There are several businesses that contribute to climate change. The business owners are very well aware of the harmful effects being caused. They are opting for several methods to control pollution and the waste that is generated. To operate a green business the companies are being part of online service providers.
How online services support green cause
Online services have become a boon for several companies as it supports green cause. Earlier filing system was prevalent in offices and companies but now the files can be easily uploaded and downloaded online. Services, such as conference lines and screen sharing tools, offered by various companies like CheapWritingHelp.com have made it easier to carry out online training and meetings.
Going digital is the need for us and environment
The printing industries have introduced eco-friendly methods of printing. To go digital means choosing green and this step has proved to be beneficial for the environment. Going digital has a good impact on the environment as it reduces maximum chemical and physical waste. At the same time, digital printing is reliable, effective and of high quality.
Going digital means less use of paper
Digital printing requires paper material but the usage is very less. The energy resources required by print media are more and going digital not only saves the resources but reduces the use of paper giving us a healthy environment. Going digital helps in reduction of costs and wastes as well.
Spreading awareness and advertisement
Encouraging the employees to minimize the use of paper by going digital and choosing online services that support green cause will help the environment. Advertisements through internet and mails can be the best methods of spreading awareness.
Using online services means saying no to the paper records. Everything can be done electronically to support green cause. Online services like go green account, e-commerce have benefitted our environment and it’s beings. In short, going digital is need of the hour.
Hydrogen fuel cells may have just taken a giant leap forward. Indiana University scientists just announced they’ve managed to create a highly efficient biomaterial that takes in protons and “spits out” hydrogen gas. Called “P22-Hyd,” this modified enzyme can be grown using a simple room temperature fermentation process — making it much more eco-friendly and considerably cheaper than the materials currently used in fuel cells, like platinum.
In a press release, lead author of the study Trevor Douglas noted, “This material is comparable to platinum, except it’s truly renewable. You don’t need to mine it; you can create it at room temperature on a massive scale using fermentation technology; it’s biodegradable. It’s a very green process to make a very high-end sustainable material.”
The way the enzyme is created is interesting in its own right. Researchers use two genes from E. coli bacteria inserted into the capsid, or viral protein shell, of a second virus. These genes then produce hydrogenase, the enzyme used to set off the hydrogen reaction.
This may sound a little complicated — and it is. Douglas admits that in the past, it’s been hard to harness hydrogenase for biofuel production due to its sensitivity to environmental conditions like warm temperatures. This new method creates enzymes that are much more stable, allowing it to be used more efficiently. Hopefully this discover will help drive down the cost of hydrogen cars — currently the vehicles retail for between $50,000 and $100,000.
Hotels are slowly getting more eco-friendly, but travel journalist Dan F Stapleton says there’s still much more to do before the industry moves beyond towels-on-the-floor tokenism
Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City bolstered his environmental credentials in December when he announced that he had convinced 16 major hotels, including the Grand Hyatt and the Waldorf Astoria, to reduce their carbon emissions by 30 per cent over the next 10 years. The plan, which forms part of New York’s broader carbon-reduction strategy, is the clearest signal yet that this low-lying coastal city is taking climate change seriously, and that its key players understand the importance of limiting global warming.
“De Blasio’s announcement signals a shift in the way that both the hospitality industry and those who travel view sustainability”
The symbolism of such a move cannot be overstated. Until recently, the only hotels that emphasised green living were so-called ‘eco lodges’ in remote – and usually tropical – climes. The idea of such places was to enable guests to commune with nature without damaging it, but there were few concrete promises from hoteliers about exactly how these resorts would operate sustainably, and the light planes and Jeeps required to reach the resorts often cancelled out any carbon savings.
De Blasio’s announcement signals a shift in the way that both the hospitality industry and those who travel view sustainability. Increasingly, travellers expect accommodation to be responsibly managed – whether it’s in a bustling urban location or on a faraway island. Hoteliers, meanwhile, have begun to recognise that going green doesn’t only please customers – it makes financial sense, simply through reduced utility bills.
