Tag: Green Leaf Alternative Energy Solutions

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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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2017’s Interesting Energy Innovations

Just as 2016 was a landmark year for renewable energy, 2017 looks to be even more important for this growing industry. Innovation is going to be the renewable energy trend in 2017 and we are likely to see some very interesting developments that will have the power to change the way that we look at energy. Although change is happening slowly, the world is making a commitment to Going Green more than ever before. We are becoming more educated about the damage that has been inflicted on our planet and we are becoming more aware of the consequences of doing nothing.

One positive that we can take from Going Green is that we are being forced to be creative with our energy and this means that more exciting projects are being developed.

Today, there are plenty of great ideas floating around, waiting to be turned into real-life projects that have the ability to transform all of our lives. There are some ideas that are too risky to consider at the moment, too drastic to implement while there is still time to heal the earth.

But while some ideas are still just concepts and some that are many years away from being developed into a reality, other safer ideas are closer to being realised.

But 2017 is the year that revolutionary ideas that can be put into practice are likely to come to life.

Projects to look out for in 2017

Recycled water

Grey water systems are great for watering gardens and washing cars, but it is of course not safe to drink. Until now, the idea of generating purified water from sewerage sludge has not only been unfeasible but not wholly supported by communities and investors.

When Bill Gates drank the first glass of distilled water using the Omniprocessor, people were sceptical but when looking at the science behind the processor responsible for generating this water, the idea takes on a whole different shape.

Sewer sludge is boiled and the water vapour is removed from the solids. The solids are burned which turns to steam and in turn, helps to generate electricity. This electricity keeps the system functioning without taking power from the grid and any excess power created is sent back into the community. The water vapour is sent into a cleaning system which purifies it into the cleanest water your will ever drink!

This processor is ideal for developing countries that still lack access to clean running water and stable electricity. The small processor can also become an income generating project for developing nations!

Clean water for African communities is becoming a reality, especially with the advancements in 2017
Clean water for African communities is becoming a reality, especially with the advancements in 2017

Carbon capturing cement

The process of replacing the fossil fuels which are being used in infrastructure is a slow one and this is because fossil fuels have a devastatingly long lifespan.

Carbon capture is the process of removing carbon dioxide from the air and reducing the amount of carbon that is a big cause of global warming. This process is guaranteed to change the transitions that the planet is making towards reducing emissions.

While we have already found a way to remove carbon from the smoke release during manufacturing, as well as from the air, it is an expensive process and it needs to be done at a lower cost in order for it to be worthwhile. Then there is also the problem of where the carbon is sent once it has been extracted.

Right now, that place is within the ground. The carbon that is being placed underground is being done to stimulate oil production, which in a way defeats the purpose of removing the carbon in the first place.

But there is now a better idea on the way. CarbonCure is a company that is injecting carbon into cement where it will be isolated and become less harmful to the environment. The cement industry is responsible for around 5% of the global carbon dioxide emissions. While this does reduce the amount of carbon dioxide as a result of production, it does not completely eliminate all of it.

This process is currently being experimented with in an effort to make it profitable and more effective.

Imitation beef

What does meat free beef have to do with renewable energy you ask? Did you know that the beef industry is to blame for huge amounts of carbon emissions? While it might not be everyone’s favourite thing to eat, meat-free beef is a fantastic vegetarian replacement that is supposed to mimic the taste and texture of real meat. While the initial tests have proven this meat is popular in certain circles, it has not yet been introduced to the masses and so there is no proof that it will be competitive in the market.

Taste and price will ultimately be the deciding factor when it comes to whether or not this renewable food option stays relevant in the long run.

Pay as you go solar power

Pay as you go solar power is the next leap in solar energy and it is going to have a wonderfully positive effect on energy for communities without access to national electrical resources.
Pay as you go solar power is the next leap in solar energy and it is going to have a wonderfully positive effect on energy for communities without access to national electrical resources.

