50 Green Franchise Opportunities for the New Year

Franchise businesses are going green.

Joel Libava of The Franchise King wrote in a recent post, “We are in the early stages of franchise concepts becoming more conscious of how they affect the world around them, and how they can start becoming part of the solution. After all, more than 50 percent of all service and retail dollars spent in the US come from franchised businesses.”

So if you’re looking to break into the franchise business in the new year, but want to make sure it’s an environmentally friendly opportunity, you’re in luck. Here are 50 green franchise opportunities for you to consider in 2017.

Consider These Green Franchise Opportunities

USA Solar Store

USA Solar Store is a business that sells solar powered products and other energy efficient items. You can get involved through a licensing program that involves lower startup costs than traditional franchises.

Dr. Energy Saver

Want to help people save energy in their homes while lowering their heating and cooling costs? Then a Dr. Energy Saver franchise might be the right opportunity for you. Through local franchisees, the company installs energy upgrades for homeowners.

Green Home Solutions

Green Home Solutions is another franchise business that provides energy audits and other services that can help homeowners make their spaces more environmentally friendly.

Pono Home

You can also provide a number of different consultation services to homeowners with a franchise opportunity through Pono Home.

JunkAway

What’s more green than removing waste? JunkAway is a junk removal business that offers franchise opportunities to those who want to help homeowners and businesses dispose of their junk in a responsible way.

Junkluggers

JunkLuggers is another trash removal and recycling franchise opportunity. The company handles various levels of junk removal and even moving services.

Earthwise Pet

If you’re looking for a franchise opportunity where you can work with animals, Earthwise Pet is a business that provides pet supplies along with washing and grooming services. And the company uses eco-friendly products as well.

Pet Wants

You might also consider a Pet Wants franchise. This business creates fresh, natural pet food and delivers it to customers regularly.

Filta

Filta is a franchise business that provides environmental kitchen solutions to help people and businesses use less energy for things like food preparation and refrigeration.

Solar Universe

Solar Universe offers a franchise opportunity for those who want to help property owners utilize solar power in a way that seamlessly connects to their homes.

SuperGreen Solutions

You can also help homeowners go green by offering consulting services and more through a franchise with SuperGreen Solutions.

UFood Grill

If you’re looking for a franchise opportunity in the restaurant industry, UFood Grill is a fast casual restaurant chain that specializes in serving foods with healthy and organic ingredients.

Farmer Boys

Farmer Boys is another restaurant franchise that specializes in serving farm-to-table options that are better for your health and the environment.

Ambit Energy

Ambit Energy is a consultancy business that helps people save money on their energy bills and use fewer resources on a regular basis.

Maid Brigade

If you’re interested in starting your own house cleaning franchise, Maid Brigade offers a green option. The company uses environmentally friendly supplies instead of traditional cleaning products.

ECOMAIDS

ECOMAIDS is another home cleaning business that specializes in using environmentally friendly products and cleaning methods.

OpenWorks

For more of a commercial cleaning and janitorial business, there’s OpenWorks. This franchise company also uses eco-friendly cleaning products.

Chem-Dry

Chem-Dry is a carpet cleaning franchise business that uses relatively environmentally friendly materials and methods.

Oxymagic

Oxymagic provides another opportunity for a green cleaning franchise. The company uses an exclusive carpet cleaning system that’s more green than some other carpet cleaners.

Budget Blinds

Quality window coverings can help people save money on electricity and conserve energy. And you can offer those items through a franchise with Budget Blinds.

Gotcha Covered

Gotcha Covered is another franchise opportunity that lets you provide energy-saving window coverings to consumers.

Cartridge World

Cartridge World is a franchise business that sells ink and toner. And it also refills ink cartridges to help consumers use fewer resources.

Minuteman Press

Minuteman Press is another printing business that recycles a lot of its materials and also uses ink supplies that are less harmful to the environment.

NaturaLawn

If you want to work outside and help people care for their lawns and outdoor spaces, NaturaLawn of America is a franchise business that specializes in organic based lawn care.

Lawn Doctor

Lawn Doctor is another franchise business that offers green lawn and landscaping services to homeowners.

Clean Air Lawn Care

In addition, Clean Air Lawn Care uses solar powered lawn mowers and equipment to cut down on the resources needed even more.

Turfscape

Or you could decide to ditch the lawn altogether to save water and other resources. Turfscape offers an eco-friendly synthetic solution to traditional lawns and plant life.

The Body Deli

The Body Deli is a retail franchise that sells natural and organic skincare options, along with a selection of other beauty products.

Digital Doc

Electronics like cell phones and other mobile devices aren’t exactly eco-friendly to produce. So if you can help people simply fix their old devices instead of buying new ones, you can help the environment through your business. Digital Doc provides tech repair services like fixing broken smartphones.

uBreakiFix

uBreakiFix is another franchise business that offers cell phone repair and similar services.

Hood Guyz

Hood Guyz is a specialized franchise that provides hood cleaning services to restaurants, which leads to cleaner foods and equipment that lasts longer.

Hoodz

Hoodz also provides kitchen exhaust cleaning and similar services to improve air quality in homes and businesses.

Hygienitech Systems

Cleaning mattresses and upholstery is another process that often uses harsh chemicals and other non-environmentally friendly materials. But Hygienitech Systems uses a green approach to this type of cleaning.

Express Laundry

Express Laundry is a turnkey laundry franchise that offers a number of different laundry services using energy efficient equipment.

Schneider Shrub and Tree Care

Trees, shrubs and other plant life are essential to the environment. And Schneider Shrub and Tree Care provides services to protect those resources for home and property owners.

Honest-1 Auto Care

Honest-1 Auto Care is an automotive franchise business that prides itself on having ethical business practices. That includes using environmentally friendly supplies and practices where possible.

