Energy Efficiency

Tips for Implementing a Recycling Program at the Office

recycle-office

Going green isn’t just a fad or trend — it’s a highly efficient practice that helps to minimize unnecessary household and business wastage. Implementing an office recycling program can do wonders to better protect the environment, particularly as offices consume a lot of materials including paper, printer ink, and light bulbs. Here are some helpful tips to get you implement such a program in your office environment.

Reach Out to Waste Management Parties

Whether your office’s waste is managed by a municipal collection program or building management, take the time to speak with them and learn what can be recycled and what can’t. Statistics indicate that up to 90% of office waste can in fact be recycled, so your efforts will surely make a major impact. By learning what can be recycled, you can better organize this new recycling program and plan it out more accordingly.

Speak to Employees

By talking to employees and learning what they waste and how they dispose of it, you’ll have a better idea of how inefficient or needlessly wasteful your office’s current waste management plan is. By combining this data with what you learned from those who handle waste management for your location, you are now ready to implement a successful office recycling program. Additionally, when visiting employees at their stations, you can gain a better understanding of where they frequent or how close they will be to recycling bins.

Appoint a Program Coordinator

By enlisting the help of someone highly knowledgeable and/or passionate about sustainability and environmental protection, your program will hit the ground running and likely be more successful. A coordinator will keep a close eye on the inner workings of the program throughout its inception process, ensuring that it is being utilized properly and efficiently drawing in recyclable materials from the office. While you may be too busy at times to adequately inspect the efficiency of the program, your coordinator will be specifically there to do so, acting as a second set of eyes and informing you of any adjustments that need to be made (such as additional bins, stricter enforcement, etc).

Incentivize Eco-Friendliness

Once your program is in full swing, it’s important to keep employees motivated and passionate about accurately diverting waste away from landfills. Hold fun contests with rewards for those who recycle the most or come up with ways to bolster the program’s effectiveness, or throw a pizza party if the office meets a goal of a specific percentage of sufficiently recycled waste. By respecting employees or showing your gratitude for their dedication to the program, they’ll feel more inclined to keep up the good work.

If going paperless or making major expensive changes isn’t financially feasible, implementing a recycling program in your office can make a huge impact on how your workplace’s waste is diverted and treated. The more you and your employees work together to make it successful, the greater of a difference it will make on your office’s impact on the environment.

Energy Efficiency

How can my business become more energy-efficient?

Any business hopes to minimize expenses and maximize profits. However, a lack of energy efficiency is akin to operating a ship without a rudder. By making green changes that increase your business’ energy efficiency, it will be easier to save money and be more cost effective.

Shut Off Equipment

At the end of a workday, go through your business and ensure that everything is shut off. Computers, printers, fax machines, scanners, photocopiers, and other electronic equipment will continue to consume energy on a 24/7 basis unless if powered off — even with screensavers. If you must leave specific systems on, then be sure to activate sleep mode. This function, when initialized 15 minutes after inactivity, uses at least 70% less energy than regular operational mode, and can make a tremendous difference in lowering energy bills. Also, unplug all phone and mobile device chargers when not in use, as they still convert and waste energy when not plugged into a device.

Cut Back on Travel

Many business employees and owners need to attend meetings or speak with clients. However, even though travel occurs outside a business, it still contributes towards how energy efficient your operation is. If at all possible, consider opting for modernizing your meetings by setting up video conferencing. The minimized travel expenses will help to lower fuel and energy costs, more so if your business has multiple meetings on a weekly basis.

Upgrade Lighting Systems

By leaving lights on throughout your business, your energy bills will never shrink. Take action and encourage staff to switch off lights in unoccupied areas and at the end of every day. If you can afford to install motion sensors in washrooms and hallways, they will do the work for you in ensuring that lights are only turned on when needed by someone. Also, replacing bulbs with LEDs or other more energy efficient varieties will enhance the effectiveness of these cost-saving measures.

