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  • 1
    object(stdClass)#4868 (59) {
      ["id"]=>
      string(4) "5762"
      ["title"]=>
      string(34) "4 Green Home Decor and Design Tips"
      ["alias"]=>
      string(34) "4-green-home-decor-and-design-tips"
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      string(141) "

    From solar power to gray water reuse, more and more Americans are choosing to incorporate elements of green design into their homes.

    " ["fulltext"]=> string(4479) "

    Green design is an approach that seeks to minimize harmful effects on human health and the environment by using eco-friendly design elements. These can include;

    • Energy-efficient heating, cooling, and lighting
    • Water-saving plumbing
    • Landscaping using native vegetation
    • Renewable power such as solar and wind power
    • Non-toxic building products  
    • Recycled and repurposed materials.

    If you’d like to reduce your own carbon footprint and make your home a greener place to live, these décor and design tips are a good place to start.

    Choose Eco-friendly Building Materials

    If you’re building a home and plan to use cement on the exterior, opt for alternative products like geopolymer cement which is made using fewer emissions and has a reduced carbon footprint.

    If you’re putting on a new roof, consider a living roof (vegetated with plants and grasses for thermal insulation) or invest in an array of solar panels to reduce your home’s energy consumption.

    And consider using environmentally friendly materials wherever possible in your build, such as sustainably sourced wood, sheep’s wool insulation and materials with their own natural heating and cooling properties such as earth and stone.  

    Use Eco-friendly Textiles

    For your home’s interiors, choose furnishings with eco-friendly fabrics made from natural, chemical-free fibers. These are mold-resistant and don’t release toxins and they include hemp, jute, bamboo, and linen.

    What’s so great about these fabrics? Hemp fabric has eight times the tensile strength of cotton and four times the durability of other natural fibers. Jute is biodegradable and has high moisture retention and fire-resistant properties. Bamboo fabric has anti-bacterial, insulating and moisture-wicking properties and linen is strong, biodegradable and naturally moth-resistant. 

    Use Recycled Furniture

    Buying second hand or repurposed furniture is also right up there for sustainability. New furniture leaves a big carbon footprint, so choose pre-loved pieces or those made using recycled or upcycled wood and metal. 

    Vintage and retro pieces are now very much on-trend, so if you shop second hand, you’ll not only be helping the planet but giving your home a unique look and feel as well.

    Use low or no VOC Paint

    When it comes to painting your home, whether it’s exteriors or interiors, choose eco-friendly paints with low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These give off molecules that can be harmful to humans and the environment (i.e. formaldehyde, which evaporates from paint).

    VOCs are not normally highly toxic, but low concentrations absorbed over long periods of time can lead to long-term health problems. Fortunately, there are now a variety of eco-friendly paint alternatives to choose from.

    Low or no VOC paint is a water-based paint made from natural ingredients which also helps reduce allergy-causing toxins and the concentration of contaminants in the ozone layer and groundwater. And while it’s well known that the paint color you choose can affect your mood, you’ll be entirely happy with low or no VOC paint, as it’s low-odor and quick drying as well.

    Final Thoughts

    Choosing a green design for your home doesn’t just benefit the environment. It has benefits for the homeowner as well.

    For example, installing energy-efficient appliances and opting for alternative power sources such as solar can save you a lot of money on your energy bills. And using non-toxic building materials and furnishings can ensure the continued health of you and your family.  

    So opting for green design elements is really a no-brainer, because the advantages would seem to outweigh any drawbacks. By greenifying our homes wherever we can, we’re not only helping the planet, but our families and our hip pockets as well.

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    4 Green Home Decor and Design Tips

    Luke Fitzpatrick
  • 2
    object(stdClass)#4873 (59) {
      ["id"]=>
      string(4) "5696"
      ["title"]=>
      string(70) "Top Ways That You Can Make Your Business More Environmentally Friendly"
      ["alias"]=>
      string(70) "top-ways-that-you-can-make-your-business-more-environmentally-friendly"
      ["introtext"]=>
      string(131) "

    When it comes to your business, you will want to make sure that you do everything you can to save money and be successful.

