Leading with a Vision for Inclusive Property Technology and Sustainable Innovation – The Manila Times

Imperial Homes wins Lamudi’s Best Green Project of the Year for Solana Verde

Woman leader Emma Imperial innovates to give Filipinos eco-friendly resilient world class homes of their own.

It does not always happen that one finds his or her own true north star. Ms. Emma Imperial surely found hers and this legacy of lifetime homes is something that all of us should aspire for.

Resilient Green Homes for 265 Years: A Legacy for The Next Generation

Aside from entry-level pricing in the market, Imperial Homes, the PropTech company that Emma founded, makes sure that houses they build last for a lifetime. Connovate, Imperial Homes’ technology partner has developed a concentrate that makes concrete incredibly stronger than traditional building system with longer service life. Connovate panels boast a strength of 14,000 psi or 20 times stronger than hollow blocks. More importantly, it’s green due to its low carbon footprint.

According to a study by Connovate conducted by Technical University of Denmark (DTU), this reinforced concrete “can last for 265 years”. At the same time, it is sustainable because not as much concrete is needed for buildings. You use half as much concrete and it lasts longer. Therefore, it should reduce Co2 emissions by at least 50 percent.

Prefabricated slabs, which are easier to install compared to the traditional method that combines hollow blocks and cement, are made of non-porous materials that end up with glass-like product and are resistant to molds. This keeps every Filipino home healthy as it prevents bacteria from spreading. Connovate is earthquake, typhoon and fire-resistant. This technology was designed for upscale houses and buildings in Europe, but Imperial Homes’ solid partnership with the Danish company has made it accessible for a wider market.

Imperial Connovate to Developers and Builders :  The Name of the Game is Speed

Nine (9) houses installed in six (6) days using Connovate Technology

Connovate ultra high performance concrete building technology dramatically improves process efficiency which rationalizes its over-all development cost.  Developers will benefit from shorter construction timelines (as much as 50%) and faster revenue recognition. Imperial Connovate eliminates rectification cost on surface preparation, electrical and mechanical embedment. Wastage, pilferage and idle time are also avoided, boosting corporate governance.

A Career of Helping Others

Sa Imperial Homes, para kang nakatira sa bahay na Alkansya

Emma started building projects in the remotest provinces in Bicol region, where she raised her family after marrying the late Legazpi City Mayor Gregorio S. Imperial. It was through him that she developed a heart for public service. She says, “My late husband was a very simple, dedicated, non-controversial man. I am also a UP graduate, and it inculcated in me a lot of idealism. I think my personality evolved because of these influences.”

Some of her first endeavors included setting up a Montessori school in the province to bring better learning methods, along with a poultry farm that supplied Bicolano businesses and households.

“We did the First Legaspi City Public School Teachers Housing communities in the Country with Pag-IBIG Fund.” Imperial Homes then partnered with innovative solution providers such as Connovate from Denmark for their building Technology and Enfinity Global for solar energy. With a strong independent board of directors including Marife Zamora, Alex Vergara and Ric Pascual as her support group, she is surely set to conquer the property technology development, here and Asia Pacific region.

 Powered by Passion

The making of High-Performance, Concrete Prefab Panels

With the knowledge that her buyers work hard for their home investments, Emma constantly innovates her housing products to ensure that she offers the best value. One of the biggest achievements for Imperial Homes’ solar-powered communities are electricity cost savings.

“Seven years ago, solar was too expensive for ordinary Filipinos. A lot of people thought that I was wasting my time, but I really wanted to make a huge difference.  I found a Belgian supplier and we installed panels that could supply 50 watts with battery just enough to light five lights in a house.”

People doubted her solar solutions for residential communities, but the devastation of Typhoon Reming in Bicol and the support of PAG IBIG Fund financing changed their minds. The green initiatives of HDMF CEO Mr Acmad Moti to finance solar solutions for all its members made it accessible to the low income market.

With cheaper electricity from solar rooftop panels, Homeowners started buying 10 cu. refrigerators,  TVs, washing machines, toasters, and some even installed air-conditioners with electricity bills ranging between P200 to P300 a month! What’s more fascinating was, they discovered that a number of residents established small food businesses.

First Net Metered Solar Powered Community

Via Verde, Imperial Homes’ resilient solar-powered community in Sto. Tomas, Batangas

Imperial Homes Corporation’s Via Verde, the Philippines’ First Solar Powered Community, has recently been transformed into the Philippines’ First Net Metered Community. Spearheaded by another dynamic Filipina leader ERC Chair Agnes Devandera, the Net Metering Program is a non-fiscal incentive mechanism, which enables ordinary electricity consumers to become “prosumers” or electricity users that can generate electricity for their own consumption and sell any excess generation to the distribution grid simultaneously.

Under the new Net Metering Rules, the program will become more accessible to consumers due to the removal of the Distribution Impact Study (DIS) fee and the adoption of Distribution Utilities’ (DU) blended generation cost to avoid higher electricity costs for consumers. It also shortened processing time for applications.

 Starting a green movement

Actual photo of Solana Verde in Silang Cavite

The integration of green building technology and renewable energy contribute to sustainability compliance requirements for publicly listed companies.

Her success with her cost-effective and eco-friendly initiatives has recently garnered the EDGE recognition from no less than World Bank and International Finance Corporation, first in 2015 and again in 2019. EDGE, stands for Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies, an online platform that sets a green building standard and a certification system for over 150 countries that helps to determine the most cost-effective options for designing green within a local climate context.

As the first Property Technology Developer, Imperial Homes is encouraging more developers to join the movement of thinking and acting green. “There is only one planet that we can leave to our children. We cannot simply think about profit all the time. We have to think about the next generation. As a woman leader and a mother, I find it very important to always have a positive impact in our endeavors”

Follow us on Facebook at Imperial Homes and IG @imperialhomescorp.

