Happy New Year!
As 2019 rapidly approaches, we’re excited to look forward when it comes to the future of green energy. The world is constantly changing, and people are becoming more aware than ever that everything we do has an impact on the environment.
As a result, we’re also becoming more conscious in our efforts to help protect and sustain energy and water sources. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some positive trends to expect in 2019 when it comes to eco-friendly advancements and green energy.
Solar Panel Popularity
We shared a blog earlier this year about California’s new solar panel law. Newly-constructed homes will be required to utilize solar panels, and that will go into effect in 2019. As it continues to grow in popularity and we start to see just how much energy is being saved, don’t be surprised to see other states follow this trend, and implement solar panel laws of their own.
Look for more solar panels to appear on apartment buildings and multi-family homes, too. It’s common for landlords and building owners to include ‘perks’ in their advertisements to potential tenants. Solar power is starting to become one of those positive draws that can attract a person to a specific building. It helps to lower the cost of utilities while saving tons of energy.
Larger Venues Going Green
Sports stadiums, concert venues, hotels, etc., all use tons of energy every day. But, commercial building owners have started to see the importance of renewable energy sources.
As a result, you can expect the green energy trend to really pick up speed with big businesses in 2019. Even MGM Resorts in Las Vegas (not the first place you think of when it comes to renewable energy) is jumping on the ‘green’ bandwagon, having solar panels installed that will provide energy to their casinos.
It only takes a few of these larger venues and businesses to kick off this trend. As more big businesses start to see the positive effects of renewable energy, including how it can save money and attract more people, they’re sure to jump on board quickly.
Wind Energy Across the Country
We’ve been utilizing the power of wind for years, but it’s been limited to areas of the country that are, you guessed it, particularly windy!
That could change this year, as tech company Makani has developed a type of “kite” that uses wind energy to generate power. It’s currently being tested in Hawaii but could be implemented just about anywhere. Look for wind energy to grow in popularity this year, especially in areas that are often in desperate need of renewable energy, like those hit by hurricanes, flooding, etc.
These are just a few of the awesome, “green” solutions you can look forward to in 2019. As we continue to become more aware of how our energy footprint affects the environment, we can create solutions to keep things sustainable for many years to come.
Sometimes, hearing the phrase “going green” can go right over our heads. It sounds like a buzzword, or something marketers use to get us to recycle more. While there isn’t anything wrong with that, this phrase can be easily ignored nowadays because it’s become so overused.
When we think about “going green,” we often think it requires some big, grand gesture. Actually, that isn’t the case at all.
Of course, those big gestures are important. If people didn’t reduce their carbon footprint on a global scale, our world could be in dire shape. But, there are plenty of little things you can do on a daily basis to go green, and do your part to protect the environment.
These little things can make a big difference.
Replace Your Appliances
We’ve talked about the benefits of Energy Star appliances in previous blogs, but it can’t be repeated enough. Changing out the old appliances in your home for more energy-efficient ones will save you money, and will reduce energy waste. It’s a one-time investment that can have a big impact.
Think About Food Waste
America is notorious for being wasteful with food. If you take the time to really look at how much perfectly-edible food you throw away on a weekly basis, it might shock you.
Food costs energy to make, to package, to ship, etc. So, the less wasteful we are with food, the better. There are a couple of different ways to be more conscious of this. First, you could buy less food. This will end up being a bit of a guessing game for a while. But, you’ll eventually get used to it and have a better idea of how much food your family really needs each week, with minimal waste.
Second, stop throwing your food away! Make the most of your leftovers, and eat what you can for a day or two after it’s cooked.
Use Less Plastic
Not only does plastic cost energy to produce, but plastic waste is a serious issue. It’s contaminating landfills and oceans all across the world. There are plenty of ways to use less plastic, from buying a reusable water bottle to using canvas grocery bags when you go shopping.
Making little, everyday changes when it comes to your plastic use can lead to a big positive impact.
Speaking of which, you might think that simple, small solutions like the ones listed in this article won’t make a difference. It only takes one person, or one household, to become a trendsetter. One person can absolutely make a difference. But, one person can also encourage others to do the same.
The more people who make these small changes to their daily lives, the bigger the impact becomes. Imagine what would happen if the whole world cut down on plastic use, or started being more conscious about food use?
As the new year approaches, it’s the perfect time to take stock in some of the things you do each day and think about little changes you can make. The more of these changes you start to put into practice, the bigger your impact will be when it comes to “going green.”
