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Installing solar energy systems still benefits tax payers

July 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Article written by : Landscape Gardening Idea

If you are living in the Western states of the United States, you know the power of the sun. It shines all throughout the year with much less interruptions. No wonder why solar energy is more popular in these parts of the United States of America.

There are federal, state and local government incentives mainly in the form of tax credits available for homeowners as well as business owners to switch to solar power. Under the federal incentive program, participants can deduct up to 30 percent of the cost of solar installation from their federal taxes. The most important fact is that if there are not enough tax obligations this year to claim, excess credits can be rolled over to future tax years. Those businesses that are converting to solar energy can also claim up to 30 percent of the installation cost from their yearly tax bill. Added benefits for business owners are the ability to depreciate the cost of improvement along with the cost of the property on yearly basis and the MACRS accelerated depreciation for equipment.

State benefits vary from state to state. The State of California administers its program through the California Solar Initiative. Contact your state for details.

Disinfectants in your drinking water

April 17, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Article Written by : Healthy Landscapes
Water suppliers often add disinfectants to portable water to control pathogens or organisms that causes diseases. Traditional disinfectants such as chlorine, chloramine and chlorine dioxide are getting increasingly resistant to some known microbial pathogens. These disinfectants are known to cause byproducts that may be harmful to humans. Are they safe to use in our portable water?

Our drinking water is safeguarded by the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. It requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine the level of residual disinfectants in our drinking water. These are considered the maximum residual disinfectant level goals to avoid adverse health issues. Chloramine and chlorine levels are not to exceed four parts per million or four milligrams per liter while the chlorine dioxide not to exceed 0.8 milligrams per liter or 800 parts per billion. Additional considerations for setting these goals include the ability of a water agency to provide a level that is considered safe, the cost and benefits. Depending on the size of a community a water provider serves, rules may apply differently. Water services serving less than 10,000 people appear to be the cut-off for Stage 1 Rule while Stage 2 Rules add additional limits to all water services.

Aluminum, most sustainable and recyclable metal in the world

March 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Article Written by : Furniture Your Way

Aluminum is a 100 percent recyclable and the world’s most sustainable metal that can be recycled many times over. The life cycle of a can from manufacturing, use and back to recycling can be as short as 60 days. When compared to other metals collected for recycling, aluminum is on the lower end of the price spectrum. However, aluminum can pays off for its recycling cost and therefore, one of the most recycled metals in the world.

Aluminum first introduced into the US manufacturing in the 1900s as foil and packaging material. Due to recycling efforts in the United States more than 75 percent of manufactured aluminum is still in the market.

Aluminum has advantages over other metals. Due to recycling value, it carries lot of consumer goodwill. It is easy to use, provide convenience, light weight when it comes to consumer products, safer to handle, and durable. Product manufactures love it because it can be printed on and provide an effective surface for paint and coatings. Therefore, it is advantageous for both consumers and manufacturers. This is why companies such as Apple are promoting aluminum use for its “greener Apple” campaign.

Global greenhouse gas emissions to continue

February 9, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In spite of various measures taken by nations all over the world, reports indicate that global carbon emissions will rise by 2.5 percent in 2015. Predictions are based on projected global gross domestic product (GDP) estimates. However, the projected 2.5 percentage increase is slower than the average increase for the last 10 years.

The International Monetary Fund predicts a global economic growth of 3.5 to 3.8 percent for 2015 compared to actual 3.3 percent growth for 2013. Scientists as well as economists find a correlation between the global GDP growth and the carbon emission rate. Carbon used per unit of GDP known as carbon intensity stands at one percent per year. The ever lowering crude oil prices is the culprit and any further reductions for a barrel of crude oil will sure to increase the emission level worldwide due to increase demand for fossil fuel. Greenhouse gas emission level increases are aligned with increased economic activity. Carbon emission levels are decreasing in Western developed countries but increasing in developing world due to attraction of new heavy industries and lack of environmental controls. Many nations are urging the United Nations to work towards a zero carbon emission target by 2050.

New tactics from drillers to quell neighbors and protect the environment

January 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The practice of cracking the subterranean rocks to extract trapped oil and gas is known as fracking. Many believed the practice cause enormous environmental problems including ground water pollution and earthquakes. The fracking boom in the United States started in early 2000s. According to published reports more than 430 nationwide measures have been adopted either banning or controlling fracking. Keeping a healthy distance from residential areas is a one common measure throughout the Barnett Shale and other popular fracking areas. Many drillers are employing community leaders to work with impacted communities. Most of the objections for fracking started around 2009 in some places in Texas. Recent community efforts in Colorado are helping big oil to continue fracking.

Due to public outcry and opposition many drillers are taking new steps to win public support. Anadarko Petroleum, one of the major drillers in the country is using manmade barriers to hide drilling sites and to reduce noise impacts to adjacent residents. Instead of hauling water to fracking sites they build new pipelines to bring water. This helps to cut down carbon emissions too. These practices helped Colorado to avoid an anti-fracking measure on the ballot during the last election.

