Archive for April, 2012

Travel Towards a Greener Future.

Driving economically can save you money and help the environment.

Everyone needs to travel, short or long distances, but how do you make your journeys greener? Public transport is a great option, but not always practical for peoples schedules. As most people drive, getting the most (or the least CO2) out of your car is important. Electric cars and more economical models are getting more popular and have a larger range of models, but buying a new car is not always an option.

 

Here are a few tips for driving more economically that everyone can use:

  • When driving in high gears at around 50-60 miles per hour, your emissions are at their lowest. On the other hand, driving below 15 miles per hour creates the most pollution.
  • Using a higher gear and changing up to them quickly reduces emission output. Although changing too soon is not great for the engine. Every car is different, but listening to the engine is a good way of telling when to change gear.
  • Maintaining your car and ensuring it is functioning properly can greatly decrease emissions. Inflating tyres, changing oil, maintaining coolant levels and new brake pads are just a few things that can improve performance and lower emissions.
  • Using Air Conditioning causes your engine to rev higher, creating more emissions and using more fuel. To see the effects of this, try turning on your A/C when parked and you will see the revs rise.
  • In heavy traffic it is easy to get heavy footed. When you are rolling along, see if you can get into another gear instead of pushing 1st. In long queues and standing traffic, turn off your engine. Most modern cars are economical on start up, so it will save in the long run.
  • Try not to get stressed. A few second of aggressive driving can cause the equivalent of 30 minutes of normal driving emissions.
  • Cooling your car down is important, if you can park in shade rather than in sunlight, you will help the engine cool, reducing usage costs.
  • Car sharing is a great option for work and school runs. Whilst not always do-able, it could half usage of your car and emissions.
  • Carrying extra weight around may seem like a necessity, but it can affect the performance more than you would think. It could be similar to driving around with extra passengers.
  • Alternative fuels may seem like a big step, but more and more people are doing it. With a small outlay to modify the car you can create big savings

 

Of course, these steps cannot be taken all the time by everyone, but as people tend to get set in their ways, especially regarding driving habits, they are important to consider for the environment and your pocket.

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New Potential for Offshore Wind Turbines to be Unlocked

The UK and US have combined resources to develop new types of wind turbine, designed to be produced at lower cost and harness more energy than the traditional models in place.

A similar project underway in Norway.

The designs for ‘floating’ offshore wind turbines will hopefully reduce construction costs compared to traditional fixed models, which can be very costly due to the fact they are usually fixed to the sea bed for stability, making them nearly impossible to place in deeper stretches of water.

This was announced ahead of this week’s clean-energy meeting for ministers from 23 countries, taking place in London.

The UK has huge wind resources, accounting for around a third of Europe’s offshore wind potential. New technology is needed to access waters between 60 and 100 metres deep, which is currently too deep to fix, but where wind speeds are consistently higher.

The developments are set to come in-line with an increase in shallower sites planned before 2020, meaning the energy production can increase further into deeper waters.

The technology also has cost cutting costs implications for repairs. Without the need for seabed foundations, the turbines can be repaired in port rather than out at sea.

With wind turbines further out at sea, they will provide energy with minimal impact on our coast.

Energy Secretary Ed Davies said “Britain has more wind turbines installed around its shores than any other country in the world, and our market is rated year after year as the most attractive market among investors. Offshore wind is critical for the UK’s energy future, and there is big interest around the world in what we’re doing.

“The UK and US are both making funding available for this technology, and we’re determined to work together to capitalise on this shared intent.”

A project has been commissioned by the Energy Technology Institute, requiring chosen participants to produce an offshore wind turbine that can produce between 5MW and 7MW by 2016.

Four projects in the US are underway, backed by the department of energy and similar projects are underway in Norway and Portugal.

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Renewing the Job Market Through Clean Industry

A report released recently has shown that the UK’s renewable energy industry supports 110,000 jobs and is set to rise to 400,000 by 2020.

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) concluded that the industry is worth £12.5 billion per year to the UK’s economy. This was bolstered by the European Commission stating that low-carbon generating and energy efficiency could generate up to 5 million jobs across the EU by 2020.