Mosquito Squad

You can help people keep their yards and outdoor spaces pest-free with a Mosquito Squad franchise. The company uses less harmful materials to eliminate mosquitos and ticks.

911 Restoration

Restoration practices like mold removal and fixing water damage can help consumers use less materials for their homes and other possessions. And 911 Restoration is a franchise business that provides a number of different restoration services.

Renew Crew

You can also provide more specific services like pressure washing for windows and homes. Renew Crew is a cleaning and sealing franchises that provides a variety of services for homeowners, all while using eco-friendly materials.

BeBalanced Centers

BeBalanced is a weight loss and hormone balancing franchise business that focuses on helping women lose weight and treat other hormone related symptoms in a healthy and natural way.

ProCal Stone

If you want to get into the home remodeling business, ProCal Stone is a business that offers sprayed limestone coating for home interiors and exteriors. It’s a process that re-uses some materials in a new way to protect homes.

CertaPro Painters

You can also start a home painting business with a CertaPro franchise, which uses safe and relatively eco-friendly products.

DetailXPerts

DetailXPerts is a auto washing and detailing franchise business that also uses eco-friendly materials when possible.

The BBQ Cleaner

You can also start a franchise that helps people keep their barbecue grills clean and safe, while also remaining eco-friendly. The BBQ Cleaner is a franchise business that actually lets you add on the offering to an existing business model.

Gro-O

Gro-O is a business that focuses on helping people grow organic produce. The group has a membership program with different levels available.

Andy’s Sprinkler

Andy’s is a franchise business that provides sprinklers, drainage and lighting solutions so that people can care for their lawn and other plant life efficiently.

Juicity Vapor

Vaping is a growing niche. And while not solely focused on helping the environment, franchises like Juicity Vapor can potentially help people stop smoking.

Trikke

Trikke is a manufacturer of unique carving vehicles. You can become an authorized dealer and sell a variety of the brand’s offerings, including electric models.

The UPS Store

By owning your own UPS Store, you can work with a company that strives to be environmentally friendly through the use of hybrid delivery trucks and similar technology used in other aspects of the business.

Uptown Cheapskate

Uptown Cheapskate is a secondhand store that offers franchising opportunities. You can open your own location and help people save money while also recycling clothing and similar items to reduce waste and give new life to old items.

Light Bulb Photo via Shutterstock


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100 percent waste-based renewable diesel hits market in Finland

Neste has launched a renewable diesel made entirely from waste and residues under the brand name Neste MY Renewable Diesel at select service stations in Finland’s Helsinki region Jan. 9. The waste-based fuel, priced higher than Neste Pro Diesel that contains at least 15 percent renewable diesel, will also be available this month at select Neste Truck stations in Finland.

“Our corporate customers have been hoping for a completely renewable fuel at our Neste Truck stations,” said Neste President and CEO Matti Lievonen. “We will introduce Neste MY at nine Neste Truck stations and aim to expand its availability during the year.”

Neste has signed contracts with Schenker Oy and Lassila Tikanoja for use of the 100 percent waste-based renewable diesel in DB Schenker’s light distribution vehicles in Helsinki and Turku, and in select waste transportation vehicles in Lassila Tikanoja’s Helsinki metro-area fleet.

“We have shifted to the use of solar energy and geoenergy in our buildings, and it is only natural to start using renewable energy in our transportation services,” said Petteri Nurmi, senior vice president of land transport in Finland at DB Schenker. “With the use of Neste MY, we can immediately improve the quality of air in Helsinki and Turku. In addition to distribution services, we will also apply the product to the high capacity transport (HCT) truck combination starting between Vantaa and Turku. The transportation capacity of 90-ton HCT truck-trailer is 20 percent more effective than that of a conventional 60-ton truck combination. Therefore, by using renewable diesel, the ecoefficiency of individual shipments can be improved significantly.”

About 20 DB Schenker vans and trucks in Helsinki and up to eight transportation vehicles in Turku will be fueled by the new waste-based product.

Jorma Mikkonen, director of corporate relations and responsibility at Lassila Tikanoja, said, “Lassila Tikanoja aims to adjust the current consumer society into an efficient recycling society. Neste MY, manufactured wholly from waste and residue, fits well into our policy. It will help us reach our goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent before 2020, compared to the level and volume of 2012.”

This Christmas, Neste and Lassila Tikanoja worked together in a campaign to collect ham fat that encouraged people to save the material for Neste to use as feedstock in renewable diesel production. Lassila Tikanoja collected and transported the waste fat to Neste’s Porvoo Refinery.

 

We shouldn’t sue VW but the other ‘green’ lunacies that literally cost the Earth

Oh, how I wish I’d kept hold of my Skoda Yeti. If only I hadn’t just sold it, I might have stood to make a cool £3,000 in compensation from the class action being brought by motorists against Volkswagen and its sister brands (Audi, Skoda, Seat) as a result of the Dieselgate emissions scandal.

Like many duped motorists, I acquired my diesel car in the naive belief that it would not only be more efficient and cost-effective than a petrol one, but also that it was better for the environment. We now know that this green myth is a nonsense.

The particulate matter produced by diesel engines is toxic, polluting and may be responsible for tens of thousands of deaths annually across Europe.

Some manufacturers such as Volkswagen have known this for ages, but rather than lose business it rigged emissions tests to make its cars seem more eco-friendly than they actually were.

Oh, how I wish I¿d kept hold of my Skoda Yeti. If only I hadn¿t just sold it, I might have stood to make a cool £3,000 in compensation

Oh, how I wish I’d kept hold of my Skoda Yeti. If only I hadn’t just sold it, I might have stood to make a cool £3,000 in compensation

Misery

Clearly, VW deserves to be punished for its duplicity. But in my view, it is not nearly the culprit most deserving of a punitive law suit. What about the successive governments — in Britain and across the EU —which massively increased the growth of diesel through tax breaks and subsidies?