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Call: 0998 583 2286 | 0977 8549632

Controversy over turbine blades in Casper landfill is overblown, manager says – Casper Star

The state’s largest utility, Rocky Mountain Power, recently invested over $3.1 billion in new wind projects in Wyoming. As a result, the utility has charged ahead in upgrading its existing wind fleet with fresh technology, including bigger blades. That means decommissioning several of its older blades and disposing them in Casper’s landfill. While nearly 90 percent of the company’s wind turbines can be recycled, Rocky Mountain Power is in the process of paying the Casper landfill nearly $700,000 to dispose of the remaining materials: the blades and motors.

Visionstate Invests in Exceed Solar, Incorporates Sustainability in BM

In a continued effort to bring awareness to global issues, leaders at Visionstate Corp (TSX:VIS) have invested in Exceed Solar, an industry leading company that works to promote alternative energy and sustainable living.

Exceed Solar, which is currently working in collaboration with the University of Alberta to install a solar greenhouse in order to research and expand interest in cold climate greenhouses, announced the project will launch this spring.
“Renewable energy design is driven by this project as it will not only provide students the education of solar energy and sustainable permaculture but also serve as a foundation of research for professors. We are very excited to contribute to this project.” explains project leader Larry Zhong.

Visionstate’s investment in Exceed Solar is aligned with the company’s goal of developing smart technology solutions that promote sustainability.

Visionstate’s primary focus is expanding the use and enhancing the functionality of its unique Internet of Things (IoT) WANDA™ solution. The company’s strategic investment in Exceed Solar seeks to extend WANDA’s IoT application beyond its existing footprint. ù

Exceed Solar believes local gardening and community gardening will grow in importance as the effects of climate change put pressure on traditional food sources. The research with University of Alberta will focus on the efficiencies of solar panels, permaculture applications, and sensors designed to monitor environmental conditions. Exceed Solar will also work with researchers to implement IoT sensors to monitor environmental conditions for cold climate greenhouses.

In August, Exceed Solar made its first sale of the Sol Studio, a 10 by 12-foot backyard garden suite constructed using smart technology and environmentally friendly building materials. The Sol Studio is installed in backyards as entertainment centres, studios, offices, children’s play area, or simply to power backyard appliances using its 2.5 kwh solar kit.

“We are extremely excited about the work Exceed Solar is doing to disrupt traditional building by introducing scalable, high tech structures that incorporate sustainable building materials and smart technology,” explains Visionstate CEO John Putters.

For Visionstate specifically, the shift to eco-friendly investments is partly due to factors like climate change and green-focused initiatives.

“Through building up a collection of synergistic technologies, Visionstate Corp. will continue to innovate, reduce environmental impact and transform consumer experiences. Overall, we are joining the movement with other corporations to reevaluate how our products and overall production practices are affecting the environment,” speaks CEO John Putters.

Visionstate Corp. is also investing in Freedom Cannabis, a company which is using solar power to help offset their energy use. The largest solar operation in Canada, Freedom Cannabis’ rooftop solar system can be found at its Edmonton facility, and will ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In August 2019, Freedom Cannabis harvested its first licenced crop. Currently the company is building out its lab and testing facilities to serve the medicinal and recreational cannabis markets. The Freedom Cannabis team has been busy beginning to build the Freedom brand at the retail level.

“It is our responsibility to recognize our industry’s impact on the environment and work to do everything we can to minimize it,” said Troy Dezwart, the company’s co-founder and executive director.

Outside of investing in sustainable initiatives, Visionstate is working to expand its smart restroom management system, WANDA™ (washroom attendant notification digital aid). WANDA is a smart software system designed to measure efficient restroom cleaning and customer satisfaction. The 15-inch smart device, which collects data from sensors, customer alerts and staff cleaning activities, has been installed in large multi-use centers across Canada and the United States.

The latest landfill problem comes from the renewable energy industry

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EGEB: Each of these Oregon homes will feature solar off-grid microgrids

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • A new luxury development in Burns, Oregon, will feature 600 homes with solar off-grid microgrids.
  • The US DOJ drops its antitrust investigation against Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, and BMW.
  • Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti signs an enhanced Green New Deal plan to stop using fossil fuels.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Solar off-grid microgrids in Oregon

The 140,000-acre Silvies Valley Ranch, formerly a dude ranch outside of Burns, Oregon, is an eco-friendly ranch and luxury resort. Visitors and homeowners don’t use ICE vehicles. Instead, they’re given electric golf carts to drive. The development also uses a graywater system, sustainable materials, and a native plant landscape.

Silvies Valley Ranch is developing 600 homes that will be between 2,000 to 6,000 square feet each. They will be built in three phases of 200 homes (pictured) over the next two to three years.

Each home will feature Humless solar off-grid microgrids. That’s because it’s cheaper than paying the utility company $7 million to run lines to the development.

The solar off-grid microgrid systems will consist of solar panels on each home coupled with a Humless Universal System, a battery system of anywhere from 30-70kWh, depending on the home’s size.

Microgrid Systems explains how the solar off-grid microgrids work:

The Humless system is unique, the company says, because it has the ability to be both AC and DC coupling simultaneously. AC and DC coupling is related to how the PV panels are connected to the system. Most DC panels are connected through an AC inverter, the company says. Smaller off-grid solar and storage systems generally are DC coupled because DC systems are simpler to build and are less expensive. Typically home and business solar systems are DC connected. But AC-coupled systems allow energy to be used more efficiently, the company says.

Eric Lobdell, VP of business development for Humless, said:

You can get more benefit from the homeowners’ solar panels by keeping them turned on, creating a family home microgrid. Panels charge the energy storage system for when they need it most.

DOJ scraps automaker investigation

The US Department of Justice has dropped its investigation into Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, and BMW for antitrust practices. The four automakers sided with the state of California to implement stricter emissions standards for cars and light trucks than the Trump administration wants.

As Electrek has previously reported:

Since the 1970s, California has held (and legally defended) a waiver through the Clean Air Act that allows them to set stronger standards than the federal government.

