Green Living News

Do Green Office Buildings Help Retain Staff?

There’s no denying offices and universities across the country are going green. In just two decades, green offices have gone from being quirky and odd to mainstream. Greener construction is now a major driver of local business and jobs. It’s big business for the construction industry, but how does it impact those within the building? 

The way a building performs has become crucially important to businesses seeking offices to rent. Efficient building systems for climate control where performance is optimised, cabling for power distribution that has been approved in a cable testing lab, and water management solutions all have a measureable impact on the bottom line. 

Green building green wall

Health Impact

There’s another important factor at play here as well – the health of the staff. Harvard found that air quality had a measurable impact on the way people were thinking while inside the building. The study was able to show that common office pollutant had a negative impact on the way people performed indoors. It slowed them down and made them more likely to call in sick. Over time lack of air quality had a drastic impact on aggregate performance of the whole company. 

This certainly shows that a great way for employers to raise productivity at the workplace was by going green. A healthier work environment could also help attract and retain talent at the company. 

Green footprint

Transparency

As the pressure to go green mounts and employees realise the benefits of a healthier workplace, employers will be required to be more transparent. This means construction will have to fundamentally change. Offices will be likely to promote the fact that their space is cleaner and greener than others. Green certificates and sustainability awards already have a measurably impact on business reputation. This will soon become a competitive edge. Offering a chair that isn’t covered in flame retardant and likely to cause memory loss will surely be appreciated by employees. 

SolarEnergy efficiency

Efficiency

Using energy more efficiently is surely likely to show up on the bottom line. But sustainable buildings have a far reaching impact on the culture of the firm. A firm that takes workplace efficiency seriously is likely to come across as a well-managed and responsible business. This will no doubt help employees work better and waste less as they go about their jobs. 

Value for money

The extra money spent on rent and solar roofing is likely to pay off quickly. Not only will the energy bills be lowered but long-term expansion will get easier. Well Building Standards that certify the focu on health can help set your office apart and show employees you genuinely care. Think of every green initiative as an investment in staff health and happiness. This will undoubtedly show results in productivity and retention metrics. 

Going green used to be all about saving the planet. It was severely restricted to wealthy individuals and environmental activists a few decades ago. But since the costs of going green have reduced sustainable workplaces have become a mainstream competitive edge that companies willingly invest in. To improve the work culture, boost efficiency and retain staff, focus on health and sustainability rather than just the bottom line.

Top 10 Reported Causes of Water Contamination

While many of us think of water contamination as something that happens outside of the United States, US public water supplies are pushed to their limits more and more each year as the demand for clean and contaminant-free drinking water grows with the public. As best efforts are made by those in charge of water purification and the monitoring of public water health, slip ups happen and some issues are left free to slide by.

On average, most Americans have access to some of the most advanced water supply systems in the world. Although advanced water systems are in place, drinking water outbreaks and even boil water notices may be more common than believed. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported on top causes for public drinking water outbreaks and included public exposure to some of the following bacteria, microorganisms, and substances to be the cause for many public water contamination illnesses.

1. Giardia– This microscopic parasite is often cause for a diarrheal illness known as giardiasis.

2. Legionella– A bacterium that, when digested, can lead to a lung infections known as Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac Fever.

3. Norovirus– This highly contagious virus can cause stomach and intestine inflammation. Vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain are common side effects of drinking this kind of contaminated water.

4. Shigella– The bacteria that causes the stomach infection Shigellosis. Stomach problems, diarrhea, and fever can occur but will not likely require hospitalization. 

5. Campylobacter– The bacterium causes Campylobacteriosis. Side effects are very similar to Shigellosis.

6. Copper– While this metal may sound harmless and common to the average water consumer, it can actually be cause for stomach irritation when ingested at high levels. Extreme levels of copper can damage the liver and kidneys.

7. Salmonella– If you thought raw chicken and eggs were nasty, try drinking water contaminated with salmonella. This common bacteria causes 1.2 million illnesses each year in the USA. Severe diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps can lead to 12 to 72 hours of painful sickness.

8. Hepatitis A– When found in water, Hepatitis A can lead to serious liver problems. 

9. Cryptosporidium– This microscopic parasite causes the disease Cryptosporidosis. Its most common symptom is diarrhea.

10. Excessive Fluoride- While many public water supplies are intentionally laced with this element to improve oral health, it can be cause for concern when consumed at incorrect levels. Incorrect measurement of fluoride levels can lead to a condition known as fluorosis which damages the teeth and bones. Prevention of this mineral overdose can be done using the correct water filter.

