Eco-Friendly

Renewable Energy in Mining: Australian Companies Leading the Charge

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"Renewable Energy in Mining: Australian Companies Leading the Charge"

G’day, mates! Grab a cuppa and settle in, because we’re about to dive into a topic that’s hotter than a tin roof in the Outback – renewable energy in mining. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Mining and renewable energy? That’s like mixing oil and water!” But hold your horses, because Australian mining companies are turning that notion on its head faster than you can say “solar panel.”

From the red dust of the Pilbara to the lush forests of Tasmania, our mining operations are going greener than a veggie patch after a good rain. And it’s not just about slapping a few solar panels on the roof of the site office. We’re talking about a full-blown energy revolution that’s reshaping the industry from the ground up.

So, let’s dig into how Australian mining companies are leading the charge in renewable energy. It’s a story of innovation, determination, and good old Aussie ingenuity that’ll make you proud to be part of this sunburnt country.

  1. The Pioneers: Setting the Pace for Green Mining

Let’s kick things off with a company that’s been making waves in the renewable energy space – Fortescue Metals Group. These iron ore giants have set themselves the ambitious goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2030. That’s not a typo, folks – 2030!

I had a yarn with Sarah, one of the engineers working on Fortescue’s green energy projects. She couldn’t stop grinning as she told me about their plans. “We’re not just talking about offsetting our emissions,” she said. “We’re aiming to power our entire operations with renewable energy. It’s like trying to turn the Titanic around, but we’re making it happen.”

And they’re not mucking about. Fortescue’s investing billions in solar, wind, and battery storage. They’re even developing green hydrogen technology to power their haul trucks and trains. It’s like something out of a sci-fi movie, except it’s happening right here in our own backyard.

But it’s not just about their own operations. Fortescue’s planning to become a major player in the green energy market, producing and exporting green hydrogen and ammonia. Talk about turning a new leaf!

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Eco-Friendly

Best Tips for Recycling and Disposal of Dental Waste

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If you are a dental professional, then you must be familiar with the importance of staying compliant with clinical and dental waste laws.

The Australian government instituted strict regulations for waste management in 2009. This regulation which is covered in the National Waste Policy provides a comprehensive framework to efficiently manage and avoid waste.

But apart from the need to stay compliant with waste laws, dental clinics like Dental O So Gentle must practice proper waste management. This is critical to prevent harm to the environment and human health.

There are several viable strategies you can implement as a dental clinic to dispose of and properly recycle clinical waste.

We’ll share these valuable tips in this article, so get your notepad out, and let’s get started!

What is Clinical Waste?

As the name implies, clinical waste is any waste produced by businesses and organizations in the healthcare sector.

Clinical waste may include hazardous materials that can potentially cause infections and diseases. Some examples are bandages, dressings, swabs, and medicines.

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Health

7 Care Tips You Should Follow After Your Dental Implants Procedure

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Whether you are considering dental implants or have to book an appointment with an emergency dentist, it is important to know what you should expect afterward. Having dental implants involves a minor surgical procedure, and whilst you will be given a mild anaesthetic so that you feel no discomfort or pain, there are several important care tips you should follow after the procedure, to aid recovery and minimise any subsequent discomfort.

Do Not Touch The Surgical Wounds

Although this might seem obvious it is important for us to emphasise the need for you to avoid touching or disturbing any of the surgical wounds after you leave our surgery, and in the hours after you get home. Apart from no touching during these first few hours do not rinse your mouth or brush your teeth, and also resist the urge to spit if you feel you have excess saliva building up.

Activities To Avoid

In addition to not touching your wounds, there are some other activities that you should try to avoid. Eating hot food and drinks is one of them as this can cause pain and disturb wounds. Any food you eat should be soft and not require chewing. You should also refrain from taking part in any strenuous sports or activities, especially those which present a risk of someone or something coming into contact with your mouth.

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Eco-Friendly

5 Reasons To Include Glass Fencing In Your Sustainable Landscaping Plan

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Glass Fencing

Sustainable landscaping is becoming an increasingly popular trend throughout Australia and the world. According to Intreeg Landscapes, many landscape designs in Australia include swimming pools and some pool fencing, so you must consider your fencing options carefully.

Although there are a variety of different fencing options out there for your pool fence, glass pool fencing is famous as one of the most sustainable choices. Glass is an environmentally friendly alternative to things like plastic or cheap metal fencing, and here are five reasons why you should include it in your landscape design plan:

  1. Glass Is An Environmentally Friendly Choice

When it comes to pool fences, Glass is one of the most sustainable building materials. It is relatively simple and energy-efficient, and its core components can be sourced easily through relatively non-destructive mining practices.

Glass also has a very long lifespan, which means that your pool fence will need to be fixed or replaced much less often. Glass is often the best pool design for fences and looks great with modern landscaping, when your glass pool fence does eventually need to be replaced, the old panels and metal fixings can be recycled.

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Sustainability

The Complete Guide To Commercial Solar Panel Systems For Business Owners

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The Complete Guide To Commercial Solar Panel Systems For Business Owners

Businesses are constantly seeking commercial energy efficiency and reducing their environmental impact, and one such solution is the installation of a solar energy system that includes solar batteries, solar panels, and all the associated wiring and components. What we will do in this blog post is explore the benefits of solar energy for businesses, the types of solar panels available, and what factors to consider when choosing a solar system for your particular business.

Benefits Of Installing Solar Panels On Commercial Buildings

  • Economic Savings = Increased Profits

Firstly, a solar energy system, which includes solar panels on the outside of your business premises, can help you save a considerable amount on your energy bills. By generating its own electricity, your company can reduce its reliance on the electrical grid, thus decreasing its energy costs. Over time, the initial investment in solar panels should pay for itself, and the ongoing savings should be put to good use elsewhere in your business, including digital marketing.

  • Reduced Carbon Footprint

As almost all businesses grow more environmentally conscious, and we are sure that includes yours, a solar panel installation will help to reduce your business’s carbon footprint. By harnessing the power of the sun via your solar panels and solar batteries,  your business can generate clean, renewable energy, which can help combat climate change and preserve the environment.

  • Increased Property Value

For those businesses which own their commercial premises, this is a key benefit because solar panels can also add value to commercial properties. A building with a solar energy system is often seen as more attractive to potential buyers or tenants, who will appreciate the reduced energy costs and the eco-friendly aspect of clean energy.

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Maintenance

10 Reasons to Consider Ducted Air Conditioning

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Ducted Air Conditioning

Ducted air conditioning is a central unit with ducting leading from it into every room of the house. While it is usually installed in new builds, it can be fitted into a home that is already built so long as there is enough room in the ceiling cavity to do so. Flat-roofed homes will not have enough room under the roof, but it might be possible to install it in another place. Consult with the experts first if you are considering this type of air con for your home.

Here are some reasons to consider ducted air conditioning for your home.

  • While it may seem expensive, it is cheaper than installing a split system or even a window air con for every room in the house. Remember, the ducting will be taken into each and every room you want to be cool in the heat of summer.
  • If you use refrigerated ducted air conditioning, it can also be used to heat the home because it is a reverse cycle. Evaporative ducted air cons are not reverse cycles. These are often used in hot, dry climates as they add moisture to the dry air. However, in hot, humid climates they are not acceptable because they increase the humidity.

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Eco-Friendly

Sustainability in a Teacup: Organic Loose-Leaf Tea vs Tea Bags

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Sustainability in a Teacup: Organic Loose-Leaf Tea vs Tea Bags

As we navigate our way through the 21st century, concerns about the environment have become increasingly important. In the realm of food and beverage, sustainability has become a significant priority. There is a rising trend of tea drinkers who want to ensure that their tea is sustainably sourced and brewed in the most environmentally friendly way possible. Loose-leaf tea has been around for centuries, and today there is a wide variety available from all parts of the world. Tea bags are the more modern option and convenient for many people. We will explore the differences between organic loose-leaf tea and tea bags and investigate each option’s sustainability.

Consider the environmental impact of disposable tea bags.

Disposable tea bags are convenient and affordable but also have a high environmental cost. Most tea bags have a plastic-based lining, making them non-biodegradable and contributing to plastic pollution. Tea bags also contain tiny particles of plastic, which can make their way into the environment. Tea bags are also often packaged in single-use, non-biodegradable plastic containers. These containers add to the plastic waste in landfills, further damaging our environment. By choosing organic loose-leaf tea instead, you can reduce your environmental impact and help create a more sustainable world.

Invest in organic and sustainably sourced loose-leaf teas.

The demand for organic and sustainably sourced loose-leaf teas has surged as consumers become more aware of these products’ environmental and health benefits. Investing in loose-leaf teas is not only beneficial for the environment, but it also allows for a more luxurious tea-drinking experience. Loose-leaf teas are known for their complex and nuanced flavours and aromas, which tea bags can’t match. Loose-leaf teas are often superior since tea bags are filled with heavily processed, lower-grade tea leaves.

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Sustainability

Why Faux Leather Cowboy Boots May Not Be The Most Sustainable Option

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Why Faux Leather Cowboy Boots May Not Be The Most Sustainable Option

Lots of people buy Men’s western boots and barely give a second thought as to where they are made or how. Conversely, others will purchase cowboy boots, and it is just as important to them that they were made from sustainable sources, as is whether the boots are the style and colour they want.

This points to the fact that there is a wide variety of views relating to environmental issues ranging from passionately campaigning on green issues to barely giving it a moment’s notice. Between those two extremes, many people would like to follow a greener and more sustainable lifestyle but are often confused as to exactly how that can be done.

That confusion is not helped by some of the conflicting messages coming from those on opposite sides of the sustainability argument. One such point is the use of alternative materials to those natural ones which are traditionally used. Talking specifically about cowboy boots, these would be cowboy boots manufactured, not from natural leather that comes from the hide of cattle, but faux leather that looks, and in some cases, feels like real leather.

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Natural Treasures

Why You Should Include A Waterfall Tour In Your Bali Holiday Itinerary

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Why You Should Include A Waterfall Tour In Your Bali Holiday Itinerary

There are many reasons why Bali is such a popular holiday destination, and one of the main ones is that it can provide an ideal holiday for all tastes. By that we mean if you want a sporty and highly active holiday, Bali can provide it, or if you prefer to visit stunningly beautiful sites, it has them too. Even if all you want to do is relax on the beach or at your luxury villas every day, then once again, Bali is a holiday destination that can provide that for you.

One holiday itinerary that can provide a combination of pretty much what everyone would appreciate is one which includes visits to several of Bali’s waterfalls. We say ‘everyone’ because Bali’s waterfalls can offer both relaxing sightseeing where photographs are the order of the day, and they can also appeal to those looking for activities such as swimming in natural pools and even waterfall climbing.

