It is good news that many people across the world are becoming more environmentally-conscious. Being more eco-friendly will not only help you contribute to a sustainable environment but it can even save you money. Here are ten ways to improve the mechanical and electrical engineering of your home, and make it a more eco-friendly place.
Get serious about water
When we consider the word ‘sustainability’ we often consider that it only relates to energy consumption. But being truly eco-friendly means taking a holistic approach, so you’ll need to get serious about saving water. Firstly, take the time to fix any leaks. Even if there are no leaks there are plenty of lifestyle changes you can make to save water. For example, you should ensure that you don’t run the tap when you brush your teeth or shave. It’s also a good idea to install a low-flow showerhead – these have been shown to save up to 160,000 litres of water for a family of four.
Install a smart meter
Your heating is one of the biggest ways that you use energy. And it can be very easy, especially during the winter months, to leave your heating on for longer than you strictly need it. This can lead to a lot of both wasted energy and wasted money. The best way to combat this is to have a smart meter installed. Smart meters can be programmed so that they only turn on at certain times of the day – for example, beginning to heat up just before you get home, and shutting off an hour or so before you leave the house. Smart meters can are a must for anyone looking to reduce their carbon footprint and decrease their energy bills.
Energy efficient light bulbs
Energy efficient light bulbs have been around for a long time, but it really has taken a significant amount of time for many people to come around to the idea. Ultimately, though, it really makes a lot of sense to make the switch. Not only do energy efficient bulbs use less electricity, they also last longer, which means you don’t have to spend money replacing them.
Install solar panels
Solar panels are an essential feature for any eco home. Providing you with completely clean electricity they can sometimes even make enough energy to allow you to sell some back to the grid. Solar panels are certainly a long-term investment and it has been suggested that it will take around 20 years for you to break even depending on where you live. But remember this is not just a monetary investment – it’s an opportunity to be eco-friendly.
Talk to sustainability consultants
Every home is different and there’s usually a great deal that a homeowner can do to improve the green credentials of their property. One of the best ways to do this is to speak to sustainability consultants, who will be able to provide you with analysis and ideas for how best to make changes to your home.
Embrace natural cleaning products
Using harmful chemicals to clean is very bad for the environment. When you wash them away you are simply putting them into the water supply. That means water will take more purification before it is safe to use again. But the good news is that in the majority of cases you really don’t need to use them. For most day-to-day cleaning tasks, natural products like vinegar, citric acid from citrus fruits and bicarbonate of soda can be used in place of caustic chemicals to great effect.
One of the smartest ways to improve your home’s eco-friendliness is to ensure that you use as little energy as possible. Investing in insulation is a great way to do this. Good insulation helps hold in the heat, meaning you don’t need to burn energy reheating the home all of the time. There are plenty of places that can and should be insulated including within the walls and in the roof. It can also be smart to consider double glazing any windows that don’t already have it.
Create your own compost
Don’t waste your kitchen scraps and leftover food – turn them into compost. You would be surprised how much of the food that you currently throw away can be recycled and turned into compost. Simply place a compost bin in your garden and fill it with any food waste.
It’s a good idea to try to buy recycled products whenever you can. This can include everything from toilet tissue to kitchen roll. Whenever you notice that there is a recycled option available to buy, it’s worth purchasing it.
It’s easy to be smarter in the kitchen, which can lead to a far more eco-friendly home. One important example is that you can lose a huge amount of heat if you open an oven door during cooking. Even if the oven is only open for a short time it will then need to use a significant amount of energy heating back up.
Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?
Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?
Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.
Is Biofuel Green?
One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.
Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?
Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.
Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.
Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.
Benefits Of Biomass
The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.
Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.
7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees
As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.
After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:
One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.
While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.
Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies
Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.
The Ability To Work Remotely
It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.
Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.
Unlimited Time Off
This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.
A Full Pantry
Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.
Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!