Solutions for Maritime Industry Emissions

Until 2018, the maritime industry did not have a climate plan. While this may seem surprising, shipping tends to stay quiet about the environmental impacts of a global economy. Additionally, unlike other carbon-intensive sectors, it tends to quietly sail along unnoticed by consumers. It was not included in the Paris Agreement in 2016 and was not held accountable for its contribution to increased greenhouse gas emissions.

The International Maritime Organization laid out plans to cut emissions in half by 2050, an ambitious goal by one of the world’s main polluters. One of the main strategies to reduce CO2 emissions is to transition to more efficient fuel types. Most large shipping vessels operate with heavy fuel oil, which is rich in sulfur and extremely polluting. The International Maritime Organization is seeking to replace heavy fuel oil in 60,000 shipping vessels.

emissions-shipping-sector

However, consumer awareness surrounding the environmental cost of international shipping, coupled with innovative technology, may reduce the amount of pollution produced. The most likely solutions for reducing emissions from the maritime industry include transitioning to a more low-carbon fuel source, changing transport speeds, adopting sustainable shipping waste disposal strategies, transitioning to renewable energy and optimizing travel routes.

The Price of International Shipping

Shipping emissions are expected to grow exponentially between now and 2050. International shipping accounts for the majority of industrial pollution. Maritime regulations are significantly behind those for other carbon-intensive industries. It can be legally complicated to assign accountability to certain countries, especially in international waters. A handful of mega-ships can have the same level of greenhouse gas emissions as millions of cars, accounting for an incalculable portion of air and water pollution.

Our economy is global. When you look at the tags on your furniture, appliances, clothes and electronics, you may see dozens of countries around the world. Even our food, including perishable items like avocados and lettuce, are shipped internationally. Fresh produce can be shipped thousands of miles without spoiling using different refrigeration systems, such as air compressor technology. While these technologies make it easier to transport food, they come with a high-carbon impact. However, there are energy-efficient solutions to reduce carbon emissions in the shipping industry.

Energy-Efficient Solutions

Low-carbon technology is available in the shipping industry, but how it works in practice may be a different story. For example, switching from a high sulfur fuel oil to a low carbon option may have the greatest impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Lowering sulfur oxide emissions is key to reducing the effects of international shipping.

However, switching oils will require the industry to identify pollution from the whole lifecycle, meaning that the use of fuel is only one part of its environmental impact. Accounting for this will be crucial in finding a sustainable solution for maritime industry emissions.

Another solution that is easier to implement than changing fuels is a practice called slow steaming. Slow steaming simply refers to slowing boats down, sometimes only by a few degrees. While it may not sound like much, changing a ship’s speed by a couple of kilometers can result in an 18% increase in fuel savings, which could be a gamechanger. However, industry leaders are worried that simply slowing down ships is not the answer, since it will result in a need for more vessels to keep the global economy moving.

Other energy-efficient solutions to maritime industry emissions include route optimization, renewable energy such as wind-assist technology and transitioning to all-electric ships. Norway, a main exporter in the petroleum and fish industries, has already tested an all-electric vessel and is actively working to optimize this technology to transition more ships away from fuel oil.

Time for Maritime to Go Green

The effort by the maritime industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is significant. Effective solutions to help curb climate change include transitioning to low sulfur fuel oils, changing ship speeds and investing in new technology such as renewable energy. However, consumer awareness will also play a vital role in the future of international shipping. The cost of a global economy is significant. Finding more sustainable methods of transporting goods across the ocean is imperative.

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 Trigger Increased Green Technology Spending?

With this in mind, the importance of green economics and increased renewable 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.

Create a Greener Business with These Changes

Want to make your business greener? It’s easier than you might think to make eco-friendly changes. While there are some challenges you’ll face, implementing green changes into the company delivers a lot of great benefits.

Below, you’ll discover some of the best ways to create a greener business no matter what your budget.

Install solar panels

If you want to really make a difference, you can install solar panels in your premises. This helps to provide greener energy. Using the sun’s rays to power up the building, these panels can also save you a lot of money over the years.

solar-panels-for-businesses

The only trouble is, installing solar panels isn’t cheap. So, if you don’t have the funds available you have two options. You can see whether there are any government schemes to help fund green changes in your business. Or, you could seek business funding from a responsible lender. You’ll get the money back that you borrowed over time through the money saved with these panels.

