With governments and major institutions around the world making new commitments to renewable energy, many experts are predicting a huge boom in solar energy in 2014 and beyond. The solar panel market has continued to rise and expand throughout 2013, and this year, Deutsche Bank forecasted that the solar market would transition from subsidized to sustainable in 2014 (1). For more on this expected “solar panel explosion,” let’s take a look at some of the emerging markets and some big opportunities to watch for.
Big Demand in Asian Markets
A recent report by market analysis firm NPD Solarbuzz forecast that demand for solar panels in the Asia Pacific market would double in the second half of 2013. “Having entered 2013 with a highly cautious outlook, tier-one suppliers are poised to exit the year with restored confidence, ahead of optimistic shipment and margin guidance for 2014,” said Finlay Colville, vice president of NPD Solarbuzz (2). In addition, a 2013 report by GTM research found that major Chinese solar panel manufacturers were on track to reducing production costs by 30% in the next three years (3). On top of that, Singapore’s solar usage looks to be on track to reach grid parity by 2014 (4), and India is even preparing to launch its first floating solar power station (5). All of this means that the Asia Pacific market will be a major focus for the solar power industry in years to come, both in terms of installations and production.
Growing Demand for Solar Power in Emerging Middle Eastern Markets
This September, the Israeli Parliament officially announced their plans to make their building solar secure by 2014 by installing a large rooftop solar array. This announcement marks a shift in the Israeli market towards a larger dependence on solar power.
“Solar power has become economical in Israel, and we’re at the start of a process which will change the urban landscape over the coming years,” said Renewable Energy Association of Israel CEO Eitan Parnas (6). No longer a slow market for renewable energy, the Middle East will be an interesting emerging market to watch in 2014.
A Solar Powered World Cup?
When a major international sporting body like FIFA adapts a new policy, it means that the policy has really hit the mainstream. Recently, the football governing body announced plans to make the next World Cup in Brazil “the greenest World Cup ever.”
Their planned $20 million investment in green energy for Brazil is slated to include funding to install solar panels on at least seven of the 12 stadiums that will be used in next year’s World Cup (7). This could lead to an increased demand in solar energy in Brazil and throughout South America.
In addition to these major developments around the world, there will be several major solar energy conferences to watch for in 2014, including events in Australia, India, and Brazil. These conferences will be great opportunities to showcase Gold Coast Solar Power, and to see how the rest of the world is reacting to this solar explosion.
Throughout human history, the environment has played a central role in the lives of everyday people and great thinkers. While some have tried to subdue nature, others have rejoiced in its wonder and marveled at its beauty. This list is a collection of thoughts from people who let the environment play a central role in their lives. These people were model individuals who deeply respected the environment and the natural world. They left behind them great legacies, as well as many inspirational quotes. While these quotes do not all speak directly about nature, it is clear that it was love for the environment that gave these individuals such clear and wise perspectives on life.
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” – Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden, or Life in the Woods” was a monumental achievement in environmental writing. Upon Thoreau’s journey to Walden Pond, he reflected, “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” And live deep he did. The lesson here is clear. Not only did Thoreau dream of a life disconnected from civilization, he made that dream a reality too. While many may have thought that his dream was absurd, he had the strength and vision to see it through. The result was one of America’s most celebrated works of literature.
“The power of imagination makes us infinite.” – John Muir
Naturalist John Muir was another important environmental figure who understood the power of imagination. Perhaps it was imagination that drove Muir to found the Sierra Club back in 1892. The impact of this decision was huge. Today, Muir is often referred to as the “Father of the National Parks.” For him, these parks were “places for rest, inspiration, and prayers.” Retreats into nature can have a huge impact on the power of our imagination. Just think of where our imaginations would be without the inspiration that comes from wonders like America’s National Parks.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu
Taoism contains many great teachings on life and the universe, including the idea that the universe is in a constant process of recreating itself. Take a look around nature, and you will quickly see that re-creation process taking place. Taoists also see human beings as a microcosm of the entire universe, and believe that a deeper understanding of the universe can be achieved by understanding oneself. This idea of oneness with nature can be seen in many Taoist practices. Lao Tzu, author of the Tao Te Ching, also has some great advice for those embarking on long journeys, or those hoping for major achievements. Perhaps this is a good idea to keep in mind before your next big nature hike – it all begins with one step.
