Goal For The Green

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Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

4 Tips for Green Energy Savings

Aug-9-2015 By Barbara Zak

Most people want to have lower utility bills as well as to leave less of an environmental footprint. There are several things that you can do that can leave you with lower bills as well as less of an environmental impact. Understanding which utility company has the greenest approach to the provision of energy is also important, which is why companies like Compare Texas Energy Providers give comparisons of the different available energy options companies offer. Here are things you can do at home to help.

Stop the Phantom Load

Even when you are not using an appliance, it will still consume a significant amount of energy just by being plugged in. According to the University of California at Berkeley, as much as six percent of residential energy consumption across the nation occurs due to these phantom loads. You can stop yourself from having higher bills and contributing to the problem by simply unplugging all appliances that you are not using, or by plugging them into a power strip and turning the power strip off.

Switch Light Bulbs

A very inexpensive way to save on utility bills while also helping the environment is switching from incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs reduce energy consumption by as much as 75 percent over incandescent ones, last 10 times longer and generally pay for themselves on average in about six months.

Buy a Different Thermostat

You might consider purchasing and installing a programmable thermostat, which you can program to automatically adjust the temperature inside of your home according to when you need it to be comfortable. For example, the thermostat may adjust the temperature to where it is either not cooling your home during the day in the summer when you are at work, or not heating it in the winter, only turning back on about 30 minutes before you return home.

Look for and Seal Leaks

As much as 10 percent of a home’s energy costs may be do to tiny cracks which allow air from inside to escape. You should thus carefully inspect your home for these cracks and use caulk or another sealant to close them.

In addition to comparing various energy companies to make certain you are choosing the greenest one and the one with the best rates, taking simple steps on your own can save you big on your energy bills. As an additional plus, reducing your utility bills also reduces your impact on the environment.

Every day people drop reusable bags from their purchases into the trash – or, worse, on the ground or in the water – without ever thinking about the contribution they’re making to the worldwide waste epidemic. Plastic bags, especially, have become a huge environmental problem since they were first introduced on a wide scale several decades ago.

Those sacks you use to tote your groceries home from the store spend minutes in your kitchen before being thrown away and forgotten – but they spend up to a thousand years in landfills or floating around in waterways and oceans. As widespread use of these receptacles has continued over the years, an overwhelming amount of essentially non-biodegradable waste has accumulated, harming the environment in numerous ways. If the use of these bags isn’t slowed, if not eliminated, the negative environmental impact may become overwhelming.

The good news is that businesses can benefit in big ways from making the transition to reusable bags. Making this shift may garner initial resistance from some consumers who are set in their ways, but the tide is turning when it comes to environmental awareness. Companies that are proactive about eliminating waste are likely to develop more positive brand associations in the minds of eco-conscious customers. Reusable bags can increase a brand’s visibility while conveying a socially responsible message that consumers and businesses are working together for the common good.

Read on to the infographic below to learn more about the benefits of transitioning away from disposable bags.

Infographic: Harness the Power of Brand Recognition
Click here for the full-sized image.

The Secret Life of Private Railways

Jul-7-2015 By Barbara Zak

Although seemingly hidden away from the eyes of the public, there are thousands of private railways in the U.S. Most of these private lines are industrial in nature. Some of the major groups with private rail lines include agriculture, chemical, mining, power production, and the steel industry.

They take no passengers and the public has no reason to ever see them. Additionally, even if someone does see such a !ine, in many cases, there is no reason it should be recognized as anything private. Most Americans simply assume rail lines are public and there is very little written about the topic of private rail lines. Thus, private lines often go unnoticed.

In spite of the fact that private rails are typically quite short, usually just a few miles, many private lines have more than one locomotove in use. Although there are still lines that use cables, winches and pulleys to move their cars, gravity operations have largely fallen out of use. Most companies need more direct control over their equipment than this method provides. Thus, most modern locomotives are ones with an internal power source, often a diesel engine.

Believe it or not, just like a car battery can die and need a jump start, so can the battery of a locomotive. With a locomotive, no, it is not practicable to pull another engine up to it and use jumper cables to connect them, then give new life to the dead battery via a still live engine. So what does happen when some enormous locomotive engine dies? One answer is that a railroad locomotive starter can be brought in. This is a portable power supply to get the battery jump started again.

Time is money and private rail lines consist of very expensive equipment. Businesses simply cannot afford to let their private rails be idle for long periods. Thus, this is no time to make a phone call and wait for someone to show up. This is a time to have the power on hand that the company needs. It is not very different from using a lithium twin pack to do the same thing for a dead plane engine, a practice that seems to be more widely known.

The next time you see track in an odd place, remember that this might be a private line. They very often hide in plain sight.