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16 Ways to Live More Sustainably and Reduce Expenses


Modern life, it seems, is oriented in favor of maximum convenience. But maximum convenience isn’t always the most sustainable way to live, and convenience tends to command a price premium. On a rapidly warming planet with finite and diminishing resources, choosing to live more sustainably, even at an individual level, can make a real difference on the world we live in.

Living more sustainably doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive, though, and often the environmentally friendly decisions you make can actually save you money. Here are 16 practical tips to reduce your carbon footprint, curb waste, and pocket some extra cash along the way.

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1. Pay attention to your thermostat

Lowering your thermostat setting between 7 and 10 degrees for eight hours a day could help you save as much as 10% on your heating (or cooling) bill. You can make the energy-saving process even easier with a programmable thermostat, as long as you use it properly and are pragmatic about the temperature settings you choose. It pays off.

2. Insist on using rechargeable batteries

Rechargeables have come a long way in just a few decades. They’re less expensive than ever, they hold a charge so that they’re often ready to use right out of the package, and they last a long time between charges. You’ll definitely save money if you make the switch from those outdated, disposable alkaline batteries. Be sure to recycle your old batteries, though, as they’re especially toxic and shouldn’t be thrown away.

3. Ditch the bottled water

Bottled water is fairly expensive, and it often creates a lot of needless waste. If you live in an area with drinkable tap water, you can cut back on that unnecessary plastic by using your reusable container of choice. Sure, disposable plastic bottles are technically recyclable, but a lot don’t make it to recycling plants. With plastic pollution impacting nearly every corner of our planet, saying no to bottled water when you can is a great choice you can make in the name of sustainable living.

4. Choose reusable containers wherever you can

Reusable containers aren’t good for just water. Bring your own mug to your local coffee shop in the morning instead of wasting a cardboard cup, and remember to bring your reusable bags when you visit the grocery store. Some retailers will give you a small discount for your trouble, but helping curb the staggering volume of waste generated by typical consumers on a daily basis is reason enough to make an effort.

5. Practice sustainable shopping

Even at the grocery store, you can make good choices that help the planet along with your wallet. Buying dry goods in bulk is often cheaper per ounce—and it saves packaging if you bring your own reusable bags or jars. Meat, seafood, and produce grown locally also require fewer carbon emissions to arrive at your local market than those grown elsewhere. Select products with recyclable packaging wherever you can.

6. Reduce your meat consumption if possible

Due in large part to the rise of factory farming, raising animals for meat requires more resources and creates more pollution than an equivalent quantity of vegetables or grains. You don’t have to go vegetarian to make a difference, though. Merely reducing how much meat you eat (if your health and means allow) as with the popular “Meatless Mondays” concept, helps to minimize your personal carbon footprint. It’s a valuable reminder that even the dietary choices we make can have a broader impact on the world around us.

7. Prepare food mindfully

Eating at restaurants less frequently is a huge money-saver, but making food at home can also help you prevent waste. So if you have the time or ability to cook meals for yourself, be mindful of how much you make and save any leftovers. Seek to reduce the amount of trash you produce, and compost food waste for re-use in a vegetable garden. An incredible amount of edible food ends up in landfills each year, and being personally accountable for cooking and eating the food we buy is a great solution.

8. Consider solar power

Residential solar power systems aren’t as expensive or complicated as you might think, and nothing is more sustainable than reducing your reliance on the local power grid—or disconnecting from it completely! While it sometimes takes several years to recover the initial investment in solar panels and batteries, harnessing the sun’s natural energy will save more, long-term, than most energy-conservation tactics.

9. Turn off interior lights and the TV

Lighting makes up about 9% of residential electricity usage, so simply turning off the ones you’re not currently using can have an immediate impact. As for the television, modern flat-screen LED units don’t use as much energy as those old tube models, but even the most efficient model won’t save much money or electricity if it’s left on all the time in the background. If you’re not actually watching it, turn it off.

10. Unplug devices and small appliances

Many of the devices in your home consume power even when turned off, just by virtue of still being plugged in. This phenomenon is called “phantom power” or “vampire power,” and it adds up: sleeping devices may account for 5–10% of household power use. How many are plugged into outlets at your home right now? Consider your coffee maker, Blu-ray player, phone charger, toaster, hair dryer, and blender—how many of those can be unplugged when not in use?

11. Go paperless

Opt for paperless billing and paperless statements for all of your credit cards, bank accounts, and utilities. In a world as digitally connected as the one we live in, it’s just unnecessary to cut down trees in order to have a physical record of how much your cellphone provider auto-drafted from your account this month.

12. Curb your water consumption

Sure, wasting water inflates your water bill, but it also has a much greater negative impact from a sustainability perspective; clean water is a precious resource in many areas. Luckily, saving water is pretty simple. Run only full loads through your washing machine and dishwasher. Turn the faucet off while you’re brushing your teeth. See if you can trim a couple of minutes off your typical shower, and be sensible when it comes to watering your lawn.

13. Boost your home’s energy efficiency

Many homes, especially older homes, can benefit significantly from energy-saving upgrades like new weatherstripping or additional insulation. This kind of upgrade can be relatively inexpensive and will do a lot of good for energy conservation. You can also consider having your vents cleaned to improve airflow if your heating and cooling system has trouble keeping up when outside temperatures are especially hot or cold.

14. Take advantage of “green” energy credits

Many forward-thinking energy companies offer green energy plans for eco-conscious consumers. Some are backed by renewable energy credits, and others allocate electricity generated by renewable energy technologies like wind or solar power. Let your energy provider know that you’re interested in reducing your carbon footprint to see if a renewable-energy offset program is available in your area.

15. Carpool or drive less

Finding a carpool partner can be difficult, but sharing the ride—and splitting fuel expenses—with a coworker can mean significant savings for those with a longer commute. Few choices we make can reduce our environmental impact as directly as simply driving less, though. We’ve grown accustomed to driving everywhere, but try taking public transit, riding a bike, or even walking to the store if you can. It’s a nice chance to see more of your neighborhood, and it’s great for the planet.

