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Why All Businesses Need Yearly Emissions Monitoring

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Emission by onnola via flickr

Every business needs to take its environmental responsibilities seriously but for those that dominate an industrial sector, monitoring a range of environmental legislation is essential. The ability to show that your business complies is not just a case of proving this to regulatory authorities but your customers too. Monitoring volatile organic compounds (VOCs) brings significant benefits.

These benefits include safer working conditions for your staff and operators, as well as cost savings and reduction of raw materials in the process of operation.

Who should monitor VOC emissions?

Any company that uses a range of products and materials that give off VOC will need to monitor emissions. There are several methods and techniques for monitoring VOC which can present confusion when it comes to choosing the most appropriate for your business.

Understanding VOCs, the legislation involved and the many different means of monitoring them are available to your business, factors this article aims to address. What’s more, VOC monitoring doesn’t have to be expensive and like other monitoring systems you have in place, the savings and benefits far outweigh the costs.

Benefits of Monitoring VOC Emissions

There are numerous reasons why companies monitor VOC emissions although the main purpose is to provide information and data as required by a regulator under the Environmental Permitting Regulations or EPR.

VOC monitoring can also help your business to;

  • Quantify inefficiency – this type of monitoring can highlight inefficiencies in a production and logistical process
  • Reduce costs through identifying solvent losses
  • Identify and help to reduce solvent consumption
  • Optimise the flow of work and production through your plant
  • Avoid the installation of expensive equipment and process if they are not needed
  • Demonstrate an on-going commitment to improving environmental performance
  • Meet and exceed health and safety requirements through improving working conditions
  • Identify several ways in which solvent costs and VOC emissions can be reduce as part of an overarching solvent management programme

VOC Monitoring Example

For example, a printing facility using the rotogravure process operates solvent recovery equipment as part of its printing process.

The solvent laden air is exhausted to banks of active carbon filters that absorb the volatile content of the gas. On a regular basis, the activated carbon is ‘desorb’ and the solvent recovered is recycled by being re-used as part of the printing process.

The solvent recovery process is usually a closed-loop one, meaning that the clean exhaust gas is routed back to the pressing hall or area via the cooling stage, allowing it to be re-used in the printing process.

There is also the option of running the system via an open loop. This means that the air is cleaned and then emitted into the atmosphere rather than re-used in the process. This is beneficial in terms of a cost cutting exercise as the exhaust gases don’t consume energy to be cooled.

Most companies employ environmental specialists that objectively examine both these scenarios and then offer advice based on their findings.

It is important to have this data and the findings will be able to show that by running the open-loop system, your company is not exceeding the limits of your EPR permit. The time needed to run the open-loop was also calculated so that the system was not run for longer than needed, again presenting a significant savings, but also preventing a mass release of VOCs.

Many companies are also concerned with their overall environmental performance too. Gathering and monitoring this data allows a company to demonstrate major environmental achievements, especially in the case of reducing VOCs on site. For some companies, this is a significant achievement, more so when you consider that production may have significantly increased.

Small changes, big benefits

Overall, simple engineering modifications dramatically reduce VOC emissions, presenting savings that were significant, above and beyond other solutions.

Visit Envirodat today to find out more.

Energy

Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?

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The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?

The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.

Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.

The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.

Introducing New Technology

The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.

  • To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
  • Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
  • Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.

How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy

Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.

The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.

The Internet of Things

Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.

Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.

Blockchain Technology

It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)

The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.

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Energy

4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy

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Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.

However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?

A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.

1.     Boulder Nissan

When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:

  • Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
  • They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
  • Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.

This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.

2.     Valley Electric Association

In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.

“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”

The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.

This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.

3.     Las Vegas Casinos

A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.

“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”

There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.

4.     Boston College

Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.

Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.

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