Archive for September, 2011
Many changes have graced the building industry over the last seven years. Sustainable building practices have been put into use and the building industry is moving with the times to create homes that are environmentally friendly. Things like solar power with back to grid technology has been implemented to help minimize the impact on our environment. This is just one of the few building practices being used. These days, it’s all about protecting our eco-system for future generations to come. The building industry is leading the way with their innovative designs and environmentally friendly building practices.
Included in house designs are things like timber frame which takes less energy to produce and clay bricks which are used in the construction process. Acrylic insulation is built into the roof and the walls. Acrylic is used because it doesn’t make you itch or scratch the way other insulation can. To help lower rising electricity bills, the insulation is built in to the roof and walls. Roofs that are lighter in color, help to reduce the amount of heat that is conducted through the house keeping it much cooler. Tinted windows also help to lower the costs involved in cooling your home. Back to grid technology in solar power is also installed as well as solar hot water systems. All construction scraps are now recycled and if there is an existing building that needs to be demolished, then the materials recovered are also being recycled. All of these things are now considered as standard building practices and instrumental in reducing the drain that electricity places on the environment. Water tanks are now also being kept standard to help reduce the need for chlorinated water. Tank water certainly tastes much better than chlorinated water.
Professional house builders exert great effort in finding alternate materials to build homes with. They strive to build homes that lower the negative impact on our environment. By applying all these standard building practices, they have more than met the goal for sustainable building practices.
The building industry is continually finding ways to build smarter and to build in an environmentally friendly fashion. Our eco-system now needs help more than ever, so the more we find ways to minimize the impact, the better. It is now time to preserve what is left of our environment and its resources for future generations, by building with products that protect and conserve it.Tags: clay bricks, electricity bills, hot water systems, solar hot water, solar hot water systems
Everyone is talking about “green jobs.” While many people are eager to become employed in the sustainability sector, there are naysayers who don’t believe that they actually exist. As part of the ongoing, healthy dialogue about what and where green jobs are, it’s important to make an important distinction. While there are bona fide positions that can be appropriately defined as a green job, there are thousands of other careers that are simply changing in the new energy economy. The truth is, workplaces are shifting to more sustainable models, with or without the catchy phrase.
According to the Colorado Cleantech Action Plan, “Cleantech is growing in Colorado and creating thousands of jobs.” Citing the Pew Center’s report, The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses, and Investments Across America (http://bit.ly/dIpWGM), ”Between 1999 and 2009, Colorado’s cleantech industry grew at an annualized rate of 18 percent, more than twice the rate of the Colorado economy as a whole (8 percent).”
And Colorado isn’t alone. However, while wind, solar, energy efficiency and additional sustainable fields are rapidly growing, they are not the only industries presenting green jobs to the workforce. Many career paths are taking a turn, requiring new thinking and skill sets to keep up with the changing environmental landscape.
Architects, engineers, electricians and machinists will continue to be in demand, yet their job descriptions may be continuously altered. Electricians will need to understand the new utility landscape; machinists will be required to install and maintain new technologies; engineers across all industries will be asked to channel their knowledge towards designing sustainable systems.
Here are some examples of changing industries outside of the traditional cleantech sector:
Utility companies. “Powerful trends are transforming the U.S. utility sector, including climate change, energy security, and energy price volatility concerns; increasing deployment of alternative resources like energy efficiency and renewable energy; and shifts in natural gas and other fossil fuel industries. Utilities that respond most effectively to these key trends – and whose regulators and legislators support them in doing so – will be best positioned to succeed in the 21st century.” (The 21st Century Electric Utility: Positioning for a Low-Carbon Future, a Ceres report published by Navigant Consulting. 2010.)
Real Estate. From architects to real estate appraisers and agents to top executives, real estate professionals are under pressure to recognize efficient building techniques, gain awareness of green design elements and effectively value and incorporate them in today’s marketplace.
