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Consider Rainwater Harvesting Systems to Maximize Usage of Water

By Guest Blogger Samantha Jones

The rainwater harvesting system makes for a simple mechanical system which helps in the reduction of our need for water transport systems, which are detrimental for the health of our immediate environs. Harvesting rainwater in homes is an efficient way to combat the common predicament of defective water infrastructures— no matter whether you are living in the parched Mojave Desert or the damp Pacific Northwest or for that matter the Pacific Midwest, ruled by thunderstorms.

In the wake of the emerging water crisis across the globe, experts regard this as an efficient means of maximizing water usage. On an average one inch of rain on an acre of land might amount to more than 27,000 gallons of rain. Rainwater is generally clean containing only softer chemicals.

Sourcing rainwater with the help of Rainwater Harvesting System

The rainwater harvesting system is considered to be an effective strategy in the greater scheme of trimming down the use of domestic water. It works on the premise of a simple mechanism that entails the connection of the whole system with that of a rooftop water collection network or a gutter. The water is then collected in a barrel for later usage.

Even in areas with very low rainwater, a roof of around a thousand square feet of home can gather up to 600 gallons of water with just an inch of rain. Even in the homes, connected by gutter, you can jolly well divert the collected water into storage tank. In the hoophouses the water can be collected in the gutters along the side rail, placed right on top of the roll-up side walls.

The initial cost of this system might vary with the type of installation and the extent of your use would determine the time in which you would be able to recover the initial costs.

Better landscape contouring in order to facilitate formation of rainwater sourcing

By demonstrating a little sagacity you can turn your entire yard in to an efficient rainwater storage system. One of your primary responsibilities in this regard would be to select plants which have the capacity to store water in their root systems or to help it navigate to the water table. Raise the heights of patios and pathways and sink the level of the planting areas so that they can capture the flow of the water.

Catchment System

Rainwater harvesting makes for a crucial part of environment sustainability and there are three potent ways in which you can do it including roof harvesting, street harvesting and direct rainfall. An effective catchment system contains a first flush system which keeps the first rain waters away from the tank. The first rain waters are the dirtiest since they clean the roof. There is a screen which is used to eliminate debris, leaves etc before the rainwater flows on to the top of the tank. Barrels, one of the cheapest rain water storage systems, are adept for usage in the urban areas since they can be installed in the unused spaces of the houses.


About the Author

Sam is an environment enthusiast writing extensively on recycling of aerosol cans for


E-Waste: Implications and Controlling Measures

By Guest Blogger Erich Lawson

The disposal techniques of electronic waste followed across the globe is more hazardous than its generation. There are countries who do not know the difference between hazardous and non-hazardous waste material, while almost all electronic waste is hazardous in nature.

The generation of e-waste has been huge in the past couple of years. Two million tons of e-waste has been generated by the United States alone in the year 2010. Every year, over 1,120,000 laptops and desktop computers are discarded, which amounts to around 41 million of e-waste. This is not only alarming, but also puzzling as different IT companies do not consider the reuse of old computers and laptops. The lifecycle of a laptop or computer can be easily increased if the companies make an effort to change and maintain them in a proper manner.

One of the biggest reasons for companies changing electronic equipment each year is the encouragement and pressure imposed by various IT vendors. Along with this, it is a common notion among many people that anything that is old and refurbished is never going to be worth using again. Therefore, ultimately these things land up in different landfills.

Even though different regulations and legislations are in place, the illegal transportation of e-waste from different countries is still taking place. This accumulated e-waste lands in different dumping grounds like Accra (Ghana), Bangalore (India), Lagos (Nigeria), New Delhi (India), Guiyu (China), and Karachi (Pakistan). It has actually become a lethal occupation in these countries as workers handling e-waste in downright unsafe conditions have started showing symptoms of e-waste poisoning. Even the surrounding areas and the soil have shown high levels of contamination.