Minimize Heating and Upgrade to ENERGY STAR® Products

Additionally, reducing your heating temperature by even 1 degree (Celsius) can lower your heating bill by as much as 10%. If your system is antiquated and consuming more electricity than is necessary, act quickly and upgrade to an ENERGY STAR® certified heating system that will only consume the amount of energy that is needed. Combined, these two measures will drastically reduce your expenses over time. Upgrading to similarly certified electronic products throughout your business would help you save even more, also.

Operating a business is no easy thing to do. However, you can make it easier on yourself and your employees by implementing a few energy efficient habits and upgrades that will help to lower costs and keep you in the black. Apply eco-friendliness to your working environment and reap the rewards.

Fuel Efficiency

North America’s Most Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

fuel-efficient-car

Science and technology has made leaps and bounds in developing new, highly fuel efficient road vehicles in recent years. With the ongoing trend of eco-friendliness, car manufacturers are working hard to modernize and update their products, and new competitors are entering the fray. Therefore, there are more options available to prospective drivers than ever before. Here are some of the most fuel-efficient vehicles available to North Americans.

Volkswagen Jetta

One of the best selling Volkswagen vehicles on the market, the Jetta boasts incredible mileage at 9.5L/100km in cities and 6.9L/100km on highways. Highly fuel efficient and reliable, this four-door sedan is also roomier and more comfortable than other vehicles in its price range, and offers a tremendously smooth ride compared to other compact sedans. As a result, it is hugely popular and commonplace, and is highly economical to drive for years to come.

Toyota Prius

A top favorite amongst environmentally minded individuals, the Toyota Prius is one of the most popular and fuel-efficient vehicles currently available on the market. With filling-up costs equal to less than $800 CAD annually, this compact eco-friendly ride provides a real bang for your buck. It is capable of 4.6L/100km city and 4.9L/100km highway mileage, and a hybrid option is readily available.

Mitsubishi Mirage

One of the most lightweight and economical four-door vehicles available, the Mitsubishi Mirage is anything but an illusion. This subcompact has a wonderful fuel economy and mpg, with 5.9L/100km city and 4.6L/100km highway mileage. The Mirage offers a highly efficient and comfortable ride, with a large rear seat capacity and low power consumption rate culminating in a total weight of merely 895 kg.

Tesla Model S

If you’re seeking super-clean and innovative transportation for a large initial investment but massive savings in the long run, then look no further than the Tesla Model S. Tesla Motors is world-renowned for their line of electric vehicles that provide extremely clean and reliable transportation to eco-friendly drivers. Being entirely battery-powered, fuel costs are nonexistent, making it and other Tesla vehicles the most cost-effective vehicles on the market.

It is important to save money whenever possible, and for many, vehicles bring with them astronomical fuel and maintenance costs. However, by opting for one of the reliable, comfortable, award-winning, and highly fuel-efficient vehicles from this list, you’ll be more capable than ever of cutting costs and living without fuel-related financial stress. Available at varying starting prices, there is an economical solution here for every budget.

Fuel Efficiency

A Driver’s Guide to Saving Money on Gasoline

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No motorist wants to spend more on gasoline than they absolutely have to. At the same time, we don’t enjoy having to make sacrifices just to make ends meet. By applying some effective cost-saving methods to our driving habits, we can get the best of both worlds by being able to drive without putting as many dollars in our gas tanks.

Fill Up Early or Late in the Day, and Early in the Week

Many drivers don’t consider the influence a fuel’s temperature will have on their vehicle’s consumption rate. As temperatures rise throughout the day, gas density lowers and as a result, you’ll not get as much out of your hard-earned dollars by filling up at noon. Gasoline with a cooler temperature is denser, and you’ll be able to save money as a result. Gas prices typically are lowest during the beginning of the week, so try to fill up between Sunday and Tuesday early in the morning or later in the day to get the very most out of the gasoline you buy.