    " ["fulltext"]=> string(3569) "

    There are many ways that you can run your business and there are also many changes that you can make when running your business.

    If you want to do your bit for the planet while running your business then, you have come to the right place. This is because, in this article, we will give you some information on the top ways that you can make your business more environmentally friendly. If this is something that you would like to do then, make sure you keep reading for more information.

    Why Make Your Business More Environmentally Friendly?

    With climate change and pollution being a big problem, people from all over the world are trying to find ways to tackle these issues and, one of the ways that this can be done is by making businesses more environmentally friendly. This is because businesses contribute to global warming with the amount of energy they use, how much waste they throw out and more which does not help the environment.

    Use Technology

    One of the top ways that you can make your business more environmentally friendly is by making sure that you use technology. This is because when you use the technology you can send emails, messages, phone people and more. This means that you will not have to use paper as much to send letters unless it is extremely necessary to do so. The less paper that you use, the better it is for the environment as not as many trees will need to be chopped down. You can also save money as you won’t need to keep buying paper.

    Make Sure You Recycle as Often as Possible

    The next way that you can make your business more environmentally friendly is by making sure that you recycle as often as you possibly can. There are many things that can be recycled in an office such as plastics, boxes, paper and more. When you are clearing out the office, you should make sure that you separate the items that can be recycled so you can put them in the recycle bin. Instead of putting these items straight in the recycle bin, you should see if you can put these items to use – you could use empty boxes as storage for other items in the office to make it a bit tidier and help you organise your desk better.

    Choose Sustainable Items

    Another way that you can make your business more environmentally friendly is by making sure that you choose sustainable items for your office. For example, if you and your employees drink a lot of coffee then, why not consider a sustainable option and go and purchase biodegradable coffee pods? These coffee pods are excellent and are easy to dispose of compared to other coffee pods. You can also consider biodegradable coffee pod subscription - where you can choose how many coffee pods you want and how often you want them delivered so you don’t run out.

    Make Sure You Keep This Information In Mind

    Overall, there are many ways that you can make your business more environmentally friendly and, in this article, we discussed some of the top ways that this can be done. If you are looking to make your business more environmentally friendly then, read this article and keep these tips in mind to help you. You should also do some research to find out other ways that you can make your business more environmentally friendly.

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    Top Ways That You Can Make Your Business More Environmentally Friendly

    Anas Bouargane
  • 3
    object(stdClass)#5375 (59) {
      ["id"]=>
      string(4) "5490"
      ["title"]=>
      string(71) "How to Respond to Different Consumers in the Face of Energy Transition?"
      ["alias"]=>
      string(70) "how-to-respond-to-different-consumers-in-the-face-of-energy-transition"
      ["introtext"]=>
      string(303) "

    Consumers, tertiaries, industrials and even local authorities, position themselves in a very personal way to prepare for the energy transition and its different challenges.

    " ["fulltext"]=> string(5881) "

    This positioning may be influenced by the consumer’s political orientations or by a national cultural context, but his own intentions are the main roots.

    I see 4 levels of intentions, corresponding to a more or less important commitment in energy transition.

    Capture Subsidies

    In all countries, governments and legislators provide grants to influence purchasing habits, investments and sometimes life-style behaviors. Energy transition are no exception: subsidies for energy savings and specific actions contributing to it, subsidies for solar panels, subsidies for cogenerators, etc.

    Some consumers see these subsidies as a short-term economic opportunity: their heating system needs to be replaced; why not choose a subsidized boiler? Whatever technology is used, its advantage is to cost less.

    The suppliers of energy, energy equipment or energy services to these customers adapt their sales arguments and highlight the capacity offered by their offering to capture subsidies. The interest of their customers no longer being the value and the quality of their offer, some even tend to neglect them. They become sellers of subsidies…

    In addition, when a country subsidizes a technology, cogeneration for example, many players mobilize and promote this technology, sometimes blindly, to the detriment of the search for the solution best suited to each client.

