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Tagged with " Environmentally Friendly"

Swedish furniture company to buy wind farm in Texas

Nov 18, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   New and Views  //  No Comments

IKEA will soon be the new owners of the 165MW Cameron wind farm in Texas, US, which contains 55 turbines. This will be IKEA’s largest single renewable investment. However much energy the company consumes globally, it aims to contribute back to the environment by producing that same amount as renewable energy.

“IKEA believes that the climate challenge requires bold commitment and action, we invest in renewable energy to become more sustainable as a business” says Rob Olson, IKEA US acting president and chief financial officer.

The company is now on the way to owning 279 wind turbines in nine countries and have over 700,000 solar panels installed by the end of 2015. At the moment, under 40,000 solar panels are installed on nine of their UK stores.

The water bottle that refills it self!

Nov 18, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   New and Views  //  No Comments

With this clever little gadget, cyclists won’t ever have to worry about carrying extra bottles of water or finding water again. Powered by solar panels, this bottle can collect water from the air!

Here’s how it works:

  • The bottle is attached to a device which is then attached to a bike. The device has a small cooler in its centre.
  • The cooler has two parts: Solar panels generate electricity to cool the upper part down, while the bottom side warms up.
  • As the bike travels forwards at a high speed, air enters the bottle and reaches the bottom part of the bottle.
  • The hot side of the device cools down, which then makes the cold side much cooler.
  • When the air enters the top part of the bottle, it is stopped with the small perforated walls, which condenses the water.
  • Droplets then flow through the straw and into the bottle.
  • The straw can be moved upwards for the water to be consumed.
  • Any standard 500ml bottle can fit in the device.

The name given to this gadget is ‘Fontus’ (named after the Roman God of wells and springs) and was designed by Kristof Retezar, an industrial design student from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Fontus has been put through as a finalist in the 2014 James Dyson award.

So if you’re wondering, does the water taste nice? At the moment Fontus cannot purify the water, therefore we can assume that if it was used in the city, the water wouldn’t taste nice and would have some unwanted particles in there, therefore isn’t suitable for the city. It only has a filter to keep the dust out. So if Fontus was used in a totally different environment such as the mountains, then I think most of us would be more happy to drink it. But fingers crossed, the young inventor can further develop this clever little gadget and we’ll be able to see it in our stores very soon!

Electric vehicles: can help dogs relax

Nov 18, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   New and Views  //  No Comments

Do you have a noisy dog that can be difficult to settle down? And is there any chance you’re considering getting an electric vehicle?

A dog daycare centre in Midlothian, Scotland has discovered that when they transport their dogs in their new Nissan electric van, the van helps them relax and fall asleep.


“When we put the dogs in our old van to pick them up or take them home they’d just go mad and would bark and bark the whole way,” said Gillian Black, the daycare centre manager. The sound of the new vehicle is near-silent and is even effective on previously boisterous dogs. “They just chill out completely. Most of the time they get in, lie down and go straight to sleep. It’s clearly very calming and relaxing for them.”

The quietness of electric vehicles has also given a benefit in other areas too, for example the Los Angeles Police Department uses electric motorcycles to sneak up on criminals. They can travel around the city at high speed, chasing criminals without that thunderous engine noise that most people find startling or irritating.

However there is a negative point to their silent engines, they can cause accidents, which certainly takes out the ‘listen’ aspect out of the ‘stop, look, listen’ method before crossing the road.

Cycling sector could provide a million jobs by 2020

Nov 14, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   New and Views  //  No Comments

With the need to reduce our carbon footprint and the ever increasing cost of travel and maintaining our own vehicles, many of us have opted for cycling. So with cycling becoming more popular, this in turn has created more jobs. A recent study has revealed that Europe’s cycling industry now employs twice as many people as the steel industry and employs more people in mining and quarrying.

At the moment, the mining and quarrying sector employs 615,000 people and the steel sector employs 350,000 people. However, 655,000 people work in the cycling economy which covers bicycle production, infrastructure, services, tourism and retail. The study has identified that plenty of local businesses such as cafes and shops are experiencing the benefits “cyclists go more to local shops, restaurants, cafes than users of other transport modes.”

Kevin Mayne, the development director at the European Cyclists’ Federation which commissioned the study said “You know that investing in cycling is justified from your transport, climate change and health budgets. Now we can show clearly that every cycle lane you build and every new cyclist you create is contributing to job growth. Investing in cycling provides a better economic return than almost any other transport option. This should be your first choice every time.”

The European Cyclists’ Federation has also mentioned that they’d like 10% of Europe’s transport budget to go towards the cycling sector, in order to create electronic bikes, more infrastructure projects and road safety campaigns. With heavily congested roads in some parts of the UK, many of us are still afraid to cycle on the main roads. So better road infrastructure and safety campaigns can help encourage potential cyclists. This would also increase the cycling economy even more.

Most of us would agree that some of our European neighbours have much better roads for cycling than us. So it may be long while before our main roads are anywhere near as safe as theirs. But if our roads were to become safer for cyclists, would it convince you to get on your bike? Even just to go down to the local shops?

