Sunday, November 2, 2014

Road to Sustainability

The more I listen to people talking about sustainability, the more I am intensely thinking about it. And, now a days that is the only thing that my ears could sieve through. Everyone is familiar with this word. But what does it actually mean? Sustainability means saving the environment by not using products having harsh effect on air, water and land. Is that all? To most of us, yes it is all that sustainability is all about. Because that is what has been proved to be essential for healthy living.

To be honest, it is just a part of sustainability. Sustainability is a vast network of inter-related actions and reactions, which is definitely not limited to using eco-friendly products, constructing LEED certified buildings and planting more trees. The  main target of sustainability should be to arrest over use of products- better if eco-friendly products, but not necessarily. If so, why developed countries having more emissions and consumptions are still considered more sustainable than the developing countries having much lesser contribution to any pollution. Having said that, developing countries like India and China are catering the largest population maintaining very low consumption rate. And most of the industries in these two countries are to serve the needs of the developed countries.  Wait, isnt thats why they are considered developing and not developed? Because people do not have sufficient to consume?

Photo-voltaic chips production is highly energy intensive process. Wind turbines requires high energy for starting up. Dams already carry the bad name of having the worst disasters in history. Water turbines, for sure cause sedimentation issues effecting the aquatic ecology. Apart from this, all these green energy toys comes with a huge transportation and maintenance costs, which is hidden from most of us.  Are we sure they are still good to be considered sustainable? Isnt the cheapest, easiest solution to be sustainable is to consume less, going back to the traditional lifestyle? The more developed we are becoming, the more ignorant we are behaving.

Our great ancestors (before industrialization and consumerism) might not had scientific logic and explanations to support their actions, but they were well suited to their environment and ensured holistic sustainability and growth at the same time. And the proof is, we are still living on this planet.

---- Author - Moumita Roy 
                     Urban Planner 
You can read Moumita's posts at -

Friday, May 17, 2013

Top Ways To Make ANY Business Greener That You May Not Have Considered

For many businesses, 'going green' is really just a matter of ticking a few boxes. This probably means making sure that you are recycling, using the right light bulbs and not leaving the computers on when no one is around; and after that your business is green right?

Of course that's not all it takes to genuinely run a 'green business'. In fact there are hundreds of things that a business can do to make themselves greener and some of these involve significant investments and changes to the entire way they operate - though normally this will be an investment that pays for itself. No matter what kind of operation you are running there will be countless different ways you can save energy and increase efficiency, though the specifics will vary depending on the nature of your business.
Here we will look at some of the less 'obvious' and sometimes more specific ways your business may be able to increase efficiency and do its bit for the planet.

Planting Trees

If your business uses wood or even just a lot of paper, then a great way to 'give back' is to plant trees each time you use a certain amount of those materials. A single tree can provide thousands of thousands of sheets of paper, so if it's only paper you're using ten you can actually give more back than you take away.

Being Charitable

Of course though you don't have to use paper or wood in order to plant trees and this is something that any business can actually offer in order to reduce their carbon footprint and send a positive message. Likewise donating some of your profits to charity can also be a great way to do your bit and to make up for any pollution your business may be responsible for.

Heat Exchangers

If you’re the operations crucial to your business involve cooling a process or fluid, then you might be able to benefit from heat exchangers. These are systems that keep the fluids separate but transfer energy between them and are a much more efficient solution. At the same time you should also make sure that your heat exchangers are well maintained at all times, as a crack or other form of damage can be dangerously costly.

Air Conditioning and Heating

While not every business will have a use for heat exchangers, most will spend a lot of money on heating and air conditioning and will use a lot of energy in the process. There are several ways that you can reduce this cost too - such as by investing in more efficient installations, and making sure that you keep them well maintained. Cleaning out air ducts for instance can make a big difference to the efficiency of your air conditioning, while you may just need to replace your filters. Of course investing in insulation for your building and double glazing can also help to save energy, just as it does around the home.

Green Products

Many companies will look into using recyclable materials in their products and generally finding any way they can to produce their items and provide their services with a lower ecological cost. What they often forget though is to make the products themselves more energy efficient. Imagine if Microsoft or Sony found a way to make their games consoles more energy efficient - that would mean millions of people around the world would use slightly less energy every single day.

Sustainable Processes
If you are in the catering industry then you may use coffee beans or other important consumables. Making sure that you know where these come from then and how they are obtained is very important and for your own sake as well as that of the planet you should make sure that the source is sustainable and that you're not bleeding the land dry.