Add plants in and around the business

Another great tip is to add plants and trees in and around the business premises. Using trees and greenery outside the building helps to improve the environment. They are known to clean the air, benefit local wildlife and they make the premises look much nicer.

plants-greener-business

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

You can use plants indoors too. Adding plants to the office can not only benefit the environment, but your workers too. Research the best indoor plants to add to your business for the most eco-friendly benefits.

Encourage employees to go green

As a business owner, there’s only so much you can do to make the company greener. You’ll also want to enlist the help of your employees to make greener changes. For example, you could encourage them to cycle to work, rather than driving. Or, you could implement a car sharing scheme to cut down on emissions.

greener-business

Switch to renewable energy

Finally, another way to create a greener business is to switch to renewable energy. Did you know some companies focus on providing 100% renewable energy? Switching to these suppliers won’t just help you protect the environment; it will also save you a lot of money potentially too.

It’s worth researching your options to see which supplier best fits your needs. Switching suppliers is a fairly straightforward process these days so you should find it an easy task.

These are some of the main ways to make greener changes in your business. By implementing greener policies, you’ll be able to really cut down your company’s carbon footprint. With global warming remaining a very serious threat, anything you can do to reduce your impact on the environment is going to be worthwhile.

Sustainable Manufacturing: Eco-Friendly Ideas For Your Plant

The industrial sector, which includes the manufacturing industry, is the third largest global source of greenhouse gas emissions. Shockingly, the sector emits roughly 21% of all greenhouse gasses, a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reveals. Fortunately, there are a number of ways manufacturing companies can lower their carbon footprints, adopt eco-friendly equipment and practices, and become more sustainable.

ecofriendly-manufacturing

Audit energy use

Manufacturing plants typically use huge amounts of gas or electric energy. Adopting energy-efficient practices to optimize the plant’s energy use can slash costs considerably. Start by conducting an energy audit — ideally during the next scheduled plant downtime — to identify areas requiring improvement. HVAC systems, in particular, are huge energy and money drainers. Replace the filters and insulation so hot or cold air doesn’t escape. Repairs may also be needed. Temperature controls can be precisely automated with a programmable digital thermostat.

Additionally, common industrial lighting like incandescent bulbs should be switched out for LED lighting, which uses 75% less energy and lasts 25 times longer. Keep track of your eco-friendly changes and monitor energy use to make sure you’re operating at maximum efficiency.

Minimize waste

Reducing manufacturing waste is an effective way of making your plant more sustainable. For example, limit the quantity of excess raw materials your plant has in stock; order just enough material for the job it’s needed for each time. Work on recovering waste from both onsite and offsite locations with the help of techniques like centrifugation, electrolysis, reverse osmosis, or filtration.

industrial-valve

Alternatively, recycling materials is a simple way to recover useful materials (recycling hazardous materials, however, usually isn’t eco-friendly). High-power, industrial shredders, in particular, can help you deal with a number of waste materials (such as, wood, plastic, rubber, and asphalt) by considerably reducing their size. Investing in durable equipment also reduces waste. For example, Bobcat T190 tracks are designed to minimize wear and tear to the tire. The thick, high-quality rubber lasts longer, so the tires need replacing less often.

Switch to renewable energy

Switching to renewable energy can help your plant generate its own clean electricity and heating. In fact, by 2035, renewable energy is set to be the main global power source, according to the 2019 Clean Jobs America report. Green power sources like solar, wind, biomass, geothermal heat, and rain are also cheaper than traditional fossil fuel energy sources.

Depending on your state, you may also be able to benefit from tax incentives and earn money back. You can also support renewable energy by selecting a renewable electricity tariff with your supplier. This means either some or all of the power your plant uses will be matched by your supplier purchasing green energy.

Making your manufacturing plant more eco-friendly certainly isn’t an overnight job. However, it’s well worth the time and effort it takes to make positive and permanent changes. Switching to sustainable practices and equipment will help the environment, save energy, and improve your bottom line.

Sustainable Environment in Singapore: An Attraction for Businesses and Investors

In addition to a robust economy, Singapore’s sustainable environment is another leading factor that has attracted numerous investors. Most cities in the world have failed to address environmental issues brought about by urbanization. Towns or urban areas cover over 2% of the Earth’s surface; they are responsible for about 80% of the greenhouse gases emitted while using up almost 75%  of nature’s resources.

sustainable-Singapore

However, a host of countries in Southeast Asia are leading the way to change this contrary notion about cities and urban regions. Research conducted by several world-leading environmental bodies and institutions determined that Singapore is indeed one of the most environmentally sustainable nations.