Again, 2017 will be the year in which solar power will take the centre stage in the ongoing struggle to ensure that renewable energy is effective. The people will always come first when it comes to renewable energy and it is more important that people and the environment benefit before there is a profit.

Azuri Technologies is a company that has worked out how to affordably provide solar power to homes that are off the grid in Africa, and they have come up with a way that is beneficial. Charging a small amount, a family can have a basic solar power unit that will be enough to power two lights and to charge a mobile device. To keep the unit functioning, the family will need to purchase credits although the price that they will pay will be far lower than they would normally spend on kerosene for lighting. The family will save on energy costs and 18 months after paying for their units, they will own their system.

And, this system has already been proven to work in 11 sub-Saharan Africa and has also won awards. This pay as you go system is bridging the gap between the grid and those who have no access to it, which means that people no longer have to wait for power to come to them. These households are skipping ahead, avoiding the conventional use of electricity and immediately benefitting from having solar energy.

Are you planning on Going Green in 2017? You can with Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We have the systems that can transform the way that you both consider energy and use it. With solar systems, energy efficient air conditioners, grey water systems and solar geysers, you can be a part of the group revolutionising an industry reliant on fossil fuels.

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What to expect from solar systems in 2017

The past few years have been hugely successful for solar power. Homes and businesses alike have benefited from having solar systems installed, and the environment has benefited from the use of this clean energy. The industry itself has seen a massive drop in the price of solar panels, even though the community has not been completely supportive.

But what many people don’t know, is that in 2016 solar panels became cheaper to use than fossil fuels.

As with any renewable technology, there were bound to be a few setbacks when solar power first became a reality, but even with the few setbacks, solar power has soared ahead to remain one of the most popular sources of Green energy.

In more than 30 countries, solar and wind power became cheaper than fossil fuels in 2016, according to a report released by the World Economic Forum in 2017. And as prices for solar power continue to plummet, it is estimated that in 2017 more than two-thirds of nations on the planet will have “grid-parity” which means there will be a drop in the completely relying on fossil fuels.

“Renewable energy has reached a tipping point,” Michael Drexler, who leads infrastructure and development investing at the WEF, said in a statement. “It is not only a commercially viable option but an outright compelling investment opportunity with long-term, stable, inflation-protected returns.”

But while the support for solar power will continue to grow in 2017, investment from the rest of the globe is still not what it should be. This means that there are not enough investments coming in to avoid the looming global energy crisis. Only 25% of the investment amount decided upon at the Paris Climate Change Accord has been paid and because many of the barriers preventing the payments from being made are politically motivated, overcoming this barrier will take time and policy changes. Other factors preventing the money from being paid over include economic setbacks such as contracts not being standardised and the lack of a steady track record, drawn up by financial institutions, which needs to in place to reassure the investors.

Although this may be seen as a setback in 2017, the lowering of prices for solar power will triumph in the end, especially as solar power looks set to outperform all forms of fossil fuel energy within the next decade.

There are promising developments for solar systems in 2017
There are promising developments for solar systems in 2017

 

Solar power developments in 2017

The development of solar panels and their accompanying systems are set to go into overdrive in 2017, as we see the development of solar panels embrace technology in ways that it has not previously been seen. Solar panels are also set to become more energy efficient.

At Cambridge University, experimental physicist Sam Stranks has been trying to develop ways to make solar power less expensive to harvest and more efficient once it has been collected. His idea is to place a mineral layer of perovskite onto the solar cell which will be used to boost the efficiency of the cell.

According to Stranks, “We could take a silicon solar panel with a lab record efficiency of converting sunlight to electricity of 25 percent, add a perovskite layer, and boost the power generation by a fifth,” says the 31-year-old. “For a solar cell, the maximum efficiency is around 30 per cent – but with one of these perovskite ‘tandem’ layers it could go up to around 50 per cent.”

