This infographic from GB Energy Supply, explores how you can reduce your Co2 emissions when travelling in Europe.
This infographic from GB Energy Supply, explores how you can reduce your Co2 emissions when travelling in Europe.
Categories: Eco Travel Tags:
If you have ever wondered how glass bottles are recycled, this infographic from Advanced Technical Components explains how it all works.
Categories: Recycling Tags:
An interesting interactive map from Crowe Sawmillshighlighting forests throught the world at risk.
If you’ve just purchased a not-so-new property and are looking to transform it into your dream home then there are some things you should know before you pick up that sledgehammer or paintbrush.
Knocking down walls, peeling back wallpaper and stripping fittings is all fine and well, but how are you planning on disposing of this renovation waste? Here are a few dos and don’ts to get you started:
Let’s face it, if you’re going to be doing a big renovation job there is going to be a lot of waste. You could bag all of this up and spend a lot of time and money driving to and from your local dump or you could invest more wisely – in a skip!
A skip will be delivered to your door and can be kept on your driveway for up to 14 days or until it’s full and requires collection. That means the only journey you need to make will be a few steps out the front door and you won’t need to add to the pollution with all that petrol you’ll be using.
All the best specialist waste collection and skip hire companies will recycle the majority of the demolition waste they collect. However, you can also recycle a vast amount of your waste using your regular domestic recycling collection, including cardboard, glass and some plastics.
If you’re landscaping the garden, make sure to put as much as you can out for collection in garden waste sacks or why not start your own compost heap?
No one likes cleaning, however, if you make a point of clearing up as you go along it won’t seem like such a mammoth task. Whenever you take a break or finish work for the day, grab a few bags, a brush and start clearing up. It’ll make your refurbishment work much easier and safer.
You’ve probably heard of asbestos. It is a naturally occurring fibrous material that was a common building material up until the end of the last century. However, what people didn’t know back then, is that if disturbed it can be highly toxic and cause a number of respiratory conditions.
Asbestos is regularly found in older properties and, although it is not considered dangerous until it becomes damaged or displays major signs of wear and tear; if you think you might have come across it DON’T TOUCH IT! Instead, get in contact with a local asbestos sampling company who can test and then safely remove it for you.
You’d be surprised how many people remember to wear safety equipment, such as hard hats, goggles and steel toe capped boots when doing DIY but then take them off before they clear up! What’s the point in that? You wouldn’t want to drop a heavy load of rubble on your toes would you? Ouch!
Make sure to wear safety clothing and equipment until the job is completely finished for the day, you have tidied away and you won’t be working on it for a while.
Okay, so let’s face it, we all like to get value for our money. But cramming items into your car or piling things into a tower above a skip can be quite dangerous. And if you have an environmental conscience fly-tipping should never cross your mind.
It’s always best to go one size up and over-estimate the amount of waste you will need to remove or you may end up paying more in the long run to safely remove your refurbishment waste.
So, now you know the dos and don’ts of property renovation waste, will you be hiring a certified waste removal specialist or hiring a skip? GD Environmental will collect, transport and recycle your waste for you. So, what are you waiting for? Give GD Environmental a call on 01633 277755.
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With rising energy prices for households and businesses, and pressure on the UK to work towards its ambitious targets of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, lessening our reliance on expensive and harmful fossil fuels along with becoming more energy efficient are top priorities for many people. However, one group that may be bearing the brunt of such initiatives more than the rest are businesses.
On 8th July 2015, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered his emergency Budget and although the subject of energy was rather neglected, a big energy-related change did emerge. The Chancellor announced that he would be scrapping the Climate Change Levy, a tax exemption incentive for businesses that get their energy from renewable sources. Those whose energy came from fossil fuels had to pay the Levy, but its removal means that both renewable and fossil fuels incur the same charges.
With the scrapping of the Levy and the steady rise in energy prices over the past few years, it’s no surprise that businesses have been working hard to reduce their carbon footprint, but have their efforts been paying off?