Across the globe, hotels are moving towards a new, sustainable model. In the US, the new hospitality group 1 Hotels is pioneering the concept of eco-focused properties in dense urban areas. To date, three hotels have opened (two in New York and one in Miami) with meaningful policies like no paper or plastic in guestrooms, plant-based soap in laundry rooms, and organic linens on beds. Repurposed timber features prominently at each property, and guests can borrow bicycles and electric cars.
More broadly, the hospitality industry is responding to consumer demand for green policies by offering not to wash towels and bed linen every day – even at five-star properties, where such a move was once considered ‘cheap’. In America, most hotel companies now aim to achieve LEED certification from the US Green Building Council for new properties.
The stories coming out of the United States and elsewhere sound promising – but it’s too early to say that a hospitality revolution is underway. Announcing a planned 30 per cent reduction in carbon emissions may be great PR, but it’s hardly a game-changer at opulent properties like the Waldorf Astoria. Gestures like re-using bed-sheets may make guests feel good, but they’re insignificant when measured against the energy used to heat and cool old, poorly designed hotels. It seems that many hotel groups are tinkering around the edges – acknowledging the importance of sustainability but limiting their action until compelled to do otherwise.
“Let’s be optimistic about the future of green hotel accommodation, without taking these moves towards sustainability for granted.”
There are exceptions to the rule, like the Belgian brand Martin’s Hotels, which now operates nine carbon-neutral properties. Even the old-fashioned eco-lodge concept is getting a shake up thanks to companies like Pacific Beachcomber, which recently opened an incredibly luxurious (and carbon neutral) tropical resort, The Brando, in French Polynesia. The suite of innovative programs at the resort includes industrial-strength air conditioning powered by cold water pumped from the ocean floor – the type of too-good-to-be-true concept that can only become reality if businesses commit themselves.
Let’s be optimistic about the future of green hotel accommodation, without taking these moves towards sustainability for granted. After all, in any market, meaningful change only occurs when consumers demand it.
Badriya Jum’a Masjid was recently unveiled in India as the world’s first zero energy eco-friendly green mosque pioneered by Bearys Group. The mosque design has integrated Islamic architecture and sustainable technologies, the Deccan Herald newspaper reported.
Syed Mohamed Beary of Bearys Group said the important feature of the green building is that its entire energy requirement is met through hybrid renewable energy, both wind and solar.
“At a time when the world is passing through climate change crisis, the mosque demonstrates how sustainable developments can help in mitigating global warming,” he said.
The mosque was built 80 years ago. It was renovated 40 years ago.
“It is our little contribution in India’s march towards sustainable development,” Syed said, adding that he hopes the mosque will become a holistic place of worship where people from all over the world can come, pray and find true solace.
The mosque, built on 15,000 square feet of area, incorporates greenery in and around. The cooling of the building is achieved by using elements of nature. The building orientation minimizes solar heat gain.
The L-shaped building plan and elevated nature of the prayer hall, green vegetation and water tanks around it offer a naturally cooled environment. The solar heat reflecting terrace floor, laid with white China mosaics and fitted with turbo vents, not only keep the prayer space cool, but also reduces warming of local microclimate, Syed said.
The building’s open envelope with sunrays travelling and non-conducting glass reinforced concrete (GRC) with more than 50 percent openings increases natural ventilation.
Natural cooling of the building is accentuated by the wind scoop on a 70-foot multifunctional Minaret (from where the Azan, the call for prayer is given), which forces a down draft of cool breezes into the prayer hall and supports the tower structure with the wind turbine mounted atop.
Use of hybrid renewable energy (wind and solar energy) in the mosque will produce more energy than used by the mosque, thus feeding energy to the state grid and accruing energy credits for the next 25 years.
“Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Regenerate” technology has been implemented with low-flow water fixtures.
As part of expanding the footprint of the MyCiTi service, Cape Town will purchase electric buses, according to mayor Patricia De Lille.
De Lille says the city will issue a tender for the procurement of electric buses for the MyCiTi service in line with the commitment to lowering carbon emissions.
“A tender for the procurement of a fleet of 12-metre electric buses is due to be advertised by the first week of February 2016,” she says in a statement.
