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Top 10 Green Bloggers of 2018

With almost any set task or goal in life, we often need that extra boost of inspiration to keep ourselves on track.  It’s no different when you’re consistently trying to maintain stellar eco-warrior status in your home or business.  In 2018, there are hundreds of suggestions and creative ideas online to help individuals become more ‘Green’ in their lifestyles – where to even begin?!

To keep the inspiration alive, I’ve pinpointed my top 10 favourite bloggers and websites to follow in 2018.  I hope they can bring you some motivation, too!

  • Eco Geek (www.ecogeek.org)
  • Greenne (www.greenne.com)
  • Sustainable Smart Business (sustainablesmartbusiness.com)
  • Environment Blog (www.theenvironmentalblog.org)
  • Andrew Winston (www.andrewwinston.com)
  • Terra Infirma (www.terrainfirma.co.uk/blog/)
  • Green Living Guy (www.greenlivingguy.com)
  • The Evnironmental Blog (www.theenvironmentalblog.org)
  • Moralfibres (www.moralfibres.co.uk)
  • Zero Waste Home (www.zerowastehome.com)

Until next time,

Keep Green!

Katie

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Converting carbon dioxide into baking soda using carbon capture

In Chennai, India, an interesting way to combat rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere is underway. Carbon is being captured using a new process in a coal-fired power plant. This process is being undertaken by a chemical manufacturer known as Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals and Fertilizers and they are using this process to produce soda ash.

In May 2016, a pilot project was carried out by Carbon Clean Solutions Limited (a London-based processing company). The project was successful in producing soda ash. Soda ash is better known as sodium carbonate and it is used for a number of purposes including the creation of sweeteners and the manufacturing of glass while it is also used during the fibreglass insulation process.

Another product of sodium carbonate is baking soda.

According to the CEO of Carbon Cleaning Solutions, their latest project is going to be a game changer especially since the project will not have to rely on any funding from the government, so it is a great model for businesses. And so far it is working well in India, one of the first countries to run this specific project.

Carbon Clean Solutions states that they are able to capture carbon dioxide at a rate of just $30 per metric ton. At that rate, they are able to capture carbon dioxide at a much lower price than what is usual. It is now estimated that each year the project will be able to capture around 60 000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, contributing to the efforts of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Baking soda is the by-product of this interesting project.
Baking soda is the by-product of this interesting project.

Not a new concept but a more effective one

There were two notable projects that preceded this one:

  • A USA based start-up company was one of the first companies to build a plant that was designed to convert carbon released by a cement company in Texas. Some of the outputs from the factory included baking soda.
  • In 2015, a company based in Germany took the process a step further and used the emissions gathered from carbon capture in the processing of ceramics as well as in the production of plastics and rubber.

However, the project currently underway in India, differs in that it will be the first of its kind to produce baking soda as a by-product of carbon capture. At the Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California, they have developed a small sponge that will use baking soda to do the carbon capture. With this new method, they believe that the carbon capture process will not only be more efficient but will also be much cheaper. The CO2 that is collected through the capture process will be fed into the plant based in Chennai, India. And the plant itself produces no carbon emissions, making its operations and products 100% clean.

In a developing country like India, this is an excellent small business opportunity for the people making it a project that can be replicated in other poorer nations around the world.

Want to find out more about how you can Go Green? Why not get in touch with Green Leaf Alternative Solutions or browse through their website? Here you will find everything you need to make the process of Going Green simple and efficient.

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Make 2017 your Greenest year yet in 7 Simple steps

It just takes a few simple lifestyle changes to turn your world Green. While installing solar panels or energy efficient air conditioning in your home or business, you can make a remarkable difference in how much you spend each month, but there are also a few other things you can do.

7 Easy Ways to help the environment

  1. Walk or cycle

If you are lucky enough to live and/or work close to shops, you might want to consider cutting back on the amount of driving you do and instead opt to walk or cycle. In South Africa, we are not exactly living in cities that are planned in such a way that walking or cycling is always a viable option but if you can use your feet instead of your tyres, this simple method to Go Green is not only going to help the environment but it is also going to benefit your health!

  1. Use your reusable bags

When South African shops stopped providing plastic bags for free when purchasing products, many of us invested in reusable bags. But how many of us still remember to take them when we shop. Normally, we end up buying plastic bags, something that we could completely avoid. Instead of paying for a plastic bag every time you shop, make a habit of actually using your reusable bags. Not buying plastic bags is the environmentally friendly option.

