November 16th, 2010
Anyone in the property industry will know that getting highly detailed environmental reports is critical to any planned investment or development. Environmental reports allow the prospective buyer or developer to get an immediate snapshot of the lay of the land and, depending on the report criteria, can unearth and detail key aspects that must be considered.
Environmental reports start by producing an aerial photograph of the area in question. The old adage that a picture paints a thousand words is very applicable here as an aerial photo within environmental reports quickly highlights and showcases any issues that need consideration.
Next, depending on the criteria of the environmental reports, the study will start to fully disclose the history of the area or land in question. Key issues such as whether any mining has been carried out on the land, whether there has been any infill on a previous quarry or landfill in the area will be considered. Fully understanding these critical issues is imperative to ensure that development of the land is not endangered, that the type of development is appropriate or simply that an investment or purchase is secure.
Environmental reports also look thoroughly at the geology. By considering the bedrock and any other mineral sublayers, the reports can give a clear indication of
the viability of a potential plot and allow clients to make informed decisions by forewarning them of any potential issues.
Where environmental reports excel is by collating data from multiple sources. In the United Kingdom and other countries, local authorities, planning agencies and other institutions hold plenty of current and historical data on property but to gather all the relevant information is a painstakingly laborious process that is best left to the professionals. These consultants will have ready access to the most authoritative sources of information that are compiled within environmental reports.
October 27th, 2010
The deforestation occurring in various parts of the world is an alarming situation which needs immediate concern and action. Timberland Company is one such responsible organization that has taken the bold step towards curbing deforestation and planting trees. The aim of the company is to plant as many as 5 million trees in the coming 5 years. The President and CEO of the company rightly believes that throwing away seeds randomly might not achieve afforestation rather it requires concerted efforts where every individual needs to be committed to the task of achieving the target. The Timberland Company accepts that reforestation alone could help in creating jobs, removing hunger, protecting the wildlife & preserve the environment.
The focus of the drive is to remove the troubles faced by the highly affected areas of Haiti and China Horquin Desert due to deforestation.
In China, the company has come into a deal with GreenNet, a Japanese NGO which has been into operation since 2001 to reforest the barren areas and also bring together the localities of the regions to join hands and contribute towards the task of planting trees and shrubs. In Haiti also similar such deal has been struck with ‘Trees for the Future’ and ‘Yéle Haiti Foundation on Yéle Vert’ to encourage community based agro-forestry & environmental education programs.
In order to bring in a larger number of audience in contribute towards the reforestation program, Timberland Company has a virtual forest. It is essentially a Facebook application designed by Bridge Worldwide, a digital marketing agency and is called ‘Timberland Earthkeepers Virtual Forest’. This application is targeted to help consumers to plant virtual trees in addition to that by the 5 in 5. The Company believes that this would indirectly help in making the virtual turn into a real tree planting effort.
The users of the application can name their virtual forests, add messages to the trees in their friends’ forests and also get ranked amongst other users. They can also view videos featuring farmers participating in Yéle Vert and also get information about Timberland.
Those interested in having their own virtual forests may visit http://www.Facebook.com/Timberland and for those interested in information regarding Timberland, visit www.Timberland.com.
May 26th, 2010
In just about every industry, owners and managers have only one truly controllable cost—labor. To some extent, however, you have control over your operating expenses—especially if you recycle and reuse; you also can train your associate to “pre-cycle,” insisting they analyze their needs before they begin their projects and then purchase only what they need. Most importantly, you have considerably more control over your energy costs than you may imagine. Restructuring your business according to a comprehensive, strategic energy plan can add 30% or more to your bottom line. Work with your local utility to develop a plan for radically reducing how much you pay each month.
· Aggressive conservation— Ask a representative from your electric company to conduct an energy audit. Your energy auditor will walk your office with you, looking for energy saving opportunities; she may also itemize your electric bill, showing you where you spend the most for electric power, and suggesting ways to conserve.
In most offices, heating and cooling cost the most, followed closely by your large office machinery, your computers, and your lighting. If you have not already taken these measures, take them right away:
(1)Adjust your thermostat so that your heating and cooling system maintains the office at 72 degrees during the day and shuts-down completely at night. Better still, adjust the air conditioning to 74, making it a little warmer but still comfortable; adjust the heat to 70—everyone can add sweaters as needed. If your office has functional windows, use them; your energy auditor will help you arrange a schedule to capitalize on fresh air as an alternative to air conditioning.
(2) Turn-off your overhead fluorescent lighting and equip each workspace with a low-energy CFL desk lamp, insisting that your associates turn-off the lights when they take their breaks, go to lunch, and leave at the workday’s end.
(3)set your computers to go to sleep when they are not in use, and ask your associates to turn them off as they turn off their desk lamps.