This is a wonderfully positive development and if it becomes successful and enjoys widespread popularity, it could become one of the important developments in solar power in 2017.

In 2017, the solar industry also hopes to see more commercial businesses transitioning towards renewable energy. There are many businesses who are serious about only using renewable energy. Take for instance Google. Just last year Google announced that they would be relying 100% on Green Energy and Green Energy initiatives in 2017. They are not the only corporate giant who is making this commitment to the planet.

2017 will be filled with new opportunities to change the way that you access and harness electricity. At Green Leaf Alternative Solutions, we can supply Green systems such as solar systems, grey water systems and LED lighting which will help you to make your own commitment towards a Greener future.

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2017 might be the year that solar power becomes cheaper than coal

2017 is already shaping up to be an interesting year, especially in the renewable energy industry. One of the reasons that this year is going to make a memorable impact is because it is predicted that in some countries, renewable energy, solar power, in particular, is set to become cheaper than burning coal.

This could be the biggest turning point in Green energy history!

In December 2016, the World Economic Forum announced that solar energy and wind energy have become the same price as coal and, in some instances, the price of renewable energy has dropped below that of coal.

“In an increasingly larger number of countries, it has become more economical to install solar and wind capacity than coal capacity,” the WEF report stated.

While South Africa is making great strides towards changing over to renewable energy, in 2016 it was countries like Chile and the United Arab Emirates, that broke new records.  These countries were able to generate electricity using solar power for less than 3 cents a kilowatt, which is half of the average global cost of energy generated from coal.

This year other nations are aiming to drop prices even lower, with Jordan and Mexico being just two of the countries that are using auctions and tenders to drop prices.  Companies in Europe, which have already proven that their techniques for dropping prices using renewable energy have worked, are reaching out to new markets in new countries in the hope of sharing their expertise.

Solar prices have been dropping since 2009, with more affordable materials and more effective techniques being used to generate electricity using sun energy.  In fact, since 2009, solar prices have dropped by up to 62%. This price lowering has had a far-reaching effect on other areas of the construction industry.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, by 2025 we could very well see a global-scale drop in solar power, pushing coal prices higher than solar energy prices.

“These are game-changing numbers, and it’s becoming normal in more and more markets,” said Adnan Amin, International Renewable Energy Agency’s director general, an Abu Dhabi-based intergovernmental group. “Every time you double capacity, you reduce the price by 20 percent.”

The renewable energy industry is set to grow in 2017, with prices dropping around the world.
The renewable energy industry is set to grow in 2017, with prices dropping around the world.

Change is coming

While this is a fantastic development and a victory for renewable energy, the world will not be ready to completely break away from fossil fuels in 2017.  Even with lower prices infrastructure still needs to be put in place on a larger scale. The complete changeover is going to take many years to accomplish and in the meantime, the focus will be on reducing just how much we rely on non-renewable energy.

But technology is changing and developing all the time, so the change will come sooner rather than later. Scientists are always working on the next best techniques to shake up the bustling industry. Some examples of new technology being used to benefit the solar industry include using diamond wire saws that are more efficient to cut the wafers (exceptionally thin semiconductor material) and manufacturing cells that are able to store more energy from the sun.

Today, the Green energy is inching its way towards being an equal competitor in the energy industry. This comes after almost a decade of commercial solar energy and numerous advancements and developments.

2017 is going to be a remarkable year for solar power and this year will hopefully be a precursor year to more exceptional developments.

You can equip your home or business with solar technology from Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We have a selection of solar systems including solar panels suitable for a variety of building structures. Contact us or browse our website to find out more about how you can Go Green.

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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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7 Fun Facts about your Air Conditioning

Summer is well and truly upon us and with the heat bearing down on us, air conditioning in a necessity. Green Leaf Alternative Solutions offers reliable, energy efficient air conditioners in Pretoria. Spending the hot days indoors, with the cool air blowing from an air conditioner, makes getting through the summer a lot easier.

