually mean? Let’s see if we can answer these questions for you.

Is There a Difference Between Sustainable and Green?

The terms “green” and “sustainable” have become marketing buzzwords but what do they mean? “Green” is a term generally used to describe any type of product that has a positive environmental value. It’s a pretty loose term and can be used to describe a product that a company has manufactured using renewable resources. If the product brand falls short in production and disposal, it doesn’t make a difference to its “green” label.

Sustainable, on the other hand, is a label with far higher standards. It should not impact the environment in any way, throughout its life cycle, from harvesting to disposal.

Buy Your Flooring From a Supplier With an Excellent Reputation

Spend any time researching engineered wood flooring before you make your choice and you’ll encounter a number of different retailers. Most of them are going to be reputable, but you have to be careful if you want to avoid the misleading and unethical ones.

If you find a retailer with a sustainable or green logo on their website, check to see what it actually means. It may be that all their products and ethical but equally, there could be just one product that fits the bill.

sustainable-wood-floor

If you can’t find the information, you need to clarify the product you want is sustainable, don’t be afraid to contact the retailer. They are obliged to make things clear.

A Glance at Environmentally Friendly Certifications

Across the globe there are around 600 environmentally friendly labels, 36 of which relate to forest products. Some of these may also indicate a product is sustainable. For the flooring industry, you need to be looking for the following:

  • GREENGOLD Gold – interior materials and products with low chemical emissions.
  • Indoor Air Advantage Gold – products comply with the strictest of indoor air quality emission standards.
  • FloorScore – products meet strict air quality requirements for indoors.
  • FSC (The Forest Stewardship Council) – promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. Together with the Programme for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification they help guarantee wood comes from sustainable sources. This means it is replaced after harvesting and does not harm the environment and neighbouring ecosystems.

Carefully Read Product Instructions

Manufacturers customise their installation and care instructions. Follow those instructions to the letter and your perfect floor will last. This applies even if you’ve hired a professional to install your flooring. Don’t leave them to rely on their previous installation experiences. It doesn’t matter whether the flooring being installed in plank flooring, chevron flooring, herringbone, or Versailles panels.

When it comes to cleaning and taking care of your flooring, make sure you use eco-friendly products and follow the advice of the manufacturer. Don’t be tempted to use home-made cleaners that contain vinegar or other types of acidic ingredients. They will destroy the finish of your floor. Make sure these cleaning products are available for the installer to use as well. Also bear in mind that if you fail to follow the manufacturer’s instruction, the flooring will not be covered by any warranty.

If you want to respect the environment, choosing sustainable wood flooring is the best way to do it. The tips we’ve shared above will help you find the best flooring for your home.

About the Author

This article was written by Martin O’Callaghan of Wood Flooring Ireland who are have been providing the Irish market with Wood Flooring sourced from sustainable European Forests.

How To Stay Green With Your Office Cleaning

Businesses are incorporating sustainability into their daily practices in an effort to do their part in creating a more eco-friendly future.  If you’re among the businesses that are adopting sustainable business practices such as conserving resources and reducing waste, you’re probably always looking for additional ways to go green.

An area that some businesses overlook is their cleaning practices. Many conventional cleaning products contain chemicals that have a negative impact on people, animals, and the environment. Chemicals in cleaning products can cause health problems such as asthma, cancer, and birth defects. After the products are used, they typically get washed down the drain. Water treatment facilities can get rid of some of the contaminants but not all. These contaminants then get washed into our rivers and lakes, where it can have a negative impact on wildlife.

This is why more and more businesses are incorporating green cleaning into their business practices. If you’re looking for additional ways to stay green, it’s time to look at your cleaning practices.

What is green cleaning?

Green cleaning is when you use cleaning methods and procedures that are designed to preserve human health and the environment. Typically, this means using products that contain environmentally friendly ingredients. Most green products are also manufactured in an environmentally friendly way and are biodegradable.

office-cleaning

Most green cleaning products contain a label on their packaging that indicates the company has met certain environmental and labor standards. However, it’s important to remember that some companies can get this label just by donating to environmental causes or using recycled packaging while their products still contain harmful chemicals. You should always check to see what ingredients are in the product to ensure that it is environmentally friendly. Avoid products that use phosphates, chlorine, artificial fragrances, and artificial colors.

The right green cleaning products smell more natural and will still clean your business just as well as conventional cleaning supplies.