Keep an Eye on Your Fuel Filter and Tank Level

Your vehicle’s fuel filter is a vital and highly useful component that serves as the lifeline of your engine. Not only does it work to keep your fuel lines and engine clean and in working order, but it also acts as a barrier for unwanted debris and sediment. If you live in a rural or dusty area, checking your filter for cleanliness is an important step to take. Dirty or clogged fuel filters are less effective and will waste useful gas, and they will also endanger the overall long-term health of your engine and fuel lines. Incidentally, don’t wait until your tank is nearly empty before filling up. Driving on low speeds up the dirtying of your filter, as your vehicle has no choice but to rely on sediment-rich gas at the bottom of the tank.

Maintain an Aerodynamic Profile

Stuffing your vehicle with belongings or adding attachments such as roof racks increases it’s weight. As a result, the vehicle has to push itself harder and consume more gasoline to reach intended speeds. By ensuring you drive with little to no additional clutter, it will be easier to lower fuel costs. Also, it is crucial that you eliminate wind resistance by keeping windows and sunroofs closed whenever possible. This helps to reduce drag and maintain a thoroughly effective aerodynamic shape, forcing air over your vehicle more efficiently to reduce the need to hammer on the gas pedal as much.

Driving is in many ways an art. With practice, we learn how to get the very most out of our investments and how to be more cost effective without sacrifice. By applying these methods to your driving habits, you’ll be able to easily save more on gas costs, which is more important than ever when considering today’s prices.

Fuel Efficiency

Benefits of Gasoline-Ethanol Blends

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Many drivers swear by gasoline and ethanol mixtures (of which there are several varieties). There are many benefits to opting for this cleaner and more environmentally friendly approach to filling up, and every day more and more motorists are switching over to this popular renewable resource.

Better for Engine Health

As ethanol is infinitely cleaner than gasoline and free of sediment, it is better for the overall health of your vehicle’s engine. Your fuel filter will be able to more efficiently keep your fuel lines and engine clean, as less actual gasoline is used when combined with ethanol. This will result in your vehicle’s internal components and engine lasting several years longer than if using plain old gasoline, which is especially important to bear in mind if you’re the type to drive with as little gas in your tank as possible to cut costs. Driving this way with regular gasoline will clog your filter and damage vital components relatively quickly, but using an ethanol mixture helps to rectify this issue (even though it isn’t recommended).

Less Harmful on the Environment

Ethanol is a non-fossil fuel that is generally derived from sugarcane, corn, wheat, and other agricultural crops. As a renewable fuel source that burns more cleanly than straight gasoline, it produces less of a negative impact on the environment. In fact, ethanol’s ability to minimize emissions has been recognized by major important figures and parties. For example, Canada’s Renewable Fuels Regulations require that gasoline contains an average renewable fuel content of 5%, and many ethanol fuel mixtures contain anywhere between 10% and 85% of this cleaner resource.

Less Gasoline Consumption

When using an ethanol-blended gasoline, drivers are able to burn through their tanks a little more slowly. As a result of this dependence on multiple resources mixed together, vehicles using ethanol blends don’t need to be filled up at the gas station quite as often. Not only will this help to save drivers valuable dollars in today’s expensive motoring age, but also it will help to lower our collective carbon footprint through a reliance on ethanol and its benefits of being a more clean-burning fuel.

Fuel mixtures of ethanol blended with gasoline are still debated to this day due to various health and safety-related concerns. Until proven otherwise, however, it makes sense to opt for ethanol as a cleaner, renewable, and highly efficient resource that also helps to protect our vehicles from typical gasoline-related wear and tear.

Fuel Efficiency

Driving Habits That Cost You More Money

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We think of driving as a necessary expense — after all, many of us depend on our vehicles as a means of access to vital goods and services. However, you may be shelling out more money than is necessary thanks to some subtle but financially harmful driving habits. Here are a few examples.