  1. Drink water wisely

Buying bottled water is a trend that has truly exploded these last few years and with it has come millions of plastic bottles. If you want to help the planet and reduce your own carbon footprint, you might want to rethink buying that bottle of water. By not buying bottled water you will be helping to reduce the amount of plastic waste that can be found in landfills throughout the world. If you are still concerned about the purity of the water you are consuming, you can always install a water filtration system in your home and store purified water in glass bottles or environmentally safe reusable plastic water bottles.

Water can be stored and collected wisely
Water can be stored and collected wisely
  1. Stainless steel straws

Do you or your family use straws on a daily basis? The amount of plastic that is thrown away in the form of used straws is quite phenomenal but when you choose to use stainless steel straws you can reduce your carbon footprint. These straws can be carried around with you and they can be used for all of your favourite drinks. Stainless steel straws are safe to use and easy to keep clean.

  1. Plant a garden

Adding some greenery to your home is one of the best ways to create a calming atmosphere while contributing to a healthier environment. Unfortunately, not all homes have the space to have the kind of garden you’d like, but even a few plants on a window sill can make a difference in your home. You can buy low maintenance pot plants to absorb carbon dioxide and release clean oxygen. You will definitely notice the difference in your home with a few pot plants.

  1. Cut back on your shower time

If you are already showering instead of running a bath, you are saving water. But the size of the difference you make depends greatly on the amount of time that you spend in your shower. The average shower can use as much as 10 litres of water for every minute that you shower. So it makes sense that if you want to live a Greener life, you should spend a minimal amount of time in the shower. 5 minutes is the perfect amount of time, and by playing a 5-minute long song, you can start or end your day on a high!

  1. Commit to recycling

Making the decision to recycle is easy, committing to doing it is something else. Many of us want to help the planet by recycling, but few of us are able to fully commit to recycling everything that can be put through the various recycling processes. This year you can add one or two extra bins in your home or business, label them glass or plastic (or whatever you’d like to recycle) and then place your rubbish in the relevant bins.

With our Green solutions, you can make a difference in 2017
With our Green solutions, you can make a difference in 2017

You can Go Green in 2017 by using these really simple ideas. If you are building in 2017 or renovating, and you want to make a serious, long-term commitment to the environment, then you can always work with Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We supply the best quality solar systems, LED lighting, energy efficient air conditioning and grey water systems in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

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Google will be 100% Green in 2017

2017 looks to be a big year for Going Green. Recently the internet’s biggest search engine announced that it had plans to go 100% Green in 2017. Using only Green energy, such as solar power provided through various solar solutions and wind power through the use of wind farms, Google is setting an example that others can follow.

Google already has a fantastic reputation for being one of the few tech giants committed to being a fully Green company. They are ahead of all of the other tech companies when it comes to relying on Green energy.

“Every year people search on Google trillions of times; every minute people upload more than 400 hours of YouTube videos. All of that takes an incredible amount of processing power — which means energy. Our engineers have spent years perfecting Google’s data centres, making them 50 percent more energy efficient than the industry average. But we still need a lot of energy to power the products and services that our users depend on. We began purchasing renewable energy to reduce our carbon footprint and address climate change — but it also makes business sense.” – Urs Hölzle Senior Vice President Technical Infrastructure

Google has become the biggest company to sign contracts with some of the world’s best known renewable energy companies, which will allow them to buy their renewable energy directly.  For years, Google has been relying on renewable energy to provide power to their operations; in fact, they are already the biggest corporation buying renewable energy.  In 2010, they signed a contract with a wind farming company in Iowa to buy all of the renewable energy produced. This was just the beginning of their Green goals.

Reaching new goals

The latest renewable energy goal set by Google is the final push towards Going Green in terms of their electricity. And Google, in turn, is supporting the companies that supply the energy by signing long-term contracts.

One of the motivators for Going Green has to do with the fact that in the past few years, the prices of renewable energy has dropped by up to 80% depending on the type of energy being bought.  Since Google uses immense amounts of electricity to keep their services going, finding a cheaper source is the best way to go. But Google also has an obligation to the environment; with so much energy used they know the importance of only using clean energy.

One of the slogans Google is known for is “Do no evil”, and they are truly living up to their motto.