Most modern Pretoria offices are fit with air conditioners, but there are many interesting facts about air conditioners that you may not know about. The Americans are those who we have to thank for the modern air conditioners that we have today, and there have been countless innovations and inventions over the years to create the ideal cooling machine. For over 100 years air conditioners of all kinds have come and gone, but all of them have helped us get to the point of energy efficient air conditioning.

The 7 interesting facts you might not know about air cooling

  1. The movie theatre became very popular thanks to air conditioning

In 1917, air conditioners in homes and businesses were unheard of. But you could find them in movie theatres if you were living in the States. To escape the midday heat, people would flock to the movies to take full advantage of the cool air. Theatre owners bought into the appeal of going to the theatres to cool off by making sure that they marketed their air conditioners as part of the fun. Nowadays, we take our air conditioning for granted, but back in the day escaping the heat was a luxury.

  1. A giant fan

Even those living in the 1700’s sought to escape from the unpleasant summer heat. In 1736, air conditioning took on the most primal form of a gigantic fan in the British House of Commons. The fan was quite complex and required a person to manually keep it going. The person given the honour of working the fan, which meant hand cranking a blowing wheel, was given the title of the Ventilator. This man would be in charge of a 7-foot tall fan and kept those sitting in the House of Commons cooled down during their debates.

  1. An ice making machine

There are many ways to keep cool, even when you don’t have a fan or air conditioner. In 1851, the ice making machine was patented and the American invention would have been an instant hit. The problem was that ice had become an industry all on its own and with ice being transported from the northern parts of America; the machine was only to gain popularity later on.

  1. Innovations

With many inventions for cooling off being developed throughout the years, many were either slow to gain attention or never gained any attention at all. But there was one such invention that certainly gained attention and it was an ice machine which transformed a beer hall into an icy cold place to relax. The inside of the hall was turned ice cold and frost covered the pipes in the building. Needless to say, just about every person who visited, loved the idea of having a cooled off place to relax.

  1. The first home air conditioner

The first person to try out a home air conditioner was an anonymous American millionaire. He placed the air conditioner in his home in 1892 and a false wall was needed to hide the machine as it extended from the wall right into the ceiling.

With the summer sun high in the sky, having the right air conditioning in Pretoria or Johannesburg can make your summer more pleasant.
With the summer sun high in the sky, having the right air conditioning in Pretoria or Johannesburg can make your summer more pleasant.

 

  1. The first commercial air conditioners

Could you imagine the excitement of the people who were the first to have air conditioning installed in their workplaces? In 1899 and 1903, the first commercial sized cooling systems were placed in public areas and worked to keep the spaces cooled off while they would also serve to ventilate the rooms.

  1. The 1950’s boom

The 1950’s was the decade in which air conditioners became immensely popular. Within 3 years, over a million air conditioners designed as units to cool off rooms, had been sold. By 1998, over 6.2 million air conditioners had been sold in the USA and some were shipped to other places around the world.

You might look at your air conditioner in Pretoria and think that it is nothing special, but the system that you are looking at is the product of a century of ideas, innovations and hard work.

You can buy environmentally friendly air conditioners in Pretoria and Johannesburg from Green Leaf Alternative Solutions.

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3 clever ideas every country can implement to combat climate change

This year has been a record one in terms of climate change. Many of the records broken have been a terrible example of how the climate is changing.  However, there have been many positive developments in the fight against climate change. In 2016, we have seen some of the highest investments made towards using clean energy.

Climate change is a very real and scary reality, and more and more people are being affected by it as the temperature changes across the globe.

We cannot escape climate change but we can change the way that we handle it and perhaps even reverse some of the damage already done and slow the process.

The shift to using clean, renewable energy has been phenomenal, even if it doesn’t make the headlines as often as it should.  In this year alone, over half a million solar panels have been installed every day, while China, one of the world’s biggest polluters, has focused on building wind farms as an alternative way to generate power.  Around the world, more countries have been building solar farms and wind farms to provide people with clean renewable energy.