She adds: “Cities across the world will soon reach a point where alternative fuel for public transport is no longer a choice but a prerequisite, and as such, the City of Cape Town has decided to expand our current fleet of diesel buses with electric ones.”
The terms of the tender specify the electric buses should be able to travel at least 250km in traffic before the batteries need recharging.
“Apart from the buses, the successful bidder must also provide the city with the charging stations for the buses and the necessary training for the bus drivers and mechanical engineers,” De Lille notes.
The city is also considering electric double-decker buses for longer distance trips as they have more seating, she explains.
In his research paper, Anthony Dane, from the Energy Research Centre at the University of Cape Town, says as the demand for transport services is expected to grow, the industry needs to reduce its significant environmental impact and at the same time deliver improved mobility in a way that contributes towards South Africa’s sustainable development objectives.
According to De Lille, Cape Town’s move to issue a tender for electric buses is part of the city’s Energy 2040 Strategy as well as a way to show commitment to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions.
Cape Town will be the first municipality in the country to benefit from the latest alternative fuel technology and will be the first city in Africa to use electric buses for public transport, she says.
“Apart from electric buses being eco-friendly with zero carbon emissions if we use solar power charging stations, a green fleet holds numerous other advantages.
“The operational cost of electric buses is significantly lower – not only in terms of fuel, but also in relation to maintenance as there are fewer parts to service,” De Lille states.
Since the launch of the MyCiTi bus service in 2010, approximately 38.5 million passenger journeys have been recorded to date.
If you’re a fan of glamping, you’ll love this eco-friendly passive home nestled in the Australian outback. Archterra Architects designed the Bush House, a solar-powered abode that blends environmental sustainability with contemporary luxury. Located near Margaret River in western Australia, this low-profile house is topped with a single-pitched roof to “distill into built form, the feelings of camping under a simple sheltering tarp.”
Built for minimal maintenance, the 168-square-meter Bush Home was constructed with prefab steel frames and clad in zincalume steel and large windows. The galvanized steel framing, which is also used in the interior, will develop a mottled patina over time. A large single-pitched roof with large overhanging eaves protects the home from unwanted solar heat gain.
The home is arranged in a simple rectangular plan bisected by a thick rammed-earth wall that separates the interior into its two main parts: the sleeping quarters on the west and the living zone to the east. The seamless indoor-outdoor experience is strengthened by the large cedar-frame windows that opens the home up to views and natural light, as well as the use of wood, that continues from the recycled jarrah wood planks used on the outdoor decking into the interior, where Australian Hoop pine lines the ceilings.
The Bush House follows passive solar strategies to minimize energy use, such as northern orientation, the promotion of cooling cross-flow ventilation, and solar shading. Two rammed earth walls and a concrete floor slab help retain thermal mass. The house is also equipped with a 3kW ground-mounted solar array, rooftop solar hot water heater, and a worm-farm blackwater treatment system that irrigates the garden with recycled, nutrient-rich water.
South Africa’s first commercial green star-rated building has been unveiled. The cutting-edge building – the E block in Upper Grayston, a small multi-purpose development in Johannesburg’s Sandton business district – is the first small office building to receive five green stars from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA). “We want to get the message out to other developers,” says Martin Evans of Upper Grayston’s developer Bryprop, “that South Africa can produce green buildings economically.” Green buildings are attractive to the property market, he says, and they offer a good return on investment. “Green buildings command a higher rental price and capital value, they have lower running costs, they let better, and they retain tenants better,” says the GBCSA’s executive chairman Bruce Kerswill. This green mindset is catching on in South Africa, he says. Five stars are not enough for Bryprop, though, and the firm is aiming for the coveted six-star rating with its newest building, Upper Grayston F, which is under construction right next to the E Block. This will make it the only six star-rated commercial building in the country. Rental space should be available around the end of June 2013, according to Bryprop.