This waiver has been responsible for a tremendous improvement in air quality in California’s population centers, including a 98% reduction in some vehicle-based pollutants in the LA basin. It has been so successful that other states [13] representing a huge chunk of the US auto market have joined in.

Those 14 states account for around 40% of the US population.

So why did the DOJ drop the investigation? Because the four automakers weren’t actually violating any laws. They were self-regulating — exactly what Republicans claim they wanted all along.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said:

These trumped-up charges were always a sham — a blatant attempt by the Trump administration to prevent more automakers from joining California and agreeing to stronger emissions standards. [The decision is] a victory for anyone who cares about the rule of law and clean air.

Los Angeles goes even greener

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive directive yesterday called “LA’s Green New Deal: Leading By Example.” The theme of the signing was “A Decade of Action,” referring to scientific reports that the use of fossil fuels need to be ceased by 2030.

The directive aims to remove non-green energy from the city’s main sources of CO2 emissions, which include transport, buildings, electricity, and trash.

According to the City of Los Angeles, the “Decade of Action” includes the following:

  • Develop a series of bus and light rail infrastructure improvements — such as bus-only lanes, signal priority and queue jumpers — to improve transit speeds by 30% by 2028.
  • Promote walking, bicycling and micro-mobility with a comprehensive Citywide network of active transportation corridors, including Class IV protected bike lanes, Class I paths along regional waterways, and Class III low-stress neighborhood bike improvements.
  • Encourage city pension boards to explore divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in the green economy.
  • Mandate that all new construction, major upgrades and retrofits of municipally owned buildings demonstrate a pathway to carbon neutrality.
  • Accelerate the city’s bus fleet target to be entirely zero-emission in time for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  • Support Metro in the development of a congestion pricing pilot program.
  • Expand low-income and multi-family household access to local clean energy.
  • Ensure that City Hall is zero-waste by 2025.
  • Amend the city’s Green Building Code to ensure all new roofs and renovations are cool roofs.

Photo: Humless

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How Super Bowl LIV’s Waste was Turned into Renewable Electricity

On Super Bowl Sunday, more than 114 million people tuned into the big game. Approximately 62,417 of those people packed Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, where they enjoyed a night of football, food and drink and fun.

But after the game was over, and the fans left the stadium, cleanup crews began clearing the stands of waste and recyclables. Some of the material like clothing and signage was donated to nonprofits or repurposed, recyclables were transported to local recycling centers, edible food was donated to local food shelters and municipal solid waste, along with food waste, was sent to the Miami-Dade County Resources Recovery Facility.

“We take in about 1.6 million tons of waste on an annual basis,” says Michael Fernandez, director of Miami-Dade County Solid Waste Management and a 2018 Waste360 40 Under 40 award recipient. “The Super Bowl and the Super Bowl events generated about a few hundred tons of waste—and none of it went to landfill. The materials we received were processed at our energy-from-waste (EfW) facility, which produces renewable electricity.”

The EfW facility, which is owned by Miami-Dade County Solid Waste Management and operated by Covanta, helped the Super Bowl further its sustainability efforts by turning the waste it received into renewable electricity.

When the waste arrived at the facility, it was checked for metals and then sent to the pit and mixed to create consistency, which helps prevent flare-ups. Then, it was moved to the hopper, where it passed through a series of conveyors and trammels and was shredded into tiny pieces to be used as feedstock. From there, the feedstock was fed to the facility’s four boilers, which run at a temperature of about 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Those boilers vaporized the water into steam that spins turbines, which are connected to a generator that produces renewable electricity. That electricity powers about 40,000 homes a year.

“The electricity part is just an added bonus—the plant’s focus is on reducing waste,” states Fernandez. “In addition to electricity, we also produce close to 150,000 tons of ash each year and recover a large amount of metals.”

Flip through this gallery to view some images from the Miami-Dade County Resources Recovery Facility, and watch the video below to gain more insights about the facility.

How to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

From the curb, the new 6,900-square-foot house at 8 Kent Road in Scarsdale looks like another beautiful Colonial-style manse. But on closer inspection, it becomes a temple to eco-conscious building. Every product and material, from the reclaimed oak floors to the solid-wood kitchen cabinets to the tile grout and wall paint, is made with nontoxic or the least toxic chemicals and glues available. A geothermal system, which uses the earth’s heating and cooling properties, keeps the house comfy, while solar panels on its southern roof warm the water. A state-of-the-art air-filtration system dispatches any stray allergen or toxic intruder while pulling fresh air, cooled or heated, indoors. There’s even an electrical hookup in the garage for the Tesla sedan.

Built on spec by Healthy Home Builders, the house, which is on the market for $3.55 million, is the whole green package. “This house is about the health of the people who are going to live here,” says Jan Flanzer, the developer’s managing director, who traces her interest in green building to health issues related to toxic black mold in her own home. The house is also about saving money on energy: “Prices on heating fuels have gone through the roof. We estimate a 75- to 85-percent savings in bills from energy sources for a house built like ours versus a traditional house.”

These days, being green is easier than it used to be. Advancements in energy efficiency, nontoxic materials, and health-boosting HVAC systems give homeowners who want to go greener more options than ever. 

“There is a rapidly growing awareness” about healthier homes, particularly among younger homeowners, says Judith Martin, founder and principal of Green Home Consulting in Rye. “They’ve lived in the City, worked in LEED-certified offices, and are interested in bringing those things into their homes. They’re concerned about what they’re exposing their children to.”

So whether you’re a green warrior, a cost-conscious consumer, a concerned parent―or all three—here are 10 ways you can go greener at home, from “Gee, that was easy,” all the way to geothermal.

 

Commitment level: LOW 

A few minor tweaks can make a big difference.
Hey, every little bit helps.

