Most Families Make These 4 Eco-Unfriendly Mistakes When Moving House – Is Yours?

Most people don’t think about the environment when they’re moving. Maybe you’re moving into a place with solar power and more efficient plumbing, and that will do wonders to reduce your carbon footprint in the future. The issue is often that the act of moving itself does a great deal of damage to the environment. A lot of waste is generated, and a lot of fuel is burned up in the process. The best way to reduce your impact on the environment starts with changing the way you move.

Using Boxes You Don’t Have to Use

If you find yourself packing your reusable grocery bags into a box, you’re doing something wrong. Every bag and bin you have can be used in place of a cardboard box. When you bring it to your new home, unpack your stuff from your reusable containers, and all is right again.

Some moving companies offer reusable plastic bins on wheels that can serve as the perfect substitute for boxes. If you’re using a moving company, ask them if they have any alternatives available to you. If you aren’t using a company, you might still be able to rent these containers from movers. They’re large and sturdy. They can be used hundreds of times, saving countless cardboard boxes.

Generating Waste From Packing Materials  Wrapping your valuables in things like clothing saves money, waste, and packing space. If your glasses and your t-shirts are in the same container, that’s one less container you’ll need to use. Everything will still arrive at your new home safely. Things like blankets and towels can be used to add shock protection to boxes full of things you don’t want bouncing around.  If you absolutely must purchase packing materials, make sure you’re choosing eco friendly alternatives. It’s easy to spot biodegradable packing materials because they’re usually colored green. They’re made of plant fibers, and they won’t sit in a landfill for too long before they’ve broken down.

Generating Waste From Packing Materials

Wrapping your valuables in things like clothing saves money, waste, and packing space. If your glasses and your t-shirts are in the same container, that’s one less container you’ll need to use. Everything will still arrive at your new home safely. Things like blankets and towels can be used to add shock protection to boxes full of things you don’t want bouncing around.

If you absolutely must purchase packing materials, make sure you’re choosing eco friendly alternatives. It’s easy to spot biodegradable packing materials because they’re usually colored green. They’re made of plant fibers, and they won’t sit in a landfill for too long before they’ve broken down.

Trying to Recycle Things That Can’t Be Recycled

Recycling everything seems like the best plan, but dumping materials that cannot be recycled at a recycling facility only causes logistical nightmares. They’ll have to get rid of it, and two trips will have been made for nothing. Lightbulbs, anything with a CRT tube, crystal, mirrors, heat resistant dinnerware (like Pyrex glass), ceramics, or glass that’s become dirty (from food or actual dirt) can’t be recycled.

The things that can’t be recycled might be able to be donated if they’re in great condition. If they’re not in great condition (such as broken televisions with CRT tubes, cracked mirrors or damaged dinnerware), they need to go to an actual waste facility. Make sure these are included with the non-recyclable things that cannot be donated, and set them aside for when you call a removal service to pick them up.

Making Tons of Trips

Most people think it’s a good idea to save money by renting a smaller moving truck. If everything doesn’t fit, you can always make a few more trips. When you do that, you’re putting tons of fuel pollution into the environment – especially if you’re moving far away. Before you even rent your truck, do a dry run. See how big or small of a space all of your stuff can fit into.

If possible, get a truck that, when packed tightly, can accommodate everything in one load. If you have a little too much for one trip, think about what will fit into the cars you’re taking with you. Not only is moving in a single trip better for the environment, but it’s also less work for you. There isn’t any back and forth if you’re only going one way. You can unpack and settle in sooner.

If you do wind up using things like cardboard, make sure you recycle it once you’ve arrived. It’s not always easy to do a perfectly green move, so make sure you’re offsetting some of the less eco-friendly choices you’ve made with positive ones once the move is over.