A new report by the Department of Energy and Climate Change has revealed some interesting facts about the UK’s energy usage. While transport remains the country’s largest energy consumer, domestic energy consumption actually comes next with the second highest usage rate at 27%, compared to the industrial sector, which was discovered to use only 17%.
This may come as a surprise to some, with many people assuming that the business sector would consume more of the UK’s energy, but these figures suggest that industries are leading the charge when it comes to energy efficiency. Whether it’s through ensuring that all computers, machines and plugs are turned off at the end of the day, installing energy-efficient lightbulbs or through switching their business energy tariff, it’s clear they are doing all they can to help both the environment and their bank accounts.
A report released in 2013 by The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) recommended that the government take steps to encourage businesses of all shapes, sizes and industries to improve their energy efficiency and therefore costs. This was not just for the individual benefits of a business, but also for the wider prosperity of the company, with the report stating: “Energy efficiency should also lead to a more secure, sustainable and affordable energy system in the UK, underpinning our long-term economic health.” At a time when both the economy of the UK and the rest of the world is still in recovery mode, and with the spotlight continuing to focus on the effects of global warming, there is no doubt that working towards a more efficient and greener energy system has its many benefits.
In addition to the promising news that the commercial sector is leading by example when it comes to energy efficiency, it appears that there is also a strong future ahead for green energy. According to latest figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which look at the UK’s energy production for the previous year, the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources in 2014 increased by 21% compared to the previous year. Electricity from clean sources also accounted for 19.1% of the UK’s total generation; a significant increase from 14.8% for 2013.
If it wasn’t enough that renewable electricity production increased, the report also showed that our dependence on fossil fuels may be in decline. A key obstacle to overcome if the UK is to meet its ambitious green energy targets, our reliance on fuels such as gas, coal and oil is certainly a costly one, not only because the majority of our resources come from foreign imports. As gas and oil prices continue to rise, not only are we paying more to have these fuels brought over, but our environment is paying the price.
However, there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel as while renewable energy production increased by 9.3%, the report showed that oil, coal and nuclear production actually dropped in comparison, with coal decreasing by 8.6% and nuclear output by 10%. The only fossil fuel to experience growth was natural gas, which rose by 0.2% in 2014. Although there was a small increase, this actually contrasts the UK’s long-term decline in the production of natural gas, which has seen an average decrease of 8% from the year 2000, when it reached peak production, to the end of 2013.
Despite government cuts to subsidy schemes for solar panels and plans to withdraw funding for wind farms, there was a significant amount of growth in these areas, with solar actually proving to be the country’s main source of renewable energy. In 2014 the UK experienced an 89% increase in solar photovoltaic capacity, largely thanks to a high deployment rate of solar panels under the Renewables Obligation, which made access to panels easier and cheaper.
One of the biggest benefits of working towards energy efficiency and to use more renewable energy, is that energy prices will be far cheaper. As a vast amount of our fossil fuels come from foreign exports, and the fact that it will eventually run out, it costs far more than solar or wind power; something which Britain has plenty of.
If, as a whole, we use less energy, then less has to be produced which results in cheaper prices from the outset. But as we work towards a future where all our energy comes from the sun or a strong summer breeze, maybe we should all take a leaf out of business’ books, and start cutting our energy usage anyway we can, even if it’s just one small change.
Categories: Eco Business Tags:
MakeItCheaper have created an infographic that examines five different brands, from Ikea to Sony, who are doing their bit for the environment. From these brands they have dissected some invaluable lessons that small business owners can learn from to help them benefit from a greener business plan.
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It’s a lot like a game of whack-a-mole. The human race stops one destructive behaviour but another soon takes its place. Hydroelectric dams are hot property, being built all over the world in an effort to cut our reliance on fossil fuels and slow the pace of climate change. But new research from the University of East Anglia reveals damming is far from environmentally friendly.
The new study highlights the devastating effects of dam building in the Amazon – specifically the vast Amazonian Balbina Dam, one of the planet’s biggest – on tropical rainforest biodiversity. And it’s bad news, with all manner of mammals, birds and tortoises in trouble.