What about the scientists who came up with the dodgy theory that diesel was somehow cleaner and healthier because it supposedly helps combat climate change? What about all the green pressure groups and campaigning eco journalists who pushed for this dangerous and wrongheaded legislation?

The truth is that when it comes to damage, expense and misery caused by woolly-headed green ‘thinking’, the VW emissions scandal is but the tiniest tip of a vast iceberg.

In the name of saving the planet, lives and livelihoods have been destroyed, landscapes blighted, jobs killed, wildlife eradicated, prosperity reduced, science corrupted, kids brainwashed: in fact, forget the class suit against VW, it’s about time we all had some compensation for the deceptions of the green lobby.

VW: Like many duped motorists, I acquired my diesel car in the naive belief that it would not only be more efficient and cost-effective than a petrol one

VW: Like many duped motorists, I acquired my diesel car in the naive belief that it would not only be more efficient and cost-effective than a petrol one

Let’s start with the size of the global climate change industry, which on the back of government subsidies and policy-making has grown into a behemoth worth $1.5 trillion (£1.24 trillion) a year, according to the Climate Change Business Journal — similar to what we spend annually on online shopping.

But while we willingly choose to part with our money on Amazon and eBay for stuff we want and need, much environmental spending is forced on us by government diktat and squandered on often pointless, wasteful projects we have no control over.

Consider the latest UK scandal, where in Northern Ireland the Belfast government will cost the taxpayer more than £1 billion because of a mismanaged renewable heat incentive scheme.

For every £100 they spent on eco-friendly energy, businesses were bribed with a £160 rebate.

Because no cap was placed on the incentive, businesses piled in to take advantage — one enterprising farmer even heated a vast, empty warehouse to claim the subsidy — with costs to the taxpayer wildly out of control.

Perhaps we should be grateful that it has now led to the resignation of Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister and former IRA terrorist Martin McGuinness — but it seems a ruinously expensive way to have got rid of him.

Almost anything with the word ‘renewable’ in it means eye-watering expense and intolerable waste. In Wales last week, an experimental tidal energy project, much of its £18 million cost funded by the EU and the Welsh government, went into administration within months after a sonar to protect seals, porpoises and dolphins had failed.

This hardly bodes well for the highly questionable £1 billion tidal lagoon project being mooted for Swansea Bay.

As for solar and wind energy, which produce about 14 per cent of Britain’s power, their costs to consumers are vastly increased thanks to subsidies.

Last October, the National Audit Office stated that Britain’s renewable electricity subsidies would be £8.7 billion a year by 2020-21. ‘This is equivalent to £110 on the typical household dual fuel energy bill,’ the NAO added.

On top of this, we have nuclear — in particular, Hinkley Point C, the white elephant nuclear energy project planned for the Somerset coast that Theresa May inherited from David Cameron and was once described as the ‘worst deal in history’.

The technology is untested. Similar projects in Normandy and Finland have encountered such serious design and construction problems they are running years over schedule and billions of euros over budget.

Yet Britain is committed to spending £24 billion on Hinkley — mostly in subsidies, through increased electricity bills, to the French and Chinese — for the world’s most costly energy.

This makes no commercial sense, but that was never the point: the UK government needed nuclear, at whatever cost, so as to help meet the swingeing carbon dioxide reduction targets to which it is legally bound by Ed Miliband’s disastrous 2008 Climate Change Act.

The Act, dreamed up at the height of the global warming scare, was designed to ‘decarbonise’ Britain’s economy.

Like foreign aid, the measures were more extreme than in other countries. The Act will cost the taxpayer £18 billion every year till 2050 and has since been used to justify all manner of crazy government schemes such as the anaerobic digester scam where developers are paid to convert agricultural waste into gas.

Several major pollution incidents and at least one explosion later, that scheme has cost taxpayers £216 million a year in subsidies.

Hinkley Point C: The white elephant nuclear energy project planned for the Somerset coast that Theresa May inherited from David Cameron

Hinkley Point C: The white elephant nuclear energy project planned for the Somerset coast that Theresa May inherited from David Cameron

Sceptic

And you really don’t need to be a climate sceptic to realise it’s all money down the drain.

Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg has done the calculations: even if, from now on, all the countries in the world stick to the very modest carbon reduction targets they agreed in Paris last year, the effect on the world’s temperatures will be to reduce ‘global warming by the end of this century by a total of 0.17c: less than one-fifth of a degree’.

So, according to Lomborg, the benefit of all this expensive renewable energy is minimal compared with the cost. Added to all of this are the damaging side-effects, which are many and varied: vulnerable and elderly people driven into fuel poverty because of energy prices made artificially high by renewables subsidies; plus children brainwashed in schools by being fed scaremongering propaganda such as Al Gore’s discredited movie on global warming An Inconvenient Truth.

Then there’s the corruption and distortion of science by the flood of government research grants for projects that can show a connection, however tenuous, with the magical words ‘climate change’; and the misallocation of resources, whereby money is squandered on state-subsidised industries such as offshore wind turbines.

But maybe the worst thing of all about the bloated creature they call the Green Blob is the huge amount of damage it does to the environment in the name of saving it.

Disgust

This was what first drew me to the subject: my growing disgust, as someone who loves wildlife and adores the British countryside, that misguided green policies are destroying our planet.

Instead of just burning coal as it was designed to, for example, our biggest power station Drax has been converted at vast cost to run partly on wood chips shipped over from the U.S.

These chips are cut from hardwood forests in North Carolina, and subsidised by the taxpayer to the tune of £500 million a year, in a process that actually increases carbon emissions.

It’s madness — and it’s happening across Europe, too, with protected forests felled to meet EU renewable energy targets.

Meanwhile, in Asia, Africa and South America, primary rain forest is being felled to grow palm oil plantations to create eco-friendly biofuels.

And what about wind turbines which kill millions of birds and bats every year, including protected species such as eagles and rare migratory birds?