We’ve talked a bit before about some changes you can make to your diet that can have an impact on the environment. But, as the new year approaches, people tend to make more drastic dietary changes.
If your New Year’s resolution this year is to eat healthy and make a more positive impact on the environment, you might want to consider changing the way you eat, altogether, rather than just adding or taking away certain foods.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most environmentally-friendly diets you can adapt to in 2019.
Switching to a Vegan Diet
Veganism has become a lifestyle for so many people across the country for various reasons. The good news? Because of its popularity, it’s easier than ever to “go vegan” and not have to miss out on some of your favorite foods. There are vegan restaurants, vegan supermarkets, etc. You’re certainly not limited to tofu and vegetables!
How does a vegan diet help the environment? Simply put, when you consume more plant products and less (or no) animal products, less energy is being used to produce the sustainable materials you’ll be eating. It takes a lot more energy to raise livestock, for example.
When you switch to plant-based food, you’re reducing your carbon footprint by lessening the amount of energy it takes to create that food.
The Mediterranian Diet
You may have heard of the Mediterranian diet before, but if you think it means you’ll be eating nothing but fish, think again.
Obviously, this diet has roots in Mediterranian areas like Greece, Spain, etc. The lower carbon footprint of these diets is the result of less meat being consumed. You don’t have to cut out meat altogether, but you’ll be consuming a lot less (especially red meat, which tends to have the greatest environmental impact).
A Mediterranian diet is rich in plant-based foods like nuts, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. It also uses fats like olive oil instead of butter, once again reducing the need to use animal energy.
Switch Your Protein Intake
Though this isn’t necessarily a diet with a specific name, one of the best things you can do if you don’t want to give up meat altogether is to switch the type of meat you’re consuming. Simply by making the switch to chicken or fish over red meat, you can significantly lower your carbon footprint.
As we enter into a new year, it’s a great time to start thinking about how your day to day life has an impact on the environment. Diet plays a huge part in that, so it’s our responsibility as a society to do whatever we can to keep things as sustainable as possible. By taking a look at your diet and making these changes, you can get the nutrition your body needs while doing your part to lower your environmental impact. That’s a great way to kick off this new year, and many years to come.
Building a new home is an exciting experience. It allows you to create something from nothing, and everything is designed exactly how you like it. But, when construction is taking place, you should also consider what you can do to conserve energy.
New home construction and energy conservation should always go hand-in-hand, thanks to advancements in technology and energy efficiency resources.
So, what can you do to make your new home design saves on energy?
Let’s take a look.
It All Starts With Design
The very first thing you can do to make sure your home is energy-efficient is to start with a ‘smart’ design. Work with an architect or builder who shares your passion for energy conservation. The more experience they have in the industry, the easier it will be for them to make sure your home wastes as little energy as possible.
Sealing and Insulating
As the structure and frame of your new home start to take shape, it’s important to super-seal and insulate the house. There are several ways to air-seal a home, and your contractor can speak with you about the best option for your construction.
There are so many benefits to super-sealing and insulating during construction. You’ll have to make a small investment up front, but these two actions will save you thousands of dollars over the year in utility bills.
Consider Solar Energy
Another great way to cut down on utility costs and energy waste at the same time is to install solar panels. These panels are much less expensive than they used to be, and they’re also more effective.
Solar panels can make such a difference in how much energy is consumed in your home. They have such an impact, in fact, that California recently became the first state to require solar panels on new home construction. Even if you live in a state that doesn’t require it, it’s good to be a trendsetter in the right direction!
Be Smart About Heating Your Water
There are so many energy efficient appliances to choose from for your home. Obviously, we recommend using all EnergyStar appliances throughout your new house, from the kitchen to the laundry room!
One “appliance” that can be easily overlooked is your hot water heater. The energy used to heat water is a huge expense for most homes. Minimizing hot water use can make a big difference in how much energy is wasted in the home, and that starts by choosing a hot water heater that saves on energy and runs efficiently.
The good news about all of these tips is that you don’t have to handle any of them on your own. Don’t be afraid to talk with your builders or other experts about the best ways to make your new home as energy efficient as possible. Not only will you save money in the long run, but you’ll be doing your part to create a living space that will help the planet for years to come.
The colder months are finally upon us, and that means fighting the sting of chilly temperatures wherever you go. While it’s easy to come inside and escape the cold, sometimes it can feel like your home isn’t as warm as it could be.