Ways of Controlling E-waste Generation

There are many ways of controlling e-waste. Some of these methods are:

  • Donate or sell electronics: As mentioned earlier, electronics can easily be reused or you can also sell or donate them. There are people who have never seen the face of a computer. Therefore, rather than filling up the landfills and dumping grounds, it’s a good idea to donate these items. You can also look for vendors who buy old electronic items. Contacting them to dispose your old gadgets is a better idea than throwing these items in the trash.
  • Recycle: Unused batteries, television sets, refrigerator parts, and air conditioning units should never be thrown in the trash. Instead, they need to be discarded in bins that are labeled as e-waste recycling bins. These bins are taken to different recycling centers straightaway, which separate and segregate these waste materials to recycle them in a proper manner. This is one of the best ways of dealing with e-waste.
  • Green electronics: You can easily search for different types of green electronics manufacturers in the market. These items are generally made under different norms and regulations about climate change, chemical usage, and recycling as per Greenpeace International. When you go to buy different types of electronic items, it is imperative to look for the energy star rating. Higher the star rating, lower the consumption of power would be.
  • Reuse: Look for ways to reuse your existing electronic appliance rather than throwing them away. In fact, discarded electronic items that either reach the recycling center or a landfill are generally repaired and reused. Large items like televisions, home theatres, refrigerators, and air conditioners can be repaired so that they can be reused again. You can also give such items to others who’d use them.
  • Evaluate your needs: Before purchasing a new electronic item, analyze whether you really need it. Is your life going to get any better than what it is right now with the gadget that you are about to buy? If not, then wouldn’t it be better not to buy it? Also, look for a gadget that can be used for multiple purposes.


E-waste is a major cause of concern in the world currently, not only for countries that generate it, but also for those that have become the dumping grounds. Looking for ways to process it properly and adopting such methods is critical for the world’s environment.


About the Author

Erich Lawson is passionate about saving environment by effective recycling. He has written a wide array of articles on how modern equipments such as balers, compactors and shredders can be used by industries to reduce monthly garbage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment savings techniques by visiting


7 Solar Power Apps to Consider

By Guest Blogger Sharon Freeman

There is no doubt that solar energy is taking over, despite efforts by Big Oil to undermine its spread. Solar panels are easier than ever to install and buy, thanks to government encouragement. Even app developers are paving the way for cleaner power generation.

Australian solar panel installers GreenElec know first-hand the big role that apps play in bringing about the new world order. Director Gareth Felton says that apps have increased the efficiency of his business “tenfold.”

“This has given me the time to focus on different aspects of my industry,” Felton said.

Google Play and the App Store have many apps that can ease households into the strange but sustainable world of solar power. These solutions will bring some sunshine into your life:

  1. Solar Panel Suitability Checker

Intent is everything, but it’s another thing to realise a plan to use solar power. To get started, you should check if your property is suited to solar panel installation. Here’s the free app that lets you bypass companies that charge to do that for you. Just input your address and this app will determine if the roof of your residence is getting the most sunlight there or somewhere else. This app is only for iOS devices though.

  1. Solar Checker

Solar Checker can measure how much solar energy you can generate over the year and your lifetime. It can also give you a rough idea on the energy savings you stand to make from your panels within those periods. This app is designed in a way that you can get a different estimate if you move to another location with your phone. Free for iOS devices

  1. Photovoltaic

This app can predict your energy generation monthly and give you an idea of your ROI. You can even use your phone or tablet screen as a simulator of the photovoltaic glass. Developed by Gallic panel maker Technologie Solaire, the app can be Europe-centric though as you have to input data manually for your location if you’re not in the continent. Free for Android devices

  1. Solar Meter

While this app may also not work in the US, the promise is universally appealing. Solar Meter allows you to calculate solar power according to your panel tilt and orientation, which can be measured by sensor technology. Retails for $3 on Google Play.

  1. PV Solar Calculator

This app can calculate energy production not just yearly but daily. It can also calculate the AC/DC size, system cost, and total surface area. The app can easily convert between DC size and energy output. Costs $3 for iOS and Android

  1. U-Clinometer

Solar power tradies like GreenElec will appreciate this app, which allows them to determine the right alignment for a solar panel.

  1. WattRebate

As you may have heard, government is encouraging households to wean themselves off the fuel-based grid. This app will help set you for a life of sustainability. WattRebate provides leads on promos and tax incentives for your solar energy projects.

With these and other apps, you will not only rollick in the cumulative savings but also the carbon offsets. Sunny days are truly ahead, for you and the planet.


About the Author

Sharon Freeman is a professional freelancer who writes about builders and the latest news in the world of iPad Apps.