16. Budget for sustainability

One of the easiest, and perhaps most frequently overlooked, ways to live sustainably and save money is to simply create a budget. Track your expenses, and take a look at where you’re spending money—and why. Are you buying things you don’t need or replacing items that could be repaired or used for longer? Western society is increasingly plagued by overconsumption, but one surefire way to live sustainably and save money is to avoid buying things you don’t need.

These tips won’t all work for every situation, so pick the ones that work for you. In the end, sustainable living starts with the small personal choices we make: how we shop, what we eat, how we get to work. No single decision we make in our households or personal lives will single-handedly end pollution or reverse climate change, but every time we skip a bottled-water purchase or leave the car in the driveway we abstain from actively participating in our planet’s destruction. Saving money in the process is the icing on the cake.

Image credit: Carl

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Saudi Arabia Set to Build the World’s Largest Solar Project


Conferring to a recent information which was produced from the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), Saudi Arabia is a big country that produces a large percentage of the world’s oil and it also occupies the second position as the world’s oil-producing nation. It is also necessary to know that this country also gets 60% of its own electricity from petroleum.

However, Saudi Arabia recently signed the Paris Agreement action plan, but it was seen as not been enough or sufficient according to the Climate Action Tracker late last year. Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia is set to become one of the revolutionary countries to take a great action against climate change by building the biggest solar project in history.

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On Tuesday, the country publically declared that it is making plans to build the world’s largest solar project in conjunction with Japanese tech conglomerate Softbank, Bloomberg reported.

In another report by Bloomberg, it is estimated that Saudi Arabia’s project will be built in the county and the project is said to produce more than 150,000 jobs and also 200 GigaWatts of power by 2030, which is more than the next biggest project in Australia, called the Solar Choice Bulli Creek PV Plant.

Furthermore, it is also necessary to know that this is an important step in combating climate change and the Saudi Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman stated to Bloomberg that, “it’s bold and risky and we hope we can succeed in this project that we are about to undertake.

Making use of the solar energy is a reasonable choice by the Saudi government. However, due to the fact that the country’s capital, Riyadh, has an average of 8 to 9 hours of sunshine every day, the country will be greatly affected by climate change if global temperatures hit a point above 1.5 degree centigrade.

The Climate Action Tracker has a made it known that if the temperature of the world increases to three or four degrees Celsius, about 75% of the country, Saudi Arabia, would greatly turn to desert a nation at the end of the century. This is true, due to the excessive temperature as a result of climate change which would greatly make the environment inhabitable.

Saudi Arabia has a high level of sunshine and large lands which can be exploited by different works of life, like engineers. It also has a powerful labor force, and above all, the country has great plans for the future,” said SoftBank pioneer, Masayoshi Son, in a new project, which was reported by Bloomberg.

In accordance to the great future plans by the country, Fortune has made it clear the summary of all the total solar power projects that exist in the world is close to 400 gigawatts, thus, only doubling the solar power project produced by Saudi Arabia. Another great fact is that Saudi Arabia’s solar power project also quadruples China’s Tengger Desert Solar Park, which is currently the biggest solar power installation and it generates more than 2 gigawatts. Due to the fact that Saudi’s project will produce about 7.2 gigawatts by next year, it will surely surpass the Chinese Tengger Desert, Solar Park.

Although the Saudi’s solar project will certainly cost more than $200 billion; the country is making efforts to achieve its dream despite what it might cost them. In addition, the country would have to purchase solar panels from other countries, and it will also need to produce the battery capacity to the store the solar energy from the sun. it also necessary to keep in mind that the first part of the project will actually cost $5 billion, although, $1 billion will be gotten from the Vision Fund, which Saudi Arabia and the SoftBank are joint investors in.

Furthermore, SoftBank pioneer made it known that the reason why he is collaborating with the Saudi government is that the project that they are about to embark on is actually worth it. Also, the pioneer also said that “The project itself will fund its own expansion and it is a great project that will be worthwhile” This project will not only benefit the Saudi government alone but to the whole world. Nevertheless, as at the time when the Saudi government announced its plans to build the world’s largest solar power project, almost all nations in the world have been astonished.

The Saudi government’s bold investment in solar power greatly shames the U.S., which is now the world’s largest oil-producing nation, according to the EIA data.

Nevertheless, ever since the inception of climate change, the world is beginning to come together to climate change, but the present American government under the leadership of President Donald Trump is not in one accord in the fight against climate change. Instead of encouraging the solar industry to produce more innovative plans powered by solar energy to decrease the manufacturing oil fossil fuels, the American government has announced that 30% tariff should be placed on imported solar panels this January.

Image credit: pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

How Much Solar Panels Can Save You [Infographic]


When it comes to solar panels, the question isn’t whether you’ll save money if you install them — the question is how much can you potentially save with this popular alternative to utility power.

The increasing frequency of natural disasters and the ever looming threat of terror attacks have some observers speaking out against what they perceive to be the vulnerability of the nation’s utility systems. And even if you don’t make much of such doom-and-gloom scenarios, there’s no question that solar panels can save you money and give you some independence.

Savings

Without a solar panel system installed, the average family spends $1,400+ annually on electricity. But with a solar panel system installed, the average family can save an average of $100 monthly. Over two decades, they can save up to $30,000. So, the savings are there.

Installation

As it turns out, many people sitting on the fence remain perched there because they have a hard time justifying the cost of installing solar panels. Consider that homeowners paid between $2.87 and $3.85 last year to install solar and that the installation cost for a 10kW solar energy system was $32,600. The Federal Solar Tax Credit chopped that amount by about 30%, but the purchase and installation costs are still quite substantial. Even so, the money spent can be recouped over time. It should be noted, however, that the effectiveness of solar panels is partly a function of, among other things, the amount of direct hours of sunlight they’re exposed to.

The Investment that Keeps Growing

It’s clear that you can save a tangible amount by going solar. When you also mull over the fact that electricity prices tend to increase annually and that you can be charged more if you use electricity during certain parts of the day, you can appreciate all the more how your savings with solar panels stand to increase annually.