    Reduce the Energy Bill

    The level of commitment associated with this intention is greater because, for many consumers, reducing the energy bill has a wider impact, particularly from an environmental standpoint.

    However, when the intention is to reduce the bill, the expected savings and the (supposed) ease of achieving them are the main criteria for decision and … motivation of the consumer.

    He is therefore looking for opportunities: he is waiting for a list of products and services from which he will be able to draw and find the most profitable avenues. He will choose to install a photovoltaic panel, equip himself with an electric car or an energy monitoring system.

    Suppliers targeting these customers need a basket of solutions and actions that are independent of each other. Customers choose, without guarantee of loyalty, loyalty or continuity in their choice of supplier.

    Rely on an Additional Source of Progress

    Consumers with this intention clearly understand that there is no opposition between environmental protection (one of the main challenges of energy transition) and profitability.

    They believe or have been able to verify that energy offers a new angle from which to observe their activity, allowing the discovery of many previously untapped productivity tracks. It is, for example, by analyzing the energy consumption profiles of their machines that manufacturers make additional productivity.

    They therefore do not only need a basket of solutions but, sometimes, additional support or skills helping them to grab these new opportunities for progress. At this stage, a first level of sustainable collaboration can be established around an approach of continuous progress.

    Suppliers need, at this stage, a better knowledge of their customers’ business and a close proximity to them: the issue of competence is a real difficulty for the smallest suppliers, that of proximity is for the biggest.

    Engage Your Company in the Energy Transition

    These consumers are no longer taking advantage of or following energy transition but personifying them; for questions of the values of their manager but also for economic questions.

    Embodying a transition is a long-term commitment: the solutions sought must also take place over time; they feed a continuum of coherent and complementary actions. For these consumers, it is a question of redirecting energy choices, optimizing economic performance and the environmental footprint linked to energy, and developing their profession for this.

    Their suppliers are therefore carriers, through their offer, of this consistency, animated, through their customer relationship, of the spirit of necessary partnership and guarantors, through their mode of action, of a medium and long intention term.

    Are there suppliers responding to all customers?

    The task is tough because, beyond having an offering adapted to each of them, it is important to present them to meet each of the intentions. Reaching multiple targets with the same web page, the same brochure, the same sales pitch is a headache.

    Beyond this marketing issue, suppliers of energy, energy equipment or energy services are themselves locked into their own intentions: unable to respond to consumers more engaged than them, scaring consumers less engaged.

    Would the big marketing challenge be to make consumers’ intentions coincide with those of suppliers in terms of energy transition?

    Click here to read other articles of the same author. 

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    How to Respond to Different Consumers in the Face of Energy Transition?

    Eric Morel
  • 4
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      ["title"]=>
      string(65) "Are Energy Communities Not the True Liberalization of the Market?"
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    The liberalization of the market has been on the agenda of European energy companies for 20 years. Imposed by regulation, it aimed to open the energy market to competition, electricity first, gas in a second time.

    " ["fulltext"]=> string(3188) "

    This move, aimed at lowering prices and offering choices to consumers, has resulted in various strategies:

    – Defense at all costs by the historical suppliers of their dominant position.

    – Attack of the incumbent suppliers on prices, historically their main weak point.

    – Attack of the incumbent suppliers with green energy offerings, while their historical production mix was highly emitting CO2.

    With more or less happiness, the liberalization of the markets gave birth to a new landscape:

    – Incumbent suppliers have sometimes paid a high price for stubbornness in defending their positions rather than establishing new ones.

    – New entrants have sometimes struggled against the incumbent behemoths and their margins have had difficulties to progress.

    – The proximity offered by local suppliers has been undermined by new entrants.

    – The quality of service to consumers has sometimes suffered.

    – The expected fall in prices has not always occurred, for reasons unrelated to liberalization but poorly understood by consumers.

    It is this contrasting reality that is observed by Swiss energy companies when it comes to discussing the total opening of their market to competition.