Video Conferencing

If you don't work in the energy industry or provide a product and instead operate strictly B2B then you may think there's not much you need to do to make your business greener. Of course you'd be wrong though, and even if your business doesn't require any raw materials you are still likely to need to interact with other people which can mean travel costs.
If you have foreign clients and you often engage with them in business meetings, then this will cost a lot in terms of cash and energy. By investing in video conferencing equipment however you can get these costs down considerably and also save yourself a lot of time. By using webcams and telepresence systems you can conduct your business with anyone around the world without ever having to leave your office.
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Richard Crate provides crack detection service in Perth. An eco friendly guy, he comes up with new ways to make his office green and does his bit to keep the environment clean. An avid blogger, he makes use of his spare time effectively by writing about environmental issues.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Why Do We Need Organic Architecture ?

Organic Architecture is a kind of Architecture that considers human being as the center of design and integrates Nature as its surrounding. Climatic conditions, available material and geography have always given character to the design of such architecture. The term 'Organic' was introduced by Frank Lloyd Wright into his philosophy of architecture as early as in 1908. More so, Italian writer and Professor Bruno Zevi, tried to clarify the essence of the idea of Organic through his books - Towards an Organic Architecture (1945), How to Look at Architecture (1948) and his Magazines. He classified architecture into two types - Organic and Inorganic and defined 15 fundamental characteristics of each. Thus, Organic Architecture evolved into a kind of architecture that re interpreted Nature's principles to build that kind of architectures that were more natural than the nature itself.

Organic Architecture involves respect for the properties of the materials, respect for the harmonious relationship between design and the function of the Building and attempts to integrate the surrounding context and the structure. Wright has given few characteristics of an Organic Architecture, which are continuity, plasticity, integrity, character, discipline and tenuity. One can also examine the examples of such Architecture with reference to the physical aspects such as - space-building, site-building, form-function-construction, material-building, and scale-building. Such parametric analysis can aid in evaluation or comparison to each other and the qualitative analysis will represent the execution of Wright’s ideas and approach.

Nature grows from the Idea of a seed and reaches out to its surroundings likewise Organic Architecture uses Nature as the basis of its design and its structures grow inside out. This process avoids preconceived design practices of most architects and instead thrusts in the rigors of the natural design process, thus demanding a commitment to create something truly beautiful. The vision of the clients/ occupants, their personal habits etc are uniquely compounded, transformed into a portrait and synthesized into a build-able form. Thus what is truly ORGANIC about the Architecture is the Vision of Life of its occupants  and this journey of self discovery for them. This has been rightly asserted by Michelangelo who held that " the knowledge of the human figure was vital to a comprehension of architecture."

The vitality of Organic Architecture is rooted in a passion for nature, its natural forms, life and the flow of energy between. This expressive form is sympathetic towards human body, mind and spirit. In an Organic Building we feel Free and in sync with our inner self.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pros of Green Computing

As energy crisis is at an alarming stage, it is time that we seriously ponder upon making certain significant changes in our respective lifestyles to conserve energy. You need to know that green computing is a smart way to deal with the problem of energy crisis. It is practicable to curb carbon emissions, protect our environment as well as save energy with the help of green approach. 

Several tools and technologies are available that will make the task of green computing a workable alternative for sensible environmental conservation and energy usage.

Advantages are as below:

•    Cloud Computing
It is an innovative technology to help save significant energy usage. Cloud computing includes replacement of regular services with virtual servers. The distinct areas where this technology finds it use are for software application, operating systems, networking and data storage. According to certain studies, it is now possible to save around 90% of energy spent in a firm of hundred employees.

•    Recycling
With recycling, one can save great amount of energy, money and time spent in creating these electronic stuffs. The resources utilized and the money disbursed in creating these electronic stuffs from scratch is anytime an excellent option. Only a negligible percentage of used or discarded electronic items can be recycled. France accumulates a mere 14% of e-waste produced in the nation. Therefore, there is immense scope to recycle electronic stuffs thereby thwarting environmental damage. Conservation of money, electricity and environmental resources is possible with this method.

•    Shutting down your Computers
Shutting down your computers during the night assists to save a substantial amount of electrical energy. The projected amount of the energy used up in a year due to continued computer usage is $115-$160.  Using your PC for just eight hours in a day will help to save around 810 kWh of energy in a year. Many people have a common misconception that shutting down the computers too often will damage them. This is not true, as computers can sustain for 40,000 approx on/off cycles.