Consult Professional

When you’re ready to install solar panels on your property, be sure to consult a professional who has demonstrable experience. And don’t be shy about asking for recommendations. You’ll want a professional who can calculate your energy needs so that you end up with the right system. Something to consider is that you can start small and scale up as resources become available. So, if you want to go solar but don’t have the money to do everything at once, you can install as many panels as you can afford and then add more capacity as you’re able.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Microsoft Endorses the Biggest Solar Agreement in the United States


One of the biggest technology companies in the world, Microsoft, has declared its plans to purchase the biggest corporate solar technology in the United States. The tech company has agreed to endorse this move in conjunction with sPower to add 315 MegaWatts of electricity through the use of the solar project in Virginia.

It is important to take note that Microsoft has been running its activities on 100% renewable energy since 2014. However, one year later, the tech company amalgamated with RE100, which is a corporate leadership initiative that was formed by The Climate Group in conjunction with CDP. This initiative brings together about 130 companies that want to be fully involved in promoting and enhancing renewable energy across the globe.

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Microsoft made further plans in 2016 to offer renewable energy for its various center points from local sources of energy. Right now, the tech company is making other plans and measures to increase the percentage of renewable energy in its center point by in 2018 and also in 2020.

Furthermore, Microsoft’s plan in conjunction with sPower will increase its renewable collection by 1.2 GigaWatts; this puts the tech company in the right path to achieve its goals within a short period of time and will also concurrently assist the increase of the renewable energy sector in Virginia.

The CEO of RE100, Sam Kimmins said, “Big congrats to Microsoft for their achievements so far. This is a powerful leadership from an RE100 pioneer, thus, bringing new solar capacity into the grid will surely benefit their business strategy and accelerate a market shift to renewables.”

Kimmins also stated that “The project is a clear illustration of how supportive policy environment enable corporate renewable electricity off-takers to invest at scale, driving competitiveness and increasing the change to a zero emissions economy.”

All About Exploiting the Energy Gotten From the Sun

When Pleinmont 1 and 2 is totally active and launched, more than 700,000 solar panels will be involved, which will cover 2,000 acres, thus, creating about 715,000 MWh annually. These projects are part of an enormous 500MW solar project in Virginia.

The CEO of Microsoft, Brad Smith, said, “ These projects don’t just involve producing gigawatts alone, this is due to the fact that our commitments are bigger than transforming our own activities; it also involves assisting other people to have quick access to renewable energy.”

It important to note that the solar and wind power are now cost-effective; with this in mind, lots of companies and business are beginning to see the advantages of delving into renewable energy to source their own energy needs and enhance more clean power into their machines.

A latest RE100 progress report shows the growth of business Power Purchase Agreements as a way of obtaining renewable energy. The report also states the use of Power Purchase Agreements and its growth among RE100 members in a year.

This model enlarges the capability for businesses and governments to participate in this type of project, and yet take the amount megawatts that they need for their business activities. With this, the CEO RE100 expressed joy working with Microsoft on a project of this kind.

The Collaboration of Governments and Businesses

With the recent study made by the RE100 initiative, the immense growth in PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) in places where government laws and policies are encouraging, like the United States, Mexico, UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands has been shown.

However, due to the fact that Virginia is the cosigner of the Under2 Coalition, which is a global network of sub-national governments that are devoted to decreasing climate change, which The Climate Group acts as the secretariat, the state has lengthened its substantial exertions to decrease emissions and enhance clean energy investments. In conjunction with Microsoft to increase the growth of solar capacity entering to the grid is part of the process.

Due to this, Gov, Ralph Northam said, “When reputable companies like Microsoft invest in Virginia solar power, they opt for clean and reliable energy as well as news in the energy economy that we are working to build.”

Gov. Northam also made this clear, “I am proud that Microsoft is expanding its commitment to solar energy in Virginia, and I look forward to building upon this victory for clean energy and the jobs that come with it.”

Lots of business are finding carbon-saving alternatives necessary in order to maintain a clean environment; these businesses and companies are now investing in carbon-reducing initiatives. The project in addition to the initiative Microsoft has to sustain a clean environment in another part of its business model has led to the company receiving an EPA Climate Leadership Award and to receive a worldwide recognition by the United Nations and World Economic Forum for its carbon fee model.

It is also essential to note that Microsoft has been ranked by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as the second largest user of green power in the United States.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Energy Efficient Campgrounds in the US


When you search and book campgrounds for your vacation or adventure, you want to find a space that fits your goals. If you want to enjoy an energy efficient camping experience, you must start with campgrounds and RV parks that offer efficient solutions for your experience. By selecting a campground with solar panels, wind energy or alternative energies, you will enhance your holiday or vacation experience.

Here we have listed few energy efficient campgrounds in the US that will not only help you to reduce your carbon footprint but also make your vacation more memorable.

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The Auburn RV Park

Part of the fun when you enjoy camping is the natural setting and environment. The desire to preserve the beautiful surroundings is the key reason you want to consider RV parks and campgrounds with energy efficient solutions. The Auburn RV Park in Auburn, California is an example of an energy efficient campground.

The campground uses solar energy to help reduce carbon emissions and power microwaves, air conditioning and other electric devices. The campground noticed that the cost of electricity has risen in recent years and decided to invest in solar panels. Although the campground has not yet seen a return on the investment, they expect that it will eventually help with costs. It is particularly important at Auburn RV Park because they have larger RVs visit their campground and the RVs use a greater amount of energy.

Carlsbad KOA

Carlsbad KOA in New Mexico is one of the highest rated RV parks for their energy efficient system. The RV park uses wind energy to power electronics and devices throughout the park.

The use of wind energy gives them the flexibility to cut back on the use of other energy sources. Their goal is providing a clean energy source for their visitors to limit fuel emissions and to maintain the natural environment.

Buttonwood Campground

The Buttonwood Campground in Pennsylvania is taking the step to improve their energy efficiency. The campground invested in solar panels with the intention of using the panels for hot water and electricity. They are also using an 18-kilowatt system for solar energy. That allows them to store a certain amount of energy from their solar power.

