How Your Company Can Work Toward the ISO14001 Standard

Guest Post

The ISO14001 recognises the achievements of companies who make efforts to make their operations greener. Achieving it demonstrates the environmental responsibility of your company, and raises the profile of a standard which sets a precedent for other companies to strive for.

This article aims to outline some basic steps that companies can take to work toward the ISO14001 standard, and is based on actions taken by Marler Haley to achieve their accreditation.

Implementation of recycling systems:

There’s a large emphasis on recycling in our home lives nowadays, but some companies have delayed in implementing this in the workplace. Depending on the company, the incorporation of recycling facilities needn’t be a disruptive process – replacing rubbish bins with categorised recycling bins (a hole for paper, a hole for plastic, a hole for metal, a hole for rubbish) is cheap and effective. Other methods of recycling such as WEEE (in accordance with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Directive) which involves responsibly disposing of electrical appliances and devices, may be more expensive but are hugely beneficial to the environment.

Reduction of harmful compound use:

Harmful compounds can wreak havoc if (and in some cases when) they are introduced into nature. Whether intentionally or otherwise, the introduction of these compounds into ecosystems does happen, and there are numerous examples of this happening. To reduce the risk of this happening, more sophisticated control processes can be used, or the usage of chemicals can be reduced (or ideally, both). Recent changes in regulation show a trend toward companies being held more responsible for the damage they cause, which should be encouraged.

Reduction of carbon footprint:

Carbon footprint is a figure representing the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions attributed to a company or individual. As it has now been established that man-made climate change is occurring, it is everyone’s responsibility to cut their carbon footprints. Businesses can do this by rethinking their logistics, and making them more efficient where necessary. Vehicles can now operate on greener fuels, and company transport should trend toward using this rather than traditional, more harmful alternatives.

The recent change in attitude that places more emphasis on being green and looking after the planet is welcome, and companies can lead by example in changing the way they respond to environmental challenges.

Can airports be green? With solar farm, Chicago argues they can

An underground walkway at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. (Photo by Troy McCullough via Creative Commons)

Aviation is a carbon intensive industry, with air travel and transport contributing two percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

But airports around the world are making significant efforts to reduce their carbon footprints, and Chicago O’Hare International Airport is among the leaders.

In addition to other environmental measures, O’Hare is planning a new solar farm, slated for completion in 2016, that could provide five to 10 percent of the airport’s electricity needs, according to Chicago Department of Aviation spokesperson Karen E. Pride.

Since 2007 Chicago has hosted an annual international “Airports Going Green” conference which began as a one-day seminar and “has become more than just a conference – it’s a movement,” in Pride’s words.

This year’s conference will be held at O’Hare Nov. 4-7, with a focus on “use of alternative renewable energy, such as photovoltaics and geothermal; use of alternative fuels; waste reduction and recycling initiatives,” according to the conference website

Pride said Chicago was the first airport in the country to adopt a sustainability guidance program for design, construction, operation and maintenance, and tenants and concessionaires.

All construction vehicles involved in the ongoing modernization of O’Hare airport are required to burn ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel; a requirement that started in 2005, five years sooner than federal diesel regulations.The airport has also reduced truck traffic by saving soil onsite and reusing it, avoiding the emissions of 72,000 tons of carbon dioxide, according to the aviation department.

Carbon emissions are also avoided by a requirement that all materials for O’Hare construction be sourced within a 500-mile radius, and by reusing and recycling things like signs and bus kiosks.
A global movement

Air travel and air freight transport involve burn large amounts of fossil fuels; and planes release gases and particles directly into the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere where they alter the concentration of other greenhouse gases and help to trap heat in the greenhouse effect.

Airports themselves account for five percent of the aviation sector’s emissions, according to the IPCC. While airline companies and federal regulators are largely responsible for technology and management decisions that impact emissions from aircraft, airports around the world have committed to reducing their on-the-ground carbon emissions and electricity use to help curb the significant climate impact of the industry.

In Europe, 64 airports have joined an Airport Carbon Accreditation program that awards recognition on four ascending levels – for carbon “mapping, reduction, optimization and neutrality.”

Many U.S. airports are adopting direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions reduction measures, including large-scale solar PV installations, which are “well-suited to airports due to the available space, unobstructed terrain, and high energy demand,” in Pride’s words.

Indianapolis International Airport is in the process of installing a 75-acre solar farm, Denver’s international airport has more than 8 MW of solar power installed, and Fresno Yosemite International Airport gets up to 40 percent of its electricity from its 2 MW, 9.5-acre solar installation.
Chicago’s second urban solar farm

Chicago already has a 41-acre, 10 MW solar farm on the far south side. The O’Hare solar farm will be located on 30 acres north of the airport and potentially also two separate 10- and 12-acre sites. If the full 52 acres is developed, Pride said, the installation could provide up to10 percent of the airport’s electricity, depending on the type of panels chosen, their efficiency and other factors.

The solar farm won’t cost the city anything; a private company will lease the land, install and maintain the solar panels and sell energy to the aviation department under a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that Pride said will “allow the CDA to lock in a price for the electricity it purchases…providing predictability in its energy costs for a long period of time.”

Pride said representatives of more than 50 companies attended a meeting about the project in July, and a request for proposals is open through the end of September. The aviation department will recommend one of the proposals to the city council for approval by the aviation committee and then the full council. Construction is slated to begin in 2013 and be complete by 2016.

O’Hare already has a solar thermal installation on its fire department station, with 10 solar thermal collectors installed in 2006 that provide the building’s hot water. Chicago’s other airport, Midway International, has 24 wind turbines on its elevated parking structure.