(4)Make sure that your doors and frames are properly weather-stripped; and, if you have old fashioned windows that actually open and shut, make sure they have fresh weather-stripping, too. If you have exposed tile floors, lay down thick padding and then carpet them. The floor needs a layer of insulation, too.
· Natural light— Morale improves and you save money when you rely on natural light. Your energy auditor or an interior designer may show you alternative arrangements for your workstations, so that you may make the most of the natural light you have available. Give serious consideration to installing “three-dimensional skylights”—elevated well above the roof line, they have glass on the sides as well as the top, allowing for maximum sunlight from dawn until dusk. Ideally, you will install one large skylight over every major work area. Natural lighting is a great way of saving energy as well as maintaining great aesthetics for the workplace.
· Indoor landscaping— Plants act as natural insulation, and they purify your air. In other words, well-placed natural landscaping helps you control your heating and cooling costs, because it regulates the air’s natural circulation by maintaining a constant temperature throughout your open spaces. If some of your windows create hotspots in the office, put that sunlight to good use, letting it shine on a row of small trees or large containerized plants. Fertilize your indoor landscaping with the grounds from the coffee machine, and work with your office landscaping service to start composting food waste with the debris from routine maintenance of the grounds.
· Efficiency— Your printer, copier, and fax machine suck-up almost as much energy as your heating and air conditioning. Try to eliminate the fax machine altogether; regard your fax as a fossil relic from the 1990s. Save paper and electricity by printing only essential documents. In most settings, you can manage more than 90% of your documents electronically. Moreover, you know that your associates are comfortable and proficient with text messages; take advantage of that post-modern expertise. Similarly, manage projects to control printing, so that you may shut down the copier for extended periods—at least part of every business day, always over night, and often for days at a time.
November 23rd, 2009
Dating back to the seventeenth century, there has been interest in manufacturing gas by means of a natural decomposition of organic materials. Scientists Stephen Hale and Robert Boyle first reported on the process. They noticed that a flammable gas happened to be released when sediment on the bottom of lakes and streams was disturbed. Sir Humphrey Davy noted that cattle manure produced gases, including methane gas in 1808.
Lepers built the first anaerobic digester back in 1859 at their colony in Bombay, India.
Technology developed gas lighting from the use of a septic tank which produced gas lighting (for a sewer gas destructor lamp) as a byproduct of its decomposition process in England in 1895. The Imhoff tank, an early design of digester was patented in Germany in 1907.
The process of anaerobic digestion
The process known as anaerobic digestion is actually a break down of microorganisms into material that is biodegradable without oxygen. This is a process used widely in the treatment of waste water. Anaerobic digestion will reduce landfill gas emissions into the atmosphere and is in widespread use as a renewable source of energy due to the fact it produces a biogas which is rich in methane as well as carbon dioxide. These gases help in the replacement of fossil fuels, a non renewable source of energy
How anaerobic digestion works
Also known as methane recovery, this digestive process starts out when materials break down due to bacterial hydrolysis (breakdown by enzymes). Carbohydrates, as well as other organic polymers, are accessible by other bacterial forms and converted into amino acids and sugars and are then further broken down, finally, into acetic acid which when combined with ammonia, hydrogen, and some carbon dioxide will produce methanogens which convert to carbon dioxide and methane. The process of anaerobic digestion makes excellent use of such biodegradable materials as manure, sewage, biomass, municipal waste, and other green or energy waste crops.
Where it’s headed
Originally the process was relatively expensive, requiring significant technical expertise, plus the fact not much was produced during the process, there was little demand for its use except for industrial types of application. More recently however, the process has been perfected and costs have been lowered considerably enabling it to be seen as a viable source of alternative renewable energy.
The process was recognized academically during the 1930’s and research found the anaerobic bacteria or microorganisms vastly sped up the process also known as fermentation. Long known as sources of energy, methane and similar naturally formed gases needed to be contained and controlled.
Usefulness of anaerobic digestion
As the process of anaerobic digestion has proven to be most effective with organic wet material, it has been useful in treating sewage and effluent. Most anything organic can be processed through anaerobic digestion. Biodegradables such as grass clippings, waste paper, animal waste, sewage, and left over food will break down into gases as a result of the anaerobic digestion process.
Europe and Germany use the process in operations they call biogas plants. It has found to be useful in developing countries as low cost energy used for lighting and cooking. Countries such as China and India are working on use of small biogas plants that could be applied for local use as cooking and lighting sources.