An advantage at the Buttonwood Campground is the beautiful natural settings. The campground plans to preserve the stunning Juniata River Valley by using energy efficient systems and solar panels. They offer interesting events and activities throughout the year to fit your schedule and plans.

Clay’s Park Resort

Clay’s Park Resort is a campground that strives to improve their energy efficiency. They decided to invest in solar panels to heat water and for electric power. The park uses the solar energy to heat the pool and for other water sources. It decided to switch from chlorine in the pool to saline, which reduces the amount of chemicals used by the RV park.

The RV park does take their goals to improve efficiency further by changing out their heating system. They decided to remove the original propane heating system in their office in favor of a wood burning stove that uses clippings from the trees around the campground.

Sandy Pines

Sandy Pines in Michigan is a campground that focuses on sanitation and energy efficiency. The beautiful campground has changed out the water in the pools from chlorine to saline. The saline pool has a filtration system to keep the water clean for campers. They are also using a geothermal system for their heating and cooling throughout the year.

Geothermal systems use the earth as a source of energy. It allows the campground to heat and cool different spaces at various times in the year. That gives the campground more flexibility and helps cut back on energy costs.

Jellystone Park

Jellystone Park is a campground and resort in Maryland is another campground that strives to enhance their efficiency and start working on green projects. The park takes the time to gather aluminum cans, plastic bottles, cardboard and other recyclable materials. It then recycles the materials through a non-profit organization that works with individuals who have developmental disabilities.

The goal at Jellystone Park Camp and Resort is helping others in their local community. They take the time to work with different groups that help those who have disabilities. They also focus on improving their campground through recycling programs that reduce materials in landfills.

Grand Haven Resort

The Grand Haven Resort in Ohio has decided to start working on energy efficiency and green projects. The campground geothermal heating and cooling systems for their front desk, fitness center and outdoor pool. A key reason for their switch to energy efficient systems is the reduced cost. Since the campground has roughly 2,880 square acres of land, the energy costs added up quickly. They have reduced their expenses with the geothermal system by 90 percent.

An advantage of campgrounds that use an energy efficient system is a lower cost. Geothermal systems reduce heating and cooling costs by a large percentage and allow the campground to use more funds to maintain the space.

The Cooperstown Beaver Valley Cabins and Campground

If you want to enjoy a campground in New York with a beautiful natural setting, the Cooperstown Beaver Valley Cabins and Campground are a good choice for your goals. The campground has focused on energy efficiency for years and started with a recycling program in 1988. They maintain their commitment to the environment by recycling cans and bottles. They also focus on composting to reduce waste and help the environment.

The owners of the campground focus on conservation efforts by taking measures to maintain the 300-acre campground. They also recycle materials to build up parts of their campground. When music festivals, colleges and other buildings decide to throw out certain materials, they obtain the materials for their building projects. The campground also uses energy efficient lighting and prefers to confirm reservations through email to cut back on paper waste.

When you want to find the perfect campground for your vacation, you do not need to give up on energy efficiency or environmentally friendly surroundings. You can search and book campgrounds that use solar panels, geothermal systems and wind energy as part of their core value. You can also find campgrounds that believe in recycling to help reduce waste in local landfills. Make your next adventure exciting, fun and energy efficient by focusing on the campgrounds that meet your high standards.

Image credit: pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Effects and Solutions to Reduce Impact of Air Travel on the Environment


Flying is indeed bad for the planet because it contributes to global warming, pollution, and leaves a huge carbon footprint. Airplanes run on kerosene fuel, which when combusted, releases large amount of carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere. Even though aviation is not a large industry, it has large impact on the climate system.

The aviation industry is one of the fastest-growing sources of carbon gases in the atmosphere. Airplanes are important to the economy in various ways such as imports, exports, tourism and business. But the importance of the industry comes with adverse effects, which continue to affect the climate with little or nothing to do because of how the industry is tremendously growing and there being no alternative to kerosene as fuel.

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What’s more, the amount of carbon footprint left on the planet by a single flight is a huge contributor of global warming. And to make matters even worse, the increased use of airplanes in travel due to its efficiency and the fact that it helps travelers save time does not make it any better. The high rate of combustion of the fuel increases the amount of carbon emission, which directly affects the erosion of the ozone layer and therefore leading to global warming.

Effects of Air Travel on the Environment

1. Emission of Greenhouse Gases

Aircraft engines combust fuel to emit carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and soot. Nitrogen oxides emitted by aircrafts contributes to global warming and is a pollutant in the lower atmosphere whereas it destroys the stratospheric ozone layer in the high altitudes. The impact of carbons released by airplanes is no small issue considering that the emissions are realized at a higher altitude and faster.

Emissions at higher altitudes pose a greater danger because they trigger a series of chemical reactions and atmospheric effects cover wider areas. It is even recorded that travelling by air has a greater environmental impact per kilometer as compared to other forms of transport such as driving. Even as other industries receive significant improvements on emission levels; that of aviation industry stagnates.

2. Noise Pollution

Noise as a result of the aviation industry can be regarded as debatable. This is because noise produced by aero planes is short-lived. However, to those residing or those near airports are affected hugely by the noise.

Some of the adverse effects that these people face include sleeping disturbances, performance effects, and interference with communication along with cardiovascular and psycho-psychological effects. Noise of an aircraft is the responsibility of the airport operator and he or she should then ensure proper mechanisms to set, monitor and ensure noise insulation schemes are in operation.

3. Contrails Leading to Global Warming

Contrails, water vapor, released by air planes forming condensation trails, trap heat that would otherwise be released from the earth. This brings about global warming. According to studies, night flights cause global warming more compared to day flights because contrails help in reflecting sunlight during the day.

The contrails in the sky condense at higher altitudes and can spread up to two kilometers from where they have been realized. They tend to trap heat that would otherwise be dispensed from the earth, greatly contributing to global warming.