Corporate real estate executives are illustrating commitment to making sustainable decisions within their real estate portfolios, which requires knowledge of Green Building certifications, Energy Labels, the costs and benefits of retrofitting buildings and much more. According to the third annual CoreNet Global and Jones Lang LaSalle sustainability survey conducted in September and October 2009 (http://bit.ly/hjgKm0), research shows that sustainability remains a key agenda item for corporate real estate executives.
The report states, “Sustainability is a critical business issue today for 70 percent of respondents and 89 percent consider sustainability criteria in their location decisions.”
Law firms. With an influx of sustainable activity, there will inevitably be legal issues. Well-prepared law firms have lawyers and paralegals on staff who have the knowledge and confidence to perform highly complex environmental legal research; draft, analyze, and manage complex legal documents and correspondence about environmental topics; and prepare environmental filings, reports; real estate documents and more.
Agriculture. While windmills have been used on farms for decades, farmers and the overall agriculture industry are taking great strides that are good for the earth, crops and business. Farming is actually among the original green jobs, but new technologies are coming to market, requiring agricultural business leaders to sell, install and maintain systems that keep our food supply moving and meet consumers’ desire for a sustainable food system.
In Workforce Management magazine (http://bit.ly/gFQVHj), Raquel Pinderhughes, a professor of urban studies at San Francisco State University, “identified 22 economic sectors with green-collar opportunities, including food production (using organic agriculture), manufacturing (making energy-efficient and recycled products) and auto repair (servicing alternative-fuel vehicles).”
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics hasn’t yet defined “green jobs,” there are businesses, HR directors, career services departments and educational institutions invested in fostering sustainable careers across all industries.
Whether a career is given the term “green job” or fits within the confines of the green landscape, changes are inevitable. They are already beginning to be reflected in educational and job training options. For example, Ecotech Institute, based in Aurora, Colorado (a suburb of Denver) has opened its doors as the first and only institution solely focused on renewable energy and sustainable design. Launched in April 2010, future graduates are already in demand according to the college.
“We’re consistently receiving phone calls from businesses who can’t wait for our first graduating class,” said Alison Wise, Director of Career Services for Ecotech Institute. “We speak with representatives from a wide range of industries, all seeking people who can serve as the future leaders of their changing workforce.”
For more information on how Ecotech Institute sees the future of green jobs and education, visit www.ecotechinstitute.com.
Tags: climate change energy, colorado economy, environmental landscape, landscape architects, pew center
Research has shown that nearly 30 percent of consumers will pay up to a 10 percent premium on environmentally friendly packaging. The last few years have seen a growth in interest in anything eco-friendly and green. This is a trend that is most likely to grow, particularly in view of the effort to educate the next generation of buyers on the importance of being green. And this translates to the significance of green packaging or environmentally friendly packaging. With the growing technological level in the field of packaging, safe and convenient packaging will be more than welcomed by the market. Irrespective of the color or packaging material, if a product has established its brand identity, a customer will still purchase it. This gives the customer the benefit of an environment friendly product.
This drive towards sustainable, natural and organic growth is the new era in cosmetic packaging. It is also essential for cosmetics manufacturers to be prepared when new trends emerge and gain popularity. By being a part of the environmentally friendly green movement, cosmetics manufacturers have made sweeping changes, and natural and organic cosmetic compounds have replaced dangerous toxins.
Break-through trends that have established a unique positioning platform
By following the well regulated footsteps of the food and beverage industry, many cosmetic manufacturers have resorted to fair trade. Fair trade means that more and more food based ingredients will be used to provide functionality in personal care products, like super fruits with high antioxidant contents. Food based ingredients are becoming a popular choice for transitioning companies. This transition to organic and natural based cosmetic products has shown no signs of slowing down. These trends serve as an important building block, especially for companies that are looking to profit from new and innovative strategies.