How do I switch to green products?

If you would like to practice green cleaning, the first thing you’ll need to do is to find out what you’re currently cleaning with. If your business does its own cleaning, go around your business and make a list of all your products. If you’re using a cleaning company, ask them to provide you with a list.

After you have your list of products, go through and see if any of them are green products. You can do this by seeing if any of them have an ecolabel or checking to see if they are EWG verified.  If any of them are, great! You’re already using green products.

If they don’t, you’ll want to see if the vendor you buy your supplies from offers a green product line. If you’re using an outside cleaning company, see if they’re willing to use green products. Most companies will already have alternative products on hand. Some companies, such as Executive Cleaning Services, LLC, will also let you provide your own green cleaning products while still doing the cleaning for you!

Aren’t green products more expensive?

No, not necessarily. Depending on where you buy your products, you can get them for around the same price as conventional products.

There are a number of ways to make green cleaning affordable. If you’re a small business, you can consider making your own cleaners out of natural ingredients. If you purchase your products from a vendor, see if you can buy in bulk or buy concentrated products. You’ll spend more money upfront, but the products will last longer.

You should also eliminate unnecessary products to help reduce costs. There are many all-purpose cleaners out there that can be used on multiple surfaces.

What other ways can I stay green with my cleaning?

Switching to green cleaning products is the best way! If you’re not using green products, then you’re not practicing green cleaning. However, it’s also important that your entire team is on board. If your employees go out and buy conventional cleaning products to clean their own cubicle with, it defeats the purpose of your company using green products. Engage your employees in the process of switching to new supplies so that they have a say.

Some might even start practicing green cleaning at home! If you use a cleaning service, make sure you choose someone who also adopts green cleaning practices. An example of someone who does this is Ideal Cleaning – they only use environmentally cleaning products as they understand how much safer they are to use.

In conclusion

If you’re already practicing sustainable business practices, make sure to add green cleaning to your list of practices. Or, if you’re trying to find ways to start being sustainable, green cleaning is a great first step! It’ll take some time to review your current cleaning products, but once you identify new green cleaning products, you’ll be good to go.

How Texans Are Making Money With Solar Power

Texans are all about doing things in a big way and that includes saving and making money. One of the newest ways that residents across Texas are padding their wallets is by adding solar arrays to their homes. Most people know that you can save money with solar but aren’t aware that you can actually make money too.

The most popular trend in home design today is adding eco-friendly features. From full Net Zero homes to adding Energy Star appliances, homeowners are looking for ways to adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Carbon footprint reduction has become a serious issue for people around the world.

solar-energy-texas

One of the biggest roadblocks of adding solar to your home is the initial set up cost. Putting up solar panels and setting up a full battery and conversion system can be expensive. But, it’s worth the cost when you take part in a solar panels buyback scheme that will have the power companies paying you instead of you paying out to them.

We have put together a list of some of the ways that you can make money by adding solar to your home in Texas and around the country.

Lower Your Bills

The amount of money that you can save on your energy bills is largely dependent on the size of the solar array you choose to invest in. You can calculate how much solar power you need to run your home using an online app or talk to your provider about how many panels are right for your home.

Once you are set up you will start to see an immediate reduction in the cost to power your home. If you add a large enough array you can eliminate your energy bills altogether, putting money back in your pocket every month.

Raise Property Value

Your home is likely the largest financial investment that you will ever make. With the markets still recovering, it’s important to find ways to increase the value of your home. When you add solar to your home you can expect a 4% increase in your property value. That can be a big chunk for many homeowners and a great way to put money in the bank when it comes time to sell your home.

solar-leasing

Tax Break

The only things in life that you can’t avoid are death and taxes. But, wouldn’t it be nice to make a better return during tax season? When you decide to go solar you can get a great tax break at the end of the year.

Up to 25% of your initial set up cost for home solar can be written off on your annual tax return. That’s a huge break for many families and allows you to invest in your solar package with confidence.

Buyback Program

For those homeowners that end up collecting more solar energy than they need to power their homes, there are great benefits to signing up for a solar buyback program. This means that any power that you produce in excess of what you need can be sold back to be used by your local grid. This means that instead of sending money out to the energy companies, they will actually start paying you.

Everyone loves to make money, so why not join the environmental movement of switching over to solar power for your home and watch your bank account grow.