Just as the environment has played an important role in human history, so have environmentalists. The inspiration they received from appreciating the natural world led to great actions, as well as these and other great words to live by.Read More
A common concern many people have is the fact that they do not know what they should do with their old used batteries. For years everyone threw their used household batteries in their trashcan; now however, we have learned that due to the toxic chemicals that are present in used batteries, we should not be throwing them away. The problem is that the presence of these chemicals means that used batteries cannot be recycled either. You may now be asking what you can do with your used batteries if you cannot throw them away or recycle them. The answer to this question depends on the type of battery that you are trying to dispose of.
There is some controversy over whether it is harmful to dispose of these batteries into landfills. Many people argue that modern batteries are less toxic than older styles were, and they are safe to place in landfills. However, concerned about the environment, it is still safer to dispose of them in another way. One option available is many cities offer a hazardous materials collection center where you can take used household batteries.
While rechargeable batteries are better for the environment as they save energy, they contain higher toxin levels than regular household batteries; this makes them even more difficult to dispose of. One option available is to take them to the store where you bought them. Many stores that sell disposable batteries also collect used ones for proper disposal.
Car batteries are possibly the most important for you to dispose of properly. The average car battery can contain an average of 20 pounds of acid. This makes it imperative that these batteries do not end up in any landfills. One option for the disposal of these batteries is to take them to an auto body shop. Most auto body shops are more than willing to dispose of old batteries.
While it is good to know your options for disposing of old batteries, the fact that you cannot simply throw them away makes disposing them a hassle. Adding to this hassle is that you cannot take all three of these types of batteries to one place, as most places are designated for accepting one type of battery. A great way to get rid of every battery type while only making one trip is to take them to a scrap metal yard. A scrap metal yard will be more than capable of disposing of any type of battery you may have. If you live in Arizona, Arizona Metal Management is the best place to go to dispose of your used batteries. Arizona Metal Management is equipped to dispose of, and willing to except, every type of battery.Read More
American’s are known for their massive consumption. However, each state also produces are certain amount of energy. Some of this energy is renewable, but most of it isnt’.
Ambit Energy, a leading resource for information, news and tips on energy has created an excellent info graphic depicting some startling statistics for America’s energy consumption.
For example, did you know that only 30% of consumed energy in America actually comes from a renewable resource? The other 70% comes from non-renewable sources like coal, and natural gas.
These are all important things to consider when American’s consider their future and their future generations.
Take a look below!Read More
Going green is not only good for the environment it’s also an easy way that businesses can save money. In a time when businesses are looking to save money before outsourcing, laying off employees or cutting back on marketing dollars there are simple ways they can save money by going green.
Reduce Utility Bill
Powering down computers, shutting off lights, using power strips and using energy efficient florescent light bulbs are all easy ways to save money. Fluorescent light bulbs can last more than 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs and save you up to 75% in energy savings. Power strips are a good device that you can plug all of your appliances in and turn all of them off together. If a company wants to take powering down computers into their own hands, there is software like the Dell KACE service desk management system that allows a user to shut off all computers that aren’t in use from a centralized location. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated unused PCs that go into hibernation mode save $25-75 per computer annually. For a business with 200 employees, that would save the company up to $15,000 a year.
Buy Greener Products
Buy green office products like remanufactured ink and toner cartridges, recycled paper and recycled office products (pens, scissors, paper clips, paper towels, etc.). Many of these products are cheaper and are cost- efficient in the long run. For example, buying a remanufactured ink and toner cartridges results in lower waste and chemicals but also reduces the amount of energy you use. Of course remember to recycle all material when possible to maximize your eco- friendly ways.