Among other measures touted by the aviation department, Chicago’s airports have installed eight electric vehicle charging stations – one that can fully charge a vehicle in half an hour, and seven that charge a vehicle in three to eight hours. And the department says installing 1,100 efficient runway lights and 2,400 interior lights will save enough energy to power 68 homes.

Promotional videos add that the installation of water bottle filling stations past security avoids the emission of 27,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year, presumably in the bottling and transport of disposable water bottles, though it is unclear how many passengers using the filling stations would actually have bought water otherwise.
The bigger picture

Even the most innovative improvements at airports in the Midwest and elsewhere could be a relative drop in the bucket if air traffic continues to grow without major regulatory, technology and corporate behavior changes in the U.S. and abroad.

A 1999 IPCC report warns of greatly increased emissions from aviation in spite of technology and efficiency improvements, because of the sector’s projected growth (though these projections were made before the global economic crisis).

As the IPCC report notes, aircraft emissions can be reduced substantially through increased engine efficiency, more streamlined or lighter aircraft design, cleaner (lower sulfur) fuel or alternate fuels such as hydrogen and biofuels. Air traffic control management practices and simply reducing the total number of flights could also cut down on emissions. But these measures are basically matters of federal regulation and airline company policy; individual airports or city administrations have little power over such factors.

The International Air Traffic Association, which represents 230 airlines in 125 countries, in 2007 adopted a carbon emissions reduction platform based on improvements in technology, infrastructure and management (including air traffic control), combined with economic incentives. The plan has to do mainly with the role of airline companies and the federal government, though airports and municipal aviation agencies like those in Chicago could figure in.

Chicago’s aviation department has also partnered with United Airlines, Boeing, Honeywell and the Clean Energy Trust in forming the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative (MASBI), which promotes research and development of lower-emissions aviation biofuels in a 12-state region.

Pride said the project, “holds promise for biomass feedstock, technology development, job creation and sustainable commercialization. MASBI will deliver a comprehensive evaluation of the region’s biofuel potential and a plan to support regional and national needs in a responsible manner.”


Building an Eco-Friendly Green House Using Solar Powered Devices

The application of solar powered garden greenhouse gear more and more becoming a popular way to power a green house. The key benefits of solar power are many, and those who maintain garden greenhouses are swiftly learning of these advantages.

Solar technology is one of the most environmentally friendly energy choices. Supplying clean energy when you grow your garden greenhouse plants is a route a large number of people find to be fulfilling monetarily and environmentally.

Getting Started with Solar Powered Devices in the Eco-Friendly Garden Greenhouse

TIP! So that you don’t shock your plants, try gradually accustoming them to conditions and temperature. Place them outdoors in the sun for about an hour or two on the first day.

You’ll need different items for your green house so that you can rely on solar power. Remember these needs will change depending on the type of garden greenhouse you are trying to supply, along with the varieties of plants you are growing in your garden greenhouse.

Solar Panels. When choosing solar power panels, you should talk to someone about your distinct needs. Take into account where you will place the panels (on the roof, in the backyard, or along an exterior wall which faces to the south if you live in the Northern Hemisphere), and exactly how many panels are needed to supply your energy needs. For information on placing solar panels, see It’s also possible to try your hand at making your own personal solar power panels.

– Solar Batteries. The sun does not shine continuously, sadly, and you will need solar batteries to help you store power built up throughout the day.

Solar Fan Kit. The solar power greenhouse fan kit is a device that can help air-flow in the greenhouse by way of sunlight.

– Solar Powered Vent Management also helps your green house with sustaining proper temperatures.

– A Solar Light Indicator is also used to manage the usage of solar power in the eco-friendly green house.

TIP! Don’t mow your grass too short. Higher grass sends roots further down, increasing lawn strength and viability.

Mylar Blankets can also be a helpful piece of equipment for your solar powered garden greenhouse. When positioning these blankets with the reflective part facing the sun and your solar power panels, you may well be able to mirror the sun’s light on to your panels to build more solar power in the greenhouse.

– A Solar Window Thermometer can also be essential to help regulate temperatures in your eco-friendly greenhouse.

Additionally, it is worthwhile to keep in mind that utilizing sunlight to power your green house is a benefit that will provide you with the most profit over a prolonged period of time. You should know all of this as you assemble your equipment, plus the cost of maintaining the equipment as time passes.

Constructing an eco-friendly solar powered garden greenhouse is an ambitious goal. Yet, it is a goal that will provide long-term advantages and pleasure while improving the environment.


City-Owned Buildings in Toronto to Install Rooftop Solar Power Projects

(via Clean Technica)

  The City of Toronto and Toronto Hydro have signed an agreement through which 8,800 solar panels will be installed on city-owned buildings across the city. The construction for the project has already started with the installation of panels on Mimico Arena, York Mills Arena, and Goulding Park Community…

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Rawlemon’s Spherical Solar Energy-Generating Globes Can Even Harvest Energy from Moonlight

The solar energy designers at Rawlemon have created a spherical, sun-tracking glass globe that is able to concentrate sunlight (and moonlight) up to 10,000 times. The company claims that its ß.torics system is 35% more efficient than traditional dual-axis photovoltaic designs, and the fully rotational, weatherproof sphere is even capable of harvesting electricity from moonlight.

The ß.torics system was invented by Barcelona-based German Architect André Broessel. He sought to create a solar system that could be embedded in the walls of buildings so that they may act as both windows and energy generators. But the project isn’t only noteworthy for its solar efficiency capabilities – the ß.torics system is designed to generate lunar energy too!

The spheres are able to concentrate diffused moonlight into a steady source of energy. The futuristic ß.torics system is catching a lot of attention for its clean and beautiful design. (Despite solar power’s huge potential, we haven’t seen too many beautiful solar power technologies). We’re excited to see how architects will incorporate these energy generating orbs into alternative energy agendas and future building designs!