To give you more of an indication as to what some of Bali’s top waterfalls each have to offer, here is some information that we hope you find useful.

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Office Sustainability

Business Benefits of Environmental Management

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Environmental Management

Many businesses, such as web design companies and others, decide to follow sustainability guidelines because they have done their research and found that not only will it help the earth’s resources to last longer, but it also positively impacts their bottom line. Perhaps even more importantly, when done for the right reasons, it gives the web design company a good reputation.

Here are some of the reasons why Slinky Creative believes in going green in your business –

  • You can receive specific government grants and assistance.
  • Your company will spend less on water, power and raw materials.
  • You and your company will receive positive recognition through various, numerous environmental awards.
  • It is possible to find new markets for services or goods that are ‘green’.
  • Because you’ve reduced wastage and the use of hazardous chemicals, your workplace will be safer, and costs will be lower.
  • Employees will be happy to work for you because they know about increased workplace safety.
  • A positive impression in the minds of both employees and customers will be created when they know what your stand is on environmental issues.

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Office Sustainability

Ideas to Make Your Office Environmentally Friendly

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Environmentally Friendly Office

Eco-friendly and green living has become all the rage lately, and for good reason. We only have one planet, and we need to look after it if our grandchildren and other generations are going to enjoy the same privileged lives we do today.

It doesn’t matter if you own a web design agency or a small beauty salon – we all have a responsibility to make our offices as environmentally friendly as possible. Luckily, there are numerous ways to do this, and I’ve outlined a few of my favourites below.

Create Monthly Challenges

If your office is a friendly, laid back place, you could consider creating fun monthly challenges to encourage eco-friendly practices. There are a few different ways to approach this, but the general idea is to make things fun so that your employees actually want to do their best.

One example that I particularly like is seeing who can produce the least waste over the course of a week or a month. Give every employee their own waste bin, and encourage them to recycle wherever possible. If you want, you could reward the winner with some sort of novelty price, such as being “king of the office” for a day.

Use Indoor Plants

The environment within the office is often stuffy and the air tends to be pretty stale, especially if you don’t have decent ventilation. Luckily, this is pretty easily solved by buying a few indoor plants, which will act as natural air filters, removing impurities and keeping your office fresh.

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Office Sustainability

How Sustainability Can Change Business Practices

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Business Practices

Many businesses such as SEO companies follow sustainability guidelines in their offices because they know it is likely to reduce their costs and because they can point to the fact as a way to get more customers and an improved reputation. This is all good and in Australia especially, where there are fair rules and regulations regarding employment, we don’t see a lot of what the lack of sustainability in business can actually do to employees.

In many other countries where no such regulations exist, businesses do not follow ethical practices, especially in what they provide – or rather, don’t provide – for their workers. Abominably low wages and terrible working conditions are the sad lot of such employees, who struggle to make enough for their families to eat, let alone have decent clothing, healthcare and education.

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Health

Simple Changes That Will Reduce A Dental Practice’s Carbon Footprint

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Simple Changes That Will Reduce A Dental Practice’s Carbon Footprint

According to dentists, there is an increasing focus on how dental practices operate in terms of their green credentials. A number of dental processes like teeth whitening, the plastic wrap that covers materials, and types of equipment have been identified as being harmful to the environment and the move towards dentistry switching to greener alternative is well underway.

Where your dental practice might be on that journey, only you will know, but if you are keen to find out as many ways as possible to reduce your carbon footprint and subsequently reduce the harm you might be doing to the environment, there is no end of possibilities.

At one end of the scale, there are some,  such as replacing equipment that will obviously require a significant financial investment. Thankfully, there are also many at the other end which cost absolutely nothing other than a slight change of behaviours, not only from you and your staff but from your patients too.

Now we admit that when you read some of them, the word ‘Duh’ might enter your mind, given some are so obvious and simple. But, before you dismiss any of them ask yourself and ask if your dental practice truly does any of them 100% of the time.

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Eco-Friendly

3 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2013

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I recently had the opportunity to sit down with long-time friend and wind powered business owner, Lynn Anne Miller of 4GreenPs. Lynn founded 4GreenPs in 2006 after a successful career in marketing for venture-backed tech start-ups and Fortune 500 firms. 4GreenPs started as a traditional strategic marketing firm. At the same time, Lynn became personally interested in green living and sustainability issues. And so naturally, she combined this passion with her formal marketing expertise and 4GreenPs began working with green businesses. Mom Made Foods in Alexandria became her first green client in 2008. Since then, her clients have included Elysian Energy, FRESHFARM Markets, Seventh Generation, and the Livability Project.

With her wealth of knowledge from across the marketing spectrum, I chatted with Lynn about the most common marketing mistakes she sees growing businesses make.

Overuse of Discounts

Too many times retailers use discounts to attract and retain customers. Lynn cautions that repeated discounts train customers to wait and only purchase when there is a sale. Instead, Lynn suggests that retailers use customer appreciation discounts. This type of approach is high touch and reinforces brand image.

“Who doesn’t love to feel special and appreciated?” asks Lynn. “Consumers become more brand loyal when they feel that the brand appreciates them. Offering discounts across the board does not cultivate brand loyalty, in fact, it does the opposite, while also cutting into profit margins.”

Poor SEO

Websites are no longer about just good aesthetic design. Businesses have to incorporate Search engine optimization, or SEO, from the ground up in their websites. Lynn has found that many businesses are aware of SEO but don’t understand the importance of it and how it relates to a solid lead process. One of the tools that Lynn recommends to clients is HubSpot. 4GreenPs is a certified Value Added Reseller of   Hubspot’s inbound marketing software.

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Gardening

How to Create a Sustainable Garden

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Sustainable Garden

It can be a challenge to work out how to live a life that promotes and encourages sustainability. When you’re surrounded by single-use products and non-environmentally-friendly practises, taking the first step is both frightening and tricky. However, you would be amazed at just how easy it is to create a sustainable garden for your family. Here are a few helpful tips and tricks, used by renovations experts, to start you on the right path.

Get the Right Tools

If you’re not a natural-born gardener, then you may not even know where to start. How about beginning with a few essential tools? Head to your local gardening centre and pick up a compost bin, a rainwater barrel, a shovel and spade, and a soil tiller. These few items can put you on the right path to complete sustainability.

Choose the Garden Location

While you might think you can plant a garden at random and see it produce results, a landscaper will tell you that’s not often the case. You have to factor sunshine, water, and shelter into your decision. If you don’t, then you may be extremely disappointed when the time comes to harvest.

If you’re not sure where the best place might be to plant, then draw an area out and watch how much sunshine it gets during the day. Also, pay attention to moisture levels to be on the safe side.

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Eco-Friendly

Pantry Products You Had No Idea Could Clean Your Home

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Eco-friendly Pantry Products

More and more manufacturers are seeing the value in producing sustainable products to clean our homes. They have even shone a spotlight on Australia’s waste epidemic, with the country’s environment ministers looking to use only 100 percent reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging by 2025.

So if you ask Commercial Cleaning experts, it’s fair to say we’re on the right track with both what we use to clean our homes and what we put in our rubbish bins within them.

However, you also can’t beat what nature gives us – and it’s a lot. If you’re looking to both cut down your grocery bill and use more sustainable products, then read on. Here are pantry products you may not have known could clean your home.

Vinegar

Vinegar is as versatile a pantry ingredient as they come. While you may not use it a lot for cooking, you will surely find it serves a purpose in the realm of cleaning.

Smudged mirror? Use vinegar. Can’t get that glass perfectly clean? Vinegar comes to the rescue. You can even use it as a rinse aid in your dishwasher. The only thing you can’t use vinegar on is unsealed marble as it can have an adverse reaction.

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Gardening

How Often Should I Be Watering My Lawns?

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Watering My Lawns

It can seem like a bit of a guessing game when it comes to lawn care and when you should mow your lawns. There doesn’t appear to be any “one size fits all” approach, as plenty of variables come into play.

Where you live, your climate, weather patterns, grass type, and current grass health may all factor into the question you’re asking yourself: how often should I be watering my lawns? And have I been doing it wrong all this time?

Don’t Over-water Your Lawns

To keep your lawns thriving, green, and beautiful in what is often a drought-plagued country, you might think that watering more is doing your gardens a favour. It’s not. When you water your lawns a lot, as in, every day, they don’t get a chance to seek out water for themselves and lengthen their roots.

If you over water your lawns, their roots are short, and they are more likely to sulk when you stop watering them as often. What’s more, a damp lawn is an open invitation for moisture-loving pests and disease to move in.

Let Your Lawn Tell You When It Wants Water

Lawns can communicate with you without saying anything, so listen to what they are saying. A lawn that needs water is one that is starting to wilt or change color from green to brown. Read these signs and water when your grass gets to this point. Grass needs time between watering to deliver air to the roots and encourage them to seek water sources deep in the ground.

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Eco-Friendly

Are You Eco-Friendly?

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Eco-Friendly

How would you define your level of sustainability? Do you think you do your part to make the world a better place? Are you trying to leave it in better condition than you found it? Ask yourself these questions, and see if there are improvements you can make, or if you’re already doing more than you first thought.

What Do I Use to Carry My Groceries? 

Single-use plastic bags are slowly being phased out throughout the world, but not quite everywhere. What do you use to carry your groceries? Have you invested in material or cloth bags that you can use over and over again? Or, are you still relying on supermarkets and stores to provide you with packaging? If it’s the latter, consider investing in your own bags for future shopping trips.

Do I Recycle? 

We live in a country that actively encourages recycling, so do you partake? Do you separate your paper, plastic, glass, metals, and waste? Do you make a special effort to make sure all trash and recyclables leave your property in the correct bins? And, if you don’t have a recycling service to your home, do you go out of your way to deliver your recyclables to a centre?

A considerable number of products you use every day can be used again, so think of this every time you throw your plastic or glass in your waste bin.

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Eco-Friendly

What Does a Muffler Do?

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First and foremost, a car muffler does exactly what it sounds like. It’s the part of your exhaust that muffles the noise from the engine and creates a quieter driving experience. But it also does so much more. They are used primarily with combustion engines, which are the most popular type of engine in the world.

Just like the muffler, the combustion engine does exactly what it sounds like. It combusts, creating literal mini-explosions within the vehicle. But fret not, these explosions are of course carefully contained, and the muffler conceals the noise created from the combustion.

On top of this, there are a few more specific things they do for your engine. Read on to find out in more detail the many uses of the muffler.

Conceal Noisy Explosions

Again, the muffler’s most notable effect is concealing noise from the combustion engine. It specifically is able to do this through re-directing the emitted sound waves through sets of internal tubes and chambers. The muffler is a cylindrical device attached to the exhaust pipe, from where it filters out the noises.