See the light. Now that you’ve switched out your old-school incandescent bulbs for those curly compact fluorescents (CFL), you might want to switch again, to light-emitting diodes (LED), which produce far more light using far less energy. “A 13- to 15-watt LED is going to save the same amount of light if not more than a 100-watt incandescent bulb,” says Briarcliff resident Seth Leitman, consulting editor to the Green Guru Guides (Tab/McGraw Hill), who blogs as the Green Living Guy. Unlike CFLs, LED bulbs don’t contain mercury gas, which dims over time (thus the “warm-up” period when you turn them on) and can leak out if the bulb is broken. “LEDs are like a mini-computer in your light fixture, churning out light.” They’re three times more expensive than CFLs, but they also last three times as long: up to 22 years. “You’ll see the savings immediately”—up to 75 percent off monthly lighting costs—“and you don’t feel as guilty when you leave them on.”

Clear the air. “The number-one place we should be concerned about air quality is in our home,” says Leitman. “The dirtiest air we breathe is in our house.” It’s an ongoing assault, from the cleaners we spritz on our counters to the glues holding down our wall-to-wall carpets and the paint on our walls. “If a cleaner burns your nose, don’t use it,” advises Leitman. While paint companies have voluntarily lowered the amount of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in their products, go with a zero-VOC product, especially in a kid’s room or nursery (8 Kent uses Benjamin Moore’s Ultra Spec line of zero-VOC paints). “It might cost a little more,” says Leitman, “but you don’t have a toxic room for your kids or a room you have to air out for a month.” California has passed new standards allowing furniture makers to avoid using flame-retardant chemicals, which have been associated with everything from cancer to infertility. The quickest route to better indoor air? Put carbon-dioxide-absorbing bamboo around the house: “Bamboo generates more oxygen per square inch than an equivalent stand of hardwood forest.”

Replace wisely. Sooner or later, your fridge will expire, your TV will go dark, your water heater will go bust. This is your chance to replace old appliances with water- and fuel-efficient models. Refrigerators and televisions are the biggest offenders, so go for an Energy Star model, which meets or surpasses federal energy-use guidelines. (To learn more, go to energystar.gov, which is also a good source of general energy information.) If your heart is set on that high-end luxury fridge, but it’s not an Energy Star product, don’t despair. Just because it isn’t labeled Energy Star doesn’t mean it’s wasteful: New industry standards mean that most appliances use way less electricity than they used to, says Leitman. Since electronics tend to suck energy even when they’re off, he recommends plugging them into a smart power strip like the GreenGenius surge protector by Accell, which automatically adjusts the currency level of, say, your cable box.

Get audited. Not your taxes, your home-energy situation. According to green-home consultant Judith Martin, heating and cooling your home is the No. 1 energy-gulper (followed by heating water, and your TV and fridge), so it makes sense to have an expert sleuth out leaks and wasteful spots. “A home is green if it’s energy efficient,” says Martin. “You can put in bamboo floors, but if you’re wasting energy, it’s not green.”

You can do a DIY energy audit (yes, there’s a Green Guru Guide for that), but Martin advises hiring a professional who has special gear to suss out leaks. Then you can come up with a plan for insulating, sealing, and replacing inefficient systems. “Think of it as going to a doctor’s visit when you’re sick,” Martin explains. “You want someone to tell you what to do and take steps to get better.” Energize New York, a Yorktown-based nonprofit funded by the Department of Energy and the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), offers a free or subsidized home energy assessment to households with an income of less than $431,600. Energize New York can also help you find a certified contractor and finance your project (energizeny.gov). 

 

COMMITMENT LEVEL: MEDIUM

An investment of a few thousand dollars or less can help you save money and breathe easier.

Seal the deal. “Make the home as tight as possible,” says Martin. “Having someone come in and professionally air-seal your home is $1,200 to $1,500—a very small investment for what could be 10 percent savings.” This means closing leaks with caulking, gasketing outlets, weather-stripping around doors and windows. But the biggest bang for your buck, she says, is insulating your attic and rim joists, where the foundation meets the masonry walls. Martin says that 25 percent of air that enters the home comes in through the cracks in the rim joists near the foundation: “Hot air rises and pulls air with it, and it goes out your roof.” Sealing the top and bottom of your house “is like putting a hat and boots on your house.” A caulk gun and a few rolls of insulation can work wonders. She likes Roxul, a green insulation made of “mineral wool” that’s free of ozone-gobbling hydrofluorocarbons. The basement at 8 Kent has UltraTouch Denim insulation, made of recycled blue jeans and free of formaldehyde, fiberglass, and VOCs.

Eradicate radon. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes up from the earth through basements. The EPA estimates radon exposure causes more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year, second only to cigarettes. Even if you’ve already tested for it in the past, Martin suggests retesting. The reason? Fracking. “In this area, we have natural gas coming from Marcellus shale, and the level of radon is much higher than from the Gulf of Mexico,” she explains. A certified professional can run the relatively inexpensive test for radon (you’ll find a list of companies at health.ny.gov/environmental).  

Rethink remodeling. Bigger projects like putting on a new roof, resealing your driveway, or re-siding your house present an opportunity to go greener. Tapani Talo, a White Plains architect with a passion for designing homes free of fossil fuels, recommends adding a layer of structural insulated panels (SIP) that have an R value (for thermal resistance) of 25 under the roof shingles, with a one-inch air space, as well as R-30 batt insulation between roof joists under the existing roof deck: “You get this really tight exterior skin that will improve your efficiency by half.” Meanwhile, down at ground level, the use of coal-tar sealants, which gives driveways that even black coating, have been linked to cancer and soil contamination. Big-box home stores no longer carry them, and several states are have already banned them. The driveway at 8 Kent is Belgian block and gravel. “Any rock, stone, pebble, gravel, or shell driveway is a good solution,” says Jan Flanzer of Healthy Home Builders. The house is sided, not with vinyl, “which off-gasses toxic fumes including dioxins,” but eastern white cedar shingles from Maibec Sidings.

 

COMMITMENT LEVEL: HIGH

A renovation is a great time to make the switch to sustainable, non-toxic materials and a green heating and cooling system.