There are many places that will happily accept your office’s old electronics. Replacing old computers, power cords and miscellaneous electronics will allow you to update your office to newer energy efficient electronics. Companies can also receive a tax deduction for their donations. Some of the best places to donate computers, laptops and electronics include:
- World Computer Exchange – Non- profit that provides schools, libraries, community centers in developing countries with used computers and technology.
- National Cristina Foundation – Non- profit that provides computers to those with disabilities or economic disadvantages.
- Computer Recycling Center- Non- profit that places computers in the public charity and community programs
Instead of printing tons of paper and stuffing it into filing cabinets, storing information digitally is a better option. Cloud storage like drop box, SkyDove, iCloud, FilesAnywhere etc. allow you to share and store folders with co- workers. Portable storage devices, internal and external hard drives and online storage are all eco- friendly ways to save and store important documents.
Cut out the Commute
By cutting employees commute to work completely employers can significantly cut down all of the costs that go operating an office. An employee’s daily commute can be very expensive. You’ll not only save money on internet services, phone lines, electricity and office space, you can receive a significant tax cut. The Georgia House Bill 194 gives credits to companies that allow their employees to telecommute. The bill gives employers a one- time tax credit of $20,000 for the assessment of a telecommute program, in addition to a $1,200 credit per employee that participates in the program. For more information, companies should contact tax professionals about the bill and how they can qualify.
There are many tools that can help companies let their employees work remotely. For example, the Dell KACE software deployment application allows an IT manager to send out patches, configuration settings and software updates without needing computers to be in a centralized location. This application would be good for companies who provide work computers to their employees and need their computers to have all the newest updates in order to work efficiently.
Allowing employees to work remotely might not be feasible for every employee at every company. However, giving employees flexible schedules by allowing them to choose to work from home a few days a month can make a significant difference.
Going green will help your company reduce their carbon imprint on the world, save space for waste disposal, benefit the economy and reduce pollution. The money that your company will save is side note in the bigger picture.Read More
For those of us that are consious of the environement, there are often situations that we are aware of the environment when others may not be. Building or re-modelling your house can be one of those times. But without some knowledge about various materials, it can be difficult to make good decisions. If you are building and want to know what materials you should use, we’ve got some information for you. If you’re considering “green housing” there are definitely some materials that are better than others , so here are some tips and information to helping you put together a list of great materials to use.
Mudbrick is clay earth mixed with water and possibly straw, then sun dried in molds. This is an old building method but also uses very little energy to make it one of the most environmentally friendly materials but still provides a durable material. It is also simple to make but takes a lot of manpower to actually get the bricks made and it is not a very good quality insulator.
Using plants and earth on the roof of your house can help provide better insulation and also provides more plant life which are both more environmentally friendly. You can also use that space for your garden which would double up the benefits.
Because of the strength and durability, steel is a good choice for environmentally friendly buildings. It does take quite a bit of energy to produce, but the material will last a long time and can be re-used if the building is taken down.
Rammed Earth or Pise is sand, gravel, clay, and silt that is poured between two panels and compressed. It is typically made with local materials (sometimes straight off the construction site) making it a very eco-friendly material. However, it is quite labor intensive and doesn’t provide very good insulation, although if the walls are thick it can absorb heat during the day and release it during the cooler night which can help keep heating bills lower. Selecting the correct soil can also make it difficult since not all dirt is equal.
Once the house is built, there are still products and materials to use inside. Using CFL bulbs will save up to 75% more energy than regular bulbs and will save you money in the process.
Bamboo is the fastest growing material on the planet–some types can grown up to four feet in a single day. It can be used for many different products making it a great option across the board and it is completely degradable. Strand bamboo flooring is very durable and high quality and can look great in your home. However, it does require a considerable amount of energy to process it into the type of material you would use in your house.
Paint that contains VOC (volatile organic compounds) is harmful for the environment and also for the health of the people in the house. Using paint without these compounds will help your house stay environmentally friendly.
There are many things that you can do to help conserve energy and make your house more environmentally friendly. If you can pay attention to these tips and others, you can help protect the environment. The more people that can implement these simple tips, the better off we’ll all be.Read More