Ecotourism: Going Green on the Go

Summer is almost here and for most of us that means vacation time. Great news, we can vacation and still maintain our green principles. It's called ecotourism. Ecotourism, according to the World English Dictionary, is traveling to destinations that celebrate nature and vacationing in a way that protects or minimizes our impact on the world around us. You are probably thinking this means camping out. While ecotourism can involve camping out it does not have to mean sacrificing the comforts of indoor plumbing or any other comfort for that matter. Here are some steps you can take to create the green vacation of your dreams.
Make informed decisions
Research is always a great place to start before embarking on any new adventure. Ecotourism has become popular in the last few years, so just about any destination you chose will have eco-friendly options. If you are traveling inside the United States an Internet search for the Department of Environmental Protection in the state you are visiting will list hotels engaged in green activities. There are also plenty of hotels internationally that cater to patrons interested in going green while on the go. Websites such as Greenloons promote destinations around the world that specialize in ecotourism. There are green hotels and travel to fit just about any budget.
Ask Questions
However you chose to travel by plane, train, or automobile earth friendly options may be available. Asking questions can unlock all kinds of previously unknown options. Many car rental agencies offer hybrids. Since they are considered to be specialty cars the price is significantly higher than economy cars but the price range is generally in the middle range of all the cars offered.
Airlines such as Virgin America, Delta, and a few others are praised as being more eco-conscious than most. They go beyond recycling. Like airplanes trains have made many improvements within the last decade. They are cleaner, lighter, and emit less greenhouse gases than they did in the past.
Plan Ahead
Since ecotourism is becoming more popular planning ahead and booking ahead is a great way to get the eco-options that you want. It will help you get first choice options and save money.
Beware of Greenwashing
Beware of greenwashing. Greenwashing is when businesses deceptively promote the idea that the business engages in earth friendly policies. Doing your research and asking questions can help you make the right decisions when it comes to enjoying an earth friendly vacation.
Kimberly Winston is a doctoral candidate at Walden University. Her website is dedicated to green living and saving green. informs readers on green issues and provides tips for going green.

Going Green, The Economy and The 2012 Election

What are the buzz topics currently appearing over and over again in the marketplace? When that question popped into my mind the answers were immediate:

1) Going Green

2) The state of the economy and

3) The 2012 Election for President of the United States

Sure there are other water cooler topics that you hear your co-workers discussing, like the final four, spring training and vacation plans for Spring and Summer. The Entertainment news topics, like the death of Whitney Houston and the latest episode of American Idol and The Bachelor and what big concert is coming to town or what sporting event is this weekend... so why would I think of "Going Green", "The Economy" and "The 2012 Elections"? Well, because if you have not already noticed, every newspaper, magazine and online news story mentions these topics. I recently browsed through a parent magazine and bam -these three topics. I flipped through an industry publication and once again same three topics. Glancing through Yahoo and MSN news stories, try it, and my guess is you will find the same thing.

So what is everyone saying on these burning issues? We need to be greener, the economy is slowly, very slowly showing signs of improvement and that the Republicans better stop fighting and decide on the best candidate to oppose President Obama. My take on these topics? Green is good if it truly a green program and the company is green, as well, otherwise it is just talk. The economy will improve when we start reinvesting in ourselves and stop expecting the Government to take care of us. Voters need to actually vote and make informed decisions and stop relying on what the mud-slinging ads say or the 5 o'clock news... check the facts yourself, do research on the candidates and make your decisions based on facts not on slanted ads or biased news reports. Most of all we actually have to cast a vote to have a say so, in other countries people will give their lives to be able to vote and here where we have the freedom to make such decisions, I fear that so many take this precious freedom that our forefathers fought to keep, for granted.

Bottom line is be self suffucient if you are able, do not take what other people say as fact, verify facts yourself and make sure that you do not forget that freedom was never free and is definitely not something we should take for granted. If you do not like the State of US affairs then cast your vote and make a difference.

The Benefits of Going Green!

The concept of green homes is a trend that is here to stay and is slowly but surely catching up in India. In the modern version of living, cities, towns and even villages are witnessing an increased preference towards building homes