Singapore’s first prime minister kickstarted the dream of making Singapore a green city. His main agenda was to make Singapore stand out from the rest of the Asian countries and also attract investors from all over the world. The first step undertaken to achieve this dream was the eradication of the houseboats and overcrowded slums along the banks of Singapore River.

Incorporation services Singapore are offering entrepreneurs moving to Singapore a platform to incorporate their businesses in Singapore. This allows them to run their firms within the stipulated terms while also receive the government’s backing.

On the world’s Environmental Performance Ranking, Yale University and the U.N place Singapore at seventeenth globally and first position in Asia. Contrary to popular belief, Singapore’s efforts and strict green technology guidelines, which were set and backed up by the government, helped in making it an eco-friendly city.  

So how exactly does Singapore afford to provide suitable surroundings perfect for its citizens and also attract investors and entrepreneurs from overseas?

Government Support

As discussed before, adoption of green technology is one of the leading things that has made Singapore an eco-friendly city. Singapore has been able to morph into a modernized city-state without having a negative impact on nature.

The Singapore government’s Cleantech division, which is a subsidiary of the board tasked with economic growth, has offered continued support to companies in the clean technology business. This has led to the business sector growing tremendously in areas such as renewable energy, water conservation, green buildings, etc.

Growing ICT Center

Companies such as Hewlett Packard (HP) and International Business Machines Corporation have partnered with the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources. The main idea behind these partnerships is to ensure that Singapore’s ICT industry thrives. HP, for example, has been tasked with designing and manufacturing energy efficient systems that will cut power costs while still providing a working platform for businesses.

There is no shortage of green spaces in Singapore

Low Energy Costs and Environmental Remedies

Accommodating over 7000 companies from different nations across the globe is no mean feat. As such, Singapore’s government and other agencies know that a green environment is not the only requirement to attract more investors.

Through an alliance known as the Singapore Sustainability Alliance, an umbrella consisting of government groups, non-governmental organizations, and teaching institutions, Singapore has been able to come up with policies that create a sustainable environment. Other than this, the alliance has overseen the adoption of systems that include proper water use, renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste management, etc. which have significantly improved business growth.  

5 Actionable Tips to Use More Renewable Energy

The world doesn’t seem to stop when it comes to consuming energy. As each country experience growth and development as a society, their needs for power increases to keep up with the pace of their expansion. The process is a natural one.  It’s even socially encouraged, but that doesn’t change the fact that it takes a toll on our planet. More of the world resources are exploited and processed to become fuel.

While denied by many of these industries for a long time, the ugly side of energy consumption has been exposed for the whole world to see. It has increased the awareness about the need to embrace alternative energy and waste solutions that are renewable and cleaner to avoid contamination and slow down the degradation of our many natural ecosystems.

Many of the initiatives to use clean energies are embraced in multiple countries. Some of them are backed by governments and private industries looking to preserve our planet and fix some of the damage caused by our constant demands of resources. Many people believe that individual efforts don’t count. The fact is that every single bit of help they can get adds up a lot. Here are 5 actionable tips you can follow to make proper use of renewable energy on your premises:

1. Embrace Solar-Powered Technologies

If you haven’t realized it yet the sun is one of the most powerful energy sources in the world and no one can charge to use it. This is why many developers focused on creating technology that makes the best use of the power delivered by the light and radiation offered by the main star in our solar system.

Nowadays, you can get solar-powered vehicles, and solar panels to distribute energy at your home. Such technologies can be a bit expensive but is durable as nothing else in the market, plus it is a one-time investment at best!

2. Crowdfund Clean Energy Projects

Many communities are willing to go green and use clean energy sources when they are presented the right project. Most of the times the neighbors’ just need to see a well-laid plan explaining why using renewable energy sources will be more affordable for them in the long run.

A solar-powered community project in Laos

The environmental angle can also be helpful, especially for those homeowners that live close to natural reservoirs and wish to keep the value of their properties by safekeeping the environment.

3. Support the Society of Concerned Scientist

This is an amazing initiative to get businesses and the world to become more educated and use more renewable energy.  I am not affiliated with the society at all, but it may be one of the most actionable ways to help the environment because they have built up a lot of support and assets.

Check out what they are doing here.

4. Use Water-processing Technology

Many households and modern housing projects can make use of this technology to recycle the water sources they use and avoid the unnecessary waste of such vital liquid.