Author’s Bio:

Elizabeth Lee is a staunch supporter of green living and sustainability, currently residing and working in Sydney, Australia. Writing for a transportation company PACK & SEND, Elizabeth often shares her suggestions on how both businesses and individuals can work and live with lesser negative impact on our planet. Feel free to follow Elizabeth on @LelizabethLee86

Tips for Recycling Your Construction Waste

In a healthy economy, construction waste makes up one-third of all refuse. At this scale, even small efforts towards recycling and reusing leftover building material or debris make a big change. Construction waste consists mostly of concrete, wood, drywall, shingles, asphalt and metal, but also cardboard and plastic from packaging. Although considered waste, many of these materials are valuable commodities that can be recycled to make new products or used in many ways. In short, recycling benefits both a construction business and the environment.
 Description	 English: A bag of cut polyurethane blocks that have been cut up and can no longer be used. As can be clearly seen, this kind of insulator is wasteful, and as such, extra expensive. A more suitable alternative could be compressed straw as insulator, or other alternatives. Date	17 June 2008 Source	 Own work Author	 KVDP
Planning before building

As a large part of building waste can be recycled or reused, its removal needs preparation from the very beginning. Along with other construction plans, make one for waste collection, disposal and recycling. Mark a place on the site where workers can dispose of debris and material leftovers. This site mustn’t obstruct the work, nor cause any safety hazards for workers.

Discarded materials and their uses

Each discarded material has its recyclable potential. Bricks, for example, can be reused or crushed to make road bases. Undamaged windows and doors can be refitted to other homes, as well as plumbing fixtures, like tubs. Lumber and wood products can be reused for further construction or converted to mulch or biomass fuel. Metals can be smelted and converted into other products. Vegetation and trees can be replanted if possible or used for biomass fuel.

Building it back

Probably the best and the safest method is to integrate construction waste into a new building or another building site, where applicable. For example, if you are remodelling, you don’t have to demolish the walls, but rather reconfigure or move them. Lumber leftovers from wood-framed structures can be used for fire blocking or as spacers. In addition, use building materials supplied in standard measurements whenever possible. The less you have to cut or remove, the less waste you will create. What is more, standard dimensions let you reuse any leftover materials more easily.  

Deconstruction instead demolition

Some laws propose or encourage removing reusable items without damage so they can be reused in housing projects. A contractor who is paying for the removal can even be granted certain tax benefits. If no such project exists, the contractor can organize a front yard sale of items like radiators, grates, piping, fixtures and fittings that are in acceptable condition.

Sorting the waste

In order to process them easier later on, different types of construction waste need to be deposited in separate piles. Concrete, asphalt, bricks and shingles can go together. Window frames and doors can go on the pile for wood and timber leftovers. Plastic, cables and nylons will go in the third, and so on. Separating and sorting materials from the very beginning makes them easier to remove and also lowers the disposal costs.

Local is always cheaper

You can avoid costly transport expenses by browsing local businesses that specialize in construction waste removal. Inquire what each of them offers and select the one that has an efficient recycling programme. To save time and money, ask them to provide containers on the site so you can dispose of materials on the go. Alternatively, you can dispose of waste every time you go out to fetch new building materials. Selecting a reputable waste recycling centre can save you a lot of headaches.  

Safety measures

When sorting and separating items in containers, make sure no unwanted materials get inside. If any amount of rubbish is placed with the sorted waste, the entire load is considered unacceptable for recycling. Make sure the bins and containers have clear labels for different types of waste.

There are many ways to reuse construction waste, so make sure it doesn’t simply end on the landfill. By recycling materials or integrating them into further construction, you won’t only reduce the amount of waste produced by the site, but also make savings through different municipal projects or by selling reusable items.

Renewables on the grid: Putting the negative-price myth to bed

Three years ago, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) rebutted arguments that occurrences of negative prices at nuclear plants in Illinois were frequently caused by wind energy. That “compelling” data led FERC Commissioner John Norris, who had previously discussed his concerns about negative prices, to affirm that “the focus on negative prices is a distraction.”
More recently, we have documented that many instances of negative prices are caused by conventional power plants.

AWEA has now made our prior analysis far more comprehensive by examining full-year 2016 price data for all retiring power plants in the main wholesale electricity markets that have a large amount of wind generation: PJM, MISO, SPP, and ERCOT.