Solutions to Reduce Impact of Air Travel on the Environment

1. Setting up of Regulations

As a solution to environmental degradation as a result of air travel, regulation of the industry is needed. International Civil Authority (ICAO) in 2016 proposed the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) which gives airlines restriction on carbon emissions. If the limit is exceeded, then airlines will buy offsets from other sectors.

This however did not perform as expected proving to the complexity of regulating airlines therefore leaving the responsibility of regulating amount of carbon emissions to Kyoto Protocol whose responsibility is limited to domestic flights. The issue of regulating the aviation industry should therefore be treated as other transport policy and its consistency maintained so as to protect the climate. In order for regulations and policies to take place, international cooperation should be enhanced to achieve its efficiency.

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2. Use of Technology

To deal with the problem of climate impact by the aviation industry, technology can be used in design and systems of planes to make them more efficient. A breakthrough in use of another type of fuel that is greener, like biofuels, hydrogen, solar panels and batteries, could save the world from the degradation of the environment by aircraft engines running on kerosene.

However, the rate at which this progress is made cannot be compared to the rate at which number of passengers are buying tickets. Also, the fact that aircraft have to carry their own fuel is one that should be dealt with and have such engineering problems looked into and a solution is reached.

3. Carbon Offsetting Programs

Charging the amount of greenhouses emitted into the air by aircraft could go a long way in discouraging pollution. These charges should be made payable by airlines for every ton of greenhouses emitted. Like other transport operators, it obliges airlines to pay for the pollution they cause thereby limiting them to lower amounts of emission because it comes at a price.

In addition to emission costs, the government can also add environmental and social costs. Most airplanes have embraced this and have been coming up with projects that help offset their carbon footprints. There is a mechanism that helps in the calculation of the amount of carbon footprint created by a flight and the money generated in offsetting allows the airplane companies to start projects that protect the environment.

4. Using Alternative Means

One of the most effective ways to reduce amount of carbon footprint is by flying less often. This means in the case where other forms transport are available, it is not a must for an individual to fly. Instead, driving or taking the train to the destination as preference for majority of the people would mean airlines burn less fuel. Taking holidays that are not so far away could also help in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

5. Use of Computer Programs to Reduce Noise Pollution

As a means of preventing noise pollution by airports to its neighborhoods, computer programs can be used to simulate aircraft operations to identify areas that are prone to such disturbances. Virtually predicting the extent of noise levels using the International Noise Model can be used to address the issue. The model is widely used to come up with aircraft noise footprints for a certain number of aircrafts at average weather conditions.

6. Optimization of Flight Routes

In a bid to protect the climate, optimizing flight routes can reduce negative effects of flying. Having a flight plan that avoids weather conditions, which results in the creation of clouds is among the best strategies. By limiting the formation of clouds, it aids in release of earth’s radiation into space resulting in a cooling effect. With proper formulation of routes, climate protection by aircrafts can be achieved. Plus, airlines with routes that pollute less can be charged less money for pollution certificates.

7. Invention of Alternative Energy Sources

Aircraft engines unlike other engines have no other greener alternative such as the use of solar or other renewable energy. Technological advancement in the sector might lead to electric planes that emit less and are more fuel-efficient. However, the sector remains negligent to matters of the environment.

For instance, most airline websites mention little about environmental protection or have completely nothing to do with the environment. Also, NGOs that deal with the environment are reluctant on the matter. Such negligence can be attributed to huge concentration on profits earned by airlines that has seen the industry continue to grow irrespective of how bad flying is for the planet.

Image credit: pexels , pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

18 Innovative and Eco-friendly Business Ideas For 2018


18 Innovative and Eco-friendly Business Ideas For 2018

The world is faced with a dire climatic change due to the destruction of the ozone layer as a result of the emission caused by harmful gases into the atmosphere. In order to have a sustainable life in the current world, people should adopt lifestyles that will ensure the promotion of healthy living and dissuade pollution. The key to attaining this goal is crafting and investing in eco-friendly business ideas. Plus, there should be a myriad of projects and initiatives to ensure eco-friendly investment opportunities as well as living is encouraged.

Accordingly, all the stakeholders and pioneers in various business sectors need to step up including the entire business community. Particularly, the sectors needs to see to it that the initiative of going green is reached by all means necessary. As much as installing eco-friendly measures are ideal, the whole business sector must invest in going green.

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In this article, 18 innovative and eco-friendly business ideas for 2018 are outline, which can go a long way in ensuring the world is on the right track towards achieving green living goals.

1. Start Air Duct cleaning

Dust and dirt in the air can clog the air ducts that are installed in homes or offices. This lower the efficiency of the air conditioner and results in the use of a lot of energy to drive the gadget. The business idea would require regular cleaning of the air ducts to ensure less energy consumption. Also, with proper marketing, both private homes and offices would be willing to hire an expert for the service because it ultimately helps to saves on energy bills.

2. Sale of Energy Saving Bulbs

This idea is very lucrative in 2018 since majority of the households enjoy electricity in their homes. A lot of consumption of electricity subsequently leads to an increase in the electric bills. To avoid this, individuals seek energy saving electric bulbs that use electricity but reduce the energy they use and still provide electricity thus saving on bills.

Besides, this is a business that can thrive in almost any part of the world since even without electricity; one can use the bulbs to conserve energy in homes that use solar panels to harness energy.

3. Start publishing Environmental related magazines and journals

An entrepreneur who has an interest in making money and still promote the environment can venture into the business of publishing environmental magazines and journals. There is a lot of information out there that has not reached the global world. It therefore means that the level of misinformation and ignorance about the environment creates the need to invest in this venture.

The materials can be useful in enlightening individuals and other entities on the importance of conserving the environment and the various ways to go about the same. With the right clients and targeted audience, the sale of such material would fetch a good income.

4. Start Cardboard Recycling Business

This is a move that ensures there is optimal use of the cardboard by recycling those that would go to the landfill or already in the landfills. Plus, there is a lot of waste cardboards lying around, which pollutes the environment. Thus, the business of recycling means less waste in the land and creates an opportunity for people to make a living from the process. Cardboard can be recycled for reuse and can be used in the manufacture of cardboard related materials such as books.