Although the change has been slow, with previous years not showing as much progress as seen in 2016, the change is happening.  The world can and will truly benefit, by following the example of those who have come before them.  The effort has been put into creating a Greener, cleaner environment for every person.

We are not just changing the methods that we have depended on for the longest time to create and use electricity, we are attempting to change the very air itself.  Around the world, there have been a number of interesting initiatives to bring renewable energy to the people, at affordable prices. These are just a few of the ideas that have the ability to be replicated and used to benefit numerous communities.

Leading by example, these are the ideas that can be replicated

  1. Ban all fossil fuels

It might seem like an almost impossible task, but many European countries have been considering an outright ban on the use of fossil fuels. This is a harsh decision to make, seeing that there are numerous communities in countries throughout the world that rely heavily on the mining of fossil fuels as a source of income.

Coal was once an important and unavoidable necessity in the production of electricity and petrol. Coal was the force behind the industrial revolution. Today, however, there are numerous alternatives and these alternatives are designed to assist in correcting the damaged caused by climate change. Other countries have taken to reducing fossil fuels by changing the way that fuel is made. While this might be considered to be a small step towards banning all fossil fuels, it is a step that every country can make.

A complete ban of fossil fuels is one of the more drastic steps a country can make.
A complete ban of fossil fuels is one of the more drastic steps a country can make.

Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway have all voted to ban the use of fossil fuels in petrol within the next ten years.

The UK, the Netherlands, Canada and places in the USA have taken the ban on fossil fuels much further by creating plans that will see the coal industry take a drastic knock.

  1. More focus on efficiency

Often we rely on fossil fuels instead of making sure that we have created and built efficient buildings.  Insulation is a big factor in the colder nations around the world.  When the harsh and icy winter months arrive, more energy is used to keep places warm.  However, with better insulation and more efficient technology to keep spaces warm, energy can be saved.  Reinforcing and retrofitting buildings and homes can make a dramatic impact on the amount of energy used.  In 2014, the EU introduced measures to reinforce insulation and managed to save enough power, equivalent to keeping the whole of Finland powered.

  1. Introducing a carbon tax

Carbon tax is one of the ways that climate change can be tackled, and every country can use this method.  Carbon tax is a tax that is levied on the amount of carbon found in fuels.  Many countries are looking to introduce this tax as a way to combat climate change while many have already introduced such taxes.

Carbon is found in every type of fuel including petrol and coal, and once burned it pollutes the environment and contributes to the ongoing climate change.

Carbon tax has social as well as economic benefits and works well when a government is trying to enforce a climate policy.  In South Africa, we already pay an additional tax whenever we buy a new car.

Each of these three ideas is easy to do in countries around the world and each has already shown to have a remarkable impact on the amount of carbon let into the atmosphere.

Green Leaf Alternative Solutions is a Green energy company providing solar panels, solar geysers and other alternative energy options to those who are determined to Go Green. Based in Johannesburg, our solar systems, energy efficient air conditioning and water management systems can help in the struggle against climate change.

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What to know before you buy solar lighting

Solar lights are one of the recent and perhaps less known developments in the Green industry, as well as in lighting industry, and follow on from the already popular solar technology that is currently being used by people all over the world. Solar lighting is great for outdoor areas at home and for public settings alike, providing stable light without the hassle of connecting wires. With this lighting, you will not be left in the dark with power outages. And this is just one reason why it is worth changing the way that you light your garden, the outside of your home or for your parking areas.

What are solar lights?

As with all of the other solar powered appliances and devices, solar lights are rechargeable products which are powered by the sun. Solar lights are powered by a photovoltaic system which includes a solar panel to catch solar light during the day.

This light energy is then stored until it is needed after the sun sets later in the day.