Fully committed to the environment

Renewable energy is a global focus, and Google is leading the way forward by setting a great example for other companies to follow.
Renewable energy is a global focus, and Google is leading the way forward by setting a great example for other companies to follow.

While it is great news that Google is aiming for 100% Green Energy, Google is also running 20 renewable energy-focused projects all around the world. By purchasing energy from these renewable projects, they are helping renewable energy companies around the world to grow and to bring new innovations to life.

Google is all about new ideas, so it makes plenty of sense for them to also support companies that are similarly minded when it comes to being innovative.

Climate change is a very real threat to our planet.  Companies that can afford to set the example, and that can afford to support Green Energy initiatives are helping to reduce the prices associated with renewable energy.  Green Energy was once expensive, but thanks to more and more companies Going Green with their energy, the prices are dropping.

The efforts by Google will go a long way towards helping the progress of the Green revolution. South Africans can also choose to use renewable energy when they install solar solutions, energy efficient air conditioning and water management systems in their homes or businesses.

Are you inspired to Go Green? At Green Leaf Alternative Energy we can assist you to transform the way that you harness power while helping to reduce the effects that burning fossil fuels is having on the planet. Even the smallest efforts can go a long way in the fight against Global Warming. With energy efficient systems such as solar geysers, solar batteries, solar panels and other solar systems available, talk to us about the best way that you can use renewable energy.

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Should you buy a real Christmas tree or a fake one?

When the time comes to start decorating the home for Christmas, the tree is always the center of attention.  However, when you are committed to a Green lifestyle, it can be difficult to choose between buying a real Christmas tree or a fake. The dilemma of cutting down a tree can be just as difficult as choosing a faux plastic one that also might not be 100% great for the environment.

What is best for the planet?

Not all Christmas trees are festively environmentally friendly, and because Christmas is such a joyous time of the year, you want to be sure that the fun is not spoiled by having a tree that is not good for the planet.

If you prefer to have a real tree in your home, (and you are certainly not the only one who chooses a real tree), there are other factors that will come into play.  These factors include how far you will have to travel to get your tree as well as how you choose to dispose of it once it begins to wither and die.

When it comes to having a fake tree, then there is a whole new range of factors to consider, such as the quality of the tree and how long you will be using it.

Choosing your Christmas tree

As mentioned before, there are so many things to consider. Here are some of the factors that you need to think about:

  1. Your fake fur tree is going to have a longer lifespan.

You won’t have to worry about getting a new tree every year. If you buy a quality tree, you are going to get many years of use out of it. Because your tree can be used for many years, the fake Christmas tree can be a great option for when you are being environmentally conscious. These trees can last from between 5 to 10 years but depending on the quality. But there is also a downside. According to research, in order for the fake tree to be fully climate friendly, it will have to last for around 20 years.

Research done by a French Canadian consulting firm Ellipsos, fake Christmas trees have a far more damaging impact on the environment.

  1. Many fake Christmas trees are made from non-recyclable materials

This is one of the biggest factors against having a fake tree. Once the tree is no longer looking good, it will need to be disposed of. The problem comes in at this stage as the tree cannot be recycled, due to the toxic materials that are used to make the tree.

The upside is that advancements have been made towards making Christmas trees more environmentally friendly, which means that in future, these trees are more than likely going to be environmentally safe when it comes to breaking them down.

  1. Buy a “home grown” tree

To reduce the carbon impact of your fake Christmas tree, try to buy one that is locally produced, rather than buying one that is made overseas. They might be harder to track down, but because they are locally made they won’t have had to be imported. This contributes greatly to the impact that the tree will have on the environment as its carbon footprint will be minimal.

  1. The real deal are grown for a purpose

When buying a real Christmas tree, it is grown for the purpose of being a decoration. Not many places in South Africa offer the option of buying a real tree, but those who do are usually growing the tree for that purpose. Shop around, and do some online research, to find the right tree provider. You could also consider buying a potted Christmas tree that you tend to all year round and then bring into the home during the festive season. Finally, you can also consider having an indigenous tree as your Christmas tree.

  1. A real tree can be recycled

Biodegradable and not at all detrimental to the environment, when your real tree dies, you won’t have to worry about it damaging the environment.

The choice is yours, but if you are fully committed to Green Living, you might want to consider buying a real tree this Christmas. Although cutting down a tree might seem like the unlikely option, it is actually the best choice you can make!