The manufacturer’s role in economic sustainability
Without ever giving thought to what will happen to that container once the product inside is all used up, people buy spray bottles, foamers, airless bottles and other cosmetics containers. As these bottles are being tossed in already filled dumps and landfills, this results in a strong impact on our environment. This thought is rather alarming for anyone with a green conscience. Cosmetic packaging manufacturers have realized that sustainability is not an eco-band aid; they have started forcing businesses to become active throughout the production cycle. To garner a greater environmentally friendly image for their products, cosmetic companies are using everything from eco-friendly packaging to innovative product formulations. Green packaging and eco friendly packaging has become a hot topic due to consumer demand and government insistence.
As Governments have put measures in place to lessen pollution and intensify environmental responsibility, the cosmetic industry is being forced down the path of sustainability. It is therefore becoming essential for the cosmetics industry to develop a universal standard for the organic/natural regulation of their products.
Tags: cosmetic manufacturers, cosmetic packaging, food and beverage industry, packaging research, personal care products
Biomass gasification using organic materials (ideally waste materials which would otherwise go to landfills) is the best way to either directly produce hydrogen from the “syngas” it produces, or generate electricity into the local power grid, from which users can create hydrogen in their homes, and factories. If society is to become hydrogen economy based it will have to be done in a sustainable manner without adding to the production of greenhouse gases, and as a result to global warming.
A few years ago the technical news press were full of the idea of a hydrogen economy. The idea was, and still is a sound one, especially as far as the pressing need to reduce urban pollution which in so many cities is reaching crisis point largely due to vehicle emissions. The worst emissions are from motor vehicle exhausts and especially dangerous are the small soot particules from deisel vehicles.
What the early proponents of hydrogen powered vehicles did not appreciate is that although the cities would be much cleaner if all vehicles were hydrogen fuelled and emitting only water, the production of the hydrogen (often overnight in the garage using electric power and water) would entail inefficient use of electrical power. As most of our electricity in all but a few nations is created from carbanaceous (climate change inducing) fuels the idea of hydrogen powered transport would be in danger of accentuating climate change. Hence, one problem would have been solved but only at the expense of another much bigger one.
However, as biomass gasification, done in the right way, can be fully sustainable it does give society the opportunity to have its cake and eat it. That is clean sustainable hydrogen for our city\’s vehicles and a clean hydrogen economy overall.
The concept of mainstream large scale commercial gasification technology is that biomass is converted into a gaseous mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and other compounds by applying heat under pressure in the presence of steam and a controlled amount of oxygen (in a unit called a gasifier). In the process the molcules forming the biomass are broken apart chemically by the heat, steam, and oxygen to which they are subjected. This sets into motion chemical reactions that produce a synthesis gas, or “syngas”. This gas although it starts as a mixture of primarily hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide, it can then be shifted through further reactions to increase the hydrogen gas content. At the same time the operator can reduce the carbon compounds and finally the carbon dioxide can be scrubbed out and captured for long term storage underground to minimise and even reduce global warming.
The hydrogen gas is actually produced by steam during the gasification of charred cellulosic material. The yield from steam gasification increases with increasing water to sample ratio.
Hydrogen production systems based on thermochemical gasification of biomass typically therefore consist of the following basic steps:
- gas cleaning
- upgrading and separation.
The development of the technology is progressing and in essence depends on the successful integration of these steps. Ideally, technical and economic analysis is carried out to select the optimum technology for the available feedstock in order to produce a synthetic gas product of the necessary quality for the target application.
If you are wondering whether to support the introduction of a biomass gasification plant in your area, this is something which you should strongly support for the environmental advantages of this process.Tags: gasification technology, greenhouse gases, hydrogen car, hydrogen powered vehicles, sustainable hydrogen economy
Global flooring company Flowcrete has reinforced its commitment to manufacturing in the UK and to leading edge sustainable design with the opening of new state-of-the-art headquarters in Cheshire.