Using a Thermal Imaging Camera to Identify Heat Loss at Home

By Guest Blogger Katherine Ogilvie

A badly insulated home is not only bad for the heating bills but also for the environment. More efficiently heated homes means less heating is necessary and thus there is less burning of fossil fuels to meet the demand for energy.

In the UK, heating homes is one of the main sources of carbon dioxide emissions; in 2004 it was found that roughly 30% of the entire UK’s emissions (that’s over 40 million tonnes of carbon) came from heating houses. Because of their significant environmental impact, carbon emissions from housing have been the target of government schemes with grants to aid individuals to make their homes more energy efficient (such as the Green Deal). However, many individuals are still unaware of how much heat their home is losing.

There are tools available to help, such as this calculator allows you to enter the dimensions of your home and estimates how much carbon dioxide and money you could save if you were to invest in insulation. For instance, for a medium size semi-detached house proper insulation could save over 10,000 kWh of heat loss, £510 per year and over 2,800 kg of Co2 – an overall saving of 76%.

What’s more there’s a general consensus on which parts of a home tend to lose the most heat; 25% of heat is lost through the roof, 35% through the walls, 15% through the floor, 15% through doors and 10% through windows.

While the generalisations of where heat is lost from most homes is good for giving you a rough idea of where heat could be saved, every home is different and is likely to be losing heat from varying locations. This is where a thermal imaging camera can be incredibly useful, it instantly provides a visual depiction of where heat is being lost in a specific home and therefore what home improvement could be of the most use.

There are various types of thermal imaging cameras which can be of use when identifying heat loss in the home:

FLIR Ex-Series

From $1200

The Ex-Series FLIR Cameras are easily the most popular in the thermal imaging camera market for those with a larger budget. Even so, several electrical test equipment outlets do offer them for hire but it is clear that you get what you pay for, especially when it comes to FLIR products. FLIR’s patented MSX technology displays thermal images of outstanding quality and in real time, making inspecting and observing a cinch.

The spotmeter function which comes on the E4, E5, E6 and E8 models allows the user to provide temperate information on every pixel. The key difference between each model is the thermal image quality which ranges from 80 by 60 pixels for the E4 all the way up to 320 by 240 pixels on the E8 (an image demonstrating the range of resolution can be seen below). The other differentiator would be the temperature differences from as small as 0.15 on the E4 to 0.06 on the E8. These easy to use point and shoot style cameras are ideal for detecting insulation loss.

(image from

Thermal Imaging Smart Phone Extensions

Currently there are two main contenders in terms of thermal imaging cameras as phone additions, the FLIR ONE and the Seek.

The specs of each model are equivalent to low end of the aforementioned Ex-series range, with the FLIR ONE with a resolution of 80×60 (same as the E4) and the Seek with a resolution of 206×156 (somewhere between the E6 and E8).

However it is worth mentioning that the FLIR one combines its infrared image with images taken from the visual camera, which helps to provide a clearer picture – providing outlines of objects. As you can see from the picture below even though the thermal image on the FLIR one has a lower resolution, when combined with data from the visual image the output is easier to interpret.

The seek has a similar feature that provides context to the thermal image, known as the thermal + mode. Which produces a spilt screen, half the visual image and half the thermal image, as you can see below:

These models are ideal for checking the heat efficiency of a home because they offer a practical level of resolution but are a much more economical option with the FLIR ONE priced at $349 and the Seek at $199.

If you are considering purchasing one of these, it is worth noting that the FLIR ONE is only currently available for the iPhone 5 and 5s, although they are planning to release an android version. However an advantage of the FLIR ONE is it doubles up as an iPhone charger whereas the seek takes up the port needed to charge the phone. The Seek has an android version and can be used on anything from an iPhone 5 onwards.

The Seek also has various settings which could be of help when trying to identify heat loss in a home. For instance low mode, the camera will jump to and spot the coolest point in the field of vision – effectively finding the cold areas in your house so you don’t have to scan the photo/videos. There is a threshold mode which is applicable to this situation, you can set a temperature and get the camera to only show objects that are above, below or at that temperature. This could again be useful in locating cold spots, only highlight areas under room temperature for example.

The seek is the more affordable option, with better thermal resolution but a less professional final image. If you’re utilising the camera in a professional context (inspecting houses for their heat retention or as part of a property valuation) then it might be worth investing in the FLIR ONE for the extra cost, whereas if you’re just looking to evaluate your own home it could be worth getting the Seek. However, renting a professional thermal imagining camera on a single occasion is likely to be cheaper than both these options.