Sudden Braking

Every time you slam on the brakes, you consume more fuel than you would by removing your foot from the gas pedal before braking. Allowing your vehicle to breathe before gently slowing to a stop at a yellow or red light or stop sign makes the most use of its available momentum. In addition to saving on fuel consumption, this approach will help protect your brakes from increased wear and tear.

Ignoring Aerodynamics and Over-Packing

All vehicles are meticulously engineered and developed for maximum aerodynamic efficiency, which also helps you to maintain a higher speed with minimal drag. Always remove unnecessary attachments such as roof racks and hood decorations, and be sure to maintain a streamlined airflow by keeping your sunroof and windows closed. Also, habits such as loading racks of belongings on your roof, towing large loads, and generally over-filling your vehicle with items have a profoundly negative impact on how fast and aerodynamic it is. This can impede on planned travel schedules as well as gasoline costs, as heavier vehicles require increased fuel consumption.

Revving Your Engine

It is imperative that vehicle owners avoid revving their engines as much as possible, particularly when ignition has just been engaged and during colder months when it takes longer to warm up a car’s engine. This prevents the engine from receiving proper lubrication and puts unnecessary and dramatic strain on it. As a result, expect to pay for expensive engine damage repairs or even replacements if you have a revving habit. Allow your engine to wake up and come to life as intended by the vehicle manufacturer.

Operating With Low Fuel

While many drivers claim that operating a vehicle with as little fuel in the tank as necessary is a great way to save money, it really is more expensive in the long run. The sediment from gasoline always settles at the bottom of a vehicle’s gas tank, and if you constantly run on low it means that your vehicle can only use the dirtier fuel that is available. The fuel filter won’t be as effective at trapping and catching the increased amount of sediment, and before long your engine, filter, and fuel line will suffer as a result. The cost of repairing such pointless damage to your vehicle’s components far outweighs the cost of having a more adequately filled gas tank at all times.

Correcting these habits can keep your vehicle healthier for far longer, and it is also less taxing on your budget. In today’s modern age, we depend on road transportation to maintain a pre-established standard of living. By being mutually respectful towards our vehicles and subsequent investments through less toxic driving habits, you can remain on the road towards a brighter future.

Blog Energy Efficiency

How to Boost the Energy Efficiency of Your Hot Tub and Pool

hot-tub-with-cover

Having a hot tub or pool waiting for you to slip into after a long day at the office is undeniably fantastic, but these aquatic additions to your patio, deck, or yard can consume more energy than you might expect. Here are some ways you can boost your hot tub or pool’s energy efficiency.

Pumps and Insulation

Upgrading pumps to more energy efficient ones will help in minimizing wastage, and installing a pool pump timer will enable pumping only when the water needs to be circulated, preventing excess energy consumption. If your pumping systems are old and outdated, then it’s best to upgrade, as there are far smaller and more efficient alternatives available, substantially cutting back on energy consumption in the long run.

Minimizing heat wastage is also a vital step to take to conserve energy. Ensure that you have adequate thermal insulation fully surrounding your pool or hot tub. Running heating systems at a comfortable, standardized minimum will also make a big difference, as will not turning systems off and restarting them every day.

Efficient Coverage

Evaporation is your biggest enemy as an owner of a pool or hot tub, as more energy will be required to refill water that has been absorbed into the atmosphere. A pool or hot tub cover is an absolute must, and there are a wide variety of covers available, from fancy retractable automatic ones to simple, floating thermal blankets. Be sure to cover your aquatic playgrounds when they’re not in use. Windbreaks are also highly recommended, as they help to negate temperature disruption and protect your hot tub or pool from drafts.

Perform Regular Maintenance

Owning a pool or hot tub requires a willingness to keep up with required maintenance. Filter cartridges for hot tubs that are dirty or clogged will overwork pumps and reduce water flow, diminishing efficiency. The same thing can happen to pools with dirty filters. For hot tubs, soaking filters overnight with a non-foaming filter cleanser every 3-4 months will make it easier to keep things running efficiently and smoothly. Try rotating two sets of filters, so a dry, clean spare can easily be installed with each water change.