5. Offer Environmental Consultancy

This business idea requires the entrepreneur to be well versed academically in the field of environmental studies. There are a lot of individuals and organizations that are willing to seek the services of a consultant to learn the various ways to improve the environment and how to maintain it. The entrepreneur can seek a fee per every consultation done while at the same time aiding in promoting the health of the environment as well as make decent money.

6. Sale of Used Books

A willing entrepreneur in this area does not need a high startup for capital. Instead, they should seek to find people with books they do not need and then find the market for people who need them. The constant disposal of books is bad for the environment not only because it pollutes the land but also because there is a lot of energy used to produce, design, and publish the books. The entrepreneur can also get innovative and use the internet to market the books.

7. Sale of Organic Products

Currently, there is a dire need to use products that are inorganic to preserve the environment. This translates to a high demand for the organic products. It thus qualifies as a good business idea with products ranging from hair products, food products to cleaning products.

8. Sale of Recycle Bins

There are a lot of items in homes that need to be disposed. Some of these stuffs can be recycled again, for instance, plastics and paper bags. Consequently, there is a need to have recycle bins in homes, office buildings, and public spaces such as bus stops and train stations to ease waste collection. The entrepreneur must be knowledgeable of the area to realize where some of these items will be taken for recycling to boost his/her profits.

9. Sale of Recycle Plastic Bottles

This is one of the most thriving businesses that an entrepreneur can start that will conserve the environment. For starters, there are very many plastic bottles in the landfill that were used to carry water, coffee, juices or even chemicals such as pesticides and insecticides. Further, there are a lot of products that can be made from plastics which will last longer like plastic chairs. Nevertheless, the success of this idea will depend on how the demand of the plastics is and how profitable it is per area.

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10. Start Ink-Refill Business

Blue-chip companies as well as offices do a lot of paperwork, which in the end means a lot of printing is needed. The business would ensure regular filling of the ink cartridges of the various offices thus discouraging the purchase of cartridges, which are disposed of once ink has been bought.

11. Open a Recycling Plant

There are entrepreneurs who have solely ventured into the transportation of recycle materials to the recycle plant. Nonetheless, an entrepreneur can also seek to start a recycling plant which is more profitable. The plant will not only aid reduction of landfill in the environment but will also see to the evolution of new materials, which can be sold.

12. Open a Movie Download Shop

With the current modernization in the world, the majority of people are willing to download movies and music rather than buy CD’s, which are disposed after use. In addition, a lot of energy is consumed in the making of these casings and storage devices. The business would prove fruitful to the entrepreneur since with good bandwidth speeds, it is very easy to download movies and sell to people.

13. Open a Biogas Plant

Biofuels are friendly to the environment since they do not entail the emission of a lot of poisonous gases in the air. However, a proper feasibility study should be conducted by the entrepreneur before venturing in this business. Some of the essentials are waste materials for recycle and the market for the biofuel. The entrepreneur can charge both for the collection of the wastes and for the energy produced.

14. Open an Energy Auditing Firm

People are willing to save on the energy they use in their house. As such, setting up of a firm that confirms the amount of energy used in a household is a lucrative deal and people would be willing to part with a small fee rather than incur high energy costs.

15. Start Retailing and Installation of Solar Panels

Electric bills are an issue that most people face at the end of every month. The more the use, the more the bills. As a result, most people prefer solar energy since it is natural and does not involve any energy emissions in its conversion. It is also cheap to buy the solar panels. An entrepreneur can exploit this and deal in solar panels and also offer installation services at a fee.

16. Start a Paper Recycling Business

There is a lot of paper littering polluting the environment. A paper recycling venture will therefore entail the collection of waste paper in the environment and selling it or converting it into useful materials. This is one of the most encouraged recycle businesses because it saves on trees. Trees are the major balancing components of the ecosystem and as such, any move to discourage deforestation is highly encouraged and measures up as an innovative and eco-friendly business idea for 2018.

17. Develop Green Apps

Investing in green app development is an innovative and eco-friendly business idea as it can be used to quantify the amount of energy used and the subsequent carbon emission. Moreover, it can be built in such a way that it provides advice on how best to conserve energy in a household or which gadget is most preferable since it consumes less energy. These applications can be fitted in a phone and the energy consumption tracked. The online sale of these green apps would be worthwhile.

18. Start Car Sharing Services

This is a business that entails linking people who stay in the same locality and work in the same area by connecting them with a car or cars that will carry them from home in the morning and back in the evening instead of each driving individually to and from work. This is a business that will see the reduction of carbon emissions and also save on energy.

Image credit: pixabay

The post 18 Innovative and Eco-friendly Business Ideas For 2018 appeared first on Conserve Energy Future.

Greenhouses: The Ultimate Solar Energy Technology


The technology to capture solar energy and use it in a variety of ways is rapidly developing. It is an exciting time in the industry with large scale, efficient solar farms generating power from the sun on a massive scale. Whilst most of these large-scale developments focus on converting the suns energy into electricity, other solar devices are also being designed like the solar powered cooking grill a solar device that generates diesel from the air. In a domestic setting the capture of solar power is still limited but we can expect to see some exciting development in the future.

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Greenhouses

It is worth remembering that plants capture the suns energy all the time and convert it into food in a process called photosynthesis. Our vegetable patches and gardens are therefore one big solar panel. We can capture more of this energy to extend our growing seasons and produce more food by the use of cold frames and greenhouses.

A greenhouse does not increase the suns energy or concentrate the incoming light. A patch of ground under a greenhouse does not receive more light than a neighbouring patch outside the greenhouse. So how does a greenhouse work then? Sunlight is not just light – it also carries heat energy too. When light passes through an object, like glass, some of it becomes heat. The panes of a greenhouse capture this heat energy and hold it inside the structure heating the plants and the soil around the plants roots. It is this increase in temperature that makes the plants inside a greenhouse grow earlier and faster than plants outside.