Green Leaf Alternative Solutions is the contracting company supplying reliable solar solutions, water management systems and air conditioning in Pretoria and Johannesburg along with the rest of the Gauteng province.

 

 

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These energy efficient communities are changing the world!

From the world’s biggest cities to the smallest villages, a wave of Green thinking is taking place. Not only is climate change real but it is also changing the way that we approach energy. By accessing your electricity through solar panels or by undertaking water harvesting, you will not only be helping the planet and your community, but you will also be helping yourself.

We often think that climate change is someone else’s battle, but the reality is that not one of us can escape climate change. It makes sense to be involved; to be a part of the efforts to turn around the effects of climate change while also ensuring that you are dependent on nothing other than your Green investments.

Small towns can set up their renewable energy systems far more efficiently than bigger cities, as there are fewer people to cater for. And smaller towns are taking advantage of their sizes to implement working energy strategies.

These are the ways that small towns have turned to renewable energy as the main way to generate energy.

  • The town that rebuilt itself (Greensburg, Kansas, United States)

The USA is known for some devastating weather patterns.  In central America, tornados are always a danger during the late summer months. In 2007, a tornado tore through Greensburg and leveled the buildings forcing residents to either give up their demolished homes and move to a new town or rebuild. True to the American spirit the town’s residents chose to rebuild their town.

And they did so by using 100% renewable electricity.

They became the second American town to go 100% Green with their electricity and they have been able to successfully start over. They have included LED street lights and wind technology as a means to keep energy costs low and renewable.

  • The solar powered oasis town in Egypt

Solar panels have a bad reputation in Egypt, not because there is any doubt about the efficiency of the technology, but rather because many people consider the solar panels to be a bit of an eyesore. That being said, an oasis on the outskirts of Cairo, where agriculture is prominent, has gone solar to power their seasonal farming.

Towns built around oasis', such as this one in Peru, rely on solar power which is abundant in Egypt.
Towns built around oasis’, such as this one in Peru, rely on solar power which is abundant in Egypt.

The buildings here have been constructed with solar panels and solar systems, so those living in the Tayebat Workers Village are Egypt’s first community relying fully on green energy.

Egypt is one of the ideal places to harvest sun energy, with an abundance of sun shining on the desert landscape each day.

  • Ashton Hayes, Great Britain

Solar power and the UK might not have the strongest relationship, but there are some towns in the United Kingdom that are actually light years ahead when it comes to going Green. Ashton Hayes is the perfect example of how people can change their whole lifestyle, becoming Greener even when they are not relying fully on solar power.

This community undertook the task of reducing the amount of carbon they release into the atmosphere. So they improved the insulation in their homes so that they relied less on heating, they took fewer flights and they reduced the amount of energy they used in their homes. Through a combination of their efforts, they managed to reduce their carbon footprint by up to 40%.

Their efforts have inspired up to 200 other towns around the world to replicate the simple ways in which they have managed to reduce their carbon.

  • The Island of Tristan da Cunha

Only 8 times a year can you undertake the week long sea crossing from Cape Town to get to this tiny, eco-efficient island. The island imports almost nothing, its residents depend on themselves to get things done and they are quickly working towards relying fully on the environment to provide them with the energy needed to live comfortably. Their goal is to have 30% – 40% of their energy supplied by nature within the next 5 years.

They plan to become more sustainable by relying on community farming projects, wind farming, and initiatives to turn waste into energy.

As more towns see the benefits of sustainable energy, we are sure to see more towns and cities becoming fully reliant on nature. Who knows what developments the future holds?

Looking to Go Green in your home or business? Contact Green Leaf Alternative Solutions.  Here at Green Leaf, advice is always free.  Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions you may have about your journey to sustainability!

 

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The interesting life and works of Nikola Tesla

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” – Tesla

He was a genius with a mind that was far ahead of the era that he lived in. A man who thought up the idea for the smartphone. And yet he died relatively unknown in 1943; poor and missing all accolades for his work. But that changed dramatically after his death.

Nikola Tesla is today a well-known name, praised for his ingenious inventions, and many of which have become mainstream, and those who admire his contribution to our world continues to grow. Much of his work has affected our lives in some way or another and his inventions are still used to this day. One of the biggest nods he has received is from the famous company Tesla (a design and manufacturing company), named after Nikola, which used one of his patents to build a car.