AWEA has now made our prior analysis far more comprehensive by examining full-year 2016 price data for all retiring power plants in the main wholesale electricity markets that have a large amount of wind generation: PJM, MISO, SPP, and ERCOT.
The results, which we are releasing today for the first time, confirm that any instances of renewable policies like the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and state renewable standard credits being factored into market prices have a trivial impact on retiring power plants.

Across more than 1.8 million data points, which cover all 2016 pricing intervals in the day-ahead electricity market for all retiring power plants in those regions, only 55 instances of negative prices were found that could have been set by a wind project receiving the PTC. The analysis includes market price data for all power plants that have retired since 2012 or have announced plans to retire.

Our analysis focused on the day-ahead electricity market (the results bolded below), as that is where nuclear and coal generators sell most if not all of their generation. However, the results show that wind plants almost never set prices for an additional 2.4 million data points in the real-time electricity market as well. For more background on electricity markets and how prices are set, see the last section of this post.

In PJM and MISO, which account for a large share of all power plants in wholesale markets that are retiring nationwide, only 0.003 percent of day-ahead market prices at retiring power plants were in a range that could be set by a wind project receiving the PTC, as shown on the left side of the table. Occurrences of negative prices that could be wind-related were even less frequent in SPP, at 0.0017 percent of day-ahead market price intervals. Those occurrences were slightly more common at retiring plants in ERCOT, at 0.06 percent of price intervals, but it should be noted that there is only one retiring coal power plant in ERCOT.

To underscore the trivial impact of the PTC in setting market prices, the right side of the table shows how prices would change if wind projects receiving the PTC no longer received the credit. In PJM and MISO, conservatively assuming that all negative prices in that range were set by wind projects receiving the PTC, Day-Ahead Market prices at retiring power plants would increase by an average of $0.0007, or 1/13th of a penny per megawatt hour (MWh), if operating wind projects no longer received the PTC. Retiring power plants in SPP saw an even smaller impact at 1/25th of a penny, while the one retiring coal power plant in ERCOT saw an impact of around one penny per MWh.

It is important to clarify that the PTC does directly reduce consumer electricity costs outside of the electricity market. The PTC and other incentives allow wind projects to offer lower long-term contract prices to customers and the utilities who serve them, which translates into lower electric bills for consumers on a 1:1 basis.

However, those contract payments are outside of the wholesale electricity market, so they are not directly factored into the wholesale electricity market prices received by other generators.

The facts about energy incentives

In reality, the wind PTC has been a remarkable success in driving the American innovation and efficiency that have driven a two-third reduction in the cost of wind energy since 2009. The more than 102,500 Americans working in the wind industry today are creating a new industry with a bright future, bringing tens of billions of dollars in investment to rural areas and tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs to America. Production-based incentives like the PTC have driven efficiency increases that make U.S. wind projects some of the most productive in the world.

In reality, the wind PTC has been a remarkable success in driving the American innovation and efficiency that have driven a two-third reduction in the cost of wind energy since 2009. The more than 102,500 Americans working in the wind industry today are creating a new industry with a bright future, bringing tens of billions of dollars in investment to rural areas and tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs to America. Production-based incentives like the PTC have driven efficiency increases that make U.S. wind projects some of the most productive in the world.    Regardless, Congress voted in December 2015 to phase down the wind PTC, and we are now in year three of that five-year phasedown period. Despite the recent focus on incentives for renewables, cumulatively wind energy has received only 3 percent of federal energy incentives, versus 86 percent for fossil and nuclear sources, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute and other experts. Given that the wind industry’s “tax reform” is already in place with the PTC phasedown legislation, we would welcome a comprehensive look at all forms of subsidies for all electricity sources.  Market dynamics are driving retirements  Market dynamics are benefiting consumers by driving retirement of older, less efficient resources in favor of more efficient resources. A wide range of experts agree that the primary factors driving power plant retirements and economic challenges for generators of all types are cheap natural gas and flat electricity demand.  The following map, compiled from Department of Energy data, shows that most retiring coal and nuclear plants are in regions that have little to no renewable generation, confirming that renewable energy or pro-renewable policies cannot be the primary factor driving those retirements.    Rather, the primary factor driving power plant retirements appears to be low-cost shale gas production undercutting relatively high-cost Appalachian and Illinois Basin coal in the Eastern U.S., as shown below. In the regions shaded red in the map, the fuel cost of producing electricity from natural gas is significantly
Regardless, Congress voted in December 2015 to phase down the wind PTC, and we are now in year three of that five-year phasedown period. Despite the recent focus on incentives for renewables, cumulatively wind energy has received only 3 percent of federal energy incentives, versus 86 percent for fossil and nuclear sources, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute and other experts. Given that the wind industry’s “tax reform” is already in place with the PTC phasedown legislation, we would welcome a comprehensive look at all forms of subsidies for all electricity sources.