Don’t renovate—reinvent! When realtor Gerry Angel decided to gut and expand her White Plains ranch, shes says, “It was a no-brainer to renovate my house green. I feel we all have to try and create a more sustainable lifestyle and reduce our carbon footprint.” The contractor, Murphy Brothers, recycled demolished materials, used non-toxic building materials and added a rainwater capturing system to water the lawn. The biggest shift was changing her heating system from pricey oil to geothermal and solar. “I have no fossil fuels coming into this house or on my grounds,” she says. She’s also seen energy bills plunge to under $100 during certain months, “for everything.” She recommends homeowners who want to follow in her low-carbon footsteps have a plan that they can implement in stages, if necessary. “If you can’t afford to do it all at once, break it down over time.”

Harness the sun. If you’ve gotten a cold call or a mailing from a solar company, then you know solar heating is hot. One reason is that the federal tax incentives for adding solar panels expires in 2016, and companies want a piece of the action now. And the technology is improving at, well, light speed. For example, Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingles are applied like regular roof shingles, but work like solar voltaic panels without being an eyesore. (For info, contact Murphy Brothers Contracting in Mamaroneck at solarshingles@murphybrothers.com.)

Not everyone qualifies for solar. You need decent credit and a house that gets plenty of sunlight. Trees can be an issue. (Some hard-sell cold callers will pull up your house on Google Earth to look at the roof exposure—while they have you on the phone.) When you’re ready to commit, you can go with a national company like SolarCity (chaired by Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk), which installs roof panels for free, and you essentially lease them for 20 years. “Instead of buying the panels, you’re buying the power that those panels make,” says Leon Keshishian, east coast regional vice president for SolarCity, which has Westchester offices in Elmsford.

Or you can hire a specialist like Sunrise Solar Solutions in Briarcliff Manor to build a custom system. “People go green because it makes incredible financial sense,” says Sunrise president Doug Hertz. “Not only are you doing something positive for the environment, you’re saving an awful lot of money”—around 75 percent less than what you’d pay to a utility over the life of the system. They’ll also do the incentives paperwork required to get your rebate. It’s worth the effort: Hertz estimates that for a $30,000 solar system, purchased in cash, the homeowner ends up paying around $7,500. “If you did it for cash, you’d be cash-positive in four to five years. You’d get free energy for the next two decades.” Alternatively, new subsidies from New York State allow for solar panels to be installed at no charge, and the loan appears on your utility bill, at around 50 percent savings.

Tap the source. As commitment goes, it doesn’t get much deeper than installing a geothermal heating and cooling system. First, a truck with a giant drill bores a well into the earth until it hits about 500 feet—though a large house might need two wells or more, says Gary Stromberg, president of General Solar Systems in Orange County, New York, which put in the solar and geothermal system at 8 Kent. Well water is pumped into the house via copper tubing, where energy is exchanged via a geothermal heat pump, and cooled or heated water is then circulated through the home via a closed loop. While an existing home can be retrofit for geothermal, Stromberg says it’s best for new builds, since you can create the system from scratch (it’s a messy business). “There’s no sense taking an old unit out that’s working properly and installing geothermal.” It ain’t cheap: A small system can cost up to $40,000. But owners can recoup that “pretty fast because of oil costs,” he says, particularly if the house is well-insulated. “The first line of defense is insulation,” he says. “Button up the house, insulate it, get rid of air leaks. You won’t need as many wells, and you just cut the price 30 percent.”

Environmentally Friendly Companies – Top Companies Investing in a Sustainable Future

Environmentally Friendly Companies - Top Companies Investing in a Sustainable Future

Environmentally friendly companies are businesses in any industry that are dedicated to reducing the negative impact of their production and distribution on the planet. This ethical interest in global wellbeing was once a driving force for a few boutique businesses that served environmentally conscious consumers.

Top 9 Environmentally Friendly Companies

  • IKEA
  • Unilever
  • Panasonic
  • Patagonia
  • Nike
  • Beyond Meat
  • Seventh Generation
  • Tesla
  • REI

These days, more and more major companies are chipping in to reduce their carbon footprint and go green, and some of them doing so while simultaneously getting great stock analyst ratings and strong consumer endorsement. Some of these companies are not publicly traded, so outside of their private shareholders, they won’t make for great monthly dividend stocks. Regardless, each one is a mover and shaker in their respective industry, and some of them are poised to generate a lot of excitement in the coming years, with cutting edge products like electric cars and meat substitutes.

These sustainable companies have tried to do everything from discontinuing the use of plastic packaging to the reduction of their carbon footprint, while seeing benefits in terms of consumer trust and even reduced costs. Their product life cycle strategies involve recycling, renewable energy, and tighter emissions standards, along with humanitarian aid and ethical labor. Here are a few companies that have made saving the planet part of their business plan.

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A brand new gold bull market has arrived as nervous investors continue to flock to the safety of the yellow metal. Yet, the biggest gains won’t be in gold…they’ll be in select gold stocks with proven ounces in the ground. This soon-to-be-known gold company provides investors with exposure to over 20 million ounces of gold…worth Tens of $Billions…for just $1 per share.

IKEA is a private business registered in the Netherlands and owned by the heirs of Feodor Ingvar Kamprad, a Swedish business magnate. He is the founding father of the world’s largest furniture retailer for the past decade, the revenue of which helped him become the 8th richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of almost $60 billion. There are over 400 IKEA megastores operating in more than 50 countries, and the IKEA website receives around 2 billion visitors annually.

In response to public upset over the use of formaldehyde, IKEA has chosen to take a proactive environmentally friendly stance with green initiatives, such as removing PVC from wallpaper, textiles, shower curtains, furniture, and packaging. IKEA manufactures furniture using wood from responsibly managed forests geared toward maintaining biodiversity. IKEA also has an extensive team of auditors who make sure all their suppliers are working in accordance with the laws of their country, and invests in sustainable energy through its venture capital fund, Green Tech.