Water safety is an issue, which should not be taken lightly as the dire effects of contaminated water can cause anything from slight temporary pain and discomfort to life altering illness, ailments, and health conditions. When the well-being of individuals is put in jeopardy due to the contaminants in a public water supply, no amount of mineral, bacteria, or other harmful substance should be justifiable in a water source that you and your family use daily. If protecting your family is a priority, simply installing a water filter or water purification device in your own home may be the simple solution you need for such a serious problem.

Read on to also learn facts about boil water notices and what you can do to protect you and your family in the event of one.

Boil Water Alerts Infographic

Top 6 Solar Business Opportunities

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently unveiled rooftop solar panels that look exactly like roof tiles. That sort of creative thinking has allowed companies like Tesla to leapfrog energy giants and take advantage of the biggest business opportunity in centuries – the solar energy boom.

There is absolutely no doubt that solar energy will contribute a substantial portion of the world’s energy by the end of the decade. So, what sort of opportunities does this paradigm shift offer to entrepreneurs? Here are the top six best solar business opportunities: 

Solar panels

Product Marketing

Tesla isn’t likely to be the only player in the innovative solar products space. There’s a ton of players in the market already and many of them will have different products that will need to be marketed. Online marketing experts and affiliates could get involved and start selling products right away. There are a number of affiliate programs for solar products out there right now. Or you could simply set up a blog or marketing site for solar products on Amazon. 

Auditor

Here’s an interesting business opportunity if you’re good with numbers. Homeowners and businesses will need guidance on cutting their bills and finding energy efficient products. A service that puts the numbers together and evaluates the potential capacity for energy generation will most likely be in hot demand.

Solar areays

Consultant

The best way to get involved with upcoming technology is to be a consultant. Businesses and individuals will need some guidance on setting up big solar projects and generating energy. Your insights and analysis could be invaluable if you hire experts from the industry. You could also simply focus on the financial products and offer investors guidance on investing in solar stocks or ETFs.

 Solar Farm Developer

Solar panels on rooftops are alright for many homes, but they won’t be the best solution for industrial properties or regions where the sun doesn’t always shine. These properties will have to rely on massive solar farms that connect them up with the grid. Developing or leasing out parcels of land converted into solar farms is perhaps the biggest business opportunity in this industry. 

Landowners and property developers are already cashing in and building out massive solar farms in the middle of nowhere. 

There’s no reason a small contractor can’t get involved.


Panel Cleaning & Repair

Panels will eventually need repairs and regular cleaning services. As the number of panels across the world expands, a quick and affordable cleaning service that specializes in solar panels could stand to benefit. Setting up such an operation is relatively simple and this is the sort of business model that promises regular cash flows from long-term contracts.

Every new technology brings with it a lot of opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs. The solar energy boom is well underway right now, so there really cannot be a better time to get involved.

Chevrolet Bolt Named Winner Of Green Car Journal’s 2017 Green Car Of The Year®

First Production EV to Achieve 200-Plus Mile Driving Range Wins Auto Industry’s Most Prestigious Environmental Award at AutoMobility LA™

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The all-electric 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, which offers a breakthrough EPA-estimated 238 miles of range on a full electric charge, was named Green Car Journal’s 2017 Green Car of the Year® during AutoMobility LA. Other finalists for the 2017 Green Car of the Year® award included the BMW 330e iPerformance, Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Optima and Toyota Prius Prime.

Green Car Journal editors selected the 2017 Bolt for its impressive 238 mile zero-emission driving range, stylish design, pleasing driving dynamics, and welcome suite of advanced and connected technologies. Along with its distinction as the first production battery electric vehicle to achieve a 200-plus mile driving range, the 2017 Bolt offers an array of features that provide a unique and catered ride to the driver. Specifically, the Bolt’s Regen-On-Demand feature allows the driver to use a steering wheel paddle to initiate more aggressive regenerative braking to slow down without using the brake pedal, while transferring electrical energy back to the battery.

Chevrolet Bolt

“The 2017 Bolt EV is a game-changing electric vehicle that delivers long range at an affordable price,” said Steve Majoros, Marketing Director, Chevrolet Cars & Crossovers. “We’re excited to have the Bolt EV arrive to select dealer showrooms later this year and honored to have it named as Green Car Journal’s Green Car of the Year®.”

Each year, an expanding number of environmentally positive vehicle models are considered for the Green Car of the Year® program, an illustration that the auto industry is continuing to expand its efforts in offering new vehicles with higher efficiency and improved environmental impact. For more than 10 years, Green Car Journal has honored the most influential “green” vehicles at the LA Auto Show and now AutoMobility LA. The Green Car of the Year® award is an honor widely recognized as the auto industry’s most important environmental accolade.

“Chevrolet’s all-new 2017 Bolt is a breakthrough vehicle in every sense,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and GreenCarJournal.com. “From the time modern electric vehicles emerged in the 1990s, limited driving range has presented a core challenge to the commercialization of electric cars affordable to everyday drivers. Bolt overcomes this with its 238-mile battery electric driving range and approachable price, the first production electric car to achieve this milestone.”