Thus, do not worry regarding your PC even if you shut it down regularly. Further, the power supply to printer and scanners ought to be cut off whenever not in use. This will help save significant energy.

•    Enhancing Algorithmic Efficiency
Green computing is also useful for enhancing algorithmic efficacy of the computers. Well-organized algorithm utilizes minimum resources thus, increasing the productivity. Therefore, without enhancing algorithmic efficiency, you cannot expect substantial energy conservation through cloud computing.    

The most imperative advantage of green computing is that one can motivate as well as influence a huge number of individuals and make them understand about its benefits.
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The author Matt Walker holds extensive knowledge and expertise in topics related to technology, creativity, home d├ęcor, health, etc. To get a taste of his write-ups, you can log onto

How to Stop Others From Pushing your Emotional Buttons

If you are tired of your meter running burning hot, you need to learn to not take things so personally and especially keep your personal hot buttons off limits to those who drive you the most crazy. While you may be thinking this is easier said than done, it can be done if you are focused to make a difference in how you react. Keep reading and see how a few small steps can help you prevent others from pushing your emotional buttons and keep you running your meter level versus blowing its top.

1. Realize Sensitivities
Are there certain topics or scenarios that really get your blood going? Make sure you are aware of what can cause you to lose it, so if the situation or topic arises you can be prepared and even have a plan for excusing yourself from the situation.

2. Trigger People
If there are certain people that just really make you mad - look into why this happens. Are you overly sensitive or is the person just a jerk that is trying to push your buttons - or maybe the person simply likes arguing for the sake of arguing. If this is a person that you cannot easily break ties with, make sure you think before you react. Look into the purpose behind his or her words and then ask yourself if its really worth a confrontation or if you can just take a deep breath and let it slide.

3. Meditate / Deep Relaxation
Take time to yourself daily. Choose to meditate or enter a deep relaxation each day by engaging your body into long, deep breaths as you think of peaceful thoughts. Enter a positive realm and fill the positivity throughout your body and limbs. If you find yourself in a sensitive situation or interacting with a trigger person, take a deep breath and visualize yourself in your positive realm to help keep you calm.    

4. Excuse Yourself
Even with the preparations you take to help keep yourself calm and peaceful, there will be times where you will find your emotions getting the best of you. If this is the case, rather than engaging into a situation that will not make you happy, simply walk away. If you are serious about getting yourself to a new level, you need to be able to just leave when things start feeling hot. It is not worth having a breakdown. You are still exercising control by leaving and you have not let the other person or situation get the best of you.

Jessica Brown is a seasoned executive management trainer who provides helpful tips on people skills.  She has assisted Dr. Susan Wright, a practicing veterinarian of more than 10 years and a dog bark collar expert and staff.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Giving Age

It’s impossible to walk down the street in most cities without being asked to donate money to a worthwhile cause. There are teams of personable young collectors working for established organizations such as Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders, who ask for a moment of your time, and then engage you in a bit of banter before asking you to sign up for a monthly predetermined donation, easily debited from your bank account or charged to your credit card. In some parts of the world, there are problems with charity collectors who aren’t quite legitimate. Around major European cities, English-speaking visitors might find themselves accosted by groups of people who are “doing a survey for charity.” These so-called collectors don’t have any formal ID as issued by the charity, and the pitch usually ends with them asking for an immediate cash donation. This has become such a problem in France that the government has issued legislation giving police greater power to detain people suspected of operating these scams.

It’s unfortunate that such dishonesty exists, since it can lead to suspicion and cynicism when it comes to all charity collectors. Fortunately, many people are still generous when it comes to charitable giving, but the amounts and frequency of donation varies greatly by age and location. So who exactly is giving to charity?

Who Gives?
A study by the UK’s Bristol University shows that people are increasingly more likely to donate to a charity as they get older. In fact, people over 60 give more than double to charity on an annual basis than people under the age of 30. This figure increases dramatically with the age of the giver, and those over the age of 70 give more than 10 times to charity than those under the age of 30.

How Do They Give?
The method of donation also varies with age, and younger givers are generally more accepting of modern methods, such as a donation via text message where a predetermined amount is donated to a charity and is then added to your phone bill. More mature givers tend to prefer other methods, such as monthly donation via bank debit, credit card, or even mailing in a check.