The most common areas in which this lighting is used is outdoors, where the light can charge for an entire day. Outdoor garden lights can be placed anywhere in the garden, unlike conventional lighting which will require wiring and therefore a little more consideration as to where the lighting will be placed. These outdoor lights are a fantastic option if you are looking for cost effective security lighting or if you are simply looking for an effective way to light your path at night. This form of lighting can also be decorated in certain ways, adding a certain aesthetic appeal to your landscape.

Solar street lights and lighting for parking areas are also an option to look at when you want an environmentally friendly and affordable way to provide enough lighting to darkened areas. Solar lights have also been used to light billboards at night.

As solar lights are known to be used as decorative features, this form of lighting comes in all kinds of designs and colours. This is what makes these lights great for parties and other get-togethers.

The sun provides all of the energy needed to power your solar garden lights.
The sun provides all of the energy needed to power your solar garden lights.

How do solar lights work?

With the PV system attached, solar lights generate their own electricity in the exact way that other solar power is made. To put it simply, when the sun shines on the panel, the electrons become, for want of a better word, excited. This process is what generates the power that keeps the light shining throughout the night. The system also includes a solar battery to store power. The panel is far smaller than the one you’d normally see on a solar PV system on top of a home’s roof. In this case, the panel is usually small enough to fit the top of the light.

The following morning, when the light energy has run out, the process will repeat itself all through the day and be recharged and ready to light up again the next night.

Why use solar lighting?

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to light an area, and you don’t want to have to pay out or deal with having to have the wiring seen to and the devices installed, then solar lighting can be the better option.

Solar lighting is basically lighting for free as once the initial setup is done, you will never have to pay for the light that you get. Free lighting to massive areas is certainly worth it once you have decided to install these lights.

Here are a few other reasons why solar lights should be something you consider:

  • The energy is 100% free, clean and renewable.
  • You don’t have to worry about the lighting being damaged. These devices are made from durable materials.
  • If you are already looking for a way to make your entire lifestyle Green, then this is another step you can take.
  • Solar lights can be installed just about anywhere, so long as they receive sunlight.
  • The installation process is wonderfully simple and you will be able to do it yourself.
  • You will be saving on your monthly costs by not having to pay out anything extra each month to have this lighting.

Solar lights, along with solar geysers and solar systems, are the more cost-effective option to go with and in the long run, you are going to be happy that you made the decision to install these versatile lights. If you have any questions or want to install this lighting, you can contact Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We can give you great advice about which lights to choose as well as other ways to live a Greener lifestyle.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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New Johannesburg Water Restrictions Enforced

South Africa is currently experiencing the worst drought that it has seen in decades. The ground is parched and the plants are shriveling, that is unless you have a grey water recycling system or a bore hole.  In early September 2016, under instruction from the Department of Water and Sanitation, Johannesburg water restrictions were implemented to cut back on the amount of water used in the city by 15%.

Water restrictions in Johannesburg are nothing new.  The city has been under a level 2 water restriction since November 2015.  This was created in an effort to conserve the amount of water used within the city. The water shortages in the city have had an effect on the various industries as well as on the residents.

But why these new, tighter restrictions?

Johannesburg depends on the Integrated Vaal River System to provide water to the immense population as well as its booming industries. But the intense, unyielding drought has caused heavy damage to the city’s supplies and now the system has fallen below 60% while the Vaal Dam is now at the critical level of 35%.

On the 24th of August, Rand Water informed Johannesburg Water that the supply to the city would be reduced as of the 6th of September 2016.

Water solutions need to be on every South African’s agenda, not just on the minds of those living in Johannesburg. All over the country measures are being taken to combat the effects of the persisting drought.

It is partly the result of the unseasonal heat this Spring which has forced the Department to introduce extra measures to save water by implementing item 6 (1) of Schedule 3 to the National Water Act. This section implements the limited usage of the Integrated Vaal River System. The limit will mean that urban water use will be cut by 15% while water used for irrigation will be cut by 20%. The limit was implemented immediately and remains in effect.