Market dynamics are driving retirements

Market dynamics are benefiting consumers by driving retirement of older, less efficient resources in favor of more efficient resources. A wide range of experts agree that the primary factors driving power plant retirements and economic challenges for generators of all types are cheap natural gas and flat electricity demand.

The following map, compiled from Department of Energy data, shows that most retiring coal and nuclear plants are in regions that have little to no renewable generation, confirming that renewable energy or pro-renewable policies cannot be the primary factor driving those retirements.

Rather, the primary factor driving power plant retirements appears to be low-cost shale gas production undercutting relatively high-cost Appalachian and Illinois Basin coal in the Eastern U.S., as shown below. In the regions shaded red in the map, the fuel cost of producing electricity from natural gas is significantly lower than the fuel cost of coal power plants, explaining why utilities in those regions are moving from coal to natural gas generation.

For the entire story on the AWEA blog, MICHAEL GOGGIN, JULY 18, 2017

Experts Share their Secrets to an Eco Friendly Lifestyle

Whether it’s protesting the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement or vowing to transition to electric-only vehicles within the next decade, many businesses have been focusing on how they can do their part in saving our planet.

Although many Americans want to make the personal transition towards green living themselves, most don’t even know where to begin! That’s why the team at EmPower Solar decided to speak with a panel of eco-friendly experts on their personal practices. You can see their best advice here.

Whether it’s protesting the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement or vowing to transition to electric-only vehicles within the next decade, many businesses have been focusing on how they can do their part in saving our planet.  Although many Americans want to make the personal transition towards green living themselves, most don’t even know where to begin!

Examples, Methods and Benefits of Sustainable Living

Shifting our lifestyle towards a sustainable model is a journey that takes a lifelong commitment. It requires learning, exploring and experimenting with sustainable practices in all the spheres of our lives. Beyond the reach of international agreements, campaigns, politics and economy, there are individual people who can do a lot to improve their way of life and the lives of people around them by following these examples.

Besides solar, Shifting our lifestyle towards a sustainable model is a journey that takes a lifelong commitment. It requires learning, exploring and experimenting with sustainable practices in all the spheres of our lives. Beyond the reach of international agreements, campaigns, politics and economy, there are individual people who can do a lot to improve their way of life and the lives of people around them by following these examples.
Conserve water

Fresh water takes up just a little over 2% of the world’s water, and only 1% is accessible drinking water. Water conservation not only reduces the energy and resources needed for its purification and transport, but also decreases pollution of natural water systems. There are many ways to use water more responsibly. Purchase only water-efficient appliances and install a grey water system. Front-loading laundry washers use up to 40% less water than top-loading models. Captured rainwater can be used for watering, and in combination with drip-irrigation, the amount of wasted water is even smaller.
Fresh water takes up just a little over 2% of the world’s water, and only 1% is accessible drinking water. Water conservation not only reduces the energy and resources needed for its purification and transport, but also decreases pollution of natural water systems. There are many ways to use water more responsibly. Purchase only water-efficient appliances and install a grey water system. Front-loading laundry washers use up to 40% less water than top-loading models. Captured rainwater can be used for watering, and in combination with drip-irrigation, the amount of wasted water is even smaller.