November 15th, 2009
A large number of manufacturers of photovoltaic cells (solar panels) will claim that the efficiency of the panel arrays will vary depending on the size and types of materials are used to produce them. One of the truths about this statement is the fact that higher quality materials will be more efficient, especially when they are made correctly. One of the biggest problems with photovoltaic cells efficiency is the fact that they need to be used in large numbers to really create a large enough current to be used directly to power devices. One of the simple ways around this is by taking advantage of batteries that can be charged with photovoltaic cells.
Since solar paneling produces DC electricity (direct current) readily, it is perfect for charging batteries by putting in the energy collected through the process to charge the batteries. Otherwise having a large solar paneling array on the place in which they are applied such as large vehicles like recreational vehicles and making use of a grid tie inverter to make the DC current convert into AC (alternating current) to be used by several different applications. Make sure that you take advantage of the possible options for photovoltaic cells because they offer a large amount of benefits for several different things, especially for saving on power consumption in vehicles and reducing the need to have fueled generators which are loud and cause several harmful emissions for power.
Depending on the manufacturer, the efficiency of photovoltaic cells will be very different. Several companies will produce high quality solar paneling for use with high current production for several different uses. A large number of these companies will produce efficient solar cells which can be used in different applications to help offset electricity usage from several different sources. You can be sure to look into the available options now and understand the technology behind the solar paneling and understand what is going on in research to help improve the technology. Now you are able to get some of the same technology that is used in many modern satellites to receive power while they are in orbit around the earth.
Several different retailers will be able to offer you different options for any application that you may need. One of the most popular choices is to supplement the energy resources for those who have large vehicles that need to offset their carbon footprint. These vehicles are the most feasible types to use for various applications because they have the most real estate to take advantage of on the roof of the vehicle for photovoltaic cells to be placed. This means that they can be utilized to get more power output than smaller vehicles and the larger volume of power is very simple to use for a larger range of devices that are power hungry.
It is important to have professionals install any and all photovoltaic cells to ensure that they meet the requirements and can perform with the best efficiency as possible. Recent discoveries have made it possible to get a large amount of power output from solar paneling than ever before and it is possible for these technologies to improve in the near future. Whatever the case, they are a very good investment for those who are concerned with their power consumption and their impact on the earth. Having professionals install photovoltaic cells allows you to prevent damages to the cells themselves and proper installation can make sure that the power is being used to its full potential without shorting out or being installed incorrectly.
August 30th, 2009
Wind Power Generators have been around for an exceedingly long time, harnessing of the wind power and converting it into generators of electric power is not a modern concept, and in fact wind power is so ordinary it has been often over looked as an energy power supply. Like sunlight, wind power is also inexhaustible and with the efficient usage of know-how and up-to-date generators wind power can bring to us an exceedingly clean and renewable supply of electricity.
It has only been in recent years the energy companies have been forced to invest billions of dollars to install wind farms with hundreds of wind power generators and hook up these into the electricity grid structure. These wind farms are a hideous scar on the landscape, require a considerable capital investment and extremely expensive to look after; despite these negative points wind farms still generate electricity for our home demands and are not exhausting carbon gas into the air. Nevertheless why must we allow these giant wind generators taking up a considerable land area? If we look at the generator in your car it is the same idea but much smaller. I think we can all figure out why we are all led to believe that a wind power generator is very complex and expensive to install in an everyday public home. There is no rationale why these giant wind generators cannot be scaled down to a portable size and installed in every home.
There are four main parts to a Wind Power Generator system these are:
1. The Wind Powered Generator – Wind Mills or Turbine with the purpose of the capture of Wind Energy by rotating a propeller which rotates a shaft and powers a generator.
2. Power Storage – The common household uses in the region of electricity per day, a small home wind power generator is more than ample to supply the typical household but storage is compulsory for those days of no wind, electricity is stored in a string of batteries.
3. DC/AC Converter – wind power generators create dC electrical current this is converted to AC electrical current used for your household.
4. Power Stabilizer – this device is what delivers your home-made power into your household and stabilizes the power feed to be constant and uniform.
We are all aware that Global Warming is swiftly becoming a key dilemma and the cause of this is our dependency on carbon fossil fuels. Governments and the Big Energy Producing Companies tell us not to be concerned; they are working on the dilemma. When was the last moment you saw a government do anything correct? And how much can you trust Big Business that has a monopoly? Our only option is to start little and grow gigantic to tackle this quickly pending tragedy of global warming, Rome did not fall in a day, it fell one Roman at a time, we should all become Romans.
By taking a tiny step you can become a Roman by installing Wind Power Generators or an alternate supply that will turn out 20% or 100% of your household electrical supply; you will receive many benefits:
1. The installation costs are a tax deductions therefore the system costs is basically free.
2. You no longer pay an electricity cost so that cash stays in your pocket.
3. You will no longer be putting carbon gas into the ecosystem and taking a large step to stop the green house effect.
4. Your neighbors will be encouraged to install their own system when they observe your system working, farther reducing the carbon gas effects. There are additional benefits as well, and that is a pretty respectable return for an only some small dollars investment.