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Gardening

Getting The Most Out Of Your Irrigation System

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Irrigation System

Experts in everything landscaping, Landscapers Network, have found that one of the most difficult things for landscapers, such as Northpark Woodworks, when designing new garden areas is setting up a decent irrigation system. Water restrictions are common throughout Australia, and it’s therefore extremely important to make sure that you’re irrigation system is efficient, effective and installed properly.

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a handyman, you might decide to install your own irrigation system. While this can save you a bit of money on landscaping costs, it’s important to do some research before you begin. If you don’t, you might find that you’re simply wasting water and that you’re plants aren’t benefiting as much as they should.

With this in mind, Sydney Landscapers Divine Landscapes put together a few tips to help you get the most out of your irrigation system. Consider the following:

Make Sure You’re Not Irrigating The Road

Nothing annoys me more than driving down a quiet street in the middle of the day and seeing water flowing down the road from poorly placed sprinklers. To put it simply, this is a terrible water of water – water that you’re paying for with your hard earned dollars!

The whole point of setting up an automatic irrigation system is to make things easier for yourself. Make sure that you’re sprinklers are well placed (if you have to use sprinklers) and that they’re only watering the areas you want watered. Make sure that they aren’t spraying the street, paths or any other irrelevant area.

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Maintenance

5 Tips For Reducing The Fire Risk In Your Building

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Fire Protection

Depending on your workplace, fire protection may be a major consideration. While the fire risk is low in many small businesses, workshops and industrial plants are often at severe risk of fire. Despite this, they don’t always do everything that they can to reduce the fire risk, and fires often break out due to this.

Fortunately for you, there are a lot of things that you can do to reduce the fire risk in your building. Some of these things are very simple, and wouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to implement. Our top 5 tips for reducing the fire risk in your commercial building include:

  1. Make sure your fire extinguishers are serviced regularly

Fire extinguishers need to be tested at least once every six months, and they need to be pressure tested and refilled at least once every five years. If you fail to do this, your extinguishers could degrade, potentially becoming useless. This will reduce your ability to control a small fire when it occurs, significantly increasing your fire risk.

  1. Remove fuel sources

General clutter around the workshop or other parts of your building can provide fuel for a fire if one breaks out. Clean up clutter and remove potential fuel sources to reduce your fire risk. Make sure that things like flammable liquids and gases are isolated in appropriate storage containers, and make sure that they aren’t near any potential ignition sources.

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Sustainability

Eco Friendly Cleaning

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Eco Friendly Cleaning

The job is finished! The plumbing company you hired have done a terrific job on the complete bathroom renovations. From here on in, you have decided to make a conscious effort to change your bathroom cleaning system. Is there anyone out there that just loves cleaning the bathroom, apart from people with a compulsive disorder? The chemicals you use make the whole job a bit of an ordeal. Apart from the smells, things like ammonia can make you dizzy, some chemicals affect your respiration, and others give you skin allergies. The hazards of cleaning. How to stop all these health problems from starting? Switch to green cleaning.

Why would you want to do that?

  • Better for the environment
  • Better for your health
  • Better for your wallet.
  • Green cleaning tips

1.The toilet

Baking soda and vinegar. Vinegar – half a cup. Baking soda – 1 tablespoon. After you pour it inside your toilet bowl let i sit there and soak for 20 minutes. Scrub the toilet and repeat every week.

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Gardening

Garden Preparation for Winter

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Garden Preparation

The experts at Space Landscape Designs tell us that summer is still with us, but it’s always good to plan for autumn and winter to make sure your garden stays at its best and prepares itself for the next couple of seasons. Many of your plants and shrubs will feel and look good if you give them a proper trim before winter hits. Plants such as perennials and ornamental grasses won’t mind a short back and sides. Landscape plants can retain their shape for the following spring if they get a healthy pruning.

Different Strokes …

Remember – not ALL plants need to be pruned for autumn. If you have rhododendrons, azaleas and lilac, that bloom in spring for instance, don’t cut these back. Just a light trim after they bloom is okay. You don’t want to accidentally prune the flowers.

How About Winter Protection?

There is a phenomenon called “transpiration” in your landscape plants in winter. It means that they lose moisture faster than they can take it in. This can cause severe damage to the leafy tissue of the plants. If this keeps happening over a few winters, the leaves will permanently disappear and that affects photosynthesis.

You can winter protect your lawn and plants with a few sprays to protect them from the cold weather. Perhaps three times is enough through Autumn. These sprays are not 100% fool-proof, but they will certainly go a long way towards protecting the health of your plants.

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Renovation Tips

Let Your Financial Planner Advise You How To Fund Home Improvements

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Financial Planning

If you are intending to make improvements to your home there is no getting away from the fact that they are going to have to be paid for. The question is ‘How?’. This will be best answered by employing the services of a financial planner. Whether your project is large or small they can analyse your household budget and based on the amount of money required for the home improvements determine which is the best method of financing it.

When a financial planner is helping you to plan a garden or home renovation project, their overriding objectives are to ensure that your cash flow is sufficient for you to complete the project and that there is no risk of you being unable to meet your normal commitments.

For smaller projects such as decorating, the amount of money required will not normally be that high, and it could be you are happy and willing to fund it from the cash you have in your savings account. It may well be that this is what your financial planner advises, however, they will assess if the increased value of your property covers any loss of interest you receive.

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Sustainability

Ways to be Sustainable with Your Fence

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Fencing

According to professional fencing companies, sometimes you have no choice regarding home fencing if contractors have already been and gone, with the type of fence already chosen and erected. Even if you don’t like the fence much or think it is not an eco-friendly choice, it is better to leave the original fence there for at least a few years because that is an eco-friendly action.

Pulling it up and replacing it will cost you more and take up more of the earth’s resources. The best way to practice sustainability with the fence that is there is to look after it so it lasts for as long as possible. Here are some tips on how to make your fence last longer.

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Eco-Friendly

How to Prevent Your Child Developing Myopia

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Child Developing Myopia

Studies have proven that children of all ages are far less likely to suffer from myopia when they play outside for 3-4 hours a day. This might seem like a lot, but you can count at least one hour of a school day; recess and lunch, and then there is sports. With some outdoor furniture to relax in, you can be comfortable while watching over your children.

No parent wants their child to develop any disease or ‘defect’, especially if it can be prevented. The trouble is that most people just don’t realise how many things could easily and simply be prevented by taking the simplest of actions. For instance, many children develop myopia or nearsightedness when they need not, with the result they have to wear glasses for the rest of their lives.

This is not only costly, but can decrease their self confidence and even prevent them from playing certain sports. Yet it is easily preventable. How?

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Renovation Tips

Easy Green Home Renovations

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Green Home Renovations

Home renovations are not only great for improving the look, value, and functionality of a home. They are also a practical way to decrease how much your home costs to live in each year. To get the most out of your upcoming building makeover, why not look into some of these green home renovation ideas?

Insulation Saves Heating and Cooling

One of the main areas where heat escapes your home is the roof. It makes absolute sense to keep it as well insulated as possible. While the roof is typically the easiest to add more insulation to, seeing as there are access points that allow entry, what about the walls? Unfortunately, it’s not usually feasible to just open up a wall to add better insulation. But if you are going to do some extensive renovations that involves opening up or adding walls, you have the perfect opportunity to better insulate your home in the process.

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Maintenance

Does Eco-Friendly Carpet Cleaning Actually Work?

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Eco Friendly Carpet Cleaning

Keeping your carpets clean is imperative to the health and well being of those living in your home. But the process that a carpet needs to undergo in order to stay clean can bring some pretty harsh substances into that home. There are plenty of environmentally safe carpet cleaning methods around lately. How do these measure up to the more traditional methods that use harsh chemicals? And are they actually better for the environment, or are many of them just ways for companies to monetize on the green trends that are taking over the world?

Harmful Carpet Cleaners

In addition to containing VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that are prone to releasing harmful gases into your home, artificial carpet weaves are also an ideal place for mold, mites, and dust to propagate and gather. The first thing you should do is vacuum regularly, but that’s just not enough on its own. According to Brilliance Cleaning, all carpets will eventually need to be steam cleaned, especially if you are living in a rental or trying to sell your current home for as much profit as possible. Carpet cleaning compounds often contain things like perchloroethylene or naphthalene.

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Gardening

What Is Green Landscaping?

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Green Landscaping

Green landscaping has nothing to do with just having more plant life. It’s a commonly held misconception that having lots of plants, trees, and turf is automatically going to be better for the environment. You might feel more in tune with nature while you’re enjoying your extensively groomed and maintained yard, but the amount of resources that go into many such areas is astounding.

To do your landscaping in a green way, you could choose someone like Lone Pine Landscapes and enter a mindset of saving all resources, including power, money, and time. A truly green landscape is going to encourage the growth and health of local wildlife, without affected the soil, air, or water in a negative way. These can be great places for family and friends to play and relax, without worrying about what kinds of nasty substances they might be absorbing into their bodies, and without fearing harm of the environment.

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Eco-Friendly

Design Your Eco-Friendly Kitchen with Care

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Eco Friendly Kitchen

Modern kitchen design by someone like colray cabinets has certainly come a long way, and in just a relatively short time. You probably still think of terms like “going green” and “eco-friendly” as mere buzzwords that companies use to try and appear progressive and caring of the environment. But sustainable design and building practice is much more than just some fad. It’s a way to allow people to take care with how they impact the planet, while choosing building designs that are holistic and better for everyone.

Planning Your Design

A lot of people don’t like to think about environmentally friendly design because they think it’s too hard or expensive. All it requires is some careful forethought, but that goes for any building or design project that you want to turn out well. One of the biggest keys to working sustainably is doing things to right way the first time. If you choose to install an eco-friendly kitchen design that you can’t live with, ripping everything out and starting again will defeat the purpose of trying to go green in the first place.

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Renovation Tips

5 Green Kitchen Renovation Tips

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Renovating your kitchen with someone like the Kitchen Professionals not only costs a lot, but this type of work tends to take a great toll on the environment. Staying eco-friendly often means spending less money, so keep this in mind when you’re worrying about the possible costs of going green. Below are some great ways to cut down on waste in your kitchen without spending big.

1. Reuse, Upcycle, Recycle
See how recycling is the last thing mentioned above? That’s because recycling uses more resources than simply directly reusing or upcycling. To break something down and turn it into a like-new, practical material is harder than you might think.

Kitchen renovation, as our modern society knows it at least, sees old kitchen fittings undoubtedly ending up a part of our landfill problem. Your old kitchen fittings might not be useful to you anymore. But don’t throw them away, because they might be perfect for someone else’s home. Advertise on social media or classifieds and tell others that you have something they might be able to use. If you were just going to throw it out anyway, why not give things away for free? Take some photos to go with your notices, so people can see that you’re offering something worth having, rather than trying to unload junk.