This follows large support from the public on the use of renewable energy, for its environmental and money saving qualities.

The REA’s report, which is released today, is the first comprehensive analysis of the economic and employment benefits for the UK.

Wind energy will be harnessed to increase jobs and energy output.

“Harnessing our renewables creates employment, and means that rather than spending money on energy imports we can keep it circulating in the UK economy,” said REA chief executive Gaynor Hartnell. “When it comes to the employment, economic and energy challenges we face, the answer is clear – make it renewable, and make it in Britain.”

The UK’s economy grew by just 1.4% between 2009/10 and 2010/11, where as the renewable sector itself grew by 11%, coming as great news in uncertain times. It also helped with increasing exports, contributing just under £1.6bn in 2010/11, with wind technologies being the largest contributor.

The UK’s target is to supply 15% of total energy from renewable sources by 2020. This is a challenging estimate, but with government help and targets on CO2 emissions currently failing, it is a pressing issue.

“Renewable energy not only provides us with clean and secure energy that cuts our reliance on imported fossil fuels – it generates billions of pounds of investment and potentially hundreds and thousands of jobs and is a key growth sector for the UK economy,” said Climate Change Minister Greg Barker.

“The REA’s report sets out plainly the opportunities and challenges in this area. We are determined to seize the momentum and secure maximum benefit for the UK.”

Funding will have to be increased to go about the changes, but if targets are met, it would save the country £60bn less on importing fossil fuels than it would otherwise.

With opinion polls showing public backing for renewables and a recent YouGov survey finding 64% of UK adults back the need for renewables, it looks like good news, economically and environmentally.

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New Deal Promotes Greener Living

A new move by the government will make it easier for home owners to access cheap double glazing it is hoped. This new green deal will make it possible for home owners to borrow up to £10,000 for home improvements that will make their homes greener and aims to promote widespread environmental sustainability.

In the Green Deal which is expected to be implemented in October of this year, home owners can request loans which will then be held against the home rather than its inhabitants and will be transferrable to the next owners until the value of the loan is repaid.

The scheme, which was drawn up by Liberal Democrat MP Andrew Stunnel has been launched in order to comply with new EU targets to reduce carbon emissions by a further 10% to 30% and has acted as a sign of the government’s continued pledge to the promotion of green living.

Minister of State Greg Barker, who has finalised the policy stated last week;

“People can expect to save money. There will be two assessments to help consumers see for themselves how much they stand to save. The first assessment will take account of the average energy use of the home, and the second will look at how the occupants use the home so they can enter the green deal knowing how best to maximise what they will save. The green deal charge will be fixed from the start too and is designed to ensure money is saved based on existing energy prices. So if energy prices rise, which seems likely, savings will substantially increase”

In the deal, home owners will never pay back more of their loan than they save on their energy bills and though savings for homeowners will be minimal because of this, it acts as an indication of an ongoing commitment to promoting environmental sustainability across the UK, and reaching established carbon emission targets.

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Solar Panels

There are many environmental concerns currently about how our energy consumption is affecting the environment.

It has been proven that the sun is a great source of renewable energy. The solar energy it emits is a source that will never run out and it is in fact an excellent way to protect the environment. It does not produce an excessive amount of carbon emissions that are overloading the atmosphere. It is these gases that are stopping radiation being able to escape back into space. It is these gases that are causing global warming and sending the state of the environment into disrepair.

A solar panel is a great alternative to fossil fuels and offers an environmentally friendly energy resource that will have a positive impact on the environment. The solar energy is transformed into thermal energy, which can be used to cook food, heat water and heat closed spaces. Solar power plants are electricity generating plants that use thermal energy obtained from the suns radiation to super heat liquids that in turn become steam and rotate the turbines of a generator to generate electricity.

It can also be converted to electricity by using solar cells that transform sunlight into electricity. In areas where there is no regular electricity supply, people are using solar cells to power street lights and road signs.

Furthermore, it is a low cost energy alternative to electricity or gas. Using the sun to power the homes in Great Britain and throughout the world certainly helps to combat the current environmental crisis and help to cut down on the quantity of fossil fuels polluting our great planet.

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