The basic principles of this initiative require investment in processing plants and large tanks that can either be installed on the foundations of your home or at the side of it. Your house will always have clean running water, and you won’t take much from the natural sources near your place.

5. Wind Power for Home or Business

Many locations around the world are using wind-powered turbines to generate electricity, and it has become a business opportunity for many entrepreneurs around the world. The plants are easy to install, and the energy is very cheap to produce.

Wind-powered energy has generated an excess of power in certain locations such as China, Germany, Australia and some regions on the USA with these plants selling they’re overproduced to regular energy plants. The power provided by these alternatives is cleaner than most and very easy on a family budget.

Why You Should Work Towards an Energy-Efficient Home

An energy-efficient home is something we should all work towards. It will save you money, decrease your carbon footprint, and make your home and lifestyle more environmentally friendly. Most of us think that achieving an energy-efficient home is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. There are so many little things we can do to decrease the amount of energy we waste and to reduce the amount of money we spend on running our homes. Today, we will be taking a look at what you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home and why this will benefit you in the long run.

Upgrade Appliances

If your home appliances are old, chances are they are not very energy efficient and will be costing you more than they should to run. When you purchase any new appliance, you should look for one that comes with a stamp of approval, also known as an ‘Energy Star’ rating. This means the new appliance is classed as energy-efficient, which means you will save money on energy bills in the future.

Check Boiler Efficiency

In most UK households, the cost of running a boiler will be more than all of the other home appliances combined. To ensure that you aren’t spending too much on your boiler, you should assess its efficiency levels. There are simple tools you can use to do this. If you are spending too much, replacing a boiler is an option, but it’s expensive. Instead, you can look into cheaper ways of improving its efficiency.

Install Insulation

Energy that should be heating your home will be lost through your windows and ceilings when your home is poorly insulated. If your home is properly insulated, you will pay less to heat your home because the building will retain the heat more efficiently. It doesn’t cost too much to do and the money you spend on it will be made back over a couple of years through reduced energy costs.

Switch Energy Supplier

Some energy suppliers are greener than others, and many of the more sustainable ones also offer surprisingly cheap tariffs. By using an energy comparison website you should be able to find a new supplier that can improve your household’s carbon footprint while also lowering your household bills.

Use Renewables

Renewable energy comes from a resource that is naturally replaced on a human timescale. This includes wind, sunlight, waves, tides, rain, and geothermal heat. Using renewable energy is a great way to help the environment and to save money on energy bills. It can be expensive to install, but it comes with many benefits for you, your home, and the environment.

As you can see, the main reason many of us should choose to have a more energy-efficient home is to save us money, but it helps the environment too. We are all aware of the changes taking place in our environment, so protecting it and saving money while doing so is an offer we shouldn’t refuse.

5 Ways The Oil Industry Helps To Keep The Environment Clean

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

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

1. Information

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

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

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

2. Better Pipe Maintenance

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

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

3. Decreasing Freshwater Usage

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

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

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

4. Investing In Renewable Energy

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

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

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

5. Using Technology For Better Planning

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

Moving Forward

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

Green SMEs: Catalyst for Green Economy

With ‘green’ being the buzzword across all industries, greening of the business sector and development of green skills has assumed greater importance all over the world. SMEs, startups and ecopreneurs are playing a vital role in the transition to a low-carbon economy by developing new green business models for different industrial sectors. Infact, young and small firms are emerging as main drivers of radical eco-innovation in the industrial and services sectors.

Green SMEs

What are Green SMEs

Green SMEs adopt green processes and/or those producing green goods using green production inputs. A judicious exploitation of techno-commercial opportunities and redevelopment of business models, often neglected by established companies, have been the major hallmarks of green SMEs.

For example, SMEs operating in eco-design, green architecture, renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainability are spearheading the transition to green economy across a wide range of industries. The path to green economy is achieved by making use of production, technology and management practices of green SMEs. Impact investment platforms allows individuals to invest in environmentally sustainable companies.

Categories of Green Industries

Environmental Protection Resource Management
Protection of ambient air Water management
Protection of climate Management of forest resources
Wastewater management Management of flora and fauna
Waste management Energy management
Noise and vibration abatement Management of minerals
Protection of biodiversity and landscape Eco-construction
Protection against radiation Natural resource management activities
Protection of soil, groundwater and surface water Eco-tourism
Environmental Monitoring and Instrumentation Organic agriculture
Research and Development Research and Development

Key Drivers

The key motivations for a green entrepreneur are to exploit the market opportunity and to promote environmental sustainability. A green business help in the implementation of innovative solutions, competes with established markets and creates new market niches. Green entrepreneurs are a role model for one and all as they combine environmental performance with market targets and profit outcomes, thus contributing to the expansion of green markets.