The Green Car of the Year® is selected through a majority vote by an esteemed jury that includes celebrity auto enthusiast Jay Leno, as well as leaders of noted environmental and efficiency organizations including Jean-Michel Cousteau, President of Ocean Futures Society; Matt Petersen, Board Member of Global Green USA; Dr. Alan Lloyd, President Emeritus of the International Council on Clean Transportation; Mindy Lubber, President of CERES; and Kateri Callahan, President of the Alliance to Save Energy.

During the award’s vetting process, Green Car Journal editors consider all vehicles, fuels and technologies as an expansive field of potential candidates is narrowed down to the final five. Finalists are selected for their achievements in raising the bar in environmental performance. Many factors are considered including efficiency, performance characteristics, ‘newness,’ affordability and overall environmental achievement. Availability to the mass market is important to ensure honored models have the potential to make a real difference in environmental impact. Finalists must be available for sale by January 1 of the award year.

About Green Car of the Year®

Since 1992, Green Car Journal has been widely recognized as the leading authority on the intersection of automobiles, energy, connectivity, and environment. The GCOY award is an important part of Green Car Journal’s mission to showcase environmental progress in the auto industry. 

GreenCarJournal.com presents ‘green car’ articles online along with a focus on connectivity. Green Car of the Year® is a registered trademark of Green Car Journal and RJ Cogan Specialty Publications Group, Inc.

Hashtag: #GreenCarJournal

About the Los Angeles Auto Show and AutoMobility LA


Founded in 1907, the Los Angeles Auto Show (LA Auto Show®) is the first major North American auto show of the season each year. In 2016, the show’s Press & Trade Days merged with the Connected Car Expo (CCE) to become AutoMobility LATM, the industry’s first trade show converging the technology and automotive industries to discuss the most pressing issues surrounding the future of transportation and mobility. AutoMobility LA 2016 will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Nov. 14-17. LA Auto Show will open to the public from Nov. 18-27. AutoMobility LA is where the new auto industry gets business done, unveils groundbreaking products and makes strategic announcements in front of media from around the globe. LA Auto Show is endorsed by the Greater L.A. New Car Dealer Association and is operated by ANSA Productions. To receive the latest show news and information, follow LA Auto Show on Twitter at twitter.com/LAAutoShow, Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/laautoshow/ or via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LAAutoShow and sign up for alerts at http://www.laautoshow.com/. For more information about AutoMobility LA, please visit http://www.automobilityla.com.

Africa’s renewable energy revolution must engage public and private financing partners to break down economic, political and social risks, experts agree

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, 17 November 2016 / PRN Africa / — At the UN’s global climate conference this week, governments and development partners came together to examine the role of financing in shaping some of Africa’s groundbreaking renewables successes such as Morocco’s Noor Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant.

In an event co-hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), participants considered how the growing explosion in renewables in some African countries is being built on strategic partnerships between public and private sources of financing. 

Renewable energy has been identified as a key driver for Africa’s economic growth prospects, but requires multi-million dollar investments which cannot be provided by public financing alone. Crucial public sector funding partners like the AfDB, CIF, World Bank, and major donor countries such as Germany are helping African countries find ways to break down barriers to private investment for vital renewables industries, and examples of success are beginning to emerge.

Mustapha Bakkoury, President of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), laid out Morocco’s use of public and private investment to shape its renewable energy revolution, citing the Noor CSP plant as a linchpin of the country’s far-reaching national plan. “Africa has legitimate energy needs, and development of Africa will happen through mobilization of its energy resources,” said Bakkoury. “We believe that there is no conflict between having energy resources and respect towards the environment, and Africa has abundant resources to do this, particularly with support from its key partners.”

Bakkoury said partners like the AfDB were instrumental in the solar energy development that has seen Morocco put up a massive solar energy plant in Noor Ouarzazate, the first of its kind in Africa and a model for African countries to follow.

In affirming AfDB’s continued commitment to universal access to energy for Africa, Alex Rugamba, AfDB Director for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, said, “the Bank’s commitment has shifted gears, and it now has a fully-fledged vice presidency dedicated to Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth.” Rugamba added that the Bank has learned valuable lessons from various initiatives it is already supporting, and knows what is required to move forward with the initiatives with fewer barriers to effective investment.

CIF Head Mafalda Duarte, who co-hosted and moderated the event, noted the critical role that public sector climate finance has played in Africa. “The CIF is working very actively in Africa to support over 20 countries as they undertake energy transformation,” she stated. With implementing partners such as the AfDB and World Bank Group, the CIF has been the largest source of concessional climate finance to Africa, providing a third of its $8.3 billion financing. 

SOURCE African Development Bank (AfDB)