 How you reach your destination and how you move around once you get there makes a big environmental difference. A flight from New York to London emits about 1.2 tons of carbon per person on-board. The prospects are not glamorous as you might hope, but a cheap vacation closer to home is always a greener option. Trains and ferries are awesome transportation methods – like cruise ships for the environmentally aware. If you still have to fly, always look for direct flights. Once you’re there, consider public or human-powered transportation. Local buses and trams are perfect for getting a feel for a new city and its residents, while a bike can take you to the countryside or parts of town inaccessible to vehicles.

Travel green

How you reach your destination and how you move around once you get there makes a big environmental difference. A flight from New York to London emits about 1.2 tons of carbon per person on-board. The prospects are not glamorous as you might hope, but a cheap vacation closer to home is always a greener option. Trains and ferries are awesome transportation methods – like cruise ships for the environmentally aware. If you still have to fly, always look for direct flights. Once you’re there, consider public or human-powered transportation. Local buses and trams are perfect for getting a feel for a new city and its residents, while a bike can take you to the countryside or parts of town inaccessible to vehicles.

According to an article published in Time in December 2013, ‘There may be no other single human activity that has a bigger impact on the planet than the raising of livestock.’ What we put on our table makes a big impact on the environment. By filling half of your plate with vegetables and fruits, you help reduce freshwater withdrawal as well as deforestation necessary for raising livestock. Some popular species of fish are at risk of being overfished, so feel invited to try some new seafood. By exploring farmer’s markets you can find fresh locally-grown produce, but also get the chance to meet people who produce your food.
Eat sustainable  

According to an article published in Time in December 2013, ‘There may be no other single human activity that has a bigger impact on the planet than the raising of livestock.’ What we put on our table makes a big impact on the environment. By filling half of your plate with vegetables and fruits, you help reduce freshwater withdrawal as well as deforestation necessary for raising livestock. Some popular species of fish are at risk of being overfished, so feel invited to try some new seafood. By exploring farmer’s markets you can find fresh locally-grown produce, but also get the chance to meet people who produce your food.

While communities can benefit from geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, and wind power, solar energy is also suitable for individual households. Apart from using its thermal component to heat water, photovoltaic cells convert the sun rays into electrical energy. There is a hardly cleaner energy source, as it leaves no waste nor emits greenhouse gasses. The cost of solar systems is coming down, and some of the best solar panels in Australia are becoming more affordable to many households. These systems have no moving parts and require minimal maintenance, while the development of new lithium-ion batteries for homes increases your potential to store the energy surplus to be used during the night or on cloudy days.  Own fewer things    Getting rid of everything you don’t need and cutting out any activities that don’t add value to your life is one of the most effective ways to start a sustainable life. Keep only the things and activities you find useful and you love. By donating to charity or a freecycle program, you will de-clutter your home, but you also need to commit yourself not to re-clutter. Francine Jay, the author of The Joy of Less, says that you should store the items you use once a year or less in labelled boxes and keep outside your main living area. If you need to purchase something non-essential, wait for 30 days to see if you’ll still be needing it then.  Our every choice impacts the others through creation, use and disposal of the things we buy, the energy

Shift to solar energy
While communities can benefit from geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, and wind power, solar energy is also suitable for individual households. Apart from using its thermal component to heat water, photovoltaic cells convert the sun rays into electrical energy. There is a hardly cleaner energy source, as it leaves no waste nor emits greenhouse gasses. The cost of solar systems is coming down, and some of the best solar panels in Australia are becoming more affordable to many households. These systems have no moving parts and require minimal maintenance, while the development of new lithium-ion batteries for homes increases your potential to store the energy surplus to be used during the night or on cloudy days.

Own fewer things  

Getting rid of everything you don’t need and cutting out any activities that don’t add value to your life is one of the most effective ways to start a sustainable life. Keep only the things and activities you find useful and you love. By donating to charity or a freecycle program, you will de-clutter your home, but you also need to commit yourself not to re-clutter. Francine Jay, the author of The Joy of Less, says that you should store the items you use once a year or less in labelled boxes and keep outside your main living area. If you need to purchase something non-essential, wait for 30 days to see if you’ll still be needing it then.

Our every choice impacts the others through creation, use and disposal of the things we buy, the energy we use, the food we eat, etc. While we’ll probably never meet those who are impacted, our choices can change everything.