The bulk water system will be carefully managed as the cuts continue. This latest round of water restrictions will be implemented alongside the existing water restrictions.

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Watering gardens using automated sprinkling systems could result in a hefty fine while the newest water restrictions are in effect.
Watering gardens using automated sprinkling systems could result in a hefty fine while the newest water restrictions are in effect.

Not sure what the previous restrictions entailed? Here is what you need to know:

Prior to the 15% cut, Johannesburg was placed under a Level 2 restriction which means:

  • Gardens may not be watered/irrigated between 6h00am and 18h00pm;
  • No irrigation systems may be used during these hours. Only buckets, hand held hose pipes and water cans may be used to water the garden;
  • No swimming pool may be filled used municipal water; and
  • Cars and paved areas may not be washed using hose pipes.

In Gauteng, over 40% of all water use goes to watering gardens so the new water solutions implemented by the Department will easily save plenty of water should everyone comply. It is good to mention that the police have been asked to help the department in their effort to enforce these new water restrictions.

Change in the water tariffs

Along with the water restrictions, comes an expected change in the tariffs. Taken from a press release from the City of Johannesburg’s website, these are the changes that you can expect:

LEVEL 2 WATER RESTRICTION TARIFFS TO DOMESTIC CUSTOMERS

(Kilolitres per connection per month Normal Tariff. Note that 1 kilolitre = 1000 litres.)

% Increase R’ Increase (R/kl)

  • 0-6: Free 0% R 0.00 Free
  • 6-10: R 7.14 0% R 0.00 R 7.14
  • 10-15: R 12.07 0% R 0.00 R 12.07
  • 15-20: R 17.65 0% R 0.00 R 17.65
  • 20-30: R 24.03 10% R 2.40 R 26.43
  • 30-40: R 25.81 20% R 5.16 R 30.97
  • 40: R 32.27 30% R 9.68 R 41.95

To enforce these new water restrictions, those who do not comply might be facing hefty fines of up to R 1 500. This means that if the police pass your home or business and see the gardens being watered unlawfully, they have the right to give you a fine which will be added onto your water bill. But the water restrictions are not the only solution, as the city is doing other things to save water. For instance, they have a leak detection system in place and they have undertaken to control the flow of water in order to save.

How can you save even more by using water solutions?

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Water tanks are a great way to save during times of drought
Water tanks are a great way to save during times of drought

It certainly won’t hurt your pocket or the water situation if you were to start saving your own way. There are numerous things that you can do to start saving, whether it is something as small as making sure that you have dealt with any water leaks or something as big as setting up a grey water recycling system.

Grey water recycling systems, along with rainwater tanks, backup tanks, and water timers and bore holes, are all fantastic ways to save water. As mentioned before, watering gardens is often responsible for the most water use in Johannesburg so if you are able to collect grey water or rain water, or if you are able to draw your own water through a bore hole, you will be helping the water situation currently affecting Johannesburg.  Grey water recycling systems are growing in popularity and now is a fantastic time to think about installing one of your own.

What is grey water and how is it used?

Grey water usually consists of water used to wash dishes or to clean laundry. It is safe to use when watering the garden, for washing cars or for cleaning. The grey water can be treated beforehand.

This recycled water is also known as gently used water as it has not come into contact with anything that could dangerously contaminate it. When water restrictions are put in place, grey water can become an efficient way to save water while keeping the vegetation, including food producing plants, well watered. You can invest in a quality grey water recycling system that is easy to install and that will have you benefitting instantly.

Saving water is not just for Johannesburg residents, or even Gauteng residents, rather water solutions can be used all over South Africa. You need to practice water efficiency when you are looking to save. And now is as good a time as any for water recycling and other water solutions to become a priority.

Make the right investment by installing a water management system to help ease the drought by keeping you in line with the current water restrictions. Contact Green Leaf Alternative Solutions to find out more about which systems are the most effective for saving water.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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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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