Oil industry’s new tactic to combat new carbon emission tax in California

December 31, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

On January 1, 2015, California’s cap-and-trade system is scheduled to be expanded to gasoline, diesel, and other fuels. The California Air Resources Board estimates that 36 percent of its greenhouse gas emission is coming from these sources. An attempt made by oil industry to reverse the carbon emission requirements failed at the ballot box recently. California is expected to add a new carbon tax to each gallon of gas it sells to customers starting January 1, 2015. The new tax is expected to increase a gallon of gas by adding another 16 cents to 76 cents a gallon according to the oil industry.

Oil industry especially the Western States Petroleum Association instead of asking voters again are deploying other tactics to either delay or repeal the anticipated compliance with the law. Groups such as California Drivers Alliance paid by the oil industry including BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell Oil are starting a movement by running online advertisements, radio spots, and ads in newspapers requesting consumers to revolt against the hidden gas tax. However, with the falling price of a barrel of crude oil, consumers may not feel the added tax at the pump.

Fossil fuel contributing more to greenhouse gas emissions

November 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities cause the planet to warm up is no secret. The warming leads to extreme weather changes more frequent than ever. In order to slowdown the deterioration of the world environment, sustainable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are required and required immediately.

BP estimates that carbon dioxide emissions just from fossil fuel alone will be increased by 29 percent by 2035 from 2012 levels. Major contributor is the growing use of coal by developing nations. Aggressive policies and programs are required to slowdown the unsustainable increase in greenhouse gas emissions. However many challenges are existing at this time preventing developing a worldwide consensus for how to handle the issue. It was announced recently that the US and China agreed to a policy to limit and to cut down greenhouse emission levels by 2035. Commitments of these kinds of non-binding bi-lateral agreements are hard to monitor and implement. Entities such as the United Nations are working vehemently to come up with a binding agreement to cut down gas emissions. Each government should take the matter to the heart and work to corporate in order to save the planet for generations to come.

Takeaways from the UN Climate Summit

October 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The United Nation’s Climate Summit just concluded in early September 2014 in New York City. It is sending a clear message how world leaders are looking at the climate change.

  • Emission reduction efforts are taking place at local levels. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group revealed that cities will be able to cut their emissions by an amount equal to half of current yearly global coal use by 2050. Cities are home to more than 3.6 billion people worldwide and it will grow to 6 billion by the target date of 2050.
  • More than 1,000 companies have joined the World Bank initiative to motivate governments to set a price for carbon. It will be an economic incentive to lower the carbon footprint. They also agreed to work together to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Countries overwhelmingly acknowledged that climate change is real and the extreme weather we are experiencing is a result of climate change. Leaders of the United States, China and many other countries discussed how extreme weather conditions are impacting their countries and some leaders put dollar values to effects of climate change. China, world’s leader of carbon dioxide estimated that the cost to the country exceeds more than 200 billion Renminbi.

Is there a clean coal?

September 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The fight against climate change is heating up again. Leading up to the United Nation General Assembly meeting in late September 2014, the United States is boasting its newest attempt including a clean coal power plant to capture carbon and reduce air emissions. The newest coal-fired facility built in Kemper County is expected to capture carbon by converting coal into gas to power turbines that generate electricity. Resulting carbon dioxide will be turn into a liquid and used in oil extraction using fracking technology that is taking place in the vicinity.

The technology is very costly. The Southern Company which built the plant originally estimated the project cost to be $1.8 billion and actual cost exceeded $5.2 billion. It is a very costly project by any measure. It is also costing more to produce a kilowatt of electricity compared to nuclear and much cheaper natural gas. Who will pay for the increased production cost? It is sure that rate payers from the service area will revolt. The government has many concerns to resolve before using the current project nationwide. In the meantime, the Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward with its proposed emission caps for any future power plants.

Fight against plastic bags

August 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The City of Los Angeles is the latest city to join the ban on use of plastic bags in grocery stores. Plastic bags and film packaging wraps can be easily recycled into composite lumber and wide variety of other useful products.

Proponents of plastic bags claim that they are more environmental friendly than paper bags used at grocery stores because they use 70 percent less energy to manufacture. Opponents claim that small amount of plastics bags are recycled and the remainder cause more harm to the environment because they are not biodegradable quickly and endanger wildlife specially sea animals.

Most state governments require recycling centers to be located at source generation such as grocery stores.

Reuse of bags by recycling, refusal of plastic bags at the stores, using them as trash liners to avoid additional plastic bag use, other uses such as store food and other household items, and use them in craft preparation are many ways one can reuse plastic bags. Above all the best is recycling in order to avoid many hazards that a bag can create. When you throw plastic bags for recycling make sure they are free of debris, bundle as much as possible and put them in your recyclable trash container not in your regular trash container.

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