The tide is turning, thank heaven. Whatever you think of President-elect Donald Trump, one thing’s certain: he’s determined to rein in an awful lot of the green lunacy that’s cost the planet so dear for decades now.

And those ‘future generations’ the greens are always banging on about? I don’t think they’ll thank us for the damage we did in their name. They’ll look back on this era of eco-lunacy with astonishment and ask: how could our great-grandparents be so dumb? Why didn’t they sue?

Greenpeace ranks the greenest tech companies: Apple, Facebook and Google lead the charge

Greenpeace flew a blimp over Silicone Valley to urge tech companies to go green in 2014. (Photo courtesy of Greenpeace)

Greenpeace released its Click Clean report for 2016 today. And the results of it were not too different from last year. According to the report, Apple leads the charge among platform operators. The company achieved the impressive 83% on Greenpeace’s Clean Energy Index.

Other notable companies are Facebook with 67% and Google with 56%. All three of the companies pledged to work towards using 100% renewable energy and they have all made major steps in that direction. Apple’s new headquarters, the Apple Campus 2, that’s currently under construction, will be powered by approximately 700,000 square feet of solar panels. Google, on the other hand, promised that its data centers and offices will be powered by renewable energy only, starting this year.

The clear winner in the colocation category of this year’s ranking is the privately-held Switch, a newcomer to the list. The company is based in Las Vegas, and according to Greenpeace, it already runs exclusively on clean energy, making it one of the most eco-friendly tech companies out there. Switch’s score card shows that it scored an A in every possible category. The company’s core business is providing telecommunication, cloud, and colocation services.

The companies that lag behind are mostly in markets, where fossil fuel is the main energy source. This includes Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent. The US-based companies that have some catching-up to do include Amazon, with 17% Clean Energy Index; Microsoft, with 32%; and Oracle, with 8%.

source: Greenpeace via BusinessInsider

Electric dreams

How does the publishing industry reflect on such a politically momentous year? One urgent task is to tell us about our new leaders. Six months after the United Kingdom elected its second female prime minister, Biteback supplies, on 24 January, her first serious biography, Theresa May: the Path to Power, by Rosa Prince. Given how little we know about this very private politician, it will be pored over for insights.

Sadiq Khan’s story is better known – I remember him saying something about being a “bus driver’s son” – but George Eaton, the New Statesman’s political editor, has delved deeper for his biography (Sadiq: the Making of a Mayor and London’s Rebirth, also from Biteback), based on exclusive access to Khan and more than 100 interviews with those around him. It is expected in May, to mark the one-year anniversary of Khan taking office as the first Muslim Mayor of London.

Since becoming a Labour MP in 1982 and joining a House of Commons that was 97 per cent male, Harriet Harman has fought for women’s rights and helped to drag parliamentary culture out of the Stone Age. Her account of those struggles, A Woman’s Work, will be published by Allen Lane next month. Jess Phillips, the 35-year-old self-described “gobby MP”, brings the feminist fight into the digital age with Everywoman (Hutchinson, March). At the “old guard” end, another Westminster memoir worth noting is Chris Patten’s First Confession (Allen Lane, June). And although it looked for a moment as if Vince Cable might have written a whole book about his time on Strictly, it turns out that Open Arms (Corvus, June) is a work of fiction: a political thriller about Westminster, India and big business.

Last year, Miles Cole assembled a cover for the NS in which Iain Duncan Smith, Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan figured as the three heads of a Brexit hydra. How blessed we are that the last two have books out: Hannan’s Europe primer What Next (out now) is joined by Carswell’s “radical manifesto” Rebel in April, both published – appropriately – by Head of Zeus.

What next, indeed? For the US, it’s too early to answer that question, but Melville House has put together a gutsy collection, What We Do Now: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump’s America, with contributions by 27 leading progressives, including Bernie Sanders and Gloria Steinem, suggesting paths of resistance. It’s due to be published on 17 January, just before the presidential inauguration.

Resistance will be in the air, not least because 2017 is the centenary of the two uprisings that became known as the Russian Revolution (in February and October). The avalanche that began last year will continue with Victor Sebestyen’s Lenin the Dictator: an Intimate Portrait (Weidenfeld Nicolson, February), Robert Service’s The Last of the Tsars: Nicholas II and the Russian Revolution (Macmillan, also February) and China Miéville’s narrative take on the events of 1917, October: the Story of the Russian Revolution (Verso, May). Other books on Lenin are due from Tariq Ali (The Dilemmas of Lenin, Verso, April) and Slavoj Žižek (Lenin 2017, Verso, July). His ideas were built on those of Marx, so it’s neat that 2017 also marks the 150th anniversary of Das Kapital. New reflections on that work include Marx and Capital by David Harvey (Profile, July).

In 1917 Russia was in the grip of financial crisis, revolution and terror and a world war was raging. A century later, are we going the same way? It is clear, at least, that many of our liberal assumptions about progress are being upturned. Age of Anger: a History of the Present by Pankaj Mishra (Allen Lane, January) explores the origins of our “great wave of paranoid hatreds”, while populist politics and nationalism are examined in The Road to Somewhere (Hurst, March) by David Goodhart, The Rise of the ­Outsiders: the Anti-Establishment and Its March to Power (Atlantic, June) by Steve Richards and Grave New World: the End of Globalisation and the Return of Economic Conflict (Yale University Press, May) by Stephen D King. The former Economist editor Bill Emmott offers a slightly less gloomy spin in The Fate of the West, which considers the decline but also the possible “revival” of liberal democracy (Profile, March).

Having got his grandly titled history of the eurozone – And the Weak Suffer What They Must? – out of the way last year, the former Greek finance minister Yanis ­Varoufakis unleashes the gossip, telling the “extraordinary tale of brinkmanship and backstabbing” behind the 2015 EU negotiations in Adults in the Room (Bodley Head, May). A fellow economist, Evan Davis of Newsnight, adopts the phrase of 2016 for his book Post-Truth (Little, Brown, April), about how “bullshit” became “the communications strategy of our times”.

