Five(5) benefits of a solar phone charger

With the growing environmental concerns of climate change and the decreasing prices of solar PV, solar energy is trending in many sectors, including but not limited to power homes and businesses. Also, portable solar solutions including portable solar chargers or solar phone chargers are trending with increasing awareness about renewable energy. This article attempts to explain five(5) benefits of using a solar phone charger:solar phone charger

  1. A solar phone charger is portable and uses clean energy to help you charge your electronic devices. Once you have selected your solar cell phone charger, whose cost can be estimated to range anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on the brand and features included, a solar phone charger is very portable as it can be carried anywhere to charge your cellphone. A solar-powered phone charger comes in handy, especially used during traveling or outdoor activities. Since it is portable during the day when there is sunshine you can use it in your picnics, hikes or when camping to use it to charge not only your cellphone but also your iPad, portable speaker, humidifier, etc.
  2. A lot of people especially in rural areas mostly in the developing world are not connected to the grid. As such, having solar chargers and other solar PV systems like solar panels and solar batteries are being used to produce power for both households and commercials helping to solve the energy access issue.
  3. A solar phone charger would probably be the main source of energy in off-grid areas to power cellphones. For instance, in Africa, around 640 million people don’t have access to a grid and where some people do have access to the electricity supply is unreliable and unstable. As a result, solar PV has become one of the main sources of energy to power homes and businesses using one of the most consistent and promising approaches to tackling this huge obstacle to energy access, that is, off-grid pay-as-you-go solar power model, now called PayGo.
  4. A solar phone charger uses solar energy – a renewable energy source. Even though energy from a solar charger might seem trivial or does not have an impact in terms of how much you can save when it comes to energy because cellphones or smartphones use a trivial amount of electricity. For instance, iPhone 5 uses 3.5KWh/year and costing about $0.41/year to charge them while Galaxy S III consumes 4.9 KWh/year at $0.5/year primarily because of the Galaxy’s larger battery. However, this might not impact you, but considering the aggregate impact (about 5 billion cellphones around the world) in terms of energy reduction from the grid and the increasing demand for mobile phones worldwide; your usage of the Sun’s energy to power your phone probably has an impact, if you look at it from a system’s perspective.
  5. A solar phone charger is one step to energy efficiency when you aggregate the number of cellphones from a system’s perspective. Currently, there are about 5 billion cellphones around the world according to GSM intelligence. Users for smartphones are expected to increase by 2023 to over 7 billion. Smartphones consume more energy depending on how many wireless data the device is using as well as the amount of power consumed in making those wireless connections. As a result, when not using energy from renewables, a solar phone charger can help in reducing your carbon footprint.

From a system’s perspective, electronic gadgets or even electric vehicles powered using solar power will have an impact in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduced while increasing the energy efficiency consumed in the long-term.

Some of the best solar phone chargers have been reviewed on Amazon. When looking for some of the best solar phone chargers, it is important to evaluate the number of devices that can be charged, the time it takes to charge, and overall durability when selecting a model.

Five great products on the market have been evaluated through Amazon to help determine which solar charger best meets your needs. You can learn more at Amazon.

To understand your energy profile and GHGs that can be reduced while going solar using a solar panel calculator can help you figure out your sustainability benefits. Learn more about how you can check instantly whether solar is right for you.

IBM research unveils a new battery free of heavy metals

electric vehicle batteriesWith the increasing demand for solar powered buildings, solar powered vehicles (electric vehicles(EVs) ) and smart grid power solutions; it is certain that there will be high demand for batteries. Many batteries including nickel and cobalt batteries pose an environmental threat to our natural ecosystem because of heavy metals.

From a system thinking perspective or a life-cycle basis – EVs, as well as all other going solar concepts, need alternative battery or storage solutions to significantly increase their environmental performance compared to conventional diesel or gas-powered vehicles.

For instance, in this article concerning EV sustainability issues, we saw that EV batteries are predominantly Lithium-ion batteries (e.g., Nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC), lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC)) which use lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite. As such, even with sustainable recycle and re-use programs to tackle the threat to the environment with increased adoption of EVs in the future, the development of sustainable materials or building new EV batteries that are zero in heavy metals will help to tackle these concerns from a system perspective.

Technological breakthroughs at the IBM research could help to solve the battery sustainability challenge:  

Researchers at the IBM research just unveiled recently a new battery discovery than could revolutionize the entire battery industry and help to solve the EV and going solar sustainability challenges when it comes to the elimination of heavy metals.