Changes in Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive

Nov 12, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   New and Views, Renewable Heat Incentive  //  No Comments

Over 10,000 Domestic RHI Applicants were accredited within the first six months of the scheme. Read some of their stories and view some statistics here: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ofgem-publications/90603/drhi1st10000.pdf

And from the 9th October, those who received the Renewable Heat Premium Payment are now able to apply for the Domestic RHI – the application must be submitted by 8th April 2015.

It’s no surprise when we come across a term or definition that sounds confusing. Understanding what Ofgem meant by ‘Eligible new-build’ was a common issue, therefore they have provided a new help sheet to make it clear. One of the main points is that those who live in an eligible new-build don’t need to provide a Green Deal Advice Report.

A particular question on the application form was baffling too. Question 6: ‘Does the renewable heating system at your property have more than one MCS certificate?’
Ofgem has put the form through further tests and has reworded parts of the form along with detailed explanations. Already, they’ve seen a positive outcome since the re-adjustment.
Visit think link to read more about the form: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ofgem-publications/87111/aguidetofillingoutyourformjune.pdf
It will be a good starting point before completing the form.

When completing the application, those that had an installation before the Domestic RHI had problems when they hadn’t entered their seasonal performance factor correctly, they had to begin the application all over again. That’s all come to an end, there is now an option to edit the seasonal performance factor values.
Visit this link to read more: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ofgem-publications/88527/140915whattodoifyourapplicationisinreview.pdf

Want to attend an RHI roadshow?
Look for a date near you…

Sports clubs to help promote caring for environment

Nov 12, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   New and Views  //  No Comments

As we all know, it takes time to get someone to do something different, especially when it’s out of their comfort zone. For many decades, we’ve all known that there is a greater need to care for our lovely earth and although new measures are put in to place all the time, our old habits still get in the way. However, it’s all about good, regular communication and encouragement, to get the public to do what you want them to do.

Manchester United is one of the biggest, iconic UK football clubs, it’s a brand within it self and is recognised all over the world with about 660 million fans – Manchester United is definitely powerful enough to communicate positive messages of caring for the environment and turning their fans into environmentalist. Well, maybe not to the extreme of becoming an environmentalist, but if they can encourage them to do a regular contribution by doing something as basic as placing the plastic and glass bottles into the right recycling bins rather than dumping them in the regular bins without a second thought, then at least some positive difference would’ve been made.

As there is a strong correlation between sports and good behaviour change, this will also be a good way to encourage the younger generation and to develop good habits while they’re still young, as plenty of them look up to these footballers as icons and role models.

Other sports teams around the world have recognised the need to promote environmental-care, for example, the Barclays Centre in New York, home to the NBA Brooklyn Nets basketball team, runs competitions for local businesses. These businesses have to implement some energy efficiency measures and who ever achieves the highest performance will win signed memorabilia and free tickets to watch the games.

The Seattle Mariners baseball team holds weekly challenges in which fans have to answer a set of questions. The clues are kept at recycling points around the stadium. The winning prize is a tablet computer.

So competitions can be an effective way to get the wider public involved in environmental-care. After all, it’s the chance of winning a prize that makes it more attractive. But could there be a down-side to holding competitions? Will this really improve the fans’ behaviour towards environmental-ethics even when there isn’t a competition or challenge involved?

Gold stars for giving up cars

Nov 7, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   New and Views  //  No Comments

Remember back in the old school days where we were rewarded with gold stars on good behaviour and excellent work? Well now schools will be rewarded with gold stars, as part of a scheme to encourage parents and pupils to walk, cycle or use public transport to school. Reducing the usage of cars will lower pollution and congestion around the school. It will reduce carbon emissions and promote a healthier lifestyle of keeping physically active which would also help the issue of childhood obesity.

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer has backed the national scheme and is aiming for all of UK’s 24,000 schools to participate in the scheme. At the moment, 5,000 schools are involved.

The schools can also arrange ‘walking buses’ in which pupils are picked up at meeting points and would walk the rest of the way with their school mates. And for parents that find it necessary to drive due to poor transport links or live too far from the school, a ‘park and stride’ scheme can be implemented, in which they can park their vehicles in designated areas and walk the rest of the way. And of course there are parents who absolutely do not wish to give up their vehicles. Councils have been considering the idea of charging them for parking near the schools.

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said in a statement, “We all know that walking or cycling is good for your health and better for the environment than jumping into a car. That is why I am delighted to support this programme, which incentivises youngsters to choose a healthier route to school.”

High demand for electric vehicles

Oct 24, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   New and Views  //  No Comments

As part of the nature of your work are you frequently on the road and worrying about expensive fuel costs? After a long while of drivers not liking the idea of electric vehicles for various reasons, it has turned out they are now actually becoming more popular. Sales have doubled compared to the previous quarter, with 5000 vehicles having been accredited under the Government grant scheme (known as the plug-in car grant) between July and September. Ultra low emission vehicles, also known as ULEV can be purchased at a reduced price under the scheme – with discounts of up to £5000 for cars and £8000 for vans. So why are more people buying into these electric cars? They are a lot cheaper to run and the costs of maintaining a vehicle is usually a common issue. They also drive more smoothly, making driving more comfortable and enjoyable and of course they are environmentally friendly. So if you’re thinking about changing your car or van, you might want to think about getting an electric one instead for all the many benefits.

Visit this link to view a list of eligible vehicles for the plug-in car grant…


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