There is plenty of “post-truth” written about Britain’s Muslims, as was illustrated last month when the Mail Online paid out £150,000 to a family that the columnist Katie Hopkins had accused groundlessly of having extremist links. Attempts to bring some honesty and clarity come from Sayeeda Warsi, Britain’s first Muslim cabinet minister, in The Enemy Within (Allen Lane, March), and Omar Saif Ghobash, in his Letters to a Young Muslim (Picador, January). Another counterblast to those who see Islam as incapable of modernising, The Islamic Enlightenment (Bodley Head, February) by Christopher de Bellaigue shows that, from the 19th century onwards, the faith has been transformed by progressive thinking.

These books will sadly be outweighed by writings on Islamic State, of which The Way of the Strangers by the Atlantic correspondent Graeme Wood (Allen Lane, January) is the most anticipated. Catherine Nixey has found a historical parallel with the destruction wreaked by IS: The Darkening Age (Macmillan, September) describes how a militant religion “comprehensively and deliberately extinguished” the teachings of the classical world, “ushering in centuries of unquestioning adherence to ‘one true faith’”. That religion was, of course, Christianity.

In biography, we will get two grand surrealists and two great engineers. The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington by Joanna Moorhead (Virago, April) coincides with the centenary of the painter and writer, while ­Jenny Uglow takes on the author of “The Owl and the Pussy-Cat” in Edward Lear: a Life of Art and Nonsense (Faber Faber, October). Bloomsbury pits two engineering geniuses, one Scottish and the other American, against each other, with Man of Iron: Thomas Telford and the Building of Britain by Julian Glover (January) – which celebrates the “colossus of roads” and designer of the 1826 Menai Suspension Bridge – and Chief Engineer: the Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge (June), in which the NS contributing writer Erica Wagner tells the story of Washington Roebling against a backdrop of civil war, family strife and superhuman achievement in construction. Peter Ackroyd is already London’s biographer laureate but in Queer City (Chatto Windus, May), he views the capital through its gay population, from the pleasure-filled lupanaria (“wolf dens”) of Roman times to the present day.

Sexuality errs towards the non-binary these days and a raft of books reflects that. Trans Like Me by C N Lester (Virago, May) is joined by The Gender Games by Juno Dawson (Two Roads, July) and Man Alive by Thomas Page McBee (Canongate, May). There’s possibly more fun to be had in One of the Boys by the comic actor Robert Webb (Canongate, July), a coming-of-age memoir that builds on a piece he wrote for the NS in 2014: “How not to be a boy”.

Two other memoirs stand out. When the cultural theorist Stuart Hall died in 2014 he left behind a manuscript – Familiar Stranger: a Life Between Two Islands (Allen Lane, April) tells the story of his early life, from growing up in 1930s Jamaica to dealing with the thorny politics of 1950s and 1960s England. Glimpses of a great English institution are given in Balancing Acts: Behind the Scenes at the National Theatre (Jonathan Cape, May) by Nicholas Hytner, who stepped down as artistic director in 2015.

Beyond our cities, we have become a nation of dippers and 2017 is the year of the swim-moir. There’s Turning: a Swimming Memoir by Jessica J Lee (Virago, May), Leap In: a Woman, Some Waves and the Will to Swim by Alexandra Heminsley (Hutchinson, January) and I Found My Tribe by Ruth Fitzmaurice (Chatto Windus, July), an Irish writer’s account of her “Tragic Wives’ Swimming Club”. In June Philip Hoare, the King Neptune of literature, returns with RisingTideFallingStar (Fourth Estate), a wide-ranging examination of our relationship with this watery planet.

On dry land, too, big ideas flourish. In Selfie (Picador, June) Will Storr traces the roots of our “age of perfectionism”, and Adam Alter’s Irresistible (Bodley Head, March) looks at addiction in the ­internet age. Bullshit Jobs: a Theory by David Graeber (Allen Lane, September) explains why we are trapped in a cycle of meaningless work, and in The Knowledge Illusion (Macmillan, April) the cognitive scientists Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach claim that true intelligence “resides not in the individual but in the collective mind.”

The essay continues to enjoy a renaissance. There are offerings from the author of The Wake, Paul Kingsnorth (Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist, Faber Faber, April); Rebecca Solnit, whose Mother of All Questions (Granta, October) is a collection of “further feminist essays”; Teju Cole, whose “multimedia diary” Blind Spot, coming from Faber Faber in July, pairs images with text; and Martin Amis, who has assembled his criticism and reportage from 1986 to 2016 in The Rub of Time (due from Jonathan Cape in the autumn). Amis is also working on a novel about three of his friends – Christopher Hitchens, Saul Bellow and Philip Larkin – all of whom have died since he began writing it. “That gives me a theme,” he said recently. “Death.”

In fiction, the year begins with Paul Auster’s first novel in seven years, 4 3 2 1 (Faber Faber, January), charting a baby boomer’s four divergent life paths. From the US, too (now that an American has won the Man Booker Prize we’d better pay closer attention), there comes Lincoln in the Bardo (Bloomsbury, March), the debut novel by the short-story supremo George Saunders. Set in 1862 in a cemetery in Washington, it has drawn high praise from first readers. Also arriving with Stateside acclaim is Homegoing (Viking, January), a story of two sisters and the slave trade in the Gold Coast by the first-time novelist Yaa Gyasi.