According to IBM research, it discovered a new battery which will eliminate the need for heavy metals in battery production and transform the long-term sustainability of many elements for our energy infrastructure. IBM research has discovered chemistry for a new battery that does not use heavy metals or other substances with sourcing concerns because the materials for this new battery are able to be extracted from seawater. Consequently, this lays the foundation for less invasive sourcing techniques than current material mining methods as noted by IBM research.

The new battery technology is also very promising because of its performance potential as determined in its initial tests which proved the new battery has faster charging time, higher power and energy density, storage energy efficiency and low flammability compared with the capabilities of lithium-ion batteries.

In addition, the new battery design could outperform lithium-ion across several sustainable technologies because it uses cobalt and nickel-free cathode material, as well as a safe liquid electrolyte with a high flash point. As such, this new battery design and chemistry includes a unique combination of the cathode and electrolyte demonstrated an ability to suppress lithium metal dendrites during charging, thereby reducing flammability, which is widely considered a significant drawback for the use of lithium metal as an anode material.

Lithium-ion batteries seem to be current battery technology at the moment, however, if new the battery discovery by IBM research is proving to perform better technically and environmentally, this discovery holds significant potential for electric vehicle batteries.

According to IBM research, the new battery will have a huge potential because of its flammability, cost and charging time.  It can reach an 80% state of charge with its configuration for high power at less than five minutes as shown during its current tests. IBM research is also using AI and machine learning techniques to mine huge data points that have helped to speed up this research and with better accuracy testing and the set hypothesis.

10 ways to green your business and save money

greening your business
Consumers are increasingly becoming aware of the need to obtain their products and services from organizations that have integrated the concept of sustainability into their business model. According to the findings of the 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study, global consumers feel personal accountability to address social and environmental issues and look to companies as partners in progress.

The study was done from a research base of 10,000 citizens in countries with some of the largest GDP in the world, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, China, India, and Japan. About nine-in 10 consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit, but also to operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues while conducting their businesses.

Against this background, this article attempts to provide 10 ways to green your business and save money. The following ways of greening your business are generic in nature and more industry-specific ideas will be addressed at a later stage. These 10 ways just provide some eco-sustainable solutions that may be considered for your business just to get started. Comprehensive and well-detailed options to green your business will depend on nature/industry and the core business that your organization is involved in. For instance, eco-sustainable solutions for a manufacturing company will vary from industry to industry. Also, some eco-sustainable solutions from manufacturing companies will differ with those ones of service-oriented companies that may not produce any products, but provide services to their clients. For your questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section provided below.

10 Ways to green your business and save money

The concept of going green is a cost-effective approach for companies to explore and get a return on investment (ROI). The greening of your business does not have to be a costly intervention and when used with proper planning and useful greening tools, such as checklists, case studies, calculators and other tools that can be found on the internet, this process can be simplified and a step by step process can be adopted to help realize potential savings from the actions of going green.

Going green for businesses can be approached differently based on the inputs and outputs of your business which involve the internal factors and external factors of your business. These factors may involve business processes including all the stakeholders involved (clients, suppliers, government and staff members). Therefore, in order to identify ways to green your specific business and save money we need to use systems thinking approach in order to engage the relevant stakeholders that are involved in your business operations. However, that is a more detailed approach that can be approached using different greening toolkits or other tools to help develop a comprehensive strategy for greening your business.

To develop greening your business strategies or ways, consider the inputs (energy, water, transportation, etc), the outputs (emissions, wastewater, solid waste, etc) plus the business operations of your company that use technology, product development, marketing, administration, and business strategic planning in their business model. Using systems thinking approach, it is possible to find eco-sustainable solutions that can green these inputs, outputs and business operations. For instance, we can ask some important questions that will help us to develop ways for your business and later develop a company strategy or policy around these ideas to help implement or integrate greening into your company policy. For now, let start by asking about 10 questions to derive examples of strategies that can be used to green your business and save money.

1. Where is your energy sourced? Is it from a renewable energy source?

2. Does your company have a system in place to conserve water to save your water bill?

3. Does your company have methods or ways of controlling your emission levels?

4. What product/process does your company use to provide or have an integrated sustainable design into your product/service?

5. Does your company conduct preventative maintenance on its computers and appliances more often? When is the last time your company did an upgrade? Does your company use energy-efficient appliances and computers or Energy Star labeled appliances?

6. What form of marketing is your company using to market your services/products? Is it eco-friendly or does your company use paperless technology to market its products or services?

7. Have your company considered greening its office such as upgrading the type of printers used, using recyclable papers or 100% recycled paper for your business operations?

8. Does your company have to green your business policy to support its efforts and raise awareness to your employees, suppliers, etc?

9. Does your company practice green procurement? How are your purchasing decisions made to consult suppliers that sell raw materials or office supplies etc?