Green buildings mitigate climate change
South Africa is following a new trend noted in a report titled “Rethinking Consumption: Consumers and the Future of Sustainability”, which has found that people in developing nations have a keener sense of responsibility towards the earth than those in developed nations. “Two-thirds of consumers globally say they ‘feel a sense of responsibility to society’ (65%), including 81% in emerging markets and 50% in developed markets,” notes the report. “Buildings can be a big part of the solution to mitigating the effects of climate change,” says Kerswill. “Good planning can reduce their use of power and water by up to 70%, and together with waste reduction this can have a significant impact.” Office buildings especially contribute heavily to global warming and pollution, and consume large amounts of energy and water. “But buildings are the cheapest way to make savings on carbon emissions,” says Warren Gray of Solid Green Consulting. “Overseas they use around 30% of the world’s energy. In South Africa the situation is a little different because our economy has been geared towards mining and we are still constructing the buildings that other countries already have.” Savings realised in a green building will come mainly from running costs and electricity. Although the largest part of a company’s expenses goes towards salaries, says Gray, people who work in green buildings perform better, they get discharged from hospital sooner, and they give the employer more value for the salary. “A 10% increase in productivity outperforms a 5% saving on electricity.”
Bringing in the tenants
Bryprop says that its tenants are becoming more and more interested in green features. In the new building, lessons learned from Upper Grayston E will be applied, with some extra features that the developers are confident will earn the six green stars. All timber used in the project comes from a sustainable forest and is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Most of the building’s water will be reclaimed from rain and filtered and purified, and municipal water will only be used when the tanks are empty. Solar panels for both power and heating will ensure that no energy is used to heat water, and in terms of space heating, says Gray, good architectural principles and passive design means that a minimal amount of heating is needed. The building also has big glass windows which let in natural light and air, reducing the need for artificial lighting and climate control. A mixed-mode ventilation system will allow the building to use mechanical ventilation when necessary. People in the building will be able to monitor energy consumption in real time, via a screen in the entrance and a page on the web, which will supply a graph of energy consumption measured at one-minute intervals. The graph for Block E is already available online. The amount of concrete used in construction has been reduced through the addition of fly ash into the mixture. Fly ash is a residue generated during combustion, for example at coal-burning power stations. “This means that the building itself is constructed from recycled material,” Gray says. Carpets and paint used in the interior contain low levels of volatile organic compounds. Cycle parking and special cycle routes around the office park are aimed at encouraging this eco-friendly alternative means of transport.
Going green and saving the planet
Green buildings, according to GBCSA, are energy- and resource-efficient and kind to the environment because of the practices used in their design, construction and operation. They have also been proven to be healthier for residents and workers, leading to higher productivity. For green buildings, these practices will usually include the optimal circulation of fresh air and use of natural light, resulting in a lower use of air conditioning and heating. Lighting will be energy-efficient and controlled through motion detectors, and there will be greater use of renewable energy sources. The builders will make use of recycled or sustainable materials, and there will be other sources of water, such as rainwater harvesting, besides the municipal supply. Locally sourced products are essential to shrink the construction footprint, and if any existing structure is demolished to make way for the new building, as much material as possible, such as windows, doors or floors, must be re-used. When a company applies for green star certification for a building, there is a rigorous process that must be followed. Once the building has been registered – which is only the first step towards certification – the project team will prepare the necessary documentation to prove that the building complies with GBCSA standards. Assessors will not award points, says the GBCSA, unless they can see that all the requirements have been met exactly as detailed in the technical manual. By this stage the full assessment fee must have been paid. Once the fee and the documentation have been received, a panel will evaluate the submission and make their recommendations to the GBCSA, who will then contact the project team. At this point the team gets another chance to earn their green stars by including extra supporting documentation or making alterations to their designs if necessary, and resubmitting their application. The panel will again scrutinise the application and make their final pronouncement and the project team will be notified of their score. A score of 45 to 59 earns the building four green stars and is an indication of best practice locally; a score of 60 to 75 earns five green stars and signifies South African excellence; and a score of 75 to 100 earns six green stars and is indicative of world leadership. Upper Grayston E scored 67 points, which is currently the highest five-star score in the country.
You could be forgiven for thinking that electric cars are a magic bullet for transforming the streets of the UK. London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith has claimed they will soon make buses in the capital redundant, and the city has launched a £100m project to encourage more people to use electric cars. There is, presumably, a clear case for saying London would be transformed for the better by electric vehicles.