Thermal imaging cameras can provide valuable insight into home heat retention and are a key tool into ensuring homes are properly insulated which in turn can help to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels.


About the Author

This article was written by Katherine Ogilvie on behalf of ISSWWW, who are the UK’s largest electrical test equipment retailer and thermal imaging camera wholesaler.



[images taken from]


Aluminet Shade Cloths Review

Ever since greenhouses have been used for gardening, crop growing, and farming, many people have been finding new ways to yield better and healthier plants. However, it is difficult to find green technology in which truly combines cost-efficiency and eco-friendliness. In recent years, greenhouse thermal screens were invented and sold in the market to meet the growing demand of upgrading greenhouses and improving light diffusion. Also, out of all the greenhouse thermal screens released, Aluminet Shade Cloth remains unbeatable when it comes to its benefits, efficiency, and durability.

If you are considering getting shade cloths for your greenhouse, there are several things that you will need. An Aluminet Shade Cloth can provide your greenhouse with all the basic essentials. Not only does it equip you with all the necessities for growing crops and all kinds of plants, but it also has several features specifically designed to promote optimal plant growth and higher yield.

Significant Heat Reduction in Greenhouses

Greenhouses were initially designed to maintain static temperatures within the apparatus especially during winter in which temperatures are too destructive for plants. On the other hand, seasons such as summer and spring may cause the greenhouse to overheat thus causing detriment to the plants within. Greenhouse thermal screens were created to reduce the heat and to shade the plants from direct sunlight as it was found to be quite harmful for the growth of plants. In addition, shade cloths also make working within the greenhouse more tolerable at the peak of the heat. Gardeners and farmers will not have to leave periodically in order to cool down and have to suffer the dire consequences of being exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time. Aluminet Shade Cloth is unparalleled to other greenhouse thermal screens available on the market. According to statistics, Aluminet can significantly reduce heat in greenhouses compared to other thermal screens.

State-of-the-Art Thermal Regulation

More often than not, the plethora of greenhouse thermal screens does not have features which can regulate temperatures within the greenhouse as effectively as it ought to. Aluminet Shade Cloth acts as a greenhouse thermal blanket. It controls the temperature of the greenhouse as well as normalizes the entrance and exit of infrared radiation. The drastic and rapid shift of temperatures in a greenhouse has been known to stunt plant growth and even prevent fruiting. Once you install Aluminet Shade Cloths you lessen the chance of experiencing leaf dry outs and soil corruption. If you want your greenhouse to be as efficient and productive as possible, only trust Aluminet greenhouse thermal screens to protect your plants.

Oh, and by the way, I have first-hand personal experience using this product and it really does work.


Hy-Cycle Fuel Cell Bike Reveiw

Commuting is a big part of everyday life, whether by train, car, or bicycle. Many travelers look to find a greener and more environmentally friendly way to get from point A to point B, but find that cycling can sometimes be too difficult or tiring. Cue the fuel cell bike. Fuel cell bicycles aren’t a new concept, however they haven’t really gained momentum in the consumer market just yet.

The process of making a fuel cell bicycle for practical use has been relatively difficult, which is perhaps why the market has remained stale. In 2006, a company known as Veloform was developing a methanol fueled three wheeler, which they called the City Cruiser II. Just a year later, a Chinese company, Shanghai Pearl Hydrogen Power Source Technology Co., introduced a hydrogen fuel cell bicycle that cost around $2,600, and had a fuel tank distance of nearly 60 miles.

The newest generation of fuel cell bicycles comes from a group of students at the University of New South Wales in Australia. The school researchers have developed the Hy-Cycle (pictured at top), a hydrogen fuel-cell bike that boasts an 80 mile fuel tank distance, which roughly equals about $2 worth of hydrogen. The fuel canister has a capacity of 2.5 kilograms, and it may take a little effort to fill, but researchers are now working on ways to increase hydrogen storage capacity.

The bicycle was designed and built by technical office Paul Brockbank from the University’s School of Chemical Engineering, and associate professor Kondo-Francois Aguey-Zinsou. The hydrogen cell makes climbing hills or long distance commuting easier on travelers by providing assistance with pedaling the bike.