10. What modes of traveling does your business use for its business trips and so on? Does your company consider video conferencing and other forms of digital communication to lower its transportation costs?

Since we have developed a simple checklist to act as our guide for greening your business, we can now list 10 ways to green your business and save your company money in the process. In the process, it is good to develop an analysis to compute, compare, even if it takes conducting life-cycle assessments to determine that actually implementing these eco-sustainable solutions in your business will actually save the environment and save your company money (return on investment). The best place to start is to conduct a baseline assessment to determine what type of budget your company wants to set aside for its sustainability or greening efforts before starting the process. Determining some of the low hanging fruits will be a good idea to consider appropriate and affordable green practices that your business can start with i.e. starting with the business case for your sustainability efforts.

Below are some low hanging fruits that perhaps your company could pick from depending on the size of your budget:

1. Producing your own power from a renewable energy source could generate your company affordable, clean and reliable source of power for some years generally for a solar PV system, this could range between 20 to 25 years and the interesting thing is that your company won’t have to pay for the system. You could get such a PV system with zero down payment and still save from about 20% to 30% of your current energy bill. However, your company may opt to own or take a loan to install such a PV system on your rooftop which could potentially save even a great amount for your business. To explore this option, your company might want to conduct more research and using a solar energy calculator to provide you with more specific data retrieved from LiDAR technology. Such solar irradiation data has been scanned from the rooftop of your company to provide more specific solar potential data that will help to give your company a snapshot when it comes to:

  • How much your company can save with going solar specific
  • How many solar panels your company will need to get installed on your rooftop
  • How much it would cost your company and different financing structures for your PV system etc

Start using this solar calculator here for more information.

2. Consider saving water and save your water bill because water is a precious and critical resource for your business. There are different ways your company could consider saving water and hence the water bill in the long-term. There are water footprint tools that can be used to determine how much water your company is using and how it can save it. BEF has online water calculators to help you determine how to save water or off-set your water footprint. A few examples of saving water are:

  • choose high-efficiency fixtures with care
  • to fix any water leaks and install low-flow shower-heads (for instance for hotels) and aerators on all faucets.
  • harvest rainwater to use it to irrigate your landscapes.

3. If your company emits carbon emissions, there are ways of reducing or mitigating carbon such as integrating renewable energy technologies such as solar energy in your system to off-set any other carbon emissions from your transportation, manufacturing or any other business operations that may be emitting carbon emissions.

To determine your carbon footprint, please see this calculator determine emissions coming from transportation, building and see your results. If your company is interested in offsetting your carbon footprint, it can buy carbon or renewable energy credits from companies like BEF.

However, there are various ways of reducing emissions by adopting more efficient technologies or implementing energy efficiency or making retrofits to industrial processes thereby reducing emissions and save money in the long-term. Also, emission reduction will depend on the process or technology and how it can be improved or replaced to probably spend less energy and thus emit fewer emissions.

4. Integrate sustainable design in your products to use locally sourced materials and materials that are environmentally sustainable. This could include eco products that are 100% recyclable materials or raw materials that have been designed and produced according to environmental and social criteria.

5. If using old appliances or computers your company could upgrade to more energy-efficient appliances that have the Energy Star label to save energy and money in the process.

6. To avoid using printed paper or reduce the use of paper for your advertising or marketing, your company could explore digital marketing techniques to source for its future clients. Using social media, SEO, emails and other forms of marketing will help to get your company clients without paper costs, reduce transport costs and it is a potential for saving on your marketing budget depending on the nature of your business.

7. Greening your office could include replacing your office equipment with more efficient ones. Look for Energy Star, qualified brands and models. Promote your business responsibly using digital media and use 100%recycled paper or FSC certified paper and print with vegetable-based inks or choose waterless printers companies. ‘FSC’ stands for Forest Stewardship Council, an organization that works to promote the practice of sustainable forestry worldwide. The Forest Stewardship Council is an independent body that bestows labels to certify that products meet specific environmental and quality forestry standards. Your office could also promote the green concept on your emails with the use of appropriate marketing materials such as your logo.

8. Develop a greening your business policy and promote it to all levels of your company from the executive level to the operational level so that all employees own and implement this policy. This would probably be the first thing to do on your action plan to ensure ownership of the greening your business.

9. Integrate greening in your procurement process and integrate it in your purchasing decisions, for instance, your printer inks could come from vegetable-based inks or non-toxic inks which could offer a number of other advantages such as reduce toxic waste and sourcing materials derived from renewable sources which make recycling a lot easier.