If we are – pace Stephen D King and others – seeing the end of globalisation, it’s not showing in fiction, which in 2017 feels anything but insular. The Indian author Arun­dhati Roy returns to fiction, 20 years after The God of Small Things, with The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (Hamish Hamilton), described as “a love story and a provocation”, while the new novel by the Man Booker-shortlisted author Neel Mukherjee, A State of Freedom (Chatto Windus, September), is a “fierce and often devastating portrayal of contemporary India”. From Turkey, Orhan Pamuk’s The Red-Haired Woman (Faber Faber, September) is a short philosophical novel about a murder that took place 30 years ago near Istanbul. Emerging from the Iraq War is Spoils (Jonathan Cape, May), a debut novel by a former US sergeant, Brian Van Reet, centring on three characters: a young female soldier, a jihadi and a male tank crewman. Germany and the UK are the settings for the first novel by the prize-winning biographer (and contributor to these pages) Lucy Hughes-Hallett – Peculiar Ground (Fourth Estate, May), which spans the 17th and 20th centuries.

And here’s a rare event: the publication of fiction from North Korea. A cache of stories by the dissident writer “Bandi” has been smuggled out and translated by Deborah Smith, and will be published by Serpent’s Tail in March under the title The Accusation. (Smith also translates Han Kang, who won the Man Booker International Prize in 2016; a new novel by the South Korean writer is to come from Portobello in November.)

Elsewhere, strong literary names dot the lists. There are novels by Jon McGregor (Reservoir 13, Fourth Estate, April), Hari Kunz­ru (White Tears, Hamish Hamilton, April), Will Self (Phone, Viking, June), William Boyd (The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth, Viking, September) and Ali Smith (Winter, Hamish Hamilton, November). We just have to hope that bookshops aren’t too busy ordering extra copies of Into the Water (Doubleday, May), Paula Hawkins’s follow-up to The Girl on the Train, to notice.

Del Monte turns pineapple waste into energy – BeverageDaily.com

Del Monte Philippines Inc. (DMPI) has partnered with Global Water Engineering (GWE) to create renewable energy from pineapple waste.

GWE installed a wastewater treatment plant at Cagayan de Oro pineapple canning factory to produce 93% organic pollution (COD) removal in its anaerobic reactors, producing enough green energy (methane rich biogas) to power two 1.4 MW electrical power generator units or gensets.


High cost of electricity

The DMPI plant.

Jean-Pierre Ombregt, CEO, GWE, said the waste-to-energy pineapple operation means DMPI can replace fossil fuels with green energy, and given the high prices of electricity form the Grid and the sometimes erratic supply, the plant will get a quick ROI (return on investment). 

The DMPI plant has exceeded its high environmental goals by treating more than 13,000 cubic metres a day of wastewater, or nearly five million cubic metres a year,” he said. 

The process has led to anaerobic effluent achieving ca. 40 mg/l COD (93% removal) and final effluent achieving 70 mg/l COD, or a further 83% removal, which is remarkable given the large operation of DMPI

In terms of the positive environmental impact and the virtually free electricity gains going straight to the bottom line, this is an exemplary project for food, beverage and agribusiness processors worldwide.”


700,000 tons of pineapple papaya a year

DMPI processes more than 700,000 tons of pineapple and papaya a year to produce approximately 100 food and vegetable variants. 

The company is owned by Del Monte Pacific Ltd (DMPL), which owns Del Monte Foods Inc., the company that owns the Del Monte brand in the US. 

DMPI is one of the largest producers, distributors and marketers of premium quality, branded food products for the US retail market through its affiliate DMFI, as well as private label products. 

DMPI produces 10% of the world’s annual production of processed pineapple products. 

Biogas from waste water is an outstanding source of base load power,” added Ombregt. 

As part of a renewable energy mix – complementing wind and solar generation, for example – electricity generated with biogas is highly reliable and consistent.” 

The GWE process includes:

* Pre-treatment of flume wastewater for large solids and sand removal before joining with the rest of the effluents, which pass a primary clarifier. 

* Anaerobic digestion in four Anubix B (UASB type) methane reactors of a type proven globally for low-to-medium strength mainly soluble carbohydrate containing effluents, attaining outstanding COD removal efficiencies, in some cases even up to 99% 

* Aerobic activated sludge type polishing treatment of the anaerobic reactor effluent (upgrade of existing facilities) 

* Mechanical sludge dewatering of the aerobic excess sludge (by reuse of existing facilities) 

* Biogas sweetening in a 2 step (physico-chemical followed by biological) Sulfurix, Biosulfurix process for sulphur removal, followed by Gasodrix biogas drying 

* Feed of the sweetened and dried biogas to the 2 electricity generation sets 

50 Ways to Make Your Business Greener This Year

If one of your 2017 resolutions is to make your business greener, you’re in luck. There’s no shortage of ways you can improve your business practices to help the environment. And as a bonus, many of these improvements can also save your business some money. Here are 50 different ways you can make your business greener in the new year.

Ways to Be Greener at Work

Utilize Natural Light

Whether you work in a traditional office, at home or another setting, access to natural light can help you conserve energy. Make sure you have windows that are unobstructed so you can use less artificial light and heat.

Invest in Light Timers

You might also be able to cut down on the amount of electricity you use at work by installing motion sensors on timers so that the lights go off automatically if no one’s in the room.

Consider Desk Lamps

If you have an office with just a few people, or if people tend to work at different times, you might opt for desk lamps instead of overhead lighting so you don’t have to have the whole space lit for just a couple people at a time.

Sign Up for Paperless Billing

For any banking or other accounts you hold, sign up for paperless billing so you get statements via email instead of wasting paper.

Only Print Essentials

When printing your own items, make sure everything is absolutely essential before using up paper on hard copies. Save other documents to the cloud.

Use Both Sides of Paper

You can also save paper by printing on both sides of the paper whenever possible.

Buy Recycled Paper

There are also plenty of recycled paper options you can purchase to cut down on the resources needed for those items you do have to print.

Put a Green Reminder in Your Email Signature

To encourage others to save paper as well, you can put a simple reminder in the signature of your emails to ask people to only print essential emails.