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Swimming Pools

What Automatic Pool Cleaners Cannot Help With

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Automatic Pool Cleaners

A pool owner’s biggest nightmare is seeing algae growing in their swimming pool. Even running an automatic pool cleaner like a kreepy krauly won’t remove algae, especially if it has been left to grow for a long time.

This is because it sticks to the edges of the pool and protects itself from harm by a slimy covering or a very hard one.

There are many types of algae, of which 4 main types are likely to be found in swimming pools.

  1. Green algae
  2. Black algae
  3. Pink algae and
  4. Yellow algae

While algae is not harmful to humans of itself, it can become a host to bacteria such as e.coli that are. Besides that, it looks horribly ugly and will spoil all the pleasure you have in your pool and swimming in it.  If you have an algae infection in your pool it may not even be your fault. Algae spores can be blown into the pool where they wait for the right condition to grow and bloom.

Nearly all water sources have some kind of algae in them, including the ocean which is where black algae comes from.  Green algae is found naturally in many watery homes such as the local creek or river, or any pool of water.

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Eco-Friendly

Is DIY Home Removal Eco-Friendly?

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eco-friendly home removals

Even the most experienced eco-friendly home owner might come to a dead end when they need to move to a new home. Home removals are said to be one of the most stressful and exhausting things that the average person does. You can help yourself by checking past reviews carefully and choosing a highly rated removalist like Brilliance Removalists Perth, but first you need to consider whether you are going to hire professionals to move your belongings, or if you will just do it yourself.

Figuring out which of these options is better for the environment, and for your wallet, can be a chore in itself. And that’s before you’ve even started to organize things. Take a look at these pros and cons when you’re thinking about easy and eco-friendly home removals.

Moving Yourself: Pros

  • You call the shots. This is a big factor for many people, but you shouldn’t let it be the only deciding factor. If you don’t want people you don’t know going through your things and being trusted not to damage anything, professional movers might not be the best option.

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Renovation Tips

9 Passive Home Design Features for Sustainability

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Home Design Features

Home owners who want their home to reflect the sustainability practices that are becoming popular need to look at the design of the home right from the start. Fitting such elements after the home is built is much more costly and sometimes cannot be done at all, depending on the original design.

Here are 9 passive home design features that you can add to your home in the planning stage without it costing any more. This will reduce the carbon footprint, make the home more comfortable and keep costs much lower than they would be otherwise.

  • Make sure large aluminium windows are installed on the north side as they will then allow winter sun into the living rooms. Use wide eaves and other shading, such as shade sails, for the summer when the sun is higher in the sky and won’t shine on the windows as much.

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Eco-Friendly

Home Removals the Eco-Safe Way

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home furniture removals

If you were to ask Brilliance Removalists Melbourne you would learn that plenty of people are embracing a more green way of living, but get stuck when it’s time to home furniture removals. This is not something that your average person thinks about much, until it comes time for them to move home themselves. Yes, it is absolutely possible to stay eco-friendly when you are moving.

Think about all the waste that quickly adds up when you move from one home to another:

  • Gas for vehicles
  • Packing foam and peanuts
  • Plastic from all sorts of products
  • Mountains of cardboard boxes
  • And the list goes on

And there are things that will no doubt end up in landfill in the near future. Is that how you want to mark the milestone of moving into your new home?

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Eco-Friendly

5 Eco-Safe Landscaping Ideas

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green landscaping ideas

You might want a lovely garden to enjoy when you’re relaxing at home. But does the idea of ruining the environment just so that you can have a little piece of nature on your property, worry you? It doesn’t have to! There are plenty of modern, smart, and even affordable green landscaping ideas for you to consider. Helping to save Mother Earth can literally start with landscape design right in your own backyard if you do it the responsible way.

  1. Less Lawn Is Greener?

While you might have less actual green in your yard, in terms of lawn coverage, going without as much grass is really the greener option. Even removing turf that’s already in your yard can save a lot of water and cash. If you hate the idea of having a yard that’s completely void of any grass, consider simply reducing the amount that you have. Replace it with some eco-friendly plants instead, or a walking area that’s sustainable.

  1. Consider Artificial Grass

Okay, you’re probably reeling in horror at the suggestion that synthetic turf could possibly be in line with a go-green attitude. But think about it for a minute; the average landscape that’s covered with grass uses an insane amount of water and other resources to keep in lush and green. There’s also the cost of maintenance, including using lawnmowers than run off petrol most of the time. Your own green oasis is far more resource intense than even a natural garden landscape. If you want to reduce your overall costs and your imprint on the planet, it absolutely makes sense to use synthetic turf and or products such as stone or rocks in your yard. Some areas even offer rebates to homeowners who are willing to do this.

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Eco-Friendly

You Can Move House the Green Way

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Move House Green Way

If you’ve been trying to reduce your impact on Mother Earth, you might be caught in a conundrum when it comes time to move house. Home removals can be extremely wasteful, and people often don’t realize there are lots of greener ways to go through the process.

No More Cardboard Boxes

According to Brilliance Removalists Brisbane, if you know that house removals use up to 50 or more cardboard boxes on average? That equates to one large tree, and all just to move your things from one location to the next. What happens to all that cardboard after it’s been used one time? It is sometimes recycled, which is good but still uses a considerable amount of resources. Otherwise, the boxes are just throw away and add to the already high pollution of the planet. Instead of using cardboard boxes to move home, why not think about a more eco-friendly option?

Getting some used cardboard boxes is a good way to do things. However, the boxes are going to need to be junked eventually. They can only be re-used a certain number of times before the material becomes too damaged. It’s better to start with something more environmentally friendly right from the start, and discourage the use of cardboard boxes completely.

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Eco-Friendly

Do Eco-Friendly Pools Exist?

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Eco Friendly Pools

Swimming pools are one of the most sought after additions to a home, but can they actually be eco-friendly? If the summer is getting to you, making everyone in your household hot and uncomfortable, it’s hard to resist the urge to install your own pool. But it’s not hard to imagine how a swimming pool in every backyard would quickly become a catastrophe for the environment.

That cooling, calming water that so delicately washes away stress and boredom comes with some nasty secrets. The typical swimming is kept clean using chlorine. This is meant to keep swimmers safe by killing germs and preventing a buildup of other hazardous denizens from forming in the water.

Chlorine is not only an irritant to human skin and eyes, but it can be harmful to respiratory function. Kids who regularly go in swimming pools that are treated with chlorine, have a higher chance of developing asthma or allergies. In adults, being exposed to chlorine can possibly lead to rectal cancer, bladder cancer, and perhaps even a higher chance of heart disease.

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Eco-Friendly

How to Reduce Vandal Damage on a Building Site

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Commercial fencing

Vandals seem to be drawn to a building site like bees to honey, but they are much more destructive. If there is no security fencing, they can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage and may injure themselves into the bargain. While the building company usually uses some kind of secure fencing, if the site is going to be fenced eventually, why not do it right away?

A large site has plenty of room for all the equipment that is needed, so they shouldn’t need all four sides of the property for access. Commercial fencing can be erected all around three sides and the fourth left for later. This will save time in getting it completed once the building crew has finished.

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Maintenance

11 Safety Tips In the Home for Floods or Storms

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Floods or Storms

If you’ve never been through a major flood or a devastating storm you would be one of the lucky minority. Most experienced electricians would tell you that there are specific safety procedures that should be undertaken, especially during a flood that will help to keep you safe and thus, healthy.

Anyone can be at risk in a flood or a storm, especially when it is really severe and if the flood water actually comes into the house. Thankfully, there is usually enough warning of floods that people have time to prepare so they can stay safe and healthy throughout their ordeal. Here are some tips to help you prepare and avoid unnecessary risks during a flood or storm.

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Sustainability

Sustainability in Roofing Choices

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Roofing Choices

If you are upgrading your home with a new roof you may want to consider choosing a roofing material that is environmentally friendly. There are several options for roofs, but some don’t fall into the sustainability sector for one reason or another. What is needed is to choose a roof that has eco-friendly properties while still being affordable.  Here are some options to consider.

  • Tiles – tiles are made from clay, cement or slate. These materials are plentiful, so using them will not degrade the earth’s resources too much. They also have long lasting properties, many lasting for 50 years or more. The only trouble is that they are quite heavy and require much more framing to support them than steel roofing and this uses more timber.  Since each tile must be fixed individually and only covers a small area, putting them on takes quite some time and this will cost more in labour.

If you are thinking of rainwater harvesting, tiles absorb a certain amount of rain before providing run-off. Because they absorb moisture, mould is likely to develop and once it does, it is very difficult to get rid of, since the roots penetrate deep into the tile and sprout again even after the surface has been cleaned.

  • Steel – steel sheeting such as Colorbond or Zincalume is light and each sheet covers a large area, so the roof is easy and quick to erect while requiring minimal framing, thus saving on timber usage. Steel has an advantage in bushfire prone areas that it provides fewer niches than tiles for dangerous embers to become trapped in. It does not absorb any moisture, so you get rainwater run-off even with the lightest showers and there is no likelihood of mould growing on it.

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Eco-Friendly

Spotlight On: Georgetown

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Georgetown is a beautiful, historic DC neighborhood that isn’t generally considered the leader of the pack on green initiatives.  But, we found that there’s more going on than meets the eye. Restaurants, real estate agencies, churches, clothing shops, and nonprofits are all working to reduce their impact on the environment.  Here are just a few of the neighborhood’s burgeoning environmental initiatives.

Restaurants, Real Estate & Design Firms Lead the Way

Many Georgetown businesses are reducing their environmental footprint by switching to wind power. Along with some other pretty cool initiatives, they’re leading the way for green businesses in the area.

If trying new food is your thing, go for lunch to Sweetgreen. The first location of the franchise, Sweetgreen in Georgetown has mind-blowingly delicious salads with locally sourced ingredients. They’re annual music and food festival, sweetlife, is coming up in May.  For the seafood lover, check out Blacksalt Fish Market & Restaurant: they both sell and serve up fresh, sustainable seafood and often grace the various “Best of DC” restaurant lists.

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Eco-Friendly

Growing Better Businesses

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2013 was a landmark year in the movement for building better business. From passing B Corporation legislation in new states to adding almost 300 new Certified B Corporations to the community, the B Corporation movement is growing and thriving in the US and abroad. With the launch of the B the Change campaign, it’s a perfect time to remember what being a B Corp is all about.

What is a B Corp?

Certified B Corporations are a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Corp certification is to sustainable business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk. Certified B Corporations are leading a global movement to redefine success in business.