Of course, you could always turn up the thermostat. But, that wastes a lot of energy, and can do some serious damage to your utility bills!
So, how can you stay warm this winter without using up a lot of energy in the process?
Cover Your Drafts
Have you ever walked into someone’s home in the winter and nearly tripped over the “draft dodger” leaning against their doorway? Well, these innovative inventions aren’t just annoying or decorative. They can actually make a big difference in how much cold air escapes into your home, and how much heat is released.
Draft dodgers or stoppers have come a long way. You can actually purchase ones that slide right underneath your door, so you don’t have to worry about a big, bulky piece of fabric to get in the way.
Do a little research and see which options would work best for your home.
The Curtain Call
Did you know that simply taking advantage of your curtains can make a big difference in how often your furnace kicks on?
During the day, when the sun is shining and the air temperature gets warmer, leave your curtains open. The sun will naturally help to heat up your house.
At night, close your curtains. The home will retain heat longer, and the chillier temperatures will be less likely to seep inside.
Heat the Room You’re In
Of course, you want your whole house to feel cozy, but let’s be honest – you’re not using every room at once! Central heating uses up a lot of energy and can be incredibly expensive when you’re using it to heat your whole house all winter.
You can actually save money and use less energy by purchasing energy-efficient space heaters. Then, simply use the heater for whatever room you’re in. You can turn it off when you’re done, or when you move to a different area of the house.
There are a lot of common misconceptions about space heaters. While it’s still incredibly important to use them with caution and follow basic safety guidelines, they are much safer than they were in the past.
As you can see, it’s not incredibly difficult to save on energy during the winter. In fact, it can be fun to think of different ways to cut down on your heating costs. If you want to go one step further, one of the easiest things you can do at home is layer up! Put on some thick socks, a couple layers of clothes, etc.
All of these options are quick, easy, and effective ways to save energy, save money, and stay warm all winter long. When Spring finally rolls around, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to look back on your utility bills and see just how much you were able to save.
All over the country, more businesses are focusing on conservation. These efforts often start out because a business wants to do their part in helping the environment. Many businesses even pride themselves on operating with conservation in mind and use it as part of their branding.
Conservation (saving water, in particular) actually can have many benefits for the business itself. So, whatever you’re doing to give back to the planet can come back to the success of your company.
Let’s take a look at a few simple, yet powerful ways saving water can benefit your business.
You’ll Save Energy
Just like saving water at home can lower energy costs, doing it at a business will have the same results. You’ll save on water treatment, heating, and plumbing. When you start to use less water, you’ll likely see a dip in your energy bills, so you’ll actually be saving money by doing the right thing.
You’ll Boost Local Ecosystems
Utilizing less water means there will be more available for local streams, lakes, etc. That might not seem like much, but depending on the size of your business, it could have a big impact on local ecosystems.
In some areas of the country, water regulation is required to help protect certain inhabitants of wetlands. Even if it isn’t required where you live, knowing you’re doing your part to protect these bodies of water can give your entire company peace of mind.
Speaking of which…
Improved Employee Productivity
Certain case studies have shown that companies who take an active interest in water and energy conservation have happier, more productive employees. This is likely due to a more positive environment. When your employees are passionate about your causes, they’re more likely to be passionate about the business, itself.
It’s Great for Public Relations
While making the choice to conserve water shouldn’t be a marketing scheme, it absolutely can help to make your company an influencer in your local community and beyond. Don’t be afraid to share your efforts with your community.
Not only is it a great public relations idea, but it can inspire (or challenge) other local businesses to do the same thing. With multiple businesses on the same page, you can make a big difference in how your entire community looks at water conservation.
How to Conserve Water in a Professional Setting
The best part about making your business more focused on water conservation is that isn’t hard to do! Simple changes can go a long way, especially when your employees are on board.
Some easy things you can do to get started include:
- Installing low-flow toilets and efficient water fixtures
- Checking for leaks
- Tightening water taps
- Encouraging employees to limit their water use
As you decide to shift your business toward water conservation, you might be surprised at how much it benefits you. You’ll save money, your employees may be more productive, and you’ll be a shining star in your community.
Saving water is the responsible thing for any business to do. But, not every company is stepping on board yet. Being one of the first in your community to take the initiative will really help to set you apart. And, you’ll be able to experience the benefits that much sooner!