Alas, we struggled to find this case written down anywhere. So we sat down with a blank spreadsheet and tried to work it out from first principles. We began by listing the problems that motor vehicles currently bring to cities. Then, we asked what electricity could do to address each of these.
Is electric better?
Perhaps the most obvious reason people get excited about electric vehicles is pollution. Conventional vehicles spew some very noxious stuff into our streets,killing many thousands each year (pdf), including several thousand in London alone. Electric vehicles offer a real advantage in reducing the dangerous nitrogen oxide and particulate matter in urban areas.
But as well as being cleaner, are electric vehicles also greener? That’s a different question – one to which the answer is entirely dependent on how the nation generates its electricity. In 2014, 19.1% of the UK’s electricity (pdf) was generated from renewables compared with 30% for gas and 30% for coal.
This heavy use of fossil fuels means the electric car is not as eco-friendly as it might initially appear. Electric vehicles basically move the fossil-fuel combustion from inside the car to another part of the country (safely outside the purview of any elected mayors). They don’t do much about how we’ll stop our nation emitting greenhouse gases.
The problems of today’s vehicles, however, go far beyond emissions. The hypermobility (pdf) they provide permits suburban sprawl (and thus extra greenhouse gas emissions) as it becomes possible for people to live, work and shop at places distant from one another. And there is another big space problem: a car used for 50 minutes a day is unused 96.5% of the time. Frequently cars are stored on roads and pavements, to the detriment of traffic flow, aesthetics, councils’ finances and the needs of vulnerable road users.
Simply swapping one engine for another does nothing to solve a raft of other problems. The UK has a billion-pound health crisis (pdf) arising from physical inactivity. Shifting shorter journeys – for example, those under two miles – from cars to active travel modes such as walking or cycling is one of the best things(pdf) any developed nation can do to tackle its health problems. Electric vehicles, at best, leave this problem untouched.
Perhaps what electric vehicle champions are really thinking of – especially when they suggest they will replace buses – is self-driving electric cars. Taking the driver out of the picture overcomes some issues, most obviously the problem of collisions – there is a high global and UK death toll from people crashing their vehicles.
A switch to driverless vehicles gives us an opportunity to rethink our relationship with cars. We could move away from the old idea that everybody should own their own car and have a much smaller number of automated cars, each in frequent use and summoned when people need them.
Self-driving cars might overcome some genuine problems, such as the number of cars on the road and where we store all the unused cars. But this future requires car makers to sell few cars rather than many. This makes it unlikely any real change will happen – especially given the cosy relationship car manufacturers have enjoyed with governments. There is a lack of ambition and vision from the motoring industry which, for all its innovation, avoids addressing underlying issues.
And even if we did shift to fewer shared vehicles, we are still left with the issues of urban sprawl, and questions about health and wellbeing. Even driverless cars do not address these fundamental problems. We need to stop building towns and cities on the self-fulfilling assumption people will travel by car. There is no future in which humans can sit down all day without paying an enormous health price. If driverless cars appear in streets anything like today’s, we risk falling into the most pathetic of robot uprisings, where they transport us helpfully from place to place while we remain inactive, growing fat and increasing our risk of cancer and diabetes.
Electric vehicles should not be considered a panacea for sustainable transport but rather a possible part of the puzzle. We need to rethink the journeys we make. Many of our urban journeys are short and we should plan cities with that in mind. Perhaps in the future we will continue to drive to the city, but we won’t drive through the city. Let’s turn cities back into a place for human beings to make their short journeys in a physically active way.
ZIMBABWE – African environmentalists looking to create a sustainable tourism industry for the 21st century have turned to Scotland for help.
A pilot project has been launched in Zimbabwe to develop minimum standards for eco-friendly businesses to attract visitors using a benchmark developed in Perth.
The initiative is straightforward and the potential impact on biodiversity, communities and the country as a whole is enormous
Green Tourism is already the world’s largest accreditation body for the hospitality industry promoting sustainability. It has more than 2,500 members in the UK and has helped launch green tourism systems in Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, Italy and Ireland.