By voluntarily meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance, Certified B Corps are distinguishing themselves in a cluttered marketplace by offering a positive vision of a better way to do business.

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Eco-Friendly

These Non-Profits get the Job Done

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In honor of Rev. Martin Luther King Day, let’s recognize a few wind powered nonprofits that help better the community each day.  Be it through planting trees, teaching math, coaching soccer, or providing housing, these organizations embody MLK’s call for service to others and to the community.

Environmental Conservation: Trees, Parks, & Water

DC’s Casey Trees works to protect the local tree canopy through planting programs, education, advocacy on the policy level, and community engagement.  You can plant with them beginning in March.

Washington Parks & People initiates city-wide green initiatives, including public health programs, green job training, park safety, and community cultivation. They have an EPA grant for Urban Gardens.

Maryland State Game and Fish Protective Association promotes natural resource conservation and good sportsmanship among hunters and fishers through advocacy efforts and various community events.

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Eco-Friendly

Refer your Friends and get Rewarded!

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Are you looking for a way to make an impact in 2014? Here’s your chance: help your friends reduce their carbon footprint by nearly 40 percent and earn a $25 gift card to help you to stick to your New Year’s Resolutions!

We think 2014 can be a great year, and so we’re helping you and your friends reach your goals. In 2013, energy related carbon emissions rose. Help your friends leave dirty power behind and switch to clean energy. Together, we can increase demand for renewable resources and build a cleaner future.

We know helping the environment is all the incentive you and your friends need, but we’re hooking both you and your friends up with $25 to one of these awesome wind powered businesses when they switch to Clean Currents! Grab $25 to Sweetgreen, Hudson Trail Outfitters, or Bambeco to kick start your personal 2014 resolutions. Oh, and for each additional friend that joins Clean Currents by the end of February, we will enter you for a chance to win an additional $250 gift card to that business. Yeah, we’re just awesome like that.

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Eco-Friendly

Keeps Night Top Ten Scariest Environmental Problems

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Dear Customers:

We are writing to inform you, with deep regret, that the recent extreme weather, which sent the wholesale electricity market into unchartered territories, has fatally compromised our ability to continue to serve customers.

We are extremely saddened to share this news with you.

What does this mean for you?

All Clean Currents customers will be returned to their utility service, effective immediately. You should see this change in service on your next bill, or the bill after that, dependent on your meter read cycle. If you so choose, you are able to switch to another third party electricity supplier, effective immediately. Clean Currents waives any advanced notice requirement or early termination fee provisions in our contracts.
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Eco-Friendly

For Big Impact, Shop Small

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Skip the lines and crowds this Black Friday and instead join the Small Business Saturday movement. Started in 2010 by American Express, Small Business Saturday encourages consumers to visit brick and mortar small businesses for their holiday shopping rather than big box stores.

Small Business Saturday shifts your purchasing power to small mom and pop stores and in the process builds a stronger local community. According to American Express, consumers spent an estimated $5.5 billion as part of last year’s day.

Why is Small Business Saturday important? According to Think Local First DC, out of every $100 spent at a locally owned and operated business, about $68 stays in the local economy. As compared to $43 of every $100 spent at a nationally owned retailer. Building a strong local business community is critical to both job growth and the overall economic health of the areas in which we live and play. Learn more about supporting local businesses throughout the year at Think Local First DC.
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Eco-Friendly

Cleaning Up DC’s Renewable Energy Law

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This fall, Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) and Clean Currents are urging  the D.C. City Council to clean up the District’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and to promote the cleanest sources of energy — wind and solar.

Thirty states in the US have Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). The RPS mandates that utilities purchase a certain percentage of renewable energy, generally ranging from 1% – 20% of their fuel mix. These standards help bring more clean energy online and establish a more secure market for clean energy development.

Currently, the DC RPS classifies old, high-emission black liquor and inefficient wood waste under their Tier 1 renewable energy standard. Therefore, these old, dirty sources of power are attributed to the RPS. Several Mid-Atlantic States, including Delaware and New Jersey, already get over 70% of their renewable energy portfolios from wind and solar power. However, the opposite is true for DC. For the past seven years, black liquor and wood waste made up 68% of DC’s RPS. Only 12% came from wind and solar power.
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Eco-Friendly

Clean Currents Difference

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Our Mission: 

Energize communities for a clean energy future by enabling individuals and businesses to make responsible choices that protect their bottom line while reducing their environmental impact.

Our Core Principles:

Provide Exceptional Customer Service

Engage at the Community Level –

We are deeply involved with our customers, working in neighborhoods and in other local groups where we do business to promote a more sustainable lifestyle and build strong green-minded communities. We want to be an energy supplier that offers not only green energy but also a customer experience unmatched by other companies.

Profit but with a Purpose of Selling Exclusively Green – 

Unlike other companies that make most of their money by selling polluting power, we only focus on green power.
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Eco-Friendly

The Inn at Horn Point

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In Annapolis you’ll find a bed & breakfast that combines 100 years of history with modern sustainability; and owner and proprietor Cory Bonney wouldn’t have it any other way. As a life long nature lover and photographer, Cory wanted the inn he purchased in 2000 to reflect his values as well.

Before its official opening as a B&B in 2002, there were a number of updates, upgrades, and expansions to make on the property. The building was previously a corner grocery store and home based business built at the turn of the 20th century. At the turn of the 21st century Cory began updating it for another type of home based business.

As part of the upgrades, Cory installed highly insulated windows and repurposed concrete siding and side boards to reduce the need for excessive heating or cooling of the house. The aluminum roof was coated with 20-year paint, a more durable, long term option. Cory took advantage of the strides forward in energy efficient household appliances, including replacing all the old inefficient incandescent light bulbs, using 5 zoned programmable thermostats for the air conditioning, and modern high efficiency washer and dryer units.
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Eco-Friendly

Evolving from Vacant to Vibrant

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Over the past several months, Clean Currents has hosted Lots of Power — an initiative bringing together students and professional designers and architects to develop innovative concepts for specific vacant lots in Kensington. Two winning projects were recently chosen and profiled in the Philadelphia Inquirer. This fall, they will come to life — transforming two lots from vacant to vibrant.

Below Gary Skulnik, Clean Currents President, reflects on Kensington and the Lots of Power program.

First the factories closed down, and the families of those workers moved out along with the jobs. Kensington is no longer the thriving Philadelphia neighborhood it once was. However, like the first shoots of a new tree sprouting in a forest devastated by wildfire, hope is returning slowly, but strong and determined. Clean Currents’ Lots of Power program is a small contribution to the momentum of a community set in motion. We hope it will add sparks to a new wave of life and positive change in this community while preserving the character and the nature of the place its current residents call home.
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Eco-Friendly

DC SEU Lights the Way to Energy Efficiency

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A few weeks ago, I interviewed Ben Fiske, the General Manager for Bedrock Billiards in Adams Morgan, to write a blog post about their impressive reduction in energy usage. After hearing about their upgrades and some of the rebate programs they used, I did some research on the DC Sustainable Energy Utility website. After finding the links I needed about their commercial rebates, I found myself poking around the “residential” section.

At the time, I was about to move into a new house so I was curious what I could do to improve my new place’s energy efficiency and lower my electric bill. Although as a renter I’m not likely to make a large purchase for my house like a new refrigerator or washing machine, I did pass on the information to my landlord so that if he was thinking of upgrading anything soon, he’d be able to save money (and hopefully keep my rent low).

The one place I could immediately make an impact was by replacing the lighting in the house. Lighting accounts for about 20% of electricity use for the year. I wanted to get LED bulbs because of their great light, instant-on feature, low energy use, and long life, but since they are a relatively new technology, I was worried they would be very expensive.
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Eco-Friendly

Customer of the Month: The Baremore Family

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This month we feature Clean Currents solar thermal customers the Baremore family of Silver Spring, MD. They decided to install a solar thermal system on their home about a year ago. Now they share their experience with us.

What is something, beyond being a Clean Currents solar thermal customer, that you do in an effort to live a greener life?

We’re always looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact. Some of the things we do include:

  • Ride bikes, walk or take mass transit instead of driving
  • Drive a hybrid car and carpool whenever possible
  • Sign up for Clean Currents wind power!
  • Turn the thermostat up a couple of degrees in the summer to reduce cooling and down a couple of degrees in the winter to reduce heating
  • Eat a lot of vegetables

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Eco-Friendly

Clean Currents Visits a Wind Farm!

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Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of visiting a wind farm with colleagues from Clean Currents. We visited Highland North Wind Farm in Cambria County, PA and boy was it cool! At Clean Currents, we sell two products. National Wind and Neighborhood Wind. All of our Neighborhood Wind comes from Highland North Wind Farm.

Our visit started at the farm’s headquarters where Brad, the site manager, gave us a rundown of his day-to-day overseeing the turbines and keeping things running smoothly. He’s armed with high-tech software that lets him adjust the turbines in real time and a team of engineers ready for dispatch at a moment’s notice. He even has an app on his phone that lets him shut off a turbine on the fly.

After we got a peek into a day in the life of Brad, we hopped in our cars and drove into the heart of the farm. Highland North has 30 wind turbines (not wind mills, as Brad pointed out — those grind flour) and these 30 turbines have blades that are over 300 feet in diameter (almost as long a football field). Together, these 30 turbines produce enough electricity to power approximately 18,000 homes each year.

Brad demonstrates the thermal imaging camera

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Eco-Friendly

The EPA Proposes Carbon Pollution Standards for New Power Plants

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As we all know, the government is currently shutdown. But, once those 700,000 federal employees are back to their regular grind, things will pick up right where they left off (well, we hope). So, we’re digging into the EPA’s proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants.

On September 20th, 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed carbon-pollution standards for future coal and natural gas power plants. This was the EPA’s first step in moving forward on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan announced this past June. Currently, about one third of all greenhouse gas pollution in the U.S. comes from electricity generation at power plants.

When presenting the EPA’s proposal, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy commented “Climate Change is one of the most significant public health challenges of our time. By taking commonsense action to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, we can slow the effects of climate change and fulfill our obligation to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our children.”
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Eco-Friendly

McCabe’s Cooks up a Sustainable Future

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McCabe’s Restaurant in Hampden is taking on sustainable dining one dish at a time. After reading a review on Yelp which described McCabe’s as having “…soul of a West Village gastropub”, we had to learn more. We sat down with Cora Flynn, General Manager to discover all the different ways this Hampden gem is embracing sustainable dining.

CC: Why did you think it was important to support clean, renewable wind energy?

CF: We feel it is important to support clean, renewable wind energy because we are invested in the future for our children and would like them to live in an environment that is healthy and viable.  Choosing a sustainable resource is just one way in which we feel we are reducing our impact globally and locally.

