by firespin on Saturday June 20, 2015

Many websites, like this one, have taken on the challenge of trying to promote healthy living and environmentally friendly living by promoting what’s positive and negative to the environment. It’s all well and good having the information and writing an article to try to present the writing in a easy to read fashion, however, if the website has clashing colours, low resolution pictures, buttons that don’t work etc, chances are that the user will just click the back button and won’t even attempt to read the information presented. You may not think that web design is important for green and environment sites but you’d be wrong. Everything needs to be displayed clearly and efficiently whilst the website needs to be easy to navigate through. Because web design is so vital for green sites, I spoke with a web design business in Essex about some of the best designs they’ve seen for eco sites and what makes them so effective.

WWF

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Probably the most famous wildlife and environmental issues site there is, the WWF website has an easy to read user-friendly homepage and sub pages attached to it. This enables clear reading and presentation of the important information. It has the most recent and important issues clearly displayed, such as becoming a WWF member and helping to save the rainforest, whilst also having large and clear photos which clearly show the visitor what species they are protecting and where. The website design is efficient yet not boring. It’s the perfect combination!

Live Science

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This website is more science related than specifically all about animals and the environment, however, the health and planet earth sections of the website is well known as being very popular for green enthusiasts. The website has a standard top banner style with the various different sections displayed clearly at the top, whilst the moving photo section in the middle of the homepage instantly grabs your attention. This is really a great design.

Green Lichen

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This website primarily focuses on pictures on the homepage to entice the visitor to click on the article that interest them the most. However, the text that accompanies it is cleverly set on a faded black section of the bottom of the photo so the white text never clashes with the picture. The white background of the site is simply but very effective, which is basically all you want to have when presenting important information like this website does.


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by firespin on Thursday April 16, 2015

Everyone who has a garden knows how relaxing and unwinding it is sitting back with a nice glass of wine on a balmy summers evening whilst getting rid of the days stress. There’s honestly nothing better. What some people don’t realise is that having your garden and flowerbeds looking nice might require you to leave the sprinklers on it all afternoon. This results in a massive amount of wasted water and a very “un” environmentally friendly garden. So what techniques are there for you to stop wasted water and other un eco practices to keep your garden as eco friendly as possible? We spoke with Far Away Furniture, who specialise in teak garden sets and garden designs, about some of the practices they’ve encountered and they submitted to us some clever and interesting ways to keep your garden eco friendly during the summer months.

Harvest rainwater

 

 image courtesy of watercache

If you happen to live in sunny California and the rain stays away most of the time, harvesting rainwater may not be on the top of your agenda, but you’d be wrong. Because of the lack of rain, every time it does rain it’s important to harvest the water to use on your garden at a later date. Wasting water isn’t needed in this modern day of age so staying eco friendly and collecting the rain is a great way of being greener. If you live in a rainy climate, this isn’t such a pressing need, however it’s still a good idea to implement during the summer months.

Less pesticide more natural

 

image courtesy of frbiz.com

Most of you know that if you have a garden, annoying bugs and insects can often find their way in to your precious flowers and plants and can have a negative effect ton their growth. Using pesticides to prevent this from happening isn’t particular healthy on the garden long term and not healthy on any other animals that might frequent your garden. Try to use natural alternatives and less pesticide like natural compost mixed in to the layers of soil.

Grow your own food

image courtesy of indianapublicmedia

Nothing says environmentally friendly than growing your own food right? It’s a lot easier than it sounds too! You can easily grow your own vegetables and fruit, depending on the climate of course, and there are plenty of places online that can advise you how to do it. Potatoes are a popular vegetable to grow as they require little maintenance and produce a larger yield. Also the versatility of the vegetable means you have a huge amount of ways to cook and eat them!


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by firespin on Tuesday February 24, 2015

This past week we had the opportunity to test drive, and put the Dodge Ram 1500 EcoDiesel truck to the test and see whether it really delivered on many of its high-end marketing promises. Our tracking of fuel consumption made it very obvious early on that the truck lives up to its reputation as being eco-friendly. Like all vehicles its fuel economy is lower than stated by the manufacturer but is much higher than the competing vehicles we tested getting 19-27 miles per gallon depending on if we were doing city driving or country driving.

The vehicle delivered a smooth high-powered ride from its diesel engine, and the all-wheel drive was a pleasure to experience. When we were doing our test drive we encountered a large quantity of mud. Needless to say fuel efficient in the context of the Dodge Ram 1500 does not mean low on power. It easily and comfortably navigated the mud, leaving it well behind in our tracks. American trucks are becoming more and more popular and because of this, the Dodge Ram 1500 is now easily available to buy in the UK and to be honest, it’s easy to see why after our test drive.

Here are the highlights:

Interior

Interior

Another high point of the Dodge Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is the spacious interior with seating for 5. While the vehicle drives like a truck and has the utility of a truck, it does not feel like one inside the cab. It is a comfortable environment decked out with leather trims and an impressive sound system.

Engine

Engine

The EcoDiesel Engine is a powerful tool, capable of producing 240 horsepower and 420 lbs of torque. Featuring an 8 speed automatic gearbox this vehicle is powerful and easy to drive.

Towing

Towing

With nearly 10 tonnes of towing capacity the Dodge Ram 1500 is certainly amongst the best in class and head and shoulders above its pickup truck peers. It can handle an additional two tons in the back box making it highly suitable for anyone who needs to haul equipment and supplies for a living.

Style

Style

There is no question the Dodge Ram stands out in the style department. With smooth clean lines, a high ride, and plenty of chrome it is one great-looking truck. Compared to other light duty trucks the Ram 1500 says both truck, and eco-friendly with a great dollop of masculine. The only question is if the style can make up for the high price.