To maximise the capture of this heat energy a greenhouse needs to have tight joints and glazing so the heat and warm air inside can’t leak out. Glass is not a good insulator but modern thickened glass is more effective at retaining heat when there is no direct sunlight, for example, when there is cloud cover and during the night.

Quality greenhouse manufacturers like Cultivar use gaskets in their frames which allow the greenhouse glazing to expand when it is hot but when the glass cools and shrinks the gaskets also ensure a snug fit with no air gaps. If you have a layer of brick or stone at the base of your greenhouse this will act as a heat store – it will take longer for the greenhouse to heat up but overnight these dense materials will release their heat.

Walipini Greenhouses

The further you are away from the equator the less light you will experience in the Winter. For many of us there is not enough sunlight in the Winter to allow us to grow a crop. Of course, you can artificially heat your greenhouse – however this is not very efficient.

A Walipini greenhouse design comes from Bolivia and it has a unique design. It is a large hole (6-8 feet deep) with glazed top level and roof. This design has much less surface area of glass to capture sunlight through so how can it be warmer during the Winter? It uses a secondary source of heat – the Earths crust! The Earths crust is molten metal and magma and it’s very hot. You only have to dig down about 1.2m to benefit from this heat. At this depth the soil temperature is fairly constant at 10 – 16 °C. This steady temperature is found in most places across the globe and it even has it’s own name – The Thermal Constant.

So by digging down into the Thermal Constant layer you ensuring that your plants roots always experience a safe temperature making Winter growing a possibility. It also prevents root temperatures becoming too high in the Summer.

If you want to try this type of greenhouse you need to make sure that it’s base is a good 5 feet above your local water table. This will prevent flooding and root waterlogging.

Sunrooms

You can use the suns energy to heat your home directly. Large panes of glass, sunrooms and skylights can be added to your home to capture the suns heat and reduce or eliminate your need to use artificial heating. If you want to make sure the heat captured during the day does not escape as soon as the sun sets you will need to use quality double glazing, in freezing countries triple glazing is the best option. Without quality glazing the sun room will not be comfortable in the evenings and overnight.

You should pay close attention to the glasses Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). This measures how well the glass converts the sunlight that falls onto it into heat. The scale runs from 0 to 1. The closer the SHGC is to 1 the better it is at generating heat from sunlight.

Fit a ceiling fan which pushes air down towards the floor. Because warm air rises the hottest temperatures will be up near the roof, a ceiling fan will make the air circulate pushing the heat down towards the furniture and people and below.

Of course you can use some clever design to combine the benefits of a sun room with a greenhouse. Several eco communities as well as research institutions are incorporating large glazed sections onto the side of living quarters to provide heat as well as a large area for year round food production. The image below is of the Sirius Community greenhouse.

Domestic Solar Power Adoption

Having solar panels fitted individually to your home can still be expensive and complicated. Some governments have helped the industry by providing grants and incentivising power companies to use domestic solar power. Other countries have done the opposite by levying taxes and imposing restrictive legislation. These two extremes are illustrated by the UK and Spain.

Despite Spain being bathed in constant sunshine, using solar power for anything other than water heating is difficult and expensive. In the UK solar panels are literally everywhere even though there is little strong sunshine for much of the year. In 2016 the UK was in 6th place globally in terms of solar capacity and was generating 12,300 MW of solar power, about 3.5% of the country’s electricity need. In comparison Spain is in 10th place in the world with a capacity of only 5,500 MW.

If you want to find out more about solar power production and usage on a country by country basis you can start here. If you can’t fit solar panels to home don’t despair there are still ways to use the suns energy.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

The U.S. Imposes 30 Percent Duty on Chinese Solar Panels


The US president, Donald Trump, made an announcement concerning his imposed tariff on Chinese solar panels (this was imposed alongside imported washing machines), thereby giving a boost to Whirlpool Corp and consequently dealing a setback to the renewable energy industry.

A statement by the US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, said that the two imported products: solar panels and washing machines “are a substantial cause of serious injury to domestic manufacturers.” The restrictions by the US president were to help domestic producers of solar power thrive, or probably to enhance the use of coals, which ostensibly is something he’s fighting for.

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A 30 percent duty will be imposed on imported solar cells and modules in the first year. This with the tariffs duty would have declined to 15 percent by the fourth year. Whirlpool chairman, Jeff Fettig, said, “By enforcing our existing trade laws, President Trump has ensured American workers will compete on a level playingfield with their foreign counterparts. The duty would help to slow a shift to renewable energy in the United States”.

Renewables was already becoming a source thriving as much as the use of coals was thriving. MJ Shiao, head of renewable energy research for Wood Mackenzie, said that the duty would likely reduce the projected US solar installations by 10-15 percent over the next five years. He also said that, “It is a significant impact, but certainly not destructive to the end market.”

These Chinese solar panel industries play a vital role in the economy of the US. From providing solar power at a very cheap price, to making jobs available for over 23,000 people in the US. Chinese solar industries ought to be embraced by the US president, Donald Trump. However, his decision seemed to favour a number of domestic solar industries who were complaining about Chinese competition. Some include bankrupt Suniva (majority owned by the Chinese), and bankrupt SolarWorld, owned by the Germans.

The 30 percent surcharge imposed on the solar panel importing Chinese industries, would definitely leave a negative effect on the industries; and consequently affect employment and also the affordability of solar power. The Solar industry, SEIA, on the 22nd of January said on Twitter, “Today’s decision by President Trump is disappointing and will cause immediate & severe job losses across the country. The solar industry is too strong not to emerge from this, but the near-term impacts are unfortunate and avoidable.”

SEIA also said that, “This decision will cause roughly 23,000 American jobs to be lost this year, including many in manufacturing, and will cancel billions of dollars in investments in the U.S. economy. #SaveSolarJobs.”

The bulk of the cost of solar installations is not just the solar panels. About two third of the installation costs is from the commissions, the labor used, the wiring, and so on. The 30 percent imposed duty is estimated to increase the installation cost by 10 percent. An expert, Ramez Naam, said on his post on Twitter, “A 10% cost increase puts the total cost of utility-scale silicon solar in the US back to where it was in late 2015 or early 2016. At current pace of cost reduction, in another 1.5 years, costs will be back down to where they were in past years.”