It is a great idea and feeling to know you are doing your part to reduce the carbon output and helping to clean up our ecosystem for the future generations. The sooner we all start the less amount of destruction is being done and the easier it is for Mother Nature to heal.
September 25th, 2008
A new invention could revolutionize solar energy – and it was made by a 12-year-old in Beaverton, OR.
Despite his age, William Yuan has already studied nuclear fusion and nanotechnology, and he is on his way to solving the energy crisis.
It all started with Legos – after he learned nanotechnology to make robots take off. The seventh grader then got an idea inspired by the sun.
“Solar it seems underused, and there are only a few problems with it,” Yuan said.
Encouraged by his Meadow Park Middle School science teacher, the 12-year-old developed a 3D solar cell.
“Regular solar cells are only 2D and only allow light interaction once,” he said.
And his cell can absorb both visible and UV light.
“I started to realize I was actually onto something,” Yuan said.
At first, he couldn’t believe his calculations.
“This solar cell can’t be generating this much electricity, it can’t be absorbing this much extra light,” he recalled thinking.
If he is right, solar panels with his 3D cells would provide 500 times more light absorption than commercially-available solar cells and nine times more than cutting-edge 3D solar cells.
“Which would make solar energy actually a viable energy source for the Pacific Northwest,” Yuan said.
While college students have come up with unusual solar cars and the state of Oregon recently unveiled solar panels to power highway lights, Yuan is thinking global.
“It’ll have a really positive impact on society and the environment,” he said.
His next step is to get a manufacturer and market it.
Yuan is flying out to Washington D.C. on Monday to accept a $25,000 scholarship for his research. He earned the Davidson Fellow award, which is for those 18 and under.
August 30th, 2008
Even the tiniest reductions in energy consumption can make a big difference. Case in point, Western Digital announced that their line of external storage units, the Mybook, will now include the new GreenPower hard drives. While individually these units might not make much of a difference, as soon as this technology hits the enterprise market, which should be happening soon, the CO2 savings start adding up (large enterprises can use around 10,000 hard drives for their data-hungry storage needs).
According to WD, each of these drives will save about 13.8kg CO2 per year compared to similar products. For a large data center, say for instance, a bank, that saving could turn out to be around 248 tons of carbon a year. The first of these 3.5 inch hard drives, the 1TB WD Caviar GP, was available as of July 1st.
August 25th, 2008
In the continuing effort to develop electricity from renewable energy cheaper than from coal, Google, through its philanthropic arm Google.org, announced $10.25 million in investments in a breakthrough energy technology called Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). Today’s announcement also includes funding for research on next-generation geothermal resource mapping, EGS information tools, and a policy agenda for geothermal energy.
EGS expands the potential of geothermal energy by orders of magnitude. The traditional geothermal approach relies on finding naturally occurring pockets of steam and hot water. The EGS process, by comparison, replicates these conditions by fracturing hot rock, circulating water through the system, and using the resulting steam to produce electricity in a conventional turbine.
A recent MIT report on EGS estimates that just 2% of the heat below the continental United States between 3 and 10 kilometers, depths within the range of current drilling technology, is more than 2,500 times the country’s total annual energy use.
“EGS could be the ‘killer app’ of the energy world. It has the potential to deliver vast quantities of power 24/7 and be captured nearly anywhere on the planet. And it would be a perfect complement to intermittent sources like solar and wind,” said Dan Reicher, Director of Climate and Energy Initiatives for Google.org.
Google’s Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal initiative focuses on solar thermal power, advanced wind, EGS and other potential breakthrough technologies. Google has set a goal to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity, enough to power a city the size of San Francisco, in years, not decades.
To advance EGS, Google.org announced funding for two companies and a university:
- AltaRock Energy, Inc.: $6.25 million investment to develop innovative technologies to achieve significant cost reductions and improved performance in EGS projects. For more information, please visit http://www.altarockenergy.com/.
- Potter Drilling, Inc.: $4 million investment in two tranches, to develop new approaches to lower the cost and expand the range of deep hard rock drilling, a critical element to large-scale deployment of EGS. For more information, please visit http://www.potterdrilling.com/.
- Southern Methodist University Geothermal Lab: $489,521 grant to improve understanding of the size and distribution of geothermal energy resources and to update geothermal mapping of North America. For more information, please visit http://www.smu.edu/geothermal/.
“Innovation is the path to massive quantities of cleaner, cheaper energy. The people we’re funding today have a real shot at lowering the cost of EGS, and bringing us closer to our goal of Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal,” added Dr. Larry Brilliant, executive director of Google.org.