Distribute Reusable Bottles

To cut down on bottled water use or paper cups in your office, you could distribute reusable bottles or thermoses to employees so they can just refill those instead.

Remove Your Business From Mailing Lists

If you receive a lot of junk mail to your business, take a minute to remove yourself from any mailing lists you’re signed up for that aren’t necessary.

Update Your Own Mailing Lists

You can also save money and resources by sending out less direct mail from your business. Simply updating your mailing list so that it doesn’t include anyone who hasn’t done business with you in years can save you a lot of time, money and paper.

Use Power Strips

You can better manage the electricity use in your business by connecting devices to power strips.

Turn Off Electronics

And of course, whenever you’re not using computers or other electronics, make sure they’re turned off and/or unplugged.

Enable Sleep Mode Where Possible

For some devices, you might also be able to turn on sleep mode so that they turn off automatically when not in use.

Buy Energy Efficient Models

There are also some energy efficient electronics and appliances that you can get for your office to cut down on the amount of energy needed to run them.

Change Your Light Bulbs

You can also buy energy efficient light bulbs that last longer and throw more light with less energy.

Adjust Your Thermostat

During the summer months, increase the temperature on your thermostat a couple of degrees. And then decrease the temperature during the winter to save on heating and cooling.

Consider a Smart Thermostat

There are also some smart thermostats that can adjust to your office habits and help you save money and use less energy overall.

Allow Employees to Telecommute

If it’s possible for your employees to work from home, even on occasion, that can help the environment because you’ll need less energy in your office and employees won’t need to drive back and forth to work.

Consider a Four-Day Week

You might even consider enacting a four-day work week for your staff so they can all cut down on their commutes each week.

Limit In-Person Meetings

If you ever have to travel to meetings or have people travel to meet with you, consider having those meetings online instead to cut down on transportation.

Bike to Work

You could also consider biking to work to cut down on your carbon footprint. And encourage your team to do the same.

Skip the Office Altogether

In some cases, your business might be able to function without any type of official office. You can cut down on your use of resources by simply collaborating with your team online or using coworking spaces.

Collect Paper to Recycle

You can also start an office recycling program to recycle old documents and other paper items.

Reuse Ink Cartridges

And when your printer runs out of ink, you can get your cartridges refilled instead of buying new ones, saving both money and resources.

Donate Old Electronics

You can also collect old electronics and take them to proper recycling venues or trading them in instead of throwing them away.

Provide Recycling Bins

And in your kitchen or other shared office spaces, you can provide recycling bins to make it easy for your team members to recycle other items like bottles and cans.

Compost

You can also use things like coffee grounds from your office kitchen to create compost for growing food.

Start a Rooftop Garden

You might even start a garden on the roof of your office or any other outdoor space you might have. It could be a fun respite for you and your team as well.

Buy Fair Trade Coffee

When stocking your office kitchen with coffee and similar items, you can purchase organic or fair trade products to ensure there’s less of a negative environmental impact.

Go Organic for Office Lunches

And when you take your team or clients out to lunch, find some local restaurants with organic or natural food options.

Get an Energy Audit

Many businesses or government agencies offer free or low-cost energy audits. You can have them visit your business and tell you ways you might be wasting energy.

Support Local Vendors

When sourcing products or services for your business, going with local providers can cut down on the transportation and other resources used.

Look For Eco-Friendly Vendors

You can also research which potential vendors have eco-friendly practices and choose to support those vendors.

Use Rechargeable Batteries

Whenever possible, buying rechargeable batteries for your electronics can help you save time and energy.

Buy Refurbished Tech

When buying new computers or other electronics, you can purchase refurbished models instead of new ones, since they’re basically recycled.

Repurpose Office Furniture

And when purchasing furniture for your office, consider checking out second hand stores to reduce your carbon footprint even further.

Look Into Solar Energy

If you’re looking for a more impactful way to help the environment, you might look into solar power for your business. Prices are getting lower, so it might be feasible for you to install some solar panels.

Recycle Your Actual Office

Some businesses also choose to get creative with their actual office spaces, using old shipping containers or repurposing other non-traditional spaces that might otherwise go unused.

Use Energy Efficient Transportation

If you need transportation for your business, consider buying electric or hybrid vehicles if possible.

Start a Carpooling Program

You might also consider starting a carpooling program to encourage ridesharing among your team.

Seal Your Windows

To cut down on the amount of heat or AC that escapes through your windows, you can seal the area around them or even cover them in plastic through the winter months.

Insulate With Rugs

You can also seal in more heat by using area rugs around your office so you can potentially use less energy to keep your space warm.

Consider Small AC Units

During the summer, you might be able to use less energy overall if you use small AC units instead of paying to keep the entire space cool throughout the entire season.

Use Green Cleaning Products

There are also plenty of eco-friendly cleaning products that you can use to keep your office clean instead of opting for harsh chemical products.

Green Your Team Building Activities

When coming up with team building activities for your staff, consider a green activity like cleaning up a local park or planting a tree together.

Hold Events Nearby

And if you have any other special events with your team or clients, you can cut down on transportation costs and emissions by making sure they’re at least somewhat close to all parties involved.

Use the Cloud

Cloud technology gives you the opportunity to save documents, communicate with your team and do so much more, all without using extra resources like paper and ink.

Use Online Advertising

You can also cut down on the resources needed to advertise your business by choosing online options rather than print or outdoor ads.

Monitor Your Energy Bills

And throughout the year, you can simply monitor your energy bills to see if there are any areas where you could improve.

Think Green Photo via Shutterstock


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Business Outlook: Sustainable Energy Finance

Sustainable energy finance is an untapped potential in the MENA region

By Mouayed Makhlouf

For the people of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), climate change isn’t some abstract concept. It’s happening now.
Drought, rising temperature, and dwindling water supplies have already begun to affect the region and, as global temperatures continue to rise, things are expected to get worse.