The Balbina Dam, slap-bang in the middle of the Brazilian Amazon, has flooded an eye-watering amount of land. Now, instead of a beautiful, dense, undisturbed continuous forest, there’s a watery landscape as far as the eye can see, dotted with an artificial archipelago of 3,546 islands.
The researchers surveyed the Balbina’s biodiversity over a period of two years, focusing on 37 of the thousands of islands created, adding three neighbouring continuous forest areas to the mix. They also looked at the well-being of land and tree dwelling vertebrates and plants, using high resolution satellite imagery to analyse forest degradation on the islands themselves.
The news isn’t entirely unexpected since previous studies have proved massive dams drive terrible losses in fishing revenue and other socio-economic costs as well as hikes in greenhouse gas emissions. Now we know rainforest diversity is also threatened by these mega-dam projects.
We already know dams cause massive population losses in ground and tree-living species too, simply because their low-lying forest homes are flooded. But the extent of extinctions above the new water level, even when engineers create special islands for the wildlife to settle on, is looking just as traumatic.
The news is worrying when dam building is at such a crescendo. Take Brazil, where literally hundreds of new dams are planned over the next few decades, in some of the world’s most precious and diverse tropical forests. But it’s a delicate balancing act: people need electricity and something has to give, somewhere, some time.
At the end of the day there are too many humans and not enough space, and with climate change at the top of the agenda our choices are limited. Everything we do has an impact, and it’s rarely a wholly positive one.
Article by The Rainforest Foundation.
The news that the Government has announced another round of cuts to renewable sources, this time aimed at solar subsidies, has been met with shock and dismay from green campaigners. After the Renewable Obligation Subsidy cuts were announced last month, aimed at onshore wind generation, this latest revelation has heightened fears that the UK will fall behind in the race to reach its own ambitious carbon emission reduction targets.
These cuts will reduce the subsidies granted to those who wish to install solar roof panels through a review of the feed-in tariff scheme, accompanied by the launch of a consultation on controlling subsidies for solar PV of 5mw and below.
The cuts are part of a plan by the DECC to bring costs under control and stop overspending. Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, supports the plans, defending them against criticism that investment will be ‘chased away’.
“Our support has driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly. As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies. We’re taking action to protect consumers, whilst protecting existing investment,” she commented this week.
Despite Rudd’s confidence, accusations of hypocrisy are rife among Green Campaigners with many questioning how a government can be so supportive of a Climate Change plan in Europe and yet dismiss domestic green policy so readily.
It is very clear to most that the books need to be balanced, and cuts are occurring in every sector to try and bring the deficit down. However, the main fear is that, through the cuts, we will be returning to a dark age of fossil fuel reliance. While renewables do receive a lot of money through government support, it is often forgotten that fossil fuels still receive an estimated £3.4 trillion worth of direct and indirect subsidy support.
There’s no doubt that climate change is a pressing issue, and failure to reverse its effects will have catastrophic consequences. However, are the cuts going to be as disastrous as Green campaigners assume?
In 2011, Feed-in Tariff support for solar panel installation was cut in half, as a result of the huge underestimation of uptake on the part of the government. Instead of killing solar dead (as the press at the time threatened) the installation of solar panels has continued to flourish, so will further cuts make much of a difference?
In a recent poll by YouGov, over a fifth of people wanted to see more solar power being used, showing that there is a public desire for renewable energy use. However, perhaps more interestingly, over a quarter of recipients (26%) wanted to see further use of wave and tidal energy, sources that have not yet received a subsidy cut.
The RHI Quarterly report released today (23rd July) has stated that 94% of non-Domestic Applications to the scheme are for the use of small or medium biomass boilers. In the Domestic sphere, only a quarter of applications were in regards to using biomass boilers but this still exceeded the number of applications for Solar Thermal. which only accounted for 18%.
The monthly report on the Domestic Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation has also shown no let-up in green measures being promoted. Since its launch, 1.54 million measures have been installed in 1.25 million properties across Britain, with the number of plans for installation increasing by 7% between May 2015 and June2015. Of new installations, 51% were in regards to biomass with only 12% being for solar thermal measures.