For pools, taking a skimmer to clean out leaves will make a huge difference, as will regularly washing down the sides and bottom to allow the filtration system to more easily clean out debris. Manually cleaning out the pool pump will allow it to work less to keep the water clean, and setting up a backwashing schedule through reversing the water system will clean out debris that has gathered in the filter. Setting up your own system to cleaning out the pool with these steps will allow for minimal energy consumption.

These are just a few of the many ways you can boost the energy efficiency of your hot tub or pool. With care, patience, and a willingness to experiment, you’ll come up with a setup and maintenance schedule that makes it easier than ever to enjoy your aquatic comforts.

Blog Professional Associations

How to Engage Your Association Members

members-crowd-conference

Operating a professional association is a big responsibility, and you’ll feel like the only one contributing if your members aren’t sufficiently motivated or engaged. Here are some methods you can apply to your professional association that will help to better engage members and encourage more active participation.

Implement an Online Infrastructure

It goes without saying that in today’s digital age, online connectivity is a valuable tool for many businesses and organizations. Setting up a clean, streamlined, and efficient website with an extranet user management platform that serves as a central hub to your professional association’s latest endeavors and related content is a highly effective way to engage members and even attract new recruits. A privatized online community featuring forums, special members-only videos, photos, text-based content, and other features can help to entice visitors to learn more and become more engaged.

Incorporate Video

Many would rather watch an informative yet alluring video instead of a dry, sleep-inducing slideshow crammed full of statistics and data. Incorporating video into your engagement strategy will help perk up a few ears and generate more interest. Including members-only vlog entries or video guides that inspire or engage viewers will help to encourage members to get more involved.

Another fantastic way to utilize video to form a stronger connection with your members is via webinars. Instead of scheduling in-person training sessions that might not be applicable to a member’s availability or location, making webinars available on demand can not only help keep members interested, but also bring in more revenue for your organization if you convert it into a paid service.

Social Media Integration

This is where your professional association can be energized through interaction with the rest of the world at a personal level. Setting up official Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn pages and populating them with relevant and interesting posts or content will draw more eyes towards your organization. Members will be engaged through the increase in public interest — nobody can deny that seeing likes, follows, comments, shares, and reactions build up over time is exciting and deeply motivating.

Connecting social media accounts to your organization’s website is a great way of linking two powerful methods of engagement together. With a surge of public interest and newfound attraction drawn from social media pages to your professional association’s website, members might feel inspired to contribute post ideas, blog posts, share the organization on their own social media channels, and contribute in other ways towards the organization’s mission or vision. This could also inspire visitors to apply and join the team, and fresh blood just might be the kick your organization needs to rejuvenate itself.

With a team of inspired, motivated, and fully engaged members working with you to achieve goals, a professional association can be the total opposite of mentally draining. With some hard work and determination, applying these methods will help to re-energize your organization through members who feel driven to contribute.

Energy Efficiency

How to be More Energy Efficient On-Site

work-truck-outdoors

Energy efficiency and conservation is a key method of lowering operating costs for any business or organization. It is imperative that the environmental footprint stemming from day-to-day operations is consistently kept to a minimum. Here are some ways you can become more energy efficient on-site, cutting down on expenses and environmental impact along the way.

Modernization

Environmentally friendly pieces of hardware are always being added to the market, outpacing once-reliable and cutting-edge machinery in terms of capabilities, features, and power consumption rates. If applicable to the conditions of your workplace, suggest the idea of upgrading technology to more cost-effective and efficient equipment. Much new hardware is accompanied by a larger initial investment, but returns are far stronger due to the benefit of reduced energy wastage. New technology also allows for streamlined operating practices through the implementation of new features, faster software, and modernized components. It will also help to cut down on required maintenance, which itself will result in reduced energy consumption as a result of fewer repairs.