It’s against that backdrop that world leaders met in Marrakesh, Morocco in November for their annual summit on climate change.

The leaders focused on grand solutions to global warming, like renewable energy projects, and rightly so. But it’s important to remember in the battle against climate change that there is also place for solutions that involve the efforts of everyday individuals, and not just experts.

The leaders further showed that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is underway and that the constructive spirit of multilateral cooperation on climate change continues.

One of the most effective of those is sustainable energy financing, which sees banks provide loans to businesses and homeowners who want to invest in eco-friendly technology, like solar panels, super-efficient boilers, and advanced methods for treating wastewater.

While individual projects might be relatively small, added together they are an important way of cutting greenhouse gas emissions and conserving resources. What’s more, the loans help to channel much-needed capital to businesses, especially the small and medium enterprises that form the backbone of most economies in the Middle East and North Africa.

Crucially, investments in sustainable energy don’t only make sense for companies and homeowners from an environmental perspective. They’re also good for the bottom line. In countries where grid electricity is more expensive, like Lebanon, Jordan and the West Bank and Gaza, investments in solar panels pay for themselves in as little as three years. In many other regional countries, the payback periods are under 10 years.

That represents a remarkable change from just a few years ago, when building owners would have to wait decades to recoup their money. That change has been driven in part by the plunging cost of technology. One Oxford University study says the price of solar panels has dropped 10 percent a year since the 1980s and is likely to continue falling.

Sustainable energy finance isn’t only a boon for borrowers, it’s also great for lenders. It helps banks tap into a whole new market of clients and diversify their business. The market, too, is massive.

A new study from the IFC for example, found that in Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco alone, the potential for climate-smart investments—which include improvements in efficiency, waste collection, and transport—could total $146 billion between now and 2030.

But for the sector to reach its potential, several things need to happen.

First, banks need to embrace sustainable energy financing as a strategic priority. Second, lenders need to educate potential borrowers about how investing in renewable technology and energy efficiency can help them save money. Thirdly, they need to forge partnerships with energy auditors and the companies that supply eco-friendly technology and link them with borrowers.

Governments also have an important role to play. States can set targets for energy efficiency, which would encourage private sector investments. Officials can establish clear frameworks for sustainable energy lending, which would give banks the confidence they need to jump into the market. Central banks can offer preferential rates for on-lending to banks that provide eco-friendly loans.

Finally, while this is admittedly a loaded political issue, governments can reduce subsidies on fossil fuels, which would encourage homeowners and businesses to use as little water, energy, and heat as possible.

These are not measures that can wait. There is a growing consensus that humanity will be hard-pressed to limit the global rise in temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius—considered the tipping point for a climate catastrophe. We need to leverage every tool we have to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and sustainable energy financing is an important one.

Mouayed Makhlouf is Director of the Middle East and North Africa at IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.

 


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NC pigs will help generate electricity

A Colorado energy developer broke ground Thursday on a $100 million facility in Duplin County that the company said will be the largest of its type in the nation, and will produce natural gas out of swine waste and other agricultural byproducts. That facility, and smaller ones already in operation and in planning, could push North Carolina past a swine waste-to-energy goal the state was supposed to have first reached in 2012.

Turning pig poop into natural gas poses technological and economic challenges that have limited such conversion facilities to small projects that burn gas in small on-site generators. The Carbon Cycle Energy project, near Warsaw, will pump the methane through the state’s pipeline system to full-scale power plants owned by Duke Energy. The electric utility company will burn the gas and claim renewables credits to comply with North Carolina’s 2007 renewable energy mandate.

“Meeting those mandates on swine waste has been tough for us,” Duke spokesman Randy Wheeless said. “You’ve got to have geography, a fuel source, an off-taker – just a lot of things have to fall into place.”

Jay Lucas, an engineer with the N.C. Public Staff, said the size of the project exceeds all expectations. The Public Staff represents the interests of utility customers before the N.C. Utilities Commission.

“We haven’t come close to meeting it yet,” Lucas said on North Carolina’s renewable mandate for swine waste, “and in one swoop we have a facility to [help the state] meet the whole thing.”

North Carolina was the first state in the Southeast in 2007 to adopt a renewable energy mandate for electric utilities. The vast majority has been fulfilled by solar power, which has turned North Carolina into the nation’s second-largest developer of solar energy farms. The state remains the only one in the nation that requires a portion of electricity to come from energy-rich agricultural resources that remain largely untapped: hog waste and poultry droppings.

Even at a considerable scale that will require 40 employees for the round-the-clock operation, the Carbon Cycle Energy plant will produce only about two-thirds of the amount of swine-sourced natural gas the state will require for its first-year goal.

The Carbon Cycle Energy Project will produce about 290,000 megawatt hours a year when it’s operating at full capacity in 2018, but only about 66,700 megawatt hours will be attributable to swine waste, said company CEO James Powell. Most of the gas the plant will produce will come from poultry waste, animal carcasses and waste scraps from industrial food processing operations.

North Carolina’s first-year goal for swine waste is 0.07 percent of total annual retail electricity sales of each utility, which is equivalent to about about 93,000 megawatt hours of electricity. The target increases year by year and tops out at 0.2 percent, or 270,000 megawatt hours of retail electricity sold annually. Utilities were supposed to meet the first-year goal in 2012 but received five years of consecutive postponements by the Utilities Commission.

North Carolina has eight swine waste-to-energy facilities, the largest of which is in Bladen County and produces a quantity of natural gas that generates an estimated 7,900 megawatt hours of electricity annually, Lucas said. The Carbon Cycle Energy plant will generate more than eight times as much gas from swine waste, and more than 35 times as much waste from all agricultural waste combined.

The plant will source the agricultural waste from more than 25 producers within a 75-mile radius, Powell said.

“There’s just a plethora of organic waste in that region,” he said.