10. Video conferencing can be used to avoid travel to many meetings at local and overseas helping to save on transport costs, reduced paper use and postage. Energy costs from your digital office can be reduced by the use of efficient appliances. Also setting the computers to automatically “sleep” mode will help to reduce energy costs. Air travel could adopt carbon-neutral travel and try to book flights on airlines that offer a carbon offset option.

These are just a few examples of ways to green your business and save money. For more information and detailed or specific comprehensive ideas, your company can write to us at support@reneenergy.com

Also for professional advice on how to go solar, please don’t hesitate to contact us at support@reneenergy.com or you can get started now by going to this website and start comparing your solar energy options. Also, you can start greening your office right away by sourcing for 100% recycled paper from the Amazon.com. Check them out at Amazon.com

Easy simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint

Where can you find easy simple ways reduce your carbon footprint save money
Today the term reducing your carbon footprint is popular in many businesses as well as personal circles.

It is a term used when talking about corporate social responsibility strategies in the business world and used in communities that embraces the concept of sustainability where sustainable living is appreciated for its broader environmental and social benefits around the world.

For instance, when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint the location or geographical location does matter because any type of activity such as switching to solar energy done in any part of the world will have a global impact and it can be experienced anywhere in this world. The reverse is true, any trees cut down in any location anywhere in the world will also have the same effect.

Therefore, when it comes to reducing one’s carbon footprint, it has a global impact and that’s why issues like climate change are being dealt with at the global level. Hence, any actions done in any country are of utmost importance because of the cumulative effects that such actions will have in the long-term when it comes to sustainability and the issues that future generations will have to deal with.

going green

Using reneenergy.com as a platform to raise awareness about solar energy, any capacity additions resulting in switching to solar energy will have the same effect and in the long-term, these effects will be experienced in any part of the world.

Since the life-span of solar panels is anywhere between 20 and 25 years; solar energy adoption can help you to reduce your carbon footprint over its life-span as long as your system is running and well maintained.

Going solar is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint because once installed, it requires very minimal maintenance to run for up to or over 20 years while the money savings are also cumulative in nature, and thus it is a win-win situation that social, environmental and economic benefits.

One corporate social responsibility example of reneenergy.com, is providing information and tools to online users to help them make informed decisions about going solar and doing so; as of today, the cumulative environmental benefits in 20years of the people going solar using this platform will have the following environmental impact as provided in the data analytic of our partners:

Environment Benefit in 20 years:

  • Trees Planted
    9,520
  • Cars off the Road
    78
  • Avoided Carbon Emissions
    371
    metric tons

It is such an impact that keeps us motivated and when and anytime an individual or business decides to go solar using online solar tools that we recommend here at reneenergy.com these figures will continue to go up.

Using these solar calculators, users can make informed choices about their carbon footprint as well as the economics of going solar making it easier for them to quickly go solar because the information provided to them is from many and unbiased sources.

going green
From a sustainability perspective, the businesses that go solar will help to build their brands as consumers continue to become increasingly aware of corporate social responsibility initiatives, and by doing such; these companies will set themselves apart from their competition.

Using solar as an example for corporate social responsibility is possible and it can take the adoption of solar to increase the above numbers i.e. have more trees planted, have more cars off the road, and reduce your carbon footprint through avoided carbon emissions and so on.

These environmental benefits will have even a wider impact to reduce health-related issues from GHG emissions while contributing to social issues such as job creation.

There are various corporate social responsibility examples and going solar is one of them and probably one of the low hanging fruits that businesses or individuals could tackle today and help them to move towards the sustainability path.

Therefore, to answer this question: where can you find easy simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint and save money? going solar is one good low hanging fruit that can help you reduce your carbon footprint while helping to save you money.

By using the online solar tools we recommend here, you can actually determine what are the savings and your carbon footprint when you decide to go solar.

In addition to going solar, reneenergy.com also promotes greening the office initiatives and sustainable living practices that can help you switch to greener products such as 100% recycled paper that will help to save trees in the long-term and help your business reduce its carbon footprint.

Depending on the amount of paper your business uses, the more impact you would have in switching to 100% recycled paper which translates to how many trees you will have saved by your adoption.

Below we have listed some links from our partners to help us in contributing to more good impact in the environment and for sustainability reasons. That is!

going green

The above are just a few examples of how you could reduce your carbon footprint while saving money. For more details and professional advice concerning going solar and sustainability, please don’t hesitate to contact us at support@reneenergy.com

Thank you for stopping by and we look forward to reading your comments below.

How to adopt a green office for business

With the growing concerns of climate change and the need to move towards sustainability, many companies have realized that integrating sustainability into their business operations is not only profitable but helps to improve a company’s image while building its competitive edge. Today we see big corporations as well as small companies developing sustainability strategies that help them to innovate, create value and perform well in the marketplace because consumers are increasingly becoming aware of their production and consumption patterns in order to protect the eco-system.

