Thursday, 11 November 2010 14:04

Green Contractors Stand Out in Industry

Written by
Construction was one of the hardest hit industries during the economic recession the last few years, but the pinch was significantly less for green contractors. In fact, four out of the five top-ranked green contractors actually saw an 11.3% increase in business. Between 2008 and 2009, Engineering News-Record's Top 400 Contractors saw revenue drop by 14.1% and the Top 100 Green Contractors, firms that bring in the largest revenues from LEED and other certified projects, fared about the same. But looking at the top 10 of those green contractors, their business only saw a dip of 2.8%. These numbers seem to indicate that when money is tight, consumers feel it makes more sense to stretch your dollar with a top firm that specializes in LEED certified projects, which saves money on a continuous basis in the future via energy savings and water efficiency. LEED certified buildings also stand out for their CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, stewardship of resource and sensitivity to their impacts. Learn more about ways to save money while reducing your environmental impact at Carbonfund.org's Save Energy, Reduce Carbon Emissions page.
If your home improvement goals include a new roof, more efficient heating system or better insulation, you have until December 31st to make use of Uncle Sam's help. The federal energy-efficiency tax credits for these types of projects could run out at the end of the year. It might be a squeeze to get it done but with upwards of $1,500 available, it's worth a try.
Tax Credit: 30% of cost up to $1,500
  • Biomass stoves
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
  • Insulation
  • Roofs
  • Water heaters
  • Windows and doors
For more extensive projects that involve reworking the way your home consumes energy, tax credits are available until the end of 2016. If you're looking to get off the grid by implementing renewable energy systems like solar, Uncle Sam can rebate up to 30 percent of the total cost. Tax Credit: 30% of cost with no upper limit
  • Geothermal heat pump
  • Small wind turbine
  • Solar energy systems
The best part about this deal is that energy-efficient projects continue to save you money long after the tax rebate comes in. The average U.S. household spends $1,400 each year on their energy bills, according to ENERGY STAR.  By choosing energy-efficient products, each household could cut this by 30 percent, saving more than $400 each year.
Tuesday, 09 November 2010 12:14

Oil Prices Expected to Nearly Double in 25 Years

Written by
Oil prices are expected to nearly double in 25 years, coinciding with growth in the economies of India and China and world energy demand. The World Energy Outlook forecast by the International Energy Agency expects energy demand to rise by over a third by 2035. It is already assumed that the main sources of energy to meet this demand will be from fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. However it will become more difficult for producers of oil to increase supply as crude oil becomes more difficult to explore and extract. And as the law of supply and demand dictates, the price of oil is expected to nearly double in the next 25 years from $60 a barrel to over $113. Fossil fuels are as we know non-renewable resources. However we it have in our power to begin making the switch to clean power. Wind, solar, geothermal, tidal and biomass can help establish a sustainable and viable economy for the 21st century. There have been some big strides made in reducing the amount of greenhouse gases that coincide with energy production. More needs to be done. That is why Carbonfund.org is directing efforts to validated projects that help mitigate the impact of global warming. Here at Carbonfund.org we encourage people to reduce what carbon emissions they can and offset what they can’t. You can also check out solar energy for your home by partners such as Astrum Solar.
Add one more to the list of Carbonfund.org partners who have won awards and recognition for their sustainability efforts. Kiwano Marketing, based out of Vancouver, Canada, won the Better Business Bureau’s Green Award in part for their outstanding fundraising campaign for the Stanley Park Ecology Society. In supporting one of the world’s best urban parks, Kiwano won accolades for making events greener—encouraging public transit, sourcing locally produced food and wine, cutting paper usage, and offsetting event carbon emissions with Carbonfund.org in support of third-party validated projects. They were rewarded for their holistic approach to sustainability and raised the bar for sustainability for companies in British Columbia. Kiwano Marketing provides sustainable marketing services to small and medium sized businesses. By providing a high return on investment, Kiwano makes it easy and profitable for a company to improve business practices. Kiwano joins Dell, Staples, Samsung, Motorola, JetBlue, Virgin America and many other Carbonfund.org partners who have been recognized for their carbon offset and sustainability programs. Over 1,800 companies have joined our movement to fight climate change now and transition to a clean energy future.
Thursday, 04 November 2010 11:41

Win a Clean Air Lawn Care Franchise

Written by
Second chances are rare. Opportunities for redemption in the business world are especially scarce in our current economy. That's why successful business and Carbonfund.org partner Clean Air Lawn Care pledged to share the wealth by giving away a franchise and an opportunity for a fresh financial start in the new year. Opportunity 2011 is the second annual contest that searches for someone who has the skills, passion and determination to do something positive for themselves and their environment, but who doesn't have the means. Clean Air Lawn Care is the nation's leading full-service sustainable lawn care company, which stands out in the industry with its use of solar-powered lawn mowers, organic fertilizers and quiet electric equipment. The winning candidate will be provided a Clean Air Lawn Care franchise and start-up package worth more than $35K, including training and equipment. Apply by November 5th to win a chance to start the new year fresh with your own environmentally conscious business. Check out the video entry from last year's winner, James Turner of Wilmington, NC.
Wednesday, 03 November 2010 19:26

Climate Change Action Gets Boost from Prop 23 Defeat

Written by
Supporters of action on climate change can look to the defeat of Proposition 23 in California as another example that voters support a strong response to global warming. A divided Congress was apparent from the contentious midterm elections, but that didn't faze voters who defeated what would have suspended California's climate change law, the Global Warming Solutions Act. The law established a timetable to bring California's greenhouse gas emissions down to 1990 levels by 2020 and has been supported by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as Jerry Brown, who won the seat on Tuesday. Brown also wants to bring about investment in the state to create about 500,000 green jobs and 20,000 megawatts of clean power. Over 60 percent of Californians voted to defeat Prop 23. This underscores national polls by The Washington Post and Stanford University from the summer which show that over two-thirds of Americans support action on climate change by the country.
With gas prices trending higher and battery prices falling, plug-in cars are expected to make up 9 percent of the U.S. auto market by 2020 and 22 percent by 2030, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report. Electric cars currently cost more than 75 percent of cars being sold—but individual states are providing financial incentives for people to get on board. California, for example, offers vouchers of  $10,000 to $45,000 for companies that operate hybrid-electric fleet vehicles in-state. You can search for electric vehicle vouchers in your state at the U.S. Department of Energy site and find out how to reduce your driving emissions here.

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Health Care is taking the lead in renewable and alternative energy projects. Right now they are building the largest rooftop solar array in all of North America in York, PA at the company's Northeast regional distribution center. The solar panels will create enough energy to fully power the equivalent of 400 American homes and has the potential to reduce 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. GSK plans additional solar projects at various facilities in the U.S.

The image above shows one of the solar panels for the array. GSK has taken upon itself a clear goal of sustainable growth. They have built solar energy projects around the world in places such as Belgium, Singapore, Australia, Mexico as well as the U.S. They have been pursuing energy efficiency and alternative energy projects for the last decade. GSK recognizes the salience of climate change and has been taking steps to offset its carbon emissions as well.