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Five Ways to Take Greener Boating Trips

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Boats by Connie Ma via Flickr

Making a decision to be more environmentally friendly doesn’t mean that you have to give up a few of your favorite pastimes just because they use energy and emit greenhouse gases. It simply means recognizing the impact that your activities have on the environment and making a few changes to improve that. When you choose to go boating for sport, you’ll want to consider the ways your boat may damage the environment and what you can do to improve that.

Fortunately, the world and its manufacturers are shifting toward a greener future. They’re recognizing the impact of certain practices on the atmosphere and seeking ways to change every aspect of life to more eco-friendly alternatives. As you consider ways to make your boating experience greener, you’ll want to give these strategies a try.

1. Use Green Paint

“Green,” of course, refers to the eco-friendly nature of the paint rather than the color. It takes a special kind of paint to protect your boat from water, minerals, and rust. Because of that, the chemicals and waste from the paint can leave a toxic mark on the environment.

As a general rule, avoid using copper-based paints, which has been considered the standard for many years for the bottom of boats. Copper is extremely toxic to aquatic plant and animal life. Instead, choose a high-performing, anti-fouling paint, and follow instructions to apply the paint properly before going on the water.

2. Replace the Engine

The engine is an important factor in environmentalism for boaters. When the engine and its surrounding parts aren’t properly tuned and maintained, it can lead to fluid leakage and a lack of energy efficiency.

It’s important that boaters buy engines that are made for their boats. You can tell that your engine isn’t a good match if it must be run at or near open throttle for the majority of the time that it’s running. This leads to increased fuel use and excess waste sent into the water.

3. Improve Fuel Efficiency

Aside from updating the engine, boaters can improve the environment by taking a few simple steps while boating. Turning the engine off when not in use, going easy on the throttle, and driving at a slightly faster speed when going long distances can improve your fuel economy.

In addition, it’s important to focus on the aerodynamics of the boat. When it’s loaded down with unnecessary weight, the vessel will require more fuel to go the distance. In addition, when a boat isn’t properly cleaned and maintained, and the bottom is dirty and covered in barnacles, the efficiency is challenged.

4. Practice Eco-friendly Maintenance

The cleaning products and services that you use for your boat can also challenge environmentally-friendly boating. Switch to organic, Earth-friendly cleaning products to get the job done.

Performing regular maintenance in and of itself is the best way to ensure that your boat is helping the environment. Be sure that your boat, ending, and propeller blades are in good condition before going on the water to prevent wasting fuel, fluids, and other hazardous materials.

5. Seek Alternative Energy Sources

Your boat may be run through alternative energy sources. If you live in a place that receives a lot of unhindered sunshine, such as California, relying on solar panels is an excellent way to fuel your vehicle without using gasoline.

More and more boats are also looking for ways to use renewable wind energy through turbines that charge engines when they dock. They’re quiet and have fewer vibrations than a typical wind turbine, which makes them the perfect option. It can lower electric bills and reduce the amount of non-renewable energy wasted on each boating trip.

 

 

Energy

Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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sustainable wood burning ideas

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?

Homegrown 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.

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Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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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:

Financial Advising

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.

Life Insurance

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.

Health Insurance

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.

Final Thoughts

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!

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