Unilever (NYSE: UL, UN) is a manufacturer of consumer staples, co-based in Rotterdam and London. Among its 400 companies, the most recognized are personal grooming products like Axe and Dove, and food products like Lipton, Knorr, and Best Foods. Unilever is one of the top ten most valuable companies in Europe, with operations in 190 countries, and thirteen of its brands surpass one billion Euros in annual sales.

Unilever has a goal to make sure its growth is unaccompanied by environmental impact, in part by sourcing all of its raw materials through sustainable agricultural practices. The company plans to halve its current footprint over the next decade. So far, Unilever is ahead of its own timetable, with production sites across five continents 100% powered by renewable energy. Consumer staples stocks are rarely among the biggest stock losers, and by contrast, tend to be extremely stable and consistently growing investments.

Panasonic (TYO: 6752) is one of the largest producers of electronic equipment in Japan, and one of the largest distributors of televisions, cameras, personal electronics, refrigerators, and audio equipment around the world. Despite the size of their electronic goods manufacturing operation, Panasonic is actually ranked 11th out of 16 companies specifically nominated by Greenpeace International, which ranks businesses in their Guide to Greener Electronics based on their policies affecting reduced climate impact and sustainable operations.

Panasonic products are praised for their long product life cycles, lack of PVC-based plastics, and energy efficiency—with every single television produced by Panasonic meeting Energy Star standards. However, Panasonic still has room to grow in this area, prompted by Greenpeace to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% and achieve renewable energy use in 2020.

Patagonia is a privately-owned company founded by rock climber, environmentalist, and billionaire Yvon Chouinard. Patagonia produces and sells outdoor clothing that is ethically sourced. The company has always responded to concerns from animal activist groups by eliminating suppliers that force-feed geese or abuse sheep—materials that are used to manufacture the company’s down jackets and wool products.

Patagonia touts itself as an activist company with innovative employee policies and proactive stances on environmental issues—which have included leading boycotts of trade shows and suing the United States government over land preservation. Patagonia donates 1% of its sales to environmental groups and a remarkable 100% of its Black Friday profits, which in some years have totaled $10 million.

Nike (NYSE: NKE) is an international company based in Oregon that designs, markets, and sells athletic apparel and shoes. Nike is the most valuable brand among sports businesses, with 2019 revenues surpassing $37 billion. Nike has been criticized for working with overseas contractors that engage in exploitative labor practices, but it has put effort into environmental best practices. The Clean Air Cool Planet organization has ranked Nike as one of the top three companies out of 56 surveyed climate-friendly companies. The Nike Grind and Reuse-a-Shoe programs are their ongoing attempt to use recycled footwear products to make new footwear, apparel, and athletic surfaces like turf and running tracks. Nike has also partnered with other companies like American Express to fight the generational transmission of HIV in areas heavily affected by the AIDS virus.

Beyond Meat (NSDQ: BYND) is one of the hottest topics of conversation among both investors in the stock market and consumers. This Los Angeles company produces plant-based substitutes for beef, chicken, and pork sausage, and has formed partnerships with AW, Carl’s Jr., Dunkin’ Donuts, KFC, McDonald’s, Subway, and other chain retailers.

According to a study by the University of Michigan, production of the Beyond Burger is a lot better for the environment. It produces 90% fewer greenhouse gasses while requiring 46% less energy and carrying 99% less impact on water scarcity and 93% less impact on land usage—all in comparison to a quarter pound of domestic beef. The sustainability of Beyond Meat has garnered praise from international organizations, such as the United Nations. The company was awarded the Environment Champion of the Earth Award in 2018 for its multifaceted environmental practices, which included the use of compostable trays for their Beyond Sausage line.

Seventh Generation became a Unilever brand (NYSE: UL, UN) in 2016 for $700 million. This Vermont-based business is founded on the Iroquois concept of Seven Generation Sustainability, whereby people live and work while thinking ahead to the seventh generation into the future. The company is committed to the implementation of environmentally sustainable best practices.

Seventh Generation sells paper goods, cleaning products, and personal care products that are made with minimal impact on the environment, distributing them through natural food stores, online retailers, and supermarkets. Seventh Generation has received numerous accolades from companies and organizations in recognition of its ethical production and distribution, such as Microsoft, KeyBank, Fast Company, Vermont Business Magazine, and the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) is an American car and energy company that manufactures electric cars and solar powered energy sources, the latter through its subsidiary SolarCity. The brand is named after inventor Nikola Tesla, who contributed heavily to the advent of alternating current electrical supply. Though consumers often associate Tesla with Elon Musk, he did not create the company but joined it around a year later after leading a Series A round of investments. Tesla’s goal is to commercialize electric vehicles, moving from sports cars that targeted a wealthier niche into more standard vehicles, like sedans and vans. Tesla has produced a number of models over the years and partnered with established carmakers like Mercedes and Toyota.

Though Tesla is not specifically known for its environmental stewardship, the principle of an electric car is inherently more environmentally friendly than traditional fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Tesla has forged a new path in electric car making that has since been taken up by companies like Ford and will likely yield new benchmarks in affordability and reduced energy consumption.

REI, short for Recreational Equipment Incorporated, is not publicly traded but operates as a consumer cooperative—a type of enterprise geared toward service over profit and owned by its consumers. REI sells camping equipment, sporting goods, travel gear, and outdoor clothing through its 158 stores across 37 states and its mail-order catalog and online retail operations. At first, true to the interests of its founding members, REI was dedicated to serious mountain climbers like Jim Whittacker, the first American to climb Mount Everest and REI’s first full-time employee. But in the 1980s, REI shifted to sell more family camping equipment and branched out into outdoor sports like biking and kayaking.

A lifetime membership to the REI coop is only $20, and though it doesn’t pay cash dividends of company profits, coop members do get a dividend in the form of 10% of their purchases back in their pocket. Despite its relatively small size compared to other retailers, REI is one of the top ten purchasers of green energy in the country. REI has made a commitment to become a zero waste to landfill company, and actively donates to environmental causes. The company also sends volunteer teams to clean up the environment and build new trails.

What Makes a Company Environmentally Friendly?