In that regard, what are some of the low-hanging fruits of adopting a green office for your business? Is recycling or going solar good solutions for sustainability? This blog attempts to explain some low hanging fruits that small and medium-size businesses might want to explore to help them adopt a triple-bottom-line i.e. a business good for the environment, social and economic dimensions of sustainability. 

Is sustainability good for your bottom line?

Sustainability as a concept helps companies to innovate and become more efficient in their processes and operations. It helps companies to determine areas of continuous improvement or ways to conserve time, raw materials and reduce energy wastes while at the same time improving their bottom line. With sustainability, eco-efficiency is key to business processes helping companies to adopt the triple-bottom-line concept that is not only driven by profits but also the well being of society and the eco-system (environment) from which companies derive their raw materials.

What are some of the entry points for small and medium-sized businesses to adopt sustainability?

Implementing sustainability into business operations and processes can be implemented by small and medium-sized companies that are interested in creating a brand that recognizes the principle of sustainability has a value not only for their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy but also profitable for companies in the long-term. However, since implementing sustainability can demand a lot of resources in terms of human capital, time and financial resources that many small companies may not have; companies can target low-hanging fruits such as greening their office operations and processes.

What are some of the low-hanging fruits for adopting a green office?

When you want to think about making your office sustainable, you can think about your inputs and outputs. Just like in an industrial process, you may want to find out your materials and energy balance i.e. what raw materials are you feeding into the system and what is the resultant (product or by-product) and as such you can identify areas for continuous improvement. It is about following your products and processes and seeing the impact they have on the environment, society and the economy. For instance, is your product made with biodegradable or recyclable materials or are your processes efficient and utilizing less energy and what components can be added to help minimize or completely eliminate waste.

With this background, perhaps you can start to figure out opportunities for adopting different technologies for your office or practices that can help reduce energy and eliminate waste. Some of the low-hanging fruits we can think of are energy and paper. Energy and paper are both inputs in a process called printing and some technologies or sustainability practices can be adopted to help your company become more profitable while helping to conserve planet earth. Energy is another input that you could target since it is being used to run your computers, printers, light bulbs, computer servers, air conditioning, refrigeration, scanners, and other office equipment.

By targeting energy and paper, you want to innovate, create value and determine how much you can save by optimizing your processes to use less energy and generate less paper waste.

So, what are some green office ideas when it comes to saving office paper and energy conservation?

  1. Saving office paper

Saving office paper is great for your pocket and for long-term sustainability since the cumulative savings of paper and cash will help to conserve trees and save you money that you could have used to purchase the extra paper. When it comes to determining the numbers for example how much paper you can save based on your current baseline, there are some tools out there like the office footprint calculator that can help you determine your sustainability impact.

In that regard, you want to determine some of the best practices that your office can adopt to change the trajectory of your paper usage through paper minimization strategies and recycling or buying recycled paper.

    • Some of the common practices is adjusting your printer’s default settings to automatically print on both sides of your paper.
    • Purchase energy-efficient printers that are Energy Star rated to conserve both energy and paper at the same time. There are various places that you can find energy-efficient printers. Check out the green office for some options.  Find energy-efficient printers, fax machines and more on Amazon!
    • Buy office paper that is recycled this could range anywhere from 25% recycled to 100% recycled. Such paper with recycled content is usually paper certified to sustainable forestry standards. You can learn more about buying green paper or recycled paper through Amazon. Learn more about how you can with the green office and Make Earth and your wallet happy! 100% recycled paper products at amazing prices available on Amazon!
    • Use electronic means such as emails and scanning to share information and this can save you tonnes of paper in the long-term.
  1. Energy conservation

Energy efficiency is one way of saving energy and can be explored to help you conserve energy in the long-term. Below are some ideas you may want to consider:

    • Switch to LED lighting and save on lighting costs
    • Adopt energy-efficient appliances for your office including energy-efficient printers, scanners and other equipment that uses energy. There are various places you can find such green office appliances.  Amazon has hundreds of green electronics, accessories and more!
    • Consider going solar which could reduce your energy bill with about 30% to 75% of your energy bill while at the same time improving your company’s brand. Today there are online solar calculators that can provide you with a good estimate of the savings that you can achieve with going solar. Check out this solar calculator to determine the cost of going solar and answer some questions you may have concerning switching to solar such as: 

These are just a few ideas that can help your company start moving towards being sustainable or achieving a triple-bottom-line (Environmental, Social and Economic).