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Sustain Today, Save Tomorrow



Many of us believe that making a positive impact on the environment can only be achieved if we all make small changes in our day-to-day lives. We all know the basic ways of decreasing our carbon footprint. Whether it’s remembering to take your electrical appliances off of stand-by, not filling the kettle to the very top if you’re just making a cup of tea, or choosing energy saving light bulbs over conventional ones. Tips on how you can live a more sustainable life have been written about on Blue and Green Tomorrow before. Whilst changing your little habits certainly help, what can we do to make an impact in the long term?

The answer lies within our homes. The lure of so-called ‘nil-bill’ homes for those in the housing market has become increasingly prevalent over the last few years, with some of the finest examples costing as little as £3 a day to run. Realistically, for the vast majority of us, being able to build a fully sustainable green home from scratch isn’t a viable option. But there are a number of things that we can do to our current homes that have the potential to contribute to leading a greener, more sustainable life-style.

A great secondary effect of creating a sustainable home is the amount of money that you can save. This handy infographic details the areas of your home where you are most likely to lose money, due to many of our homes not originally being built with environmental considerations. With this information in mind, here are some of the most effective sustainable ideas that you can implement in your home today that will lead to you saving money in the future.

Double Glazing

Thanks to years of irritating door-to-door salesman, the thought of installing double glazing within your home quite unfairly comes with a lot of negative connotations. There are a great many companies in the UK that provide high standard double glazing. It’s something to consider as so much heat energy is unnecessarily lost through the windows of a house. The Energy Saving Trust states that a detached house with A rated double glazing can save as much as £160 a year on energy bills. A saving that significant is too large to ignore.

Solar Panels

The idea of installing solar panels in a British home is considered a risky strategy due to our diverse weather patterns. In recent years however, the technology has become more efficient in gathering the energy of the sun. A few years ago, Energy Minister Greg Barker sated that installing solar panels in your home would be a better investment than a pension. It’s hard to argue with this point of view as not only can you save money on utilities bills, any extra electricity that has been generated by your solar panels can be sold back to the National Grid. It’s a win-win situation!

Heat Recovery

The process of heat recovery is perhaps not a method of home energy efficiency that is as widely known as the likes of installing double glazing or solar panels, but is an effective way making your home more environmentally friendly. The process works by using a ventilation system to extricate air from rooms within your home that are wet, such as the bathroom, taking the heat energy from this air and applying it to fresh air that is drawn from outside. This warm, fresh air is then redistributed into other areas of your home. The process can lead to up to 95% of heat being recovered, and results in traditional heating not being relied on as heavily in order to warm your home. Heat recovery systems are yet another way of adding value to your home through sustainability.

Taking the time to consider ways that you can improve the overall energy efficiency of your home can be a fruitful exercise. It has recently been reported that the majority of UK home buyers would be willing to pay more for an eco-friendly home. Therefore, if you’re looking to make your home a more sustainable one, whilst simultaneously increasing the value of your property, have a think about one of the aforementioned methods of improving your home’s energy efficiency.

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Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?



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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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:

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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