CC: Why did you pick Clean Currents?

CF: We chose Clean Currents because it is community oriented, an environmentally responsible choice and it was surprisingly affordable.
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Eco-Friendly

Winners Chosen in “Lots of Power”, A Contest to Transform Vacant Lots

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Teams made up of teens and design professionals from throughout the Philadelphia region

Two winners have been chosen in “Lots of Power,” an initiative sponsored by wind power company Clean Currents  focused on one of Philadelphia’s greatest problems, vacant lots. Over a six-week period, five teams of high-school age students and professional designers and architects have developed innovative concepts for specific vacant lots in Kensington.  The two winning concepts–one chosen by a panel of jurors, and another by the public, via social media–will receive a grant provided by Clean Currents to be implemented.

“Lots of Power came directly from conversations that we had with Philadelphia residents, many of whom named vacant land as one of the largest problems in their communities,” said Gary Skulnik, President of Clean Currents. “We had five outstanding concepts submitted, and we are confident that the winning concepts will help transform their neighborhoods in a way that benefits everyone.”

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Eco-Friendly

The Wind Beneath Blackbird Pizzeria’s Wings

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Three years ago today, Mark Mebus and Ryan Moylan opened Blackbird Pizzeria, a (that’s right you guessed it) 100% vegan restaurant specializing in pizza that dabbles in sandwiches, salads, and wings (okay, maybe you did not guess the vegan part).  More than just a niche market endeavor, Mark and Ryan set out to create an extension of themselves as individuals.

Blackbird Pizzeria began to manifest itself about 15 years ago when Mark made the decision to become vegan.  He also attended the Natural Gourmet School in New York and has worked in two vegan restaurants over the last decade.  His partner, Ryan Moylan, a graphic designer educated at the School of Visual Arts in New York is also vegan–so there was really no question in their mind that their restaurant would be vegan.

There was also no question of whether or not Blackbird would run on clean, renewable energy.  With a commitment to sustainability, and a little peer pressure from their circle of friends, Mark and Ryan now run Blackbird on 100% wind power.  In addition, the restaurant sources from local farms, uses compostable packaging, turns used fry oil into biodiesel, and recycles and composts when possible.  “We feel as though everyone should be considering the environment”, Mark explains.
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Forming a Green Generation

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The Alpert Family Aleph Bet Jewish Day School has some really fantastic sustainability initiatives on campus! Head of School Nan Jarashow spoke with us, familiarizing us with this impressive new member of the Clean Currents family.

Aleph Bet is a tight-knit community, educating fewer than 40 elementary students. In 2011, they moved into a new facility, and sustainability started taking precedence. They immediately strove for Maryland Green School certification, which they achieved in 2012. This program assesses factors such as facility construction and operations, curriculum, and school practices.

Aleph Bet dove head first into involving the young student body, getting them excited for clean practices and sustainability. The school focuses on waste, educating students to separate everything between trash, recycling, and compost. Nan told us of a particularly feisty first grade girl who is now “the recycling police” and heartily reprimands anyone who even considers incorrectly disposing of something!
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Electricity Deregulation

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Customer Choice in a Deregulated Electricity Market

Nineteen states – including Maryland, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania – have deregulated electricity markets.  Deregulation segments the three main components of electricity service (GenerationTransmission, and Distribution) and allows competitive suppliers like Clean Currents to take part in the process.  The competition that results from deregulation benefits customers by offering new electricity products (like wind power) and various price options.  Customers still have the option of remaining on their utility’s Standard Offer Service (SOS), but as more people realize they have a choice when it comes to their electric supplier, more are taking the initiative to make the switch.

 

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Catering Wherever the Wind Blows

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The pioneering spirit runs strong in the Wool family. Mitch Wool owns The Bean Bag Deli & Catering in Rockville. Although the deli moved locations several times, the Wool family has been in business for 36 years! When his parents started the company in the late 1970′s, there were only three coffee shops in the entire DC area, making them, in Mitch’s words, “true pioneers”. This entrepreneurial spirit clearly passed to the next generation; not only is Mitch a pioneer of clean energy as a customer of Clean Currents, he continually drives his family’s business in diverse new directions.

Although loyal lunch customers visit the deli itself, catering has become the business’ most dynamic and exciting aspect. The Bean Bag fills virtually any request, from mobile espresso bars to tantalizing sandwich menus to specialty donut stations. Often, Mitch even accommodates customers’ requests for uncommon, off-the-menu items. This includes teaching himself how to prepare crab and purchasing the necessary equipment for an omelet bar!
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Awards & Recognition

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It’s nice to be recognized for our leadership in empowering businesses and individuals to support clean energy. Here is where we brag a little:

B Corp – 2013 Best for the World, Environmental Impact

Green America – People & Planet Award Fall 2012

Renewable Energy Markets – Best Marketing Campaign by a Green Power Supplier 2011

#196 in Inc. Magazine’s 2011 List of 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America

The Gazette of Politics and Business 2011 P&B53 List of Exceptional Companies

B Corp, Rookie of the Year and Double Dip Award 2011
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Why Support Clean Renewable Wind Power?

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Clean Currents notes four major rationales for supporting renewable energy:

Energy Security & Independence:

Supplies of fossil fuels that power our automobiles and electric generators come from increasingly unstable parts of the world.  Although most coal power that is used to generate electricity in the United States comes from domestic sources, a large percentage of the oil, diesel, and natural gas that is used to supply our electric generators comes from abroad.  Abundant and free wind and sun grace our country and we should harness it in order to secure a more stable energy future.

Decrease Air Pollution & Ecosystem Destruction:

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Bedrock Billiards – Racking up the Savings

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Tucked away on Columbia Road behind the bustling main drag of Adams Morgan’s 18th Street sits Bedrock Billiards.  This neighborhood favorite is constantly bustling with patrons venturing in to enjoy the craft beers on tap, shuffle board table, large TVs playing whatever sports are in season, and of course the billiards tables.

Keeping this show running is no easy task. It  requires a lot of energy both in the form of General Manager Ben Fiske’s attention, and in the kind that keeps the lights on and the beer cold.

At Clean Currents, we monitor our customers’ energy use patterns to help identify large changes. We noticed a large drop over a 2-year period in Bedrock Billiards’ energy use and decided to investigate.

Turns out Bedrock Billiards was tired of wasting money on high energy bills and chose to do something about it. Through a mix of big and small changes, they were able to bring down their electricity bill by about $200 a month.
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Our Green Commitment

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At Clean Currents, we believe that businesses have a responsibility to protect and improve the natural environment while conducting their operations.

Our commitment to environmental stewardship runs through all facets of our operations, including:

  • Offsetting all of our electric, operational, and travel-related greenhouse gas emissions
  • Purchasing environmentally friendly products
  • Providing a green benefits package to employees
  • Maximizing energy-efficiency in the office
  • Recycling all office-related materials
  • Supporting sustainable business partners and associations
  • Lobbying for positive environmental legislation

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Honoring the Body, Spirit and Environment

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When speaking with Anthony V. Wojnar D.D., RMT, founder and Senior Teacher & Practitioner at Life Holistic Center, the tranquility of the man is immediately apparent. He is deliberate and insightful, revealing layers of meaning throughout our conversation.

Anthony is a reiki master. Reiki is a spiritual practice that connects the human consciousness with the energy of the universe by drawing it through the crown chakra and channeling through the palms. Reiki can promote healing on many levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual, while also helping with relaxation, stress and pain relief.

In our conversation with Anthony, there was plenty of cause for reflection. He described his journey to self healing when conventional medicine was ineffective against his chronic fatigue. Anthony now runs his practice from his newly constructed Violet Studio- which is attached to his residence- not only working to heal individuals, but also taking on students with whom he shares the teachings of reiki.
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Wine and Wind

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A staple of the Silver Spring community will soon celebrate its tenth anniversary. Adega Wine Cellars & Café opened its doors in August 2003, and has been satisfying customers’ cravings for tasty food and spectacularly curated wines and beers ever since. In honor of this exciting milestone, we spoke with manager Jarrod Jabre.

Immediately upon entering the café, I could tell that this was different than any other place I have been. The atmosphere is open and spacious, yet quaint. Their extensive selection of wine and beer is displayed throughout the dining area, resulting in a very cool, laid-back vibe. The chalk-written menu indicates fresh food made with care, and many of the wines represent local Maryland vineyards.

Jarrod is the face of the company. With the support of owner Walter Rhee, he is a driving force behind much of Adega’s efforts. Not only did he spearhead the process of converting both his home and Adega to Clean Currents wind energy, but he also oversaw the café’s switch to entirely biodegradable to-go materials.
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The Home-Business Connection

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Entrepreneur Bob London embodies the link between sustainability in business and in personal life. Bob has a stellar, forward-thinking disposition. As a senior marketing executive for several large companies over the years, Bob recognized small and medium businesses’ need for marketing expertise and leadership, despite lacking the funds to hire a full-time executive. From this, London, Ink was born.

Through his business-to-business consulting firm, companies have access to Bob’s marketing expertise without the expense and risk of hiring a full-time senior marketing executive. Bob calls his role “Virtual VP of Marketing,” –sometimes referred to as “Outsourced Chief Marketing Officer” or CMO–allowing him to serve companies on an interim basis and explore these clients in order to determine the best marketing approach for them. The increased flexibility of having a portfolio rather than a single employer allows Bob to work out of his home.

He found the inspiration to make the switch to wind power from his children. Bob’s two sons are increasingly conscious of sustainability issues, from food ethics to pollution. Bob cites his children’s engagement as motivation; he wants to live a life that makes his kids proud.
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Lots of Power

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When Clean Currents opened in Philadelphia, we wanted to learn more about the challenges facing our new city’s neighborhoods.

The answer: Vacant Lots

About the Project

Lots of Power brings high-school-age youth together with creative professionals – including architects and designers – to develop innovative ways to use vacant lots for the benefit of the Kensington community.  Over six weeks, teams will examine sustainable uses for vacant lots that will improve the community.

Two winning concepts will be chosen through a jury process and public voting this fall.  Two teams will recieve grants to implement their projects – giving them the power to be the change in their community.

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What are Renewable Energy Certificates (recs)?

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What is a REC?

A REC stands for a Renewable Energy Certificate. RECs were created by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as tools to track the environmental benefits associated with renewable energy.  One REC is equivalent to 1000 kWh of renewable energy produced – which is roughly the amount of energy that an average single-family home in the Mid-Atlantic consumes in one month.  When a renewable energy generator such as a wind farm produces electricity, it places that electricity onto the electric grid.  The electric grid collects electricity from all power generators (coal, oil, natural gas, wind farms, nuclear reactors, hydro dams, solar panel fields, etc).  This aggregated electricity is then transmitted through wires to homes and businesses.