In fact, upgrading software to that which is more efficiently able to monitor equipment energy usage can itself drastically reduce consumption. By instructing hardware to only use the precise amount of energy required and reroute excess wastage back into the grid, modernized operating systems and programs act as a strict digital enforcer of environmentally friendly operating practices. Implement remote equipment tracking and monitoring to ensure maximum efficiency in your workflows.

Energy Efficient Mindsets

Whether the modernization of equipment is a viable option or not, there are common day-to-day individual workplace practices that, when put into place, will also help to maximize energy efficiency. When applicable, unplugging or turning off machinery when not in use should ultimately become a habit amongst all workers including technicians, equipment operators, and maintenance staff. Using tools that are only the required size as opposed to those that would consume more electricity is another environmentally friendly method. Minimizing paperwork and avoiding printer/fax usage will help lower wastage, as will encouraging colleagues to be more energy efficient by incentivizing environmentally friendly behaviour.

Standardized Equipment Maintenance and Inspection

Regularly inspecting workstations with a willingness to consistently address equipment issues is a crucial step to take in regards to conserving energy on-site. Ensuring ventilation is blockage-free, heating and cooling systems are well-maintained and operated at standardized settings, and keeping operating equipment such as machinery or computer-based systems in pristine working order will greatly help to reduce wastage. Regulating property-wide scheduled inspections and maintenance is highly recommended to maximize effectiveness.

With these methods put in place, it should be easier than ever to better control energy wastage and reduce your environmental footprint. If all employees adopt conservation-focused practices and collectively contribute, you can be assured that energy usage will decrease in addition to your impact on the environment.

Blog Energy Efficiency

5 Ways to Conserve at Home

woman-replacing-light-bulb

There are so many little habits that we commonly form at home that may seem harmless, but in actual fact, adversely affect our environment in a big way. Conserving at home saves you money and helps reduce the demand of energy, which lowers the need and usage of fossil fuels. And since lower demand of fossil fuel equates to less carbon dioxide pollution, this alone can help lower the destructive weight that’s being placed on our ecosystem.

With the amount of energy efficient alternatives, and both local and global environmental initiatives, whether you live in a new apartment or older detached home conserving at home has never been easier. Here are 5 ways that you can get started.

Conserve with Home Appliances

Swapping out old, energy hog appliances for newer energy efficient models is a great start. You can find these alternatives for just about any and every type of home appliance you need. However, if you can’t afford to go that route, then there are still ways to conserve with your current home appliances. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Wash clothing in cold water. Try to avoid using hot water for washing clothing. Using warm or cold water instead can help save approximately 500 pounds of CO2 per year for those with electric water heater, or 150 pounds for a gas heater.
  • Lower the temperature of your water heater. Thermostats only need to be set at 120 degrees F. You can save 600 pounds of CO2 per year by lowering your water heater by 10 degrees.
  • Lower the temperature of your fridge. Refrigerators need to be set as close to 37 degrees. Use a thermometer to adjust your fridge to be as close to that temperature as possible since they are often set too high. Refrigerators account for approximately 20% of household electricity use.
  • Use the dishwasher or washing machine only when there’s a full load. Also, you can select to have dishes air dry instead of using heat. This can conserve both water and energy usage.

Conserve by Using Energy Efficient Bulbs

Compact fluorescent blubs can illuminate a room just as well, if not better, than regular incandescent bulbs. However, fluorescent bulbs use only ¼ of the energy and last 8-12 times longer. It’s a simple switch that can help.

Conserve by Reducing Household Waste

One of the easiest ways to help the environment is by curtailing waste production and pollution.

  • Use reusable item. When you grocery shop, or get take-out food, use reusable bags, containers and utensils rather than plastic disposables. And take note of what you can compost and recycle in your local district. Reducing your garbage output by half of one large trash bag per week saves at least 1100 pounds of CO2 per year.

Helping out the environment and minimizing your ecological footprint is easier than you may think. With a few simple new habits, you can drastically reduce the stress that’s placed on your monthly bills, along with the destructive weight that is destroying our planet.