Green subsides are controlled by a Levy Control Framework which caps the amount the government can spend, from bills, on green initiatives. However, as demand rises this leads to the cap exceeding its £4.3 billion limit (even with a 20% grace margin). The overspending is largely due to the large uptake of Solar Roof Panels, showing that demand is there and it is unlikely that this demand will fall too much even if the subsidy is less generous.
The outlook therefore does not seem as destructive as first thought. Instead it seems that we should be rejoicing that the reason cuts are needed is possibly because the subsidies have been too successful.
Love Energy Savings is versatile energy comparison service which has saved its customers over £65million on their energy bills since its launch. Providing thought leadership on energy prices and energy use means you can rely the Love Energy Savings site to give you all the information you need regarding developments the energy sector.
Domestic Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation
Forests are an essential part of the global ecosystem. Over the years forests have come under intense pressure from logging, conflicts, natural hazards, climate change, pollution, urban development, fire, disease and conversion to agriculture. This infographic, brought to you by Smurfit Kappa, is a concise way of highlighting the benefits of forests whilst listing the threats and remedies.
The winners of the inaugural Love Energy Awards 2015 have been announced; was your business green enough?
The awards, launched by energy price comparison specialists Love Energy Savings, aimed to highlight the most energy-savvy businesses from all over the UK and recognise them for their dedication to energy efficiency.
Ensuring that businesses apply a proactive approach to reducing their carbon footprint is essential if we are to meet the government’s target of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by the year 2050.
Phil Foster, CEO of Love Energy Savings, said: “The Love Energy Awards honour organisations who consistently go the extra mile to create a more energy-efficient business. We have been overwhelmed by the number of nominations that we have received for each of the four categories. It was a difficult decision to narrow it down to just four winners due to the high quality of the entrants.”
The University of Salford created their own unique scientific research to educate consumers on how to save energy in their homes by building the Salford Energy House. The unique Victorian house was reconstructed in an environmental chamber using reclaimed materials, and allows the university to test energy-efficiency measures during various weather conditions with much more reliable results.
“The Salford Energy House is a distinctly unique facility, so they were clear winners for the Star of the Future award. Their innovative research methods will help to develop new technology to improve energy-efficiency solutions for the future.” Phil Foster commented.
Bolton Market introduced the use of a cardboard baler – the most environmentally-friendly solution for large-volume cardboard producers – for all the boxes that the 200 plus traders throw away on a daily basis. During the 12-month period, Bolton Market is expecting to save around £12,000 just from waste costs alone, due to the introduction of cardboard balers.
Phil Foster said: “Bolton Market has reduced the carbon footprint for hundreds of traders and Bolton as a town with fantastic financial results. It just goes to show how much money you can save when you make simple energy-saving changes.”
Since 2011, Newlands Adventure Centre has taken a number of different approaches to becoming a greener business. From increasing their recycling efforts, fitting energy-saving measures throughout the centre and making simple changes such as switching off lights, they have managed to save £2,635 on their annual energy bills.
“Newland Adventure Centre’s sheer level of dedication to energy efficiency was overwhelming, especially as only four years ago they weren’t a green business at all. They have proven that anyone can transform their business and reap the rewards,” said Phil Foster, commenting on the SME Saver award.
Keel Row Shopping Centre is one of a handful of centres in the UK to use 100% LED lights. All the lights in the centre’s malls are being replaced with low-energy LED bulbs in a bid to save up to
70% off its lighting costs. This initiative will also contribute to a reduction in maintenance and repair costs, as LED lights last up to 50,000 hours and require minimal maintenance after installation.
Phil Foster added: “It’s really impressive when a large organisation realises the benefits of becoming more energy efficient for their own budgets and the environment. I hope that more retailers will follow in Keel Row Shopping centre’s footsteps.”
Love Energy Savings are energy price comparison specialists who have been searching for the best prices for their business and domestic energy customers since 2007. They have direct relationships with the UK’s leading energy suppliers to ensure that their customers have access to the cheapest gas and electricity tariffs on the market.