Many companies may tout themselves as being environmentally friendly. However, without solid evidence of their carbon footprint and sustainability, the term is often nothing more than a marketing ploy pandering to consumers who have become increasingly interested in making environmentally friendly choices. This consumer interest in the environment is, in part, due to popularized unfolding research about the state of the global environment and climate change, investigative journalism, social media, and celebrity endorsements of particular causes.

Being an eco-friendly company can include anything from using green energy or sustainable energy in their production and operations to sourcing materials from ethical suppliers. Environmentally friendly companies will also attempt to reduce the impact of their product life cycle by recycling materials from their own production cycle or obtaining recycled materials. These eco-friendly companies might also donate to environmental causes, engage in political lobbying meant to facilitate environmental protection, or contribute manpower to green causes.

Top Environmentally Friendly Companies

Some eco-friendly companies have built environmental commitment into their company ethics from the beginning. Other companies have shifted to renewable energy sources and recyclable packaging because efforts to become energy efficient and reducing their environmental footprint actually cut costs. It may also reduce taxes from the state, federal, and even local governments in which they conduct business. And some companies have embraced environmental concerns only in response to scandals or lawsuits.

No matter the motivation, companies in every industry are joining the bandwagon and attempting to embrace sustainable business practices, whether these companies are smaller operations like REI (2019 annual revenues of $2.4 billion) or larger retailers like Nike (2019 annual revenues of $36.4 billion). It seems that going green is a business trend, and this, in turn, might yield some new and exciting areas for investors.

Companies Mentioned in This Article

Wind turbine blades are piling up in landfills

A wind turbine’s blades can be longer than a Boeing 747 wing, so at the end of their lifespan they can’t just be hauled away.

First, you need to saw through the lissome fiberglass using a diamond-encrusted industrial saw to create three pieces small enough to be strapped to a tractor-trailer.

The municipal landfill in Casper, Wyo., is the final resting place of 870 blades whose days making renewable energy have come to an end. The severed fragments look like bleached whale bones nestled against one another.

“That’s the end of it for this winter,” said waste technician Michael Bratvold, watching a bulldozer bury them forever in sand. “We’ll get the rest when the weather breaks this spring.”


EL CENTRO ,CA SEPTEMBER 3, 2015: Giant mud pots frame one of the Geothermal plants in the Imperial

Turbine blades can last up to 20 years, but many are taken down after just 10 so they can be replaced with bigger and more powerful designs. Tens of thousands of aging blades are coming down from steel towers around the world and most have nowhere to go but landfills. In the U.S. alone, about 8,000 will be removed in each of the next four years. Europe, which has been dealing with the problem longer, has about 3,800 coming down annually through at least 2022, according to BloombergNEF.

It’s going to get worse: Most were built more than a decade ago, when installations were less than a fifth of what they are now.

Built to withstand hurricane-force winds, the blades can’t easily be crushed, recycled or repurposed. That’s created an urgent search for alternatives in places that lack wide-open prairies. In the U.S., they go to the handful of landfills that accept them, in Lake Mills, Iowa; Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Casper, where they will be interred in stacks that reach 30 feet under.

“The wind turbine blade will be there, ultimately, forever,” said Bob Cappadona, chief operating officer of the North American unit of Paris-based Veolia Environnement, which is searching for better ways to deal with the massive waste. “Most landfills are considered a dry tomb.

“The last thing we want to do is create even more environmental challenges.”

To prevent catastrophic climate change caused by burning fossil fuels, many governments and corporations have pledged to use only clean energy by 2050. Wind energy is one of the cheapest ways to reach that goal.

The electricity comes from turbines that spin generators. Modern models emerged after the 1973 Arab oil embargo, when shortages compelled Western governments to find alternatives to fossil fuels. The first wind farm in the U.S. was installed in New Hampshire in 1980, and California deployed thousands of turbines east of San Francisco across the Altamont Pass.

Wind turbines

The first models were expensive and inefficient, spinning fast and low. After 1992, when Congress passed a tax credit, manufacturers invested in taller and more powerful designs. Their steel tubes rose 260 feet and sported swooping fiberglass blades. A decade later, General Electric Co. made its 1.5-megawatt model — enough to supply 1,200 homes in a stiff breeze — an industry standard.

Wind power is carbon-free, and about 85% of turbine components, including steel, copper wire, electronics and gearing, can be recycled or reused. But the fiberglass blades remain difficult to dispose of. With some as long as a football field, big rigs can carry only one at a time, making transportation costs prohibitive for long-distance hauls. Scientists are trying to find better ways to separate resins from fibers or to give small chunks new life as pellets or boards.

In the European Union, which strictly regulates material that can go into landfills, some blades are burned in kilns that create cement or in power plants. But their energy content is weak and uneven and the burning fiberglass emits pollutants.

In a pilot project last year, Veolia tried grinding them to dust, looking for chemicals to extract. “We came up with some crazy ideas,” Cappadona said. “We want to make it a sustainable business. There’s a lot of interest in this.”

One start-up, Global Fiberglass Solutions, developed a method to break down blades and press them into pellets and fiber boards to be used for flooring and walls. The company started producing samples at a plant in Sweetwater, Texas, near the continent’s largest concentration of wind farms. It plans another operation in Iowa.

“We can process 99.9% of a blade and handle about 6,000 to 7,000 blades a year per plant,” Chief Executive Don Lilly said. The company has accumulated an inventory of about one year’s worth of blades ready to be chopped up and recycled as demand increases, he said. “When we start to sell to more builders, we can take in a lot more of them. We’re just gearing up.”

Until then, municipal and commercial dumps will take most of the waste, which the American Wind Energy Assn. in Washington says is safest and cheapest.


Aliso Canyon

“Wind turbine blades at the end of their operational life are landfill-safe, unlike the waste from some other energy sources, and represent a small fraction of overall U.S. municipal solid waste,” according to an emailed statement from the group. It pointed to an Electric Power Research Institute study that estimates all blade waste through 2050 would equal roughly 0.015% of all the municipal solid waste going to landfills in 2015 alone.