An early interest in inventing

Nikola Tesla came from a humble background. Born in what is today known as Croatia on the 10th of July 1856. As one of 5 children, he was raised by a mother who was something of an inventor herself. His mother nurtured his interests and later in life he would credit her genes for his creativity. As a child, it was discovered that he had an eidetic memory which helped when it came to his incessant desire to create new and useful electric contraptions. But while he was a brilliant student, his time at university was afflicted by a gambling addiction which resulted in him not obtaining his degree.

 

Although he was an inventor in his home country, it wasn’t until he moved to America and worked with Thomas Edison that his name started circulating among the public. Although his inventions would change the world, he would end up being a bad business man which meant that he lived his life in poverty.

His futuristic visions and ideas helped pave the way for a technology driven future. But how many Tesla inventions do you know of? And how many might you be using within your household that you weren’t even aware were his design?

The famous Tesla inventions you might not have heard of

“I don’t care that they stole my idea, I care that they don’t have any of their own.”- Tesla

There are many inventions in the Tesla list of accomplishments, and many of them you might not be aware of. Here is a list of the most notable inventions we have to thank Tesla for:

  • He invented the modern alternating current electricity system which proved to be more efficient than the direct current system.
  • He is responsible for the Tesla coil which can turn energy into high voltage charge and has been used in televisions and radios.
  • That being said, he also played a massive role in the creation of the radio.
  • He was the pioneer of X-Ray technology as well as radar technology.
  • He is responsible for the creation of the electric motor, something made exceptionally popular by Tesla Motors.
  • Tesla is considered the first person to have come up with the idea of robots.
  • Finally, he is also the man who thought up wireless technology, which went side by side with his ideas for free energy.

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Each day Tesla was utterly committed to making his inventions a success and he did this by working 15 hours a day and sleeping only 2 hours. He was considered to be a loner with no relationships and very few social interactions to speak of.

Apart from bringing his inventions to life, Tesla was also highly adept at predicting inventions of the future. While some of these inventions have become a recent reality, others are still in the distant future. His keen insight into the growth of technology and how things would work in the future led to his predicting the rise of these technological devices and appliances:

  • In 1926, Tesla envisioned the world with smartphone technology.
  • Cars that drive themselves. And 118 years later, this technology has been brought to life by the inventor Elon Musk of Tesla Motors.
  • Planes that would be able to fly without fuel. (With the recent successful flight of the world’s first solar-powered aircraft means that this idea has come to life).
  • The Death Ray. While it might sound like something from a comic book, this is an actual device and one that he hoped would bring an end to wars. Instead, the plans went missing, with the suspicion falling on the United States government.
  • He saw a future filled with flying cars.
  • Drone technology, another vision that has become a reality, is one of Tesla’s.

On a side note, although nothing to do with his pioneering inventions, Tesla also predicted that women would be equal to men in the future. In fact, he saw a future in which women would be far superior to men. Those were sure to have been interesting insights at the time.

Nikola Tesla looked forward to a future that relies on safer energy, the kind that would not do damage to the planet. His visions are coming to life and as we move towards a future of sustainable energy, the future his becoming a little clearer.

“It is quite evident, though, that this squandering cannot go on indefinitely, for geological investigations prove our fuel stores to be limited. So great has been the drain on them of late years that the spectre of exhaustion is looming up threateningly in the distance…” – Tesla

Green Leaf Alternative Energy is a company with a collective mind focused firmly on creating a future driven by solar power and other renewable energy resources.

 

 

 

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Can we create fuel using man-made photosynthesis?

Is the traditional way of producing petrol about to change forever? If new scientific research has its way, this is definitely a possibility.

The focus is again on climate change, well actually the focus has never really moved away. Climate change is happening rapidly around us, all the time. But while scientists and policy makers might differ on a number of fronts, the one thing that they can all agree upon is that carbon dioxide is the main culprit.  It’s this gas emission that has inspired the latest developments in Green technology.

At the University of Illinois in Chicago, scientists have come up with a way to mimic the process of photosynthesis in plants by converting Co2 into fuel. Basically, they have engineered photosynthesis outside of nature.

The technology that is being used is designed to mimic a plant by absorbing the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere before turning it into glucose and oxygen by using water. This interesting development could be used in future to provide fuel for cars while it could also be used on a grander scale to help revert the damage done by climate change.

