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Thousands Of Christians Set To Switch To Greener Energy Suppliers

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A new initiative responding to the Christian community’s concern around climate change will see thousands of people across the UK encouraged to switch their homes and churches to electricity from renewable sources. Launched on Ash Wednesday, February 10th, the Big Church Switch, facilitated by Christian Aid and Tearfund, will start inviting hundreds of thousands of Christians to switch energy suppliers, to urge their churches to follow suit, and to celebrate those churches and individuals who have already made the switch.

Christians of all denominations are increasingly linking climate change with their faith’s call to care for creation and the world’s most vulnerable people. The Big Church Switch offers them a very practical way to channel consumer power to renewable energy and show the government that clean energy must be central to the effort to address climate change.

The project will pool the buying power of thousands of individuals and use that combined consumer force to leverage green deals with energy providers. A new website www.bigchurchswitch.org.uk will provide information for people considering making the switch, to make the process as easy as possible.

Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, who leads on environmental issues for the Church of England, said, “The Big Church Switch is a simple, practical, good idea. It supports the move to renewable energy. If Lent is about renewing our lives in response to the love of God here is a way to follow. You can do it, and so will I.”

The campaign is also being backed by the Bishop of Liverpool, Paul Bayes, the Bishop of Manchester the Bishop of Guildford, Andrew Watson and the Bishop of Truro, Tim Thornton.

Power stations generate around one-quarter of all the UK’s emissions of the gases that cause climate change, so shifting to electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar will send a strong signal to governments and businesses that churches are prepared to lead the way and that renewables rather than fossil fuels are the future.

Christian Aid’s Head of Advocacy, Laura Taylor, said: “The public want clean energy and are willing to take action themselves by switching suppliers. But to make the big shift to a low carbon future happen, individuals and communities can only do so much before it’s up to the Government to change the whole system and drive the energy market to 100% clean energy. So today we’re saying to the Government: we’re switching to low carbon energy, now you must switch the country’s energy from fossil fuels to renewables.

“The congregation at my own local church, Epsom Baptist Church, wanted warm actions not just warm words, so we are going to put our faith into action by switching as part of this movement. I encourage every church to join the campaign.”

Ben Niblett, Tearfund Senior Campaigner said: “Tearfund are excited about the Big Church Switch. The UK church has a vital role in overcoming poverty and inequality in a way which doesn’t cost the earth and lasts for generations to come. Switching is a great way for Christians to love our neighbours and show the government we want more action on climate change, like investment in clean, renewable energy.

‘’Christians care about our neighbours in the UK and around the world being hit by climate change – we’re seeing more floods, more droughts, and more people going hungry – so we think this will strike a chord.’’
Offices of the Lutheran Church and Quakers in Britain are amongst those who have already switched to 100% renewable tariffs.

For more information about the Big Church Switch, visit www.bigchurchswitch.org.uk.

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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