Ramez who concluded that the industry would definitely be damaged said that, “None of this is to voice even the tiniest bit of support for Trump’s move on tariffs. It’s stupid, job destroying, bad for the planet, etc. We need to be moving faster, not slower. It will cause real damage to the solar industry for a couple years. But it won’t stop solar.”

There’s so much money that can be realized from the use of fossil fuels in America on a regular basis. The government as well as other agencies realize much gain. This is one thing the use of renewables does not offer America. You spend money upon installation; but after then you are left with no reason to keep paying money because all the energy used for such a system is free and cannot be monetized.

Many groups and industries in the US campaigned against the tariffs because they believe it will result in a “crisis” for the burgeoning industry and result in the loss of jobs for thousands of Americans. However, Suniva, a solar panel industry, majority-owned by Hong Kong, applauded the decision, saying that “Trump is sending a message that American innovation and manufacturing will not be bullied out of existence without a fight.” Considering comments from Mike Bloomberg on Twitter, some have come to conclude that it is all a plan to promote the production and use of fossil fuels in the U.S.

Reference: treehugger

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

5 Benefits of Solar Panels for Schools and Universities


For most people, solar panels are synonymous with residential and commercial use. People put solar panels on their homes to cover electric bills, and augment their commercial buildings to draw new business and “go green.” But what happens when solar panels are added to the layout of schools or universities? Today, solar panel installations in schools are becoming more popular.

As it does, it’s decreasing the environmental impact of these institutions and making them greener and more eco-friendly. In many cases, eco-friendly universities may also see increased enrollment and greater interest levels across the student base.

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Thanks to these perks, it’s a trend solar installers, students, teachers, and citizens alike can expect to see much more of.

Why Should my School go Solar? 5 Smart Reasons

Solar panels for schools have many benefits. In addition to decreasing an institution’s carbon footprint, solar panels also generate a great deal of power. Here are a few of the most significant benefits of solar panels for schools:

1. Solar Panels Work Well on Most University Roofs

Most residential homes have pitched roofs, which can make adding solar panels difficult. Universities and schools, on the other hand, typically have flat, expansive roofs made of materials that are ideal for solar panel installation.

In addition to providing plenty of open, unshaded space for solar panels to work to their highest potential, these roofs are also unlikely to feature sensitive materials, like wood shingles, which can make solar installation more challenging. Since roof angle and material have a major impact on the effectiveness of solar arrays, this is excellent news for any college or university that wants to install panels.

2. Solar Power Will Reduce Operating Costs for the School

Electric prices have risen over the past ten years. Because they use a great deal of electricity, schools and universities have been some of the primary victims of these price hikes.

Fortunately, solar power is a free source of energy, found in abundance throughout the world, and advanced technology and skilled installers have made it even more accessible for institutions.

In fact, colleges and universities have access to some of the least expensive (in terms of cost-per-watt) systems available. As systems get larger, their cost per watt price falls. This means colleges and universities can enjoy affordable power without the guessing game of the grid.

3. Solar Power Could Help Boost Enrollment

Solar power is cutting-edge and attractive to eco-minded students, teachers, and supporters. As such, a college or university that installs a solar panel system could easily see an increase in enrollment.

This is especially true in competitive areas, where having solar panels on a building could be the factor that distinguishes one university from its competitors in the eyes of potential enrollees.

When modern students choose schools, many of them look for options that offer environmentally-conscious practices, renewable power, and eco-friendly facilities. As such, some colleges and universities have even established Sustainability Offices designed to drive the institution’s green initiatives forward.

When these things all come together at a single institution, it’s easy for that school to gain a reputation for innovativeness and creativity.  Not only do solar panels produce energy, but they also stand out as a unique social and cultural symbol.

4. Solar Power Provides Unlimited and Reliable Energy

For universities, schools, and residences alike, solar power systems offer a dependable source of unlimited energy. While fossil fuels are a finite source of energy, solar power is not. Designed to work on cloudy days, in part sun, and even in wintery environments, solar panels can generate a significant amount of power for universities and schools that install them.

5. Solar Arrays at Colleges Helps Drive Solar Power Forward

To invest in solar panels, people need to see them at work, first. Since universities are busy public places, campuses that install solar panels do the important work of driving the solar industry forward by providing greater exposure for solar arrays. This is especially true for universities that install large, campus-powering systems.

Unless people have the opportunity to see solar panels at work, they can feel relatively strange and alien. Luckily, students, faculty, and visitors who come into contact with solar panels on university campuses have the opportunity to learn how the arrays work. This helps familiarize people with the panels and, hopefully, inspire them to invest in solar energy on their own accords.

What About Solar Panels for School Grants?

When residential owners want to install solar panels on their homes, they’re eligible for grants from the federal government to help cover the cost. Luckily, the same is true for colleges and universities. Today, there are many different federal programs available to schools that want to install solar arrays.

For example, the Department of Energy introduced the SunShot Initiative in 2011, which supports research and development surrounding solar energy, and establishes projects designed to reduce the cost of obtaining it. In fact, the initiative’s primary goal has been to make the price of solar energy comparable to that of fossil fuel-based electricity by 2020.

Programs like these can go a long way toward offsetting the price of solar installation for schools and universities and making them that much more accessible for establishments that are interested in exploring them.

The Future of University Solar Installs Looks Bright

Today, colleges and universities have a great deal to gain when it comes to the installation of solar panels. Ideal for reducing energy bills and cutting costs associated with powering a school’s facilities, solar panels are an eco-friendly addition that can also have wide-reaching social and cultural impacts, and companies like Sandbar Solar are installing more and more of them.

When students see a university taking steps to go green and reduce their carbon footprint, it could easily impact the student’s attendance decision and result in higher enrollment numbers for the school.

What’s more, since tax rebates and credits are available for schools that want to install solar panels, it’s an affordable option that will pay off down the road.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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