The loss of trees and climate change

Before the current energy saving technology was mainstream, technology such as solar panels and LED lighting, trees were our first defence against the harsh effects of climate change. Planting trees and preserving the planet’s forests were critical in reducing the amount of Co2 in the atmosphere. But as you already know, the forests are not as well preserved and what is left is no longer enough to combat the change.

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The process of photosynthesis is a regular part of nature. Scientists have found a way to mimic this method and use it to create renewable, environmentally friendly fuel.
The process of photosynthesis is a regular part of nature. Scientists have found a way to mimic this method and use it to create renewable, environmentally friendly fuel.

It is not just through the process of photosynthesis that carbon dioxide is removed from the air. Think of trees as a reservoir for storing carbon dioxide. So when forests are torn and burned down, this stored carbon dioxide is then released back into the atmosphere, to a devastating effect.

Imagine the change that could be achieved if man-made photosynthesis was able to remove large amounts of Co2 from our atmosphere in light of the deforestation? It might be a long shot, but it is definitely something worth trying.

New world technology for new fuel made from the photosynthesis

Man-made photosynthesis is one of the newer ways that scientists are attempting to rid the world of its overabundance of harmful carbon emissions and as the latest in Green technology it is bound to become a part of the machinery for combating climate change.

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Trees not only "breathe" in Co2 but they are also natural storage vessels for the gas.
Trees not only “breathe” in Co2 but they are also natural storage vessels for the gas.

The technology that scientists have created takes the form of an artificial leaf. And once it has absorbed the carbon dioxide it converts the gas into carbon monoxide, which is then used to create fuel.

 

This is the first time that the method has been used to create fuel. In fact, the by-products of this procedure could even be converted into diesel and who knows what else it could be used for in future.

And the newer processes are also expected to be more cost-effective, which means that it could result in an end to the traditional production of fuel.

The future is looking Greener and cleaner, but the process of introducing this technology to the mainstream world is bound to take time. But this doesn’t mean that you are without your options when you are looking for an alternative, sustainable energy production. Solar power, created by using solar panels and solar geysers, is one of the simplest ways that you can change the way that you use energy.

With Green Leaf Alternative Solutions’ high-quality solar panels, solar geysers and a number of other options for you to use when building or when you are looking to take the sustainable approach to your energy, you can help the environment.

Have a look at what we have available by visiting our website at www.greenleafalternativesolutions.co.za or by contacting us.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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The Living Building Challenge: Designs for the Future

Imagine a world where sustainable energy and sustainable living is free for everyone. Sustainable in the way that we can be fully reliant on renewable energy to supply us with everything we would normally get from non-sustainable energy? This is a future which could become a reality should the exciting new concept of living buildings takes over.

As a part of the Green Architecture industry, living buildings are becoming a popular way for people to Go Green. Sometimes the term living building is applied to a home that has features such as solar panels and solar geysers to produce energy from the sun, but a living building is not just a structure that has solar systems.

Living buildings are designed to be 100% dependent on nature.

Living buildings are pushing designers and architects to their limits and encouraging them to think beyond their usual ideas of building homes or other structures. Sustainable building is certainly not a new concept, but living buildings are in many ways new as the focus is on the home as a whole and not just on the way that electricity is produced.

Your home is your ecosystem with the Living Building Challenge

A few years back, the Living Building Challenge was launched and the concept gained plenty of attention.  The entire concept is based on a flower, which takes energy from the earth to be able to blossom and grow.

Today, after a couple of years, the Living Building Challenge is pushing design forward and paving the way for an energy sustainable future for everyone. Some of the features that contribute to building a fully sustainable building include installing solar panels, sustainable heating and cooling systems, rain gardens to harvest water, a natural filter to clean and reuse wastewater, and natural sunlight for the interior, while the entire structure itself is built with environmentally sustainable, eco-friendly materials.

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Living homes make use of solar power and grey water systems along with a number of other systems.
Living homes make use of solar power and grey water systems along with a number of other systems.

These structures use no more energy than they are able to produce themselves. This means that energy is easily saved because it is always used sparingly. These kinds of Green buildings are the toughest out there, you will not find a structure more committed to renewable energy.

A basic look at how the living building works according to the Living Building Challenge

Energy, that is the electricity that is required to keep the place functioning, is generated using solar power. The dedication to Green energy starts when the building is under construction as a solar system is set up to generate enough electricity to complete the project. As with other solar systems, any unused energy goes back into the national grid.