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Fabulous Food and Fun at Eat Local First Week

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Clean Currents staff with Ben’s Chili Bowl’s Nizam Ali

It’s summer in DC and that means two things: It’s really, really hot and there’s a smorgasbord of delicious local food. That’s why we can’t wait for Eat Local First Week July 22-28th. Eat Local First Week is part of Think Local First DC’s campaign promoting a sustainable AND local economy. The event is a week-long celebration of local food and restaurants.

This year’s theme is “Crops, Commerce and Community: How Local Food Grows a City”, and the week is packed with events. Tours of edible gardens, “Femivore Talks”, and brewery tasting all topped off with the Farm-to-Street Party at the end of the week.

Since we love all things local, Clean Currents is donating $30 to Think Local First for each household that switches to wind power before July 31st. By switching to wind power with Clean Currents, you’re not only keeping our air cleaner but also supporting the local economy.

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Meet Dave Greene

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Hey, I’m Dave Greene.

By now you’ve probably realized I’m a pretty odd guy. I’m always out at community events, shopping at the farmer’s market on East Passyunk, getting into some harebrained scheme to make my life more sustainable–but have you ever actually seen me?

If you have, you should probably get that noggin of yours checked out because this here Philly dude does not *actually* exist. Not in the way you do. You see, I am the child–the brainchild, if you will–of a loving company: Clean Currents.

The folks at Clean Currents took one look at our fair city of Philadelphia and said, that there’s an awesome city, and we’re gonna offer it some green wind power. But, it’s not just about green energy — there are many ways to get your green on. So how does a company make green living easier? How does a badass group of people with a badass product and more integrity than my carbon fiber bike frame get Philadelphians to live green and have a little fun at the same time?

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Green-e Energy Certified Wind Power

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What is Green-e Energy?

Clean Currents offers wind power sourced from both local and national sources and is the ONLY energy company in the Mid-Atlantic region to exclusively offer products that are Green-e Energy certified.

Established and administered by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions, Green-e Energy is a certification standard that ensures that a renewable energy product meets strict environmental and consumer protection standards.  When you choose Clean Currents wind power you can be assured that:

  • You are supporting new renewable resources: The windmill, that produced your renewable energy was built since 1997
  • There has been no double selling: You are the only one that can claim the benefits of the wind power you purchased; these benefits include the fact that renewable energy produces little or no greenhouse gas emissions
  • Your purchase goes beyond business as usual: You are buying renewable energy beyond what is required by law or claimed within a state mandate, and are helping expand the production of domestic renewable energy

For more information on Green-e Energy certification, call 1-888-63-GREEN or visit www.green-e.org.

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More Clean Energy on the Horizon for Maryland

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A new wave of clean energy production is coming to Maryland, from just off the state’s shores. In accordance with the Offshore Wind Energy Act of this April, 40 new wind turbines will be constructed off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. The project is projected to be completed by 2018, and is a big step in meeting the state’s green energy goals.

A Green State on the Rise

According to a recent Clean Edge study, Maryland is currently 25th in the nation for supporting clean energy development. As a home state to many of Clean Currents’ 10,000 individual and 3,000 commercial customers and with the Offshore Wind Act in place, it’s clear that Maryland is fighting to rise in those rankings. The new turbines will certainly be putting wind in the sails of Maryland’s fight against climate change. This installation alone could reduce annual carbon emissions by 378,000 tons.

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Testifying to Protect our Customers

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Clean Currents’ own Claire Douglass testifying to protect customer rights

Clean Currents testifed at the DC Public Service Commission (DC PSC) hearing on deceptive marketing and sales practices by alternative energy suppliers.

Complaints about deceptive marketing practices by alternative energy suppliers have skyrocketed over the past few years, prompting a hearing. Many of our customers have faced issues with other alternative energy suppliers, ranging from being enrolled without consent to being unable to cancel their contract. We find these practices unacceptable and are calling on the Public Service Commission to do something about it.

We are asking the DC Public Service Commission to institute higher standards for transparency and accountability to ensure consumer protection among alternative energy suppliers operating in the District of Columbia.

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Conscious Corner: Multiple Paths to Healthy Living

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Wind powered Conscious Corner is a family of stores and a restaurant that are dedicated to healthy living. The cornerstone of the shopping experience is Roots Market (2 locations) which offers a wide selection of natural food products. Conscious Corner also includes, Boulder (1 location), Nest (1 location), Great Sage, and Bark (5 locations).

We sat down with Kathryn Hamilton who handles marketing for Conscious Corner to learn more about the values that drive this unique shopping opportunity.

CC: Why did you think it was important to support clean, renewable wind energy?

KH: Conscious Corner firmly believes in living and consuming consciously. As our mission statement says, we are passionate about the planet we share and strive to adopt policies and programs that align with our mission, such as wind power.

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Clean Currents Solar PPA

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A Clean Currents Solar PPA Puts Affordable Solar Power Within Your Reach

Protect Your Family Against Rising Energy Costs

With a Clean Currents Solar PPA, you pay us for the power your solar system produces each month, but at a rate that can be lower than your current utility rates.

Get All Your Clean Energy on One Convenient Bill

There’s no hassle of going to different vendors.  With a Clean Currents Solar PPA, you get your on-site solar power and your grid-delivered wind power all on the same bill!

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“Sometimes a girl’s gotta have some chocolate!” – Carrie Underwood

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Are you like Carrie Underwood and need to have your chocolate fix? Now you can feel a little less guilty as you partake in all the wonders of chocolate. The artisan factory of SPAGnVOLA Chocolatier is wind powered by Clean Currents!

Sustainability is key, from the actual growing of the cacao beans to the roasting and finally, the beautiful chocolate creations. SPAGnVOLA grows the cacao beans at their estate in Hato Mayor Del Rey, Dominican Republic and their Gaithersburg factory is where all the magic happens.

We sat down with Laura Brooks to learn more about SPAGnVOLA and why the environment is important.

CC: Why did you think it was important to support clean, renewable wind energy?

LB: Clean energy is important because it follows SPAGnVOLA’s philosophy of clean and sustainable practices.

CC: Why did you pick Clean Currents?

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Clean Currents: The Matchmaking Business

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Bikers rest after a morning of touring Baltimore’s parks

True love blossomed between wind powered businesses at the Tour Dem Parks, Hon annual bike ride. Clean Currents came out to feed weary athletes pedaling their way through Baltimore’s parks.

Riders young and old got to enjoy a taste of Michele’s Granola and B’more Organic’s drinkable yogurt. B’more Organic operates around their core values of generosity and sustainability – they donate 10% of all profits to the charity Jodi’s Climb for Hope. Michele’s Granola, – named after founder Michele Thornett- sells wholesome, mind-blowingly delicious granola, which happen to make excellent energy-boosting snacks in the middle of a long bike ride.
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States Take Charge on Clean Energy

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Christie Johnson is the summer Customer Engagement Intern at Clean Currents. She is a rising junior in the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service with a concentration in Environment & Energy studies.

I was skeptical. Entering the briefing “State Clean Energy Initiatives and the Value of Federal-State Partnerships”, I had no preexisting knowledge of state sustainability efforts. As excited as I was to attend, I was prepared to be wholly underwhelmed. My expectations were completely surpassed.

Representatives from across the U.S.- literally from Alaska to Massachusetts- spoke about clean energy ventures in their states. From impressive solar statistics in California, Massachusetts and Connecticut to the prospect of offshore wind in Maryland and a long-time-coming hydroelectric dam in Alaska, it became clear to me that states are pursuing far more clean energy initiatives than I was aware.

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Wind Farms

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The United States has some of the best wind resources of anywhere on earth.  In fact, the country’s wind power potential exceeds 30 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity, or nearly 10 times the country’s existing power needs (NREL Wind Resource Potential, 2010).

Clean Currents buys renewable wind energy from a number of domestic sources which vary depending upon which Clean Currents wind power product you chose (National Wind or Neighborhood Wind™).

Clean Currents sources its Neighborhood WindTM from Pennsylvania

The Highland North Wind Farm is located within the PJM electric grid, covering Maryland, DC, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.  Electricity produced by the wind turbines at Highland North feeds directly onto the same grid that our homes, businesses, shops, and schools pull power from.  By choosing Clean Currents Neighborhood Wind™, you are helping to increase the share of renewable energy right here in our region.

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B-Corporation

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What are Certified B Corporations?

Certified B Corporations are companies that take into consideration social and environmental factors when making business decisions. They pay attention to the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit. To formalize this committment, they undergo a third-party audit of their operations to ensure that they:

  • Meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards.
  • Meet higher legal accountability standards.
  • Consider community stakeholders. 

 greencommitment

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Green Summer Travel Tips

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Who doesn’t love to travel light? Less of a load is always a welcome change. Reduce the load on your mind by traveling “light” and green! Here at Clean Currents, we came up with some great ways to minimize your impact on the planet while you enjoy your summer vacation.

1. Choose a local destination. Never been to that museum in the city? Or how about the beach only a train ride away? There are tons of local vacation destinations all over the U.S. and sure to be plenty in your state. Better yet, have a “staycation” and explore your own town! It’s a perfect chance to relax and enjoy the tourist sights in your area.

2. Travel Green. Avoid the stress and chaos of the airport AND cut your carbon emissions. Carpool or take public transportation to your vacation destination and once you get there! By finding a destination with public transportation, you can save money and emissions by avoiding renting a car. If there is no public transportation, rent a bike. It’s a great way to explore a new city and no need to find a parking spot!

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I Heart CC

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For almost 4 years, I’ve been part of the Clean Currents team as we’ve worked hard to transform the relationship customers have with their electricity supplier. We want our customers to love their energy company. Based on some of our recent surveys, we’re doing pretty well on this front with both our business and individual customers. Getting positive comments from customers through emails, social media, and at events has been one of the most rewarding parts of my job.

Now that I’m getting ready to say goodbye to head back to school, I wanted to share some of the reasons why I LOVE Clean Currents.

1) We care.

The people that work for this company have a tremendous amount of passion. As a group, we care about climate change, the environment, our community and – of course – our customers. Our kitchen conversations are often about local volunteer opportunities, our awesome new CSA, the Stop Keystone rally over the weekend, or an interesting Grist article about sustainability or environmentalism. In terms of caring about customers, my coworkers will stay late to figure out the answer to a tricky customer question or work evenings and weeknights to attend an event for one of our business customers — and always with a smile.

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(Em)powering Philadelphia

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There are thousands of mentoring programs in the country serving three million youths. Dozens of states and cities have launched mentoring programs, and many corporations have their own initiatives. If there is one thing that Americans seem to agree on, it is that millions of children need guidance from positive adult role models.