    The fragmented structure of the Swiss market favors proximity to consumers. Total liberalization is clearly a threat to this proximity, but does it mean that consumers have no choice?

    Today’s conditions are different from what they were 20 years ago: energy communities come in different forms:

    – Grouping of the occupants of the same building to consume the production of a shared facility.

    – Grouping of the inhabitants of a district to share their production and consume all the productions of a district.

    – Grouping of dispersed micro-producers marketing and developing their production together with diffuse customers.

    These communities, in some cases, are market liberalization, bringing an unprecedented local dimension to consumers. According to the regulations, this liberalization is even more complete than the previous one because the distribution itself can be liberalized.

    This new form of liberalization preserves the proximity that is so necessary and so desired by consumers. It offers a more favorable evolution for local energy companies who can benefit from it and promote it.

    In some countries, the big national players tend to fight it as they fought the previous one. I tend to think they are wrong: nothing seems to stop it. And there is probably more to gain from accompanying and coping with it, even if it may seem complex, than to be punished for having once again opposed the course of history.

    We have seen in Europe a liberalization imposed by regulation; with energy communities, we are facing market liberalization on its own: addressing and taking advantage of it will require more elaborate strategies from energy providers.

    Click here to read other articles of the same author. 

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    Are Energy Communities Not the True Liberalization of the Market?

    Eric Morel
  • 5
    object(stdClass)#5377 (59) {
      ["id"]=>
      string(4) "5310"
      ["title"]=>
      string(66) "The Electricity Network: Mandatory Motorway or Optional Insurance?"
      ["alias"]=>
      string(64) "the-electricity-network-mandatory-motorway-or-optional-insurance"
      ["introtext"]=>
      string(469) "

    This question is a symbol of ongoing developments in the energy field; channeling the production of centralized units to dispersed consumers requires a distribution infrastructure such as the networks we have been accustomed to, so much so that they are an integral part of the “landscape” and so that it is difficult for us, Westerners, to imagine alternative schemes.

    " ["fulltext"]=> string(2898) "

    In emerging countries, whose challenge is to provide access to electricity to more villages and homes, a distribution network is an expensive infrastructure that is nowadays avoidable: in each community or group of communities, it is now possible to implement generators, efficient in terms of production costs and to distribute their production locally.

    This scheme allows significant progress as long as a high-consumption plant is not to be supplied and as long as the inhabitants accept to adapt their lifestyle habits to periods when electricity is available (the development of storage will considerably reduce this aspect).

    Some have seen, in these schemes of autonomous microgrids, a prefiguration of electricity distribution in all countries.

    It seems to me, under the current conditions, a daring, even inconsequential and far-fetched point of view.

    However, we note the risk of underutilized distribution networks, due to the emergence of local productions and energy communities: DSOs are afraid of this trend and for some time have raised the risk for their income, made of network fees, whose basis for calculation may be reduced.

    For their part, self-producing consumers have some difficulties in admitting (in countries where this is the case) to pay network fees for a network they do not use. We can understand them.

    The stakes are seemingly irreconcilable!

    An important point is however left out, unveiling consumers’ willingness to change without thinking of all the possible consequences. When we survey self-producers, in all European countries, more than 95% implicitly expect to be rescued by the network in case of interruption of their production.

    Does not this insurance have a cost? and so a price? and should this price not vary according to the risk coverage we wish to have.

    For the electricity we buy, it is allowed to pay for the network we use. For the electricity we consume, we have to charge consumers according to the risk they want to be covered: up to their former subscription level? up to 1kW to ensure a minimum? up to 3kW for not too much penalizing the comfort of life?

    Let’s say some people do not want any insurance! Let’s also assume that insurance premiums vary from year to year depending on consumer choice.

    We need consistency in our management of energy transitions to create meaning and help consumers understand the changes underway and their implications.There is nothing worse than prolonging inappropriate and misunderstood management and pricing systems.

    Click here to read other articles of the same author. 

     
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    The Electricity Network: Mandatory Motorway or Optional Insurance?

    Eric Morel

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