Water is collected from the building as well. The run off from the roof is gathered from any rain or other precipitation and any grey water can be used for the irrigation of plants. Black water is also collected and both the grey water and the black water are treated on site, within the building.

On the inside, the focus is on living well and ensuring that the inhabitants enjoy a healthy life. Plants are used within the home to treat grey water as well as to provide clean air to the interior. Indoor lighting during the day comes naturally from the sun.

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One day we might be once more reliant on nature to provide for all of our energy needs.
One day we might be once more reliant on nature to provide for all of our energy needs.

To ensure that the structures are able to continue to provide for the inhabitants and designers need to prove that their buildings are dependent on nature alone.

Is the future really going to feature living buildings? This is almost a certainty so long as the designs can be proved to be sustainable. The future of the Green industry certainly looks interesting, who knows what envelopes will soon be pushed? What do you think?

Green Leaf Alternative Solutions is a Green contracting company dedicated to sustainable building methods and building products such as solar geysers, solar panels, grey water recycling systems and energy efficient lighting. You can find out more about us by visiting our website at http://www.greenleafalternativesolutions.co.za/ or by contacting us at info@leafas.co.za

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Turning Chernobyl into the world’s biggest solar power farm

On the 26th of April 1986, the world experienced something that has been feared since the invention of nuclear technology: a nuclear disaster. On this day the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the former USSR (modern Ukraine) experienced an explosion which released harmful radioactive chemicals into the atmosphere and onto the surrounding earth. The catastrophe affected over 500 000 people and 31 people lost their lives in the nuclear meltdown. Remaining a desolate area, a no-go destination for the last 30 years, there is hope that Chernobyl will have a Green makeover.

The disaster released more radiation than the combination of the atom bombs dropped during the Second World War. The legacy of what happened is seen in the genetic mutations and increased mortality rates that have plagued both the human and the animal population in the area. But now the Ukrainian government has decided it is time to give the area a new legacy, a more positive one, by turning Chernobyl into a renewable energy farm.

There is a proposal suggesting that a solar energy plant is built in the area, and if this becomes a reality, a massive 1-gigawatt of solar power and 400 megawatts of biogas will be produced every year!

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The solar farm will be the first of its kind built on a nuclear disaster zone.
The solar farm will be the first of its kind built on a nuclear disaster zone.

 

The Ukrainian government is predicting that the plant will take around 6 months to complete, with proposals for funding already being sent investment companies in the USA, the UK, and Canada. Should this plan become a reality, the plant will provide around a third of what the former nuclear plant was capable of producing.

The irony is not lost when you consider that Chernobyl remains one of the world’s biggest environmental disasters of our time, but now something Green is going to be built on the land. Not to mention that this technology is considered to be one of the world’s safest ways to produce energy.

Working on a time limit

The 6 month proposed time frame to build this solar and biomass energy plant means there is likely to be a strain on the team and on the resources. But there are two big benefits of building on this site and they are the 4GW nuclear reactor that is still in place along with power lines that can still be used.

A few of the investors who have been approached have expressed their interest, but along with a very short time limit, the money to be raised amounts to between $1 and $1.5 billion US dollars. A spokesperson for the project has said that nothing is imminent and that they are keeping an open mind. However, their top priority is to secure the necessary finances. It is also encouraging that the Ukrainian government has said that it will open the exclusion zone should the project get a financial green light.  The land cannot be used for anything else, which means that it is cheap and can be used for this exciting solar power project.

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Renewable Green power is going to be the way of the future.
Renewable Green power is going to be the way of the future.

 

There is a boom in solar power’s popularity in the Ukraine and recently a solar power plant was built north of Chernobyl.

The Ukraine will benefit greatly from having this source of electricity as it will go a long way towards the country being more independent with their access to power.

While the land won’t be habitable in our lifetime, as the plutonium isotope from the spill lasts for more than 24 000 years, the world can look forward to something good coming from an otherwise terrible event.

Looking at turning your own home or business into a solar power haven or are you a contractor looking for the best prices and most reliable products for your construction project? Green Leaf Alternative Solutions can offer you exceptional solar power products at great prices. We also have a range of other renewable energy items for you.

Visit the rest of our website: www.greenleafas.co.za

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