Now more than ever, individuals and businesses alike recognize the importance of reducing the amount of energy we consume on a daily basis in order to better maintain our global environment. Engineers and researchers have discovered that one of the most effective ways to do so is by changing the way we construct our indoor environments. According to the
Space heating and cooling now makes up less than 50% of all residential energy consumption, down from 58% two decade ago, according to the Residential Energy Consumption Survey from the Energy Information Administration.
Among the reasons for the shift: More energy efficient equipment,
In a world where billions of people go hungry every day, the very idea that a good chunk of our global food production goes to waste sounds outrageous. But this is what happens. The problem is so serious that it has prompted the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to launch a campaign to reduce food
Treatment without diagnosis is risky, for human health or home energy performance.
For any tax-paying citizen, the term “audit” probably has more negative than positive connotations. That’s why companies and individuals who perform home energy audits often refer to their services as “energy assessments” or “energy evaluations.” If the “A” word stigma isn’t bad
Solar energy company SolarCity and automaker Honda have joined forces to increase access to solar power for their customers. The partnership establishes an investment fund to finance $65 million in solar projects to assist Honda and Acura (Honda’s luxury division) customers with the initial cost of solar power installation. Millions of Honda and Acura customers
During his State of the Union Address, President Obama set the goal for the entire US economy to become 50% more energy efficient in the next 20 years. This objective is being hailed as an ambitious but achievable target, one that was endorsed by the non-partisan Alliance commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy.
According to CBS Money Watch, homes and businesses release more CO2 into the environment than cars do. What is the solution to reducing the ecological footprint we leave on the environment? Well, everyone needs to do their part. Homeowners need to build greener homes, students and consumers need to become energy and environmentally conscious, but business
A quick survey of cleantech advances in Europe shows that it’s easier than ever for individuals and private households to live the cleantech lifestyle without sacrificing comfort or convenience. And while we may not think our individual decisions matter, we all know that when it comes to resources, we’re factoring these choices by 7 billion these days. Even your choice to read this post online has an impact – an in-depth look at the impact of our use of digital information in recent New York Times article states that a single data center can take more power than a medium-size town.
Stay with me; I’m not faulting you for that but instead hope to encourage you to keep an eye out for the latest cleantech innovations that you might find easy, comfortable and cost-saving enough to warrant bringing them into your life.
For example, we all like to take a shower with plenty of hot water rather than tepid, lukewarm water, right? UK-based Viridian Solar would agree, which is why they’ve developed a water heating system powered by rooftop solar panels and made it available to the general public.
This solar water heating can provide 50-70 percent of the annual energy required to heat domestic hot water, reducing the overall energy consumption of a well-insulated house by around 10-12 percent. To date, more than 300 dwellings across the UK have been fitted with Viridian’s panels.
How about laundry – what’s next there? Xeros Ltd—another UK based company—is focused on the development of a “virtually waterless” laundry cleaning system that uses 90 percent less water than conventional laundry systems. To take entire U.S. water use in home laundry as an example, that translates into 1.2 billion tons of water saved per year—the equivalent of 17 million swimming pools.
Xeros debuted its revolutionary, environmentally friendly cleaning process earlier this year on the British TV series Home of the Future, which shows how an ordinary family can use cutting edge technologies and gadgets to tackle challenges such as energy and water use.
It’s getting even easier to power our homes with more sustainable sources of energy too.
For example, in the UK, government subsidy led to a swift rise in requests by householders for solar power. UK company Cleaner Air Solutions stepped in to make photovoltaic systems widely available and easily deployed for private residences. If the customer testimonials on their web site are to be believed, the process really is quite simple and straightforward: “hassle-free from start to finish” in the words of one customer.
Similarly, German company enbreeze designed a small-scale wind turbine that is even viable on low-wind sites, thus expanding the number of potential residences that can tap into this clean energy source.
Since home energy use is responsible for 25 percent of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union, the potential impact of companies like Cleaner Air Solutions and enbreeze is no small matter.
The main point here is that for the most part, these innovations aren’t pie-in-the-sky dreams: they’re solutions that are available today, or are right around the corner, made possible by brilliant innovators and design technology. With so many of the elements of a more sustainable lifestyle in place, “doing the right thing” as an individual consumer or private household is less of a burden to bear and indeed a more appealing choice.
Caesars Entertainment Corporation, the world’s largest gaming company with $8.83 billion in revenue in 2011, has been recognized for commendable environmental sustainability practices.
Two of the company’s casinos on Lake Tahoe, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Casino and Harveys Lake Tahoe Casino, have received the prestigious Gold Certification from Travelife, a certification system dedicated to
According to a new study presented by the Renovate Europe Campaign, weatherizing European buildings in an important way could boost local GDP by up to 291 billion Euros ($370 billion) by 2017.
Furthermore, gross annual investments of €41 to €78 billion per year in the EU could bring ongoing annual returns of €104 to €175 billion.
As the economy is tumbling across the continent, these investments represent very profitable possibilities.
With enough ambitions, the European Union could slash its greenhouse gases emissions and fossil fuels consumption significantly and create no less than two million jobs in the process.
Ultimately, deep renovations of European buildings would slash the Union’s oil consumption by up to the equivalent of four billion barrels of foreign oil per year (slightly less than 11 million barrels equivalent per day).
The report shows that for each billion euro invested by governments in renovations can return up to five billion for public finances.
During the conference presenting the report, Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Energy said “Energy efficiency is, for the European Union, the most direct and cost-effective way to achieve our strategic goals”.
The European Union has indeed outlined a goal of slashing its greenhouse gases emissions by 20 percent by 2020 (compared to 1990) and to increase energy efficiency by 20 percent as well.
Recently, the European Parliament has shown it is willing to go even further with up to 30 percent reduction of emissions by 2020.
Achieving such cuts would be tricky and would require drastic changes in rent regulation to allow landlords and tenants to share the gains from energy efficient renovations.
I have been advocating housing insulation as a great way to slash greenhouse gases emissions and energy consumption since the writing my Master’s thesis on the very subject back to 2005/06.
This new report brings further arguments to the ones believing that not only Europe can be more energy efficient but it has to do so, to save money, to create jobs… in other words : to get out of its current predicament.
There is something undeniably appealing about having solar panels installed on your roof. They bring a sense of modernism, of independence and of environmentalism. The decision to go solar is an exciting one, but it should be done with the foresight of the pitfalls that others have made before you. If you go about the process correctly,
A team of U.S. researchers has developed a software system that they say documents carbon dioxide emissions in urban areas down to the level of individual buildings or street segments. Using publicly available data on local pollution, traffic counts, and building uses — as well as models of building-by-building energy consumption — the researchers from Arizona
With issues such as pollution, climate change and deforestation plaguing our planet these days, it’s no wonder that so many people are beginning to change their ways and habits to make more mindful, sustainable choices. Businesses are starting up green initiatives, consumers are demanding more environmentally-sound options and colleges