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by Grace Alison on Thursday February 05, 2015

According to the U.S EPA, saving on electricity use is the single most effective method of reversing environmental degradation.

To appreciate the reason why experts cite electricity as the major culprit in environmental pollution, consider these factors:

  • EPA reckons that electricity generation contributes to 40% of carbon emissions globally.

  • Coal generates 44% of electricity used in the U.S and it is the single biggest air polluter in the country.

  • An individual American contributes over 24.5 metric tons of greenhouse gases.

  • The largest percentage of electricity in the U.S comes from burning fossil fuels with only less than 1% coming from wind and solar.

Earth by https://www.flickr.com/photos/yogendra174/

Earth by https://www.flickr.com/photos/yogendra174/

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As a property owner you might be wondering where you come into the picture. From these figures, it is obvious that your home or office electricity use leads to more harmful gases in the air leading to catastrophes instigated by global warming.

What’s more, exploration and exploitation of fossil fuels damages ecosystems and leads to more emissions through transport of these fuels, production and finally powering up your home. The Earth Hour Movement argues that this is enough reason to learn how to save electricity and in turn saving planet earth.

Innovative Techniques on Saving Electricity

Well, it is time to walk the talk and mind you, it doesn’t take a lot of effort. Take a look at some of these techniques:

  1. Schedule a home energy efficiency audit: There is no way you can try to manage what you don’t know. As such, you need to get an expert to help determine areas where energy wastage is prevalent. Such will determine areas where you can get improved efficiency for you to take action promptly.

  2. Exploit technology to monitor energy use: Before even calling for an energy auditor, you should invest in a plug-in monitor that will help you get an idea of the power consumed at various outlets. The internet also comes in handy to help you compare electricity rates from different companies in order to leverage on an affordable plan.

  3. Lifestyle change: Now that you appreciate the impact of electric wastage on the environment, it is time to make some sacrifices. For instance, avoid using hot water if it is not necessary or dial back the temperatures on the water heater. You can also dry your cloths out on sunny days instead of using the high-energy consumption drier.

  4. Invest in a programmable thermostat: Heating and cooling are the second largest energy expense. This device helps to turn off the HVAC system when you do not need it and with its override function, you can change the settings any time.

  5. Insulation: Air leaks affect your air conditioners function leading to more power consumption. To avert this make sure you invest in weather stripping in your garage and other rooms with doors and windows.

  6. Energy saving lighting: Using CFL or ambient LED lights saves you a lot of money while reducing landfill dumping and wastage of electricity.

You should also invest in ENERGY STAR-rated home and office appliances to enhance energy efficiency in order to save planet earth.

BIO

Grace J. Alison is a prolific environmental writer who has worked for various conservation projects around the globe in the last 32 years. She is a vocal advocate for cheaper electricity rates as an incentive for energy efficiency.


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by firespin on Tuesday February 03, 2015

The environment and its treatment is possibly the defining issue of our time. It consumes the political and consumer agenda. Increasingly enlightened buyers are investigating prospective purchases for their environmental ratings. The knowledge amongst consumers is leading to greener choices in all fields and encouraging companies to modify their business practices. Being green is no longer just the right thing to do, it is also profitable. It is no wonder banks and financial institutions have taken an interest in the environment. This has included rolling out sustainable operations and practices throughout their own business. In many cases, such as the case of encouraging customers to move away from paper statements, doing the right thing has positively impacted the bottom line.

The use of renewable energy and following green building practices has also become industry standard. But where are banks and insurance companies best positioned to make a difference? Ironically it is not within their businesses, but rather outside of them. Through sustainable lending and helping to get green business off of the ground with affordable financing, banks and investment houses are making a world of difference in the environmental realm at alternative energy stocks and providing risk assessment around the world for them.

SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENTS

One of the most quickly advancing areas where the banks have helped the environment includes sustainable investments. These investments are marketed to clients on the basis of the low environmental footprint of the funds holdings. Such investments usually consist of sustainable companies. This would include wind farms and other green projects.

INSURANCE PRODUCTS

Lloyds and its cover holder GCube and reinsurer Munich RE have taken on the role of insuring projects with an environmental focus. They recently underwrote for the 160MW Noor 1 solar power facility in Morocco. The underwriting of the installation phase of the project for 21 months allowed it to proceed and the concentrated solar operation or CSP, the first outside of North America, has taken shape in the desert.

The same syndicate has also worked to keep biomass projects in the United Kingdom on track. This includes the 80 MW waste wood pellet combustion biomass plant in Ridham Dock, Kent. The energy that will come onto the UK grid as a result of the project will sustainably power thousands of residences. Similar to other projects green projects need insurance to mitigate risks. This includes insurance for delays in startup, loss of components in transport, and error in site design.

USING THEIR EXPERTISE FOR BETTERING THE ENVIRONMENT

Banks and insurance companies are two businesses that on their own are not environmentally unfriendly. Generally outside of the paper they use, there is little in the way of negative environmental consequence from their operations. Their best contribution to the environment is through their understanding of lending and insurance products. These are two areas that with their expertise position them to add value to any project of an environmental nature. Their increased openness to financing green deals has, in its own way, led to the creation of a new business line.

Demand for sustainable investments from both retail and wholesale investors is one of the fastest growing market segments, annual reviews in sustainable investment have shown a year on year increase. By being leaders in the environmental movement through innovative financing instead of laggards the banks and insurance companies position themselves for a new round of growth. Making their choice to support the environment both a profitable venture, and the right thing to do.


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