Since electric bikes are already popular item on the market, critics of the fuel cell bike suggest that it makes more sense to use a battery to power the bike as opposed to hydrogen. However, the fuel cell on the Hy-Cycle can lead to the development of hydrogen powered bicycles to finally make their mark on consumers as a cheap and sustainable form of transportation. Aguey-Zinsou says that a key market for the Hy-Cycle are cities like London and Paris, which are currently renting bikes for hire for business people and the like to commute to and from work.

The biggest advantage to the Hy-Cycle is the ability to use hydrogen as a clean, sustainable, and safe source of energy. Hydrogen storage has been a researched topic for years, as scientists and engineers try to find a safe and effective method of storing compressed hydrogen. Because hydrogen is a light gas, it’s difficult to contain in a compact form.

The Hy-Cycle features a 2.5 kilogram canister located near the pedals. The fuel cell is under the seat, and aims to provide continuous recharging to the lithium ion battery that powers the Hy-Cycle. The developers are studying new methods to store 100 liters of hydrogen in the same canister, but while using only 30 grams of metal hydride, which makes for user-friendly and safe storage of the hydrogen fuel.


Spray-on Solar Cells – Go Paint Your Wagon

One of the hindrances of solar cells is their cost-to-power ratio where in most cases the cost of an effective solar panel simply is expensive compared to the power that is generated. While there are many efforts to increase the power generation of solar panels, other efforts are being made to reduce their overall costs.

One of the most interesting efforts is the development of spray-on solar cells that cost a fraction compared to solar panels, but cover a very wide area for maximum solar absorption. This new technology promises an incredible amount of potential for a relatively low cost.

Developed at the University of Sheffield by a team of scientists, this effort creates what’s known as perovskite solar cells which is a new material that holds a great deal of promise in the solar industry. This is because it overcomes one of the potential stumbling blocks of the otherwise high cost of creating solar panels.

How Perovskite Works in Harnessing the Sun

For years, scientists have been looking for a means of spray painting to create solar cells that use semiconductors of organic origins. Perovskite, a calcium titanium oxide mineral, represents a real breakthrough in creating a more efficient form that can be widely used.

First demonstrated in 2012, the perovskite proved to create efficient photovoltaics which are needed to capture and transmit solar power. The spray painting process works quite well because little of the material is actually wasted and it can be scaled for high volume manufacturing in a similar way to applying paints to graphic arts or to vehicles.

The interest in perovskite has been growing considerably since it was first demonstrated as it is very cheap to produce, yet it can be applied to a wide number of applications. This is because most solar cells use silicon which takes a great deal of energy to produce. Perovskites on the other hand take very little energy to create.

The Future of Spray-on Solar Cells

Where this form of spray-on solar cell will have its maximum impact is in the amount of energy that is created using a cheap form of materials. While perovskite is not quite as efficient in terms of energy conversion as silicon, the substantially lower cost of the materials has made it one that has generated a lot of interest from manufacturers.

Currently, perovskite generates about 19 percent conversion compared to silicon which is 25 percent in terms of absorbing and converting solar energy. Perovskite replaces the organic cells that were used as part of the light absorbing layer which previous versions were only about 10 percent in terms of absorption. Perovskite is not only more efficient, it is very cheap and will no doubt start replacing the organic light absorbing layers.

There is still work to be done in getting perovskite to becoming even more efficient, but the fact that it does cost significantly less than previous organic versions and is easy to apply is causing the solar industry to rethink how it creates panels for energy absorption. As a renewable energy source, perovskite is helping to overcome one of the main issues that have kept solar panels relegated to a supplemental source.


5 Amazing Eco-Friendly Technologies for the Future

It’s difficult to comprehend how quickly our world’s population is expanding. To put things into perspective, there were roughly half the number of people alive in the 1970’s compared to today. At this current rate, of roughly 80 million people being born per year, there will be 8 billion people living on our planet by Spring 2024.

This is a staggering influx and means that our natural resources are being stretched to breaking point. Throughout the world, from South-East England to South Korea, there is now an innumerate demand for clean water, affordable food, and sustainable energy.

As a result, one of the greatest challenges facing scientists and governments is finding clean and renewable energy resources. Money is being poured into research which can solve our eco problems, meaning that technology is now also developing at a phenomenal rate.

With that in mind, here is a guide to 5 of the most exciting and promising technological advances which could change the way to produce and consume energy in the future.