Some of the popular areas in which small green businesses have been historically successful are renewable energy production (solar, wind and biomass), smart metering, building retrofitting, hybrid cars and waste recycling.

As far as established green industries (such as waste management and wastewater treatment) are concerned, large companies tend to dominate, however SMEs and start-ups can make a mark if they can introduce innovative processes and systems. Eco-friendly transformation of existing practices is another attractive pathway for SMEs to participate in the green economy.

The Way Forward

Policy interventions for supporting green SMEs, especially in developing nations, are urgently required to overcome major barriers, including knowledge-sharing, raising environmental awareness, enhancing financial support, supporting skill development and skill formation, improving market access and implementing green taxation.

In recent decades, entrepreneurship in developing world has been increasing at a rapid pace which should be channeled towards addressing water, energy, environment and waste management challenges, thereby converting environmental constraints into business opportunities.

Your Choices for Alternative Energy

While using alternative sources of energy is a right way for you to save money on your heating and cooling bills, it also allows you to contribute in vital ways to both the environment and the economy.  Alternative energy sources are renewable, environmentally sustainable sources that do not create any by-products that are released into the atmosphere like coal and fossil fuels do.

Burning coal to produce electricity releases particulates and substances such as mercury, arsenic, sulfur and carbon monoxide into the air, all of which can cause health problems in humans.

Other by-products from burning coal are acid rain, sludge run-off and heated water that is released back into the rivers and lakes nearby the coal-fired plants.  While efforts are being made to create “clean coal,” businesses have been reluctant to use the technology due to the high costs associated with changing their plants.

If you are considering taking the plunge and switching to a renewable energy source to save money on your electric and heating bills or to help the environment, you have a lot of decisions to make. The first decision you need to make is which energy source to use in your home or business.  Do you want to switch to solar energy, wind power, biomass energy or geothermal energy?

Emissions from homes using heating oil, vehicles, and electricity produced from fossil fuels also pollute the air and contribute to the number of greenhouse gases that are in the atmosphere and depleting the ozone layer.  Carbon dioxide is one of the gases that is released into the air by the burning of fossil fuels to create energy and in the use of motor vehicles.  Neither coal nor fossil fuels are sources of renewable energy.

Replacing those energy sources with solar, biomass or wind-powered generators will allow homes and businesses to have an adequate source of energy always at hand.  While converting to these systems can sometimes be expensive, the costs are quickly coming down, and they pay for themselves in just a few short years because they supply energy that is virtually free.  In some cases, the excess energy they create can be bought from the business or the homeowner.

While there are more than these three alternative energy options, these are the easiest to implement on an individual basis.  Other sources of alternative energy, for instance, nuclear power, hydroelectric power, and natural gas require a primary power source for the heat so it can be fed to your home or business.  Solar, wind, biomass and geothermal energy can all have power sources in your home or business to supply your needs.

Solar Energy

Solar power is probably the most widely used source of these options.  While it can be expensive to convert your home or business over to solar energy, or to an alternative energy source for that matter, it is probably the most natural source to turn over to.  You can use the sun’s energy to power your home or business and heat water.  It can be used to passively heat or light up your rooms as well just by opening up your shades.

Wind Power

You need your wind turbine to power your home or office, but wind energy has been used for centuries to pump water or for commercial purposes, like grinding grain into flour.  While many countries have wind farms to produce energy on a full-scale basis, you can have your wind turbine at home or at your business to provide electricity for your purposes.

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

Biomass Energy

Biomass energy has rapidly become a vital part of the global renewable energy mix and account for an ever-growing share of electric capacity added worldwide. Biomass is the material derived from plants that use sunlight to grow which include plant and animal material such as wood from forests, material left over from agricultural and forestry processes, and organic industrial, human and animal wastes. Biomass comes from a variety of sources which include wood from natural forests and woodlands, agricultural residues, agro-industrial wastes, animal wastes, industrial wastewater, municipal sewage and municipal solid wastes.

Geothermal Energy

A heat pump helps cool or heat your home or office using the earth’s heat to provide the power needed to heat the liquid that is run through the system to either heat your home in the winter or cool it off in the summer.  While many people use it, it doesn’t provide electricity, so you still need an energy source for that.