HRH The Duke of Gloucester was welcomed by Flowcrete staff to officially open the new building at a celebratory event attended by guests including civic dignitaries, as well as business and community representatives.
The Duke – an architect with a special interest in the built environment, as well as environmental issues – saw first hand the latest ‘green’ construction techniques introduced at the new multi-million pound development, which has been built on Flowcrete’s existing site in Sandbach.
Mark Greaves, managing director of Flowcrete, said: “The building has been developed to reflect Flowcrete’s position as a global leader in its field, with a commitment to a low carbon future – reducing our energy consumption by 93 per cent compared to our previous offices.”
“It reinforces our commitment to manufacturing in the UK and our confidence in the North West economy.”
Flowcrete’s sustainable resin flooring products have been installed at high profile locations across the globe, including Beijing Olympic Stadium, the new Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, Dubai International Airport and Médiacité in Liège.
Within the UK, Flowcrete products have been applied at locations including Manchester International Airport, Wembley Stadium and the luxury retail centre, Westfield White City in London.
The Sandbach site is home to Flowcrete’s international headquarters – from where the company’s operations – which span the globe with 29 sales offices and eight manufacturing centres – are co-ordinated. The company, a subsidiary of RPM International Inc, won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, in the International Trade category, in 2009.
Flowcrete’s technical services director Peter Dolby has overseen the new office project – a mix of new build and the refurbishment of an existing building on the site – working with building company Manchester & Cheshire Construction and architects Hulme Upright.
Other energy-saving products used on the new structure, sourced from within the wider RPM group, include an exterior insulation system used to refurbish brickwork on existing buildings from Dryvit Systems, air barrier and window sealants from Tremco Global Sealants Division alongside a vegetative green roof, with waterproofing, from Tremco Roofing Division.
Peter said: “As a specialist manufacturer of sustainable seamless flooring for the industrial and commercial market places, we wanted our new offices to reflect our commitment to the environment.
“The office has also been developed as a showcase for our floor finishes, within a bright, airy space that provides an optimum working environment.
“Features include a thermally efficient glazed wall, framed with sustainable oak.
“The green roof comprises of a living carpet of succulent plants, which absorbs carbon dioxide, adds thermal insulation and provides an environment for native birds, insects and other wildlife.
“This green roof will also absorb and use rainwater – a solution to the problem of draining water, which can result in flash flooding in increasingly unpredictable weather. The roof will now retain and absorb up to 75 per cent of rainfall
“Heat is provided by Flowcrete’s energy efficient Isowarm underfloor heating system, with hot water from an air source heat pump eliminating the use of boilers and keeping costs and environmental impact to a minimum.
“There is no air conditioning, but a cool environment is created in hot weather by reversing the underfloor heating system to absorb heat from the building and provide cooling.
“This is supported by wind catching technology, solar powered vents and opening window lights to create natural ventilation. Finally, internal lights react to natural daylight levels to minimise energy use.”
A podcast about Flowcrete’s new green office can be downloaded from iTunes. A video of the office building taking shape is available from Flowcrete’s YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/flowcretetv, where the podcast can also be heard. The podcast and video can also be viewed from www.flowcrete.com
Notes to Editors
About Flowcrete Group
Flowcrete is a world leader in the supply of specialist flooring for commercial and industrial buildings. With 29 offices and manufacturing plants globally, Flowcrete’s aim is to transform environments with its innovative specialist flooring products. These include decorative seamless resins, waterproof car park decking, resin terrazzo, seamless antimicrobial flooring, corrosion protection, self-levelling cements, underfloor heating and acoustic systems. Flowcrete is using its global expertise to introduce environmentally friendly, hygienic and aesthetically attractive floors to create a better and more sustainable world at our feet.
The Flooring Technology Centre
Press release issued by Jane Shepherd, Shepherd PR 01538 308685/308099 mobile 07985 129315.
Tags: dubai international airport, international trade category, manchester international airport, resin flooring, rpm international inc