When Do They Give?
Charitable donations skyrocket around Christmas, which is traditional in many countries, and also highlights the fact that many charitable organizations step up their collection activities at this time of year. Donations also go way up at a time of a major humanitarian crisis, particularly one that affects the givers own country or region.

Other Factors To Consider
While there is statistical evidence demonstrating the great differences in charitable giving by differing age groups, there are many other factors to consider. Giving to charity is also greatly reliant on a person’s own income, level of education and religion, and these factors often outweigh the age of the giver.
With the population in the western world rapidly aging, it’s important for charities to continue their good work and maintain their valuable reputations, so that the next generation of givers can be just as generous.

Guest post by Oliver J. The Giving Age - An overview on the donating demographics. Oliver is a guest writer, currently writing about corporate community, art and health.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Alchemy: Its not Rocket Science

A key goal of the medieval alchemists was to turn base metals into gold or silver and although their experiments never succeeded in achieving this they did form the foundation of modern chemistry. Alchemists put together a framework of theories, experimental processes and laboratory practice that are still recognizable in today’s science.

Transmutation: My Precious
Although we think of alchemy as always being about transmutation (turning base into precious metals, usually with the aid of a philosopher’s stone) it had other aims too. Principally these were the discovery of a panacea to cure all illnesses and the creation of a universal solvent.
Although it never managed to reach any of these aims alchemy did make a major contribution to what we now think of as science and in particular chemistry. Among other things alchemists created the process of distillation – we can all drink to that – perfected means of extracting metals from ores and came up with the earliest periodic tables.
Alchemy was often seen as having a strong spiritual aspect. The transmutation of metals was seen as an analogy for achieving personal transformation and purification. In fact many early alchemists had strong ties to the church.

Where did it All Start?
There are references to alchemy in many early cultures including those of India and China. However, Western alchemy can be traced back to Alexandria in Egypt in around 3500 BC although few documents have survived from this time. It has its roots in the work of Greek philosophers like Aristotle who believed that all matter was derived from four elements – earth, air, fire and water.
After the fall of the Roman Empire the development of alchemy moved to the Islamic world. Much more is known about this era as the early writings have mostly been preserved. The late 8th century began to see the introduction of controlled experiments and the development of some scientific methodology. It also saw the basis of a better understanding of chemical elements like sulphur, mercury and salt.
Alchemy came to the west in the mid-12th century with the translation of Arabic texts and brought new words to the language including ‘elixir’ and ‘alcohol’. By the 13th century Oxford monk Roger Bacon came up with the idea of a universal science that included alchemy and astrology.

The Beginning of the End
By the 14th century alchemy was getting a bad name and promising to turn your old metal into gold – in exchange for money of course – was a popular fraud. The authorities started to take notice and Pope John XXII’s edict of 1317 forbade false promises of transmutation. In 1403 Henry IV banned the practice of multiplying metals, although he hedged his bets by allowing you to buy a licence to make gold alchemically.
During the Renaissance specialised branches of science like medicine and pharmacy began to emerge.  By the 17th century the terms alchemy and chemistry were used interchangeably but by the 18th century the idea took hold that alchemy was restricted to gold making and that all alchemists were con men. The early 19th century saw a brief revival of alchemy as an occult science but its days in the mainstream were over.

These days turning metals into gold, or at least money, is much simpler. You just take it to a dealer in scrap metal, he gives you money for it and it gets recycled into something else so you do your bit for the planet too. It’s not alchemy and it isn’t rocket science either.

Sally Dimmock is a blogger who has a keen interest in environmental issues. She suggests that if you need to dispose of scrap metal, Essex has a great choice of specialist companies who are ready to help you and who can give you a good price on what you offer them.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Best Ways for Universities to Go Green !!

Green is a popular concept, and universities around the world are focusing on operating in a green manner. The best way to go green, however, often receives little attention. This technique can allow universities to save on their electricity bills and reduce transportation needs. With online classes, universities can go green in a big way.
Online classes require some electricity. Students must use their computers to work, and professors will spend time answering emails and grading assignments. However, many students bring their laptops to class anyway, and classrooms use a considerable amount of electricity for lighting and running the electrical components teachers rely on.
In addition, online classes do not require students to travel. Because of this, these classes can greatly reduce the amount of gasoline that is required to transport students to and from their classes. Professors might also be able to avoid driving to the university as well. Over time, these trips add up, and students who are able to take online courses should consider doing so to help the environment.
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How Universities are Going Green
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