That’s why it was so easy to create Lots of Power, our new mentoring program in Philadelphia that addresses one of the city’s biggest problems–vacant lots. Our project will pair high-school age students with professional designers and architects to research and develop innovative concepts for specific vacant lots in Kensington.

During the six-week program, teen participants will work in teams with professional mentor to gain real-world experience using design thinking to discover and exhibit creative potential, communicate their ideas and take positive action in their communities.

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How Clean Currents Wind Power Works

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Residents and businesses in Washington, DC, Maryland and Pennsylvania have the power to choose their electric supplier. If you pay your electricity bill, you can choose to support renewable energy every time you turn on your lights.

The Quick Answer

When you switch to Clean Currents, you will still receive one electric bill from your utility. However, Clean Currents will be responsible for the generation and transmission of your power. For all the electricity you use in your home or business, we purchase enough Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to match your electricity usage.

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Purchasing Wind Power: It’s Like Buying Organic, but a bit Different

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It’s the summer — the season of fresh produce. So, what does that have to do with wind power? Because purchasing power impacts markets:  both farmers markets and energy markets.

When you want to buy organic strawberries at the grocery store, you select the ones with the green sticker from the organic section and bring them to the checkout.

You’ll pay a little extra for that organic produce, and part of your payment goes to the organic farmer who produced the strawberries.  In this transaction, it’s clear that your purchase supports the sustainable growing practices that organic farming represents.

Unfortunately, being a socially responsible energy consumer isn’t quite as simple. If it were, I have a feeling that we would be using much more renewable energy in the US, and that Clean Currents might already be a fortune 500 company.

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These People Really Know How to Energize Responsibly

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This spring we’ve gone from Charm City Run’s birthday celebration to Tour Dem Parks, Hon! to ask you what makes you feel energized. We got some great answers ranging from hiking, biking and running to an office favorite of: “I’m on a trail deep in the woods; I can’t hear anything but the trees blowing”.

Hundreds of people have pledged to Energize Responsibly by ditching dirty power and supporting wind power at home. And, these three lucky pledge takers are taking home our grand prizes:

  • Katrina W. — Specialized Brand Bike
  • Bob B. — ChicoBag Day Pack filled with a Kleen Kanteen and Michele’s Granola
  • Paul L. — Charm City Run gift card

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Melissa & Brian go Solar Thermal

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Melissa and Brian of Davidsonville, MD, recently installed a solar thermal system on their roof. They talk with us about why they chose to install a solar thermal system and gave us some tips on how to live a greener life.

Where did you first hear about Clean Currents’ solar water heating solutions?

We first read about Clean Currents in a local magazine called Nesting, and when we asked an environmentally-savvy friend about her solar water panels, she whole-heartedly recommended Clean Currents. Now we recommend Clean Currents.

Why did you choose to have a solar water heating system installed on your home?

We have a big house that, if we’re not careful, could take us down in energy costs. As a family of five we use a lot of hot water — for bathing, dishwashing, and clothes washing. Since we use well water, we essentially have free water. With the solar thermal system, we essentially have free hot water.

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What Does 3,500 Mean to You?

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Back in April, June 10th seemed forever away. Now, it’s just around the corner. Why are we obsessed with June 10th? Because it’s the last day to be part of Energize Responsibly, of course!

(Insert awesome flashback music here)

This spring, we launched Energize Responsibly: our initiative to motivate 1,000 people in the Baltimore area to pledge to ditch dirty air and support wind power at home.

Pledge-takers are entered to win:

  • A Specialized bike
  • A ChicoBag DayPacker filled with goodies
  • Charm City Run gift cards

Don’t worry! There’s still time to be part of Energize Responsibly and get a chance at these awesome prizes. Enter by taking the pledge to Energize Responsibly.

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We are Celebrating the 41st World Environment Day

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World Environment Day is back again! It’s a great reason to celebrate our world and participate in positive environmental action…but what exactly is it?

World Environment Day was first celebrated 41 years ago at the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. The conference began on June 5th, 1972, and is considered a breakthrough event in the development of international environmentalism. It opened up international dialogue on human interactions with the environment, which had not been addressed on the global scale before.

The conference helped build a framework for governments and international organizations to deal with environmental issues, current and future. Today, the UNEP uses June 5th to continue the tradition of education and discussion around international environmental problems. Each year there is a new theme and a new country acts as the official World Environment Day host.

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A Conversation with Andy Shallal: Bringing a New Meaning to Community

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For those of you who have had the delight of dining at the famous Busboys & Poets, you’ve probably noticed the inspirational murals lining the walls. These beautiful pieces are the works of art of Andy Shallal, a well-known artist, activist, and founder of Busboys & Poets.

Andy has been in the restaurant business for years, but in 2005, he opened the first Busboys & Poets at 14th & V St, NW. These restaurants combine the elements of art, books, performance, culture, and good food under one roof. As Andy describes it, Busboys & Poets is, “a place where multiple layers of things are happening”.

The inspiration for Andy’s unique business model is rooted in his goal: to break-down barriers and create a holistic community in which the city’s ethnic, literary, arts, and international elements are combined. Andy’s heroic efforts speak to his influential role in redefining the DC community as a less segmented and segregated community.

Poetry — Andy’s personal favorite — serves as a great art form and a community builder that actively brings people together to foster this vision of community. Running about 20 poetry programs monthly, Busboys has been instrumental in inspiring a renaissance of poetry in the U Street area.

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Electricity Pricing – What to Expect

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Electricity prices are notoriously difficult to predict and are affected by factors such as weather, economic conditions, required investments in aging grid infrastructure, and resource availability. In the past several years, the economic recession stifled demand for electricity. At the same time, an abundance of natural gas resources available by new drilling techniques such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling led to increased supply. Both of these factors contributed to a significant dip in overall wholesale energy prices in recent years. However, the general trend is that energy prices, like the prices of other goods, rise over time. In our grid region (called PJM), there is an added upward pressure on prices right now as a result of record high capacity charges to finance improvement to the regional grid (Learn more about Capacity Charges). This impacts everyone – even those selling wind power.

So what does it mean for your business?
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Clean Currents Named to 2013 Best for the World List

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We are grateful to be recognized by B Corporation as a 2013 Best for the Environment on Environmental Impact honoree.  This designation is given to the top 10% of B Corporations in the Environmental Impact category. The diverse list of honorees includes businesses from 30 industries and 11 countries.

Certified B Corps voluntarily meet higher standards for transparency, community engagement and environmental impact. Collectively, we are changing the way business is done — making the triple bottom line as important and effective as the financial bottom line.

Clean Currents was one of the first companies in the state of Maryland to complete the B Corp assessment and adopt the B Corp legal framework into its operating structure and was the first company in the state of Maryland an the United States to file to become a Benefit LLC.
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Demystifying Capacity Charges

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Understanding all the parts of an electricity price quote can confuse many. There is the rate per kWh as well as the specific charges for Generation, Transmission and Capacity. Clean Currents and other energy suppliers do not include distribution charges and taxes in the price quote. As part of helping you be an informed green energy shopper, we are going to focus on demystifying the Capacity charge.

You may have noticed that your electric bill contains several different charges: distribution, generation, transmission, among others. The distribution portion of your bill goes to the local utility, whether or not you choose an alternate supplier like Clean Currents. This portion finances the maintenance of local power lines. The Generation and Transmission (or “Energy Charge”) are controlled by the electric supplier you choose and account for the generation of energy and the transportation of it across long distance power lines – called transmission lines. Transmission lines are similar to the local distribution lines maintained by a local utility, but since they cross utility regions and state lines, they are maintained by a “market operator”. In our area, this operator is called PJM. This entity is in charge of our regional power grid, and in addition to maintaining these long distance transmission lines, also makes sure the regional grid is balanced and operates smoothly. This function is financed through capacity charges, which are included in the Energy Charge.
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WABA Bikes into our Hearts

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National Bike Month has been a blast. Aside from down right chilly weather and some rain showers, we’ve had a great time getting back on our bikes after the winter and getting to know some of the great biking organizations in DC, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

One of our favorites — and newly wind powered — is the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA). As the DC region’s non-profit biking association, WABA promotes bicycling as a fun, affordable mode of transportation that builds community, keeps you healthy, and keeps environment healthy too.

WABA advocates for better bicycling conditions and transportation choices. They also educate the community about safe bicycling through classes and events. They do all of this with the vision of fully-integrated transportation system in the DC region that links transit, trails, bicycling, and walking.
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Finding My Windy Roots

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Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago for WINDPOWER 2013:  the American Wind Energy Association’s annual conference and trade show.

As a conference volunteer, my primary responsibility was to administer surveys to representatives of fifty different companies that manufacture components for wind turbines here in the United States. There are approximately 8,000 parts in a wind turbine, and about two-thirds of those parts are sourced from manufacturing plants located in the U.S.

Over the course of three days, I spoke with representatives of companies that manufacture nacelles, towers, bearings, lighting, and what seemed like everything in between.

The characteristics of the manufacturing plants and their parent companies varied. Some supply parts exclusively to the wind industry, whereas for others, the wind industry represents only 5% of their business.
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Local Schools Top EPA Green Power Partner List

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As if we weren’t already bursting our buttons in pride over the high quality schools in the DC metro area, several area schools were just recognized by the EPA for their renewable energy purchases through the Green Power Partnership program.

Four 100% Clean Currents powered schools graced the top 20 K-12 list: Bullis School, Norwood School, Maret School, and Melvin J Berman Hebrew Academy. Beyond their commitment to renewable energy, here’s a bit about why we love them:

Bullis School

Bullis School is an independent, co-educational school in Potomac, MD.  Educating students in grades 3-12, its mission is to provide a balanced academic, artistic, athletic and community service experience. Bullis’ vision to prepare students to be ‘caring citizens and critical thinkers’ is apparent in its green principles.

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Bike to Work Day Demystified Courtesy of WABA

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Happy Bike Month! We’re all about this mode of transportation, and the many ways we’ll celebrate our bicycles this month. To kick things off, we asked the Washington Area Bicycle Association (WABA) to send us tips for participating in Bike to Work Day on May 17th. Not only is it a great day celebrating biking in DC, MD and VA, but it’s also a primary way to tally bike commuters. So check out these tips, and we’ll see you May 17th!

What is Bike to Work Day?

Bike to Work Day is a yearly event that encourages commuters to bike to work. BTWD is a free event and open to everyone in the DC and Baltimore area. It’s a celebration of biking in our region! This year, it’s on Friday, May 17.

Why should someone who has never biked to work give it a try?

Besides being one of the most convenient, least expensive ways to get around town, it’s fun! Bike commuting is better for the environment, your wallet, and your waistline.

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