The travel and leisure sector plays an increasingly important role in the economy of Zimbabwe which accounts for one of the African continent’s finest and largest concentrations of wildlife. By helping businesses cut costs, reduce waste, increase energy efficiency and conserve natural resources it’s hoped the country can build a stronger more competitive tourism sector for the benefit of local communities and help reduce poverty.
The internationally renowned five-star Victoria Falls Hotel, overlooking one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, and the prestigious Victoria Falls Safari Lodge are among the first of 20 hospitality companies to join the pioneering project.
“We want to be pioneers of sustainable tourism in Africa and we believe that with the help of Green Tourism we will be able to come up with the right guidelines to show the world we are serious about conservation, the environment and combatting climate change,” said Sophie Zirabwe, executive director of planning, research and development for the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.
Zimbabwe chose the Green Tourism programme after looking at a number of schemes around the world.
The chief executive for Environment Africa, Charlene Hewat said: “The Green Tourism initiative for Zimbabwe is practical, straightforward and the potential positive impact on biodiversity, communities and the country as a whole is enormous.”
Zimbabwe currently only has 2 per cent of the tourism market share in Africa while South Africa has 29 per cent and Mauritius 5 per cent.
At a recent wildlife conference in Harare, the minister of tourism, Walter Mzembi, described tourism as providing the quickest prospect for turning Zimbabwe around and creating a £3.3 billion tourism economy by 2020.
Perth-based Green Tourism was the first initiative of its kind to be independently validated by the International Centre for Responsible Tourism on behalf of VisitEngland, VisitWales and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. It is also endorsed by VisitScotland and Failte Ireland.
A study by the independent think-tank TotemTourism into the ethics and expertise of 158 schemes used by businesses around the world to boost sustainability credentials identified Green Tourism as the Best of the Best.
The launch of a Donkey Tracking Route through the scenic Cederberg mountains has brought jobs and hope for the remote Western Cape community.
The final phase of the Department of Tourism’s developmental project was opened by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom in Wupperthal this week.
The department has established amenities that tie in with the hiking and outdoor lifestyle of tourists to the Cederberg.
Bridges and footbridges were constructed to improve access for tourists and campsites and backpackers lodges have been developed to provide overnight accommodation, and shaded picnic sites with fencing and animal gates were built. Tourism signage has also been improved.
Tourists can book rides on traditional donkey carts owned by members of local communities along the route, which provide a unique, eco-friendly way of experiencing the mountainous terrain. Increased tourism activity along the route will be a major economic boost for the community of Wupperthal, where most families in the village and surrounding areas depend on small scale farming for a living.
The launch formed part of the Department of Tourism’s Imbizo Focus Week. Minister Hanekom engaged with people from local communities.
“Tourists are attracted to South Africa not only as a destination with diverse sightseeing opportunities, but also to experience a different perspective. Wuppertal offers these experiences in great measure,” said Minister Hanekom at the launch.
“The unspoilt, rugged landscape lends itself to hiking and outdoor activities while the history, heritage and culture of the Moravian mission station offers a unique glimpse into rural South African life.”
Partners in the project include the Cederberg Municipality and the Moravian Church, who own the land on which some of the amenities have been established. West Coast Tourism and Cederberg Tourism will help the community to market their products. The assets and profits generated will be kept in a trust for the community.
Minister Hanekom urged the partners to continue working together towards expanding the opportunities that have been created.
“There are challenges that you face as a community but what you have in this Cederberg area is something unique and special, and it should be packaged and marketed to tourists so that the benefit to the community escalates. Only by taking hands in partnership can we overcome our challenges,” he said.
The Minister opened two backpacker lodges and handed over accommodation facilities for 62 tourists and 35 camping sites to the community.
The project has been designed to be socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. The Suurrug and Wupperthal lodges have solar energy power sources, making this the first “green tourism” project in the department’s Social Responsibility Implementation Programme.
Jobs created through construction of the facilities were funded by government’s Expanded Public Works Programme. Members of the community also benefitted from skills development and training to help them operate tourism-related businesses successfully.