In Iowa, Waste Management Inc. “worked closely with renewable energy companies to come up with a solution for windmill blade processing, recycling and disposal,” said Julie Ketchum, a spokeswoman. The largest U.S. trash hauler gets as many as 10 trucks per day at its Lake Mills landfill.

Back in Wyoming, in the shadow of a snow-capped mountain, lies Casper, where wind farms represent both the possibilities and pitfalls of the shift from fossil fuels. The boom-bust oil town was founded at the turn of the 19th century. On the south side, bars that double as liquor stores welcome cigarette smokers and day drinkers. Up a gentle northern slope, a shooting club boasts of cowboy-action pistol ranges. Down the road, the sprawling landfill bustles and a dozen wind turbines spin gently on the horizon. They tower over pumpjacks known as nodding donkeys that pull oil from wells.

“People around here don’t like change,” said Morgan Morsett, a bartender at Frosty’s Bar Grill. “They see these wind turbines as something that’s hurting coal and oil.”

But the city gets $675,000 to house turbine blades indefinitely, which can help pay for playground improvements and other services. Landfill manager Cynthia Langston said the blades are much cleaner to store than discarded oil equipment and Casper is happy to take the thousand blades from three in-state wind farms owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s PacifiCorp. Warren Buffett’s utility has been replacing the original blades and turbines with larger, more powerful models after a decade of operation.


Intermountain Power Plant in Delta, Utah

While acknowledging that burying blades in perpetuity isn’t ideal, Bratvold, the special waste technician, was surprised by some of the negative reactions when a photo of some early deliveries went viral last summer. On social media, posters derided the inability to recycle something advertised as good for the planet, and offered suggestions of reusing them as links in a border wall or roofing for a homeless shelter.

“The backlash was instant and uninformed,” Bratvold said. “Critics said they thought wind turbines were supposed to be good for the environment and how can it be sustainable if it ends up in a landfill? I think we’re doing the right thing.”

In the meantime, Bratvold and his co-workers have set aside about a half-dozen blades and in coming months, they’ll experiment with methods to squeeze them into smaller footprints. They’ve tried bunkers, berms and even crushing them with the bulldozer, but the tracks kept slipping off the smooth blades. There’s little time to waste. Spring is coming, and when it does, the inexorable march of blades will resume.

Here’s Why Energy Star Certification Still Matters

Energy Star is one of the leading figures concerning energy efficiency — a reputation they’ve established from years of producing excellent products. It’s easy for people to get swept away in green certifications and awards when many businesses are developing new criteria. However, Energy Star comes out on top for its thorough guidelines and comprehensive certification process.

Companies are opting for green certification in an era where practicing sustainability is more urgent than ever. It sets them apart from the competition and lets them rest easier knowing they’re doing what they can to protect the environment. It’s a wise move in a landscape saturated with eco-friendly organizations all vying for the attention of morally conscious consumers.

The
Benefits of Energy Efficiency

Energy-efficient appliances save consumers money by using less energy to operate than standard devices. They come in countless forms, such as TVs, refrigerators and washing machines. Some lighting solutions boast brighter illumination for less wattage, while many dishwashers claim less water usage for the same cleaning effects. Every energy-efficient appliance has its specific benefits, created for making people’s lives easier.

Using less energy
diminishes the reliance on fossil fuels like coal and diesel, which contribute
to climate change and resource depletion. Some electronics function using only
solar power, which supplies renewable energy to the electrical grid instead of
more fuels. Batteries store solar electricity for later use, making it useful
even after the sun sets.

Improving
existing operations is often
more cost-effective
than creating brand new ones. This reason is why some
construction companies prefer retrofitting old buildings when they’re
developing green architecture. An already-existing company can use its current
energy practices as a marker for what to improve to earn a certification.

What
Does Certification Entail?

Certification
doesn’t end with appliances — it also extends to buildings. Eligible buildings
must meet the criteria set by the EPA depending on their geographical region
and use. The certification isn’t a one and done deal either. Building owners
must reapply annually and have a registered architect or professional engineer
inspect the premises. A rating of 75 or
higher categorizes
a business as being Energy Star certified.

A certification
instills trust with consumers by ensuring them that a business is faithful to
its clean claims. Sustainability is a growing movement and rightfully so, but
that means some people will join only for appearances. Receiving a
certification from a trusted agency promises consumers that organizations are
dedicated to upholding their sustainable notions.

A green rating
also gives customers a comprehensive look at what eco-friendly means. A lot of
terms float around related to environmentalism — including organic, clean,
natural and ethical. These classifications often leave consumers wondering
about what they’re getting when they buy a product or patronize an organization.
Is the label accurate, and what does it mean in the context of that industry?

A certification
enables people to research the criteria and figure out what they’re getting.
There’s less confusion about what applies and what doesn’t, leaving people
confident about where their money goes.

A
Green Future

Construction
companies will find it increasingly significant to meet green criteria for the
houses and public buildings they construct. Landlords and homeowners want
structures that will offer them returns on their investments. One of the more
straightforward ways to accomplish that is through Energy Star certification.
Buildings with this stamp use
35% less energy
than non-green structures and can receive up to 16%
premiums for rental prices.

There’s no doubt
that energy efficiency offers numerous advantages within economic and
environmental spheres. Most business owners prefer making decisions that
benefit them on multiple levels, and earning a certification is an undeniable
avenue. As concerns about ecological health grow, more builders, businesspeople
and consumers will prioritize trusted eco-friendly labels.

A green future is
more than possible if people take the chance. There’s little to lose except
high energy bills, pollutants and unsustainable materials. Everyone will be
better off from choosing quality over quantity.

Certification
Earns Trust and Proves Dedication

Energy Star certification still matters in an ever-expanding world of sustainable programs. If anything, it’s opened the door to new initiatives across the globe, allowing millions of people to make energy-efficient choices. It’s effortlessly easy to save money and help preserve the environment in this eco-conscious world.