With Leicester City’s Premier League title win now feeling like a distant memory, it’s very much business-as-usual this season with the top spots filled almost exclusively with predictable names. It might seem that not very much has changed in the last few years. While this might be true of the results and the league table, there has actually been something of a quiet revolution going on behind the scenes as clubs begin to embrace sustainability.
But which club is greenest? Here, football fan and writer for Soccer Box Liam Houghton discusses the ‘greenest’ football teams in play today. Certainly some of the Premier League teams have stepped up their environmentally-friendly work but it seems that they are being outdone by their lower league rivals.
It may be the case that of all the Premier League teams, Manchester United is the greenest. This is a club that needs no introduction – but their environmental credentials are perhaps not as well-known as their successes on the pitch. The club has two environmental initiatives ‘United to Switch Off and Save’ promotes energy efficiency, while ‘Reds Go Green’ is focused on waste and recycling. Alongside these schemes, the club makes the effort to put its money where its mouth is.
Rainwater at Old Trafford is recycled and used to irrigate the pitch. The club also ensures that no waste products are sent to landfill as the stadium utilises an extensive recycling scheme and any materials that cannot be recycled are sent to a waste-to-energy plant. Any wasted food from match days is composted. And the Red Devils are even sustainability-conscious away from Old Trafford. Everything from office stationery and marketing materials to IT equipment and signage boards are recycled or sent for re-use.
United are also looking for ways to utilise recycled materials for artificial turf. Working with Apollo Tyres, the club recycled 2,200 tyres and turned them into an artificial pitch at their training ground.
As you might expect, however, the Premier League teams – who focus more closely towards on-pitch success – can’t match some of the lower league clubs for sustainability. It’s possible that this title is claimed by Dartford FC who play in the National League South, the sixth tier of English football. 2006 was a landmark year for the club when they opened their brand new Princes Park stadium, which was purpose-built to be the UK’s first sustainable football stadium.
The stadium, which cost £6.5 million has an array of environmentally-friendly features including a grass roof, low-energy lighting, reclaimed rainwater and a solar panel system to provide clean energy. The club also encourages its fans to arrive at the ground by public transport rather than using cars to drive in.
It’s also worth noting that Dartford have a significant advantage over Manchester United in terms of environmental sustainability – and that’s the distances they have to travel. United need to travel everywhere from Sunderland to Southampton, but they also regularly compete in Europe, taking environmentally-costly flights. The vast majority of the teams Dartford FC play are within an hour or so of driving.
Forest Green Rovers
But perhaps going to a level beyond Dartford FC is Forest Green Rovers. Taken over by green energy entrepreneur Dale Vince in 2010, the club set itself the goal of becoming the most sustainable football club in Britain. This has included retrofitting their stadium, The New Lawn, to become exceptionally green.
The pitch is organic with no pesticides or man-made chemicals to keep the grass in a good state. Rainwater is collected to irrigate the pitch and solar panels have been placed in the roof to provide the stadium with green power. The players even carpool and use electric cars supplied by Nissan to reduce their carbon emissions. The club additionally made history in 2015 as The New Lawn became the UK’s first all-vegan football stadium – only vegan foods are available to purchase.
The eventual goal is to become a zero carbon football club and the team is currently looking into LED floodlights and additional ways to minimise waste and emissions.
7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption
Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.
This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?
Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.
New Technologies to Watch
These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:
- Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
- Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
- New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
- Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
- Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
- The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
- Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.
Making the Investment
All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.
Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis
Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.
Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?”
Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.
Tip #1: Focus & Determination
Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.
Tip #2: Minimize Spending
One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!
Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal
You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.
Investing in Clean Energy
One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.
With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.
The Future of Green Biz
As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.
Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.
In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!
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