5. Microgrids

A microgrid is a small-scale version of the centralized electricity systems which are currently located throughout the UK. However, unlike their larger counterparts, these grids work on a local level and provide energy directly to a community. There’s no enormous startup costs and there’s no need to transport the energy over significant distances to reach consumers.

But how will microgrids change the way we produce energy in the future?

First of all, microgrids can help to reduce a community’s carbon footprint. Through harnessing solar energy, for example, a microgrid can produce only the amount of electricity needed by the community. Furthermore, it can capture any residual heat that is wasted and reuse the energy to fuel homes.

Most important of all, however, is that microgrids give communities the opportunity to produce their own energy; thus freeing them from dependence on large grid companies. This is a good example of ‘bottom-up’ consumerism and means that energy production will become an open market for all. Microgrids have already become popular in rural India, for instance.

In the future, microgrids could allow clusters of households across the world to produce their own clean and renewable energy.


4. Pelamis Wave Power

Pelamis is an Edinburgh-based company who have designed and manufactured an incredible piece of technology, the Pelamis Wave Energy Converter.

The Pelamis machine is made up of 5 large inflatable tube sections, each connected together by joints, which is then placed onto the ocean surface. As waves crash against the machine, the movement created within the Pelamis is converted into hydraulic power and then into electricity. This energy is then harnessed and sent back to shore using subsea cables.

The Pelamis machine generates green electricity which can be used for a variety of purposes. It can also be installed across the world, meaning that it’s not just useful in the North Sea.

This technology is still in its infancy, but the Pelamis has already demonstrated remarkable success and will potentially change the way we source our energy in the future.


3. Solar Cells

Everyone knows about solar panels, but it’s certain that this technology will see incredible advancements in the near future. Solar panels are being widely produced in China, allowing consumers in the East and West to purchase them incredibly cheaply compared to in the past. However, these panels are most commonly made from silicone cells. Silicone is cheap but it only absorbs a fraction of the sunshine which it’s intended to convert into electricity. That’s why solar panels are being revolutionized.

John Rodgers, a scientist from the University of Illinois, has devised a new kind of solar cell which is much more efficient at utilizing energy from the sun. Rather than using one cell, he has stacked four on top of another to create a ‘super’ cell. This might not seem terribly clever, but the results are staggering. His new cells are able to improve solar panel efficiency by 50% or more.

As more and more people embrace solar panels, it’s apparent that technology will continue to develop in a way that makes them much more efficient. This may include a gradual shift away from silicone cells to multi-layered cells.


2. Green Concrete

People have been producing and building with concrete ever since Roman emperors ruled the Mediterranean. However, concrete is one of the least environmentally-friendly products humans frequently use. Creating cement involves heating limestone to 1450 C and emitting a frightening amount of carbon dioxide in the process.

Our demand for concrete is unlikely to decrease, but scientists have discovered a way of making cement which actually absorbs carbon dioxide. The blocks are made from magnesium and are actually much stronger than their counterparts. However, during the hardening process, the concrete absorbs carbon dioxide; thus helping to improve our atmosphere.


1. Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

Just as everyone is getting used to electric cars, it seems that hydrogen-fueled cars will become increasingly important in the future. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, so it only makes sense to utilize the element for our energy purposes. You can already lease hydrogen vehicles in California but they are not yet available for public purchase.

The great thing about hydrogen cars is that they run on hydrogen and oxygen from the air. As a result, they don’t send any dangerous pollutants into the atmosphere or consume finite fossil fuels. Some elite car manufacturers have already created hydrogen cars, such as Hyundai and Honda.

If you’re wondering where fuels cells come into this, then here is how the car works. The fuel cell uses hydrogen and oxygen from the air and uses this to create electricity. The hydrogen and oxygen recombine and is released back into the atmosphere through steam. This means that we won’t ‘use up’ any hydrogen or oxygen.

Electric cars are fantastic, but they are dependent on electric outlets and some consumer report “range anxiety” with battery electric vehicles. Hydrogen cars, however, have a greater range, can be refueled in 5 minutes or less and also have zero emissions.


Final Thoughts

There are numerous challenges currently facing humanity, and there have been incredible efforts in recent years to solve our energy crisis. In the future, we will produce and consume our energy in an entirely different way. Hopefully some of the technology mentioned in this blog will go some way in contributing to this change.


About the Author

This blog was written by Jennifer Smith for the Green Deal the premiere provider for all of your Green Deal assessment and installation needs.


Shipping Container Apartments – Constructive vs. Destructive

Australian National University Prefab Container Student Apartments

If you live in or around a major seaport, you have probably seen your fair share of massive ships loaded with containers that contain all sorts of different products. Shipping containers have long been used to transports goods from port to port, but it turns out that they are finding a new lease on life when their transport days are over.

You may know that used shipping containers are being repurposed to create living spaces, which is actually not as ridiculous as it may sound. They are spacious, durable, and easy to convert into a very functional living space. And besides single family housing, shipping container apartments are on the rise in some communities.

One place where this trend has really taken hold is in China, as the influx of migrant workers has had the country scrambling for ways to house all of them. The Chinese have been seeing a major boom in their economy, with the high levels of trade leading to a huge number of shipping containers making their way into the country.

Rather than just have the containers pile up unused, the Chinese government decided to put them to use as housing for the migrant workers. It does not take much to make the containers into a functional living space, and the workers are left with an affordable way to live.

I’m sure that many people will hear about the use of shipping containers as a living space and imagine that the conditions are quite horrid. This is in fact not the case, as the containers are cleaned and made livable before they are put into use.

If you don’t believe that to be the case, you need to look at the shipping container apartment complex that is now being used in Le Havre, France. The boxy look of the apartments looks more like a cool architectural project than anything else, and you really have to get up close to see that it is shipping containers that were used to create the building. The big giveaway when you get close is the doors, as they have retained the original look of the shipping container.

The French version of the shipping container home is a whole lot more luxurious than what the Chinese have, but there is a reason for that. These units are being sold as high-priced apartments, with each of the containers made specifically for that project. The Chinese, on the other hand, wanted to make living spaces that anyone could afford, which is why they went the used container route.

The major benefit of putting shipping containers to use in this way is for the benefits that recycling has in regard to saving the environment. China could have had thousands of these containers just left to rot once their shipping days are over. So, why not do something constructive with them? Constructive versus destructive, you might say. What they have done is kill two birds with one stone, and the success of the project will likely mean that other countries will start to adopt this practice.


Ikea Goes Solar in a Big Way

With the global warming crisis, governments and businesses across the world are turning to alternative sources of energy to cut down on their carbon footprint. Solar power is an attractive option to many, due to its ready availability and the potential to generate a steady source of power. The only inhibiting factor is the one time set up and installation cost. Despite government subsidies, uptake of solar power is still slower than predicted. Recently, the Swedish furniture giant IKEA has become one of the first companies to contract a solar panel project without any form of public funding.

How IKEA Aims to Harness Solar Energy

IKEA installed a large solar panel system on one of the roofs of its largest Italian store in Pisa. Over 2700 solar panels were used in the project. These were hoisted onto special mounted frames and assembled on site. It is estimated that solar heat can generate 696.15 kWp of energy, powering all the electricity needs of the store. The amount of energy is estimated to be equivalent to the usage of 800 people, with the overall costs similar to that supplied from the power grid. It is also reported that solar O&M service from Martifer Solar would be part of this project. It is hoped that other businesses would follow in IKEA’s footsteps and set up similar units, especially in the developing world such as China or India.

IKEA has helped boost solar energy as a viable and cheap renewable energy source. Its stores are now selling affordable photovoltaic systems and helping individuals to build solar panels on their roofs. Harnessing power from the sun is likely going to be a popular option with rising energy costs and austerity measures. Significant savings can be made in electricity bills for ordinary homeowners. Technological advances have also meant a fall in the price of solar panels, making them more attractive than a decade ago. Though it takes a few years to recuperate the costs of the panel, this is outweighed by the benefits of long term energy savings.

And if this isn’t enough Ikea has also contracted for a 3.6-megawatt solar project in 7 stores in Australia to help reduce carbon in the atmosphere. When completed this will be one of the largest installations in the word. Ikea’s goal is to be energy independent by 2020.


The IKEA furniture store is investing in alternative energy in a big way by delving into the solar energy market. The company has showcased its commitment to sustainable energy with the installation of the new solar energy systems. The success of these projects will be a significant boost to the local industry and helps to set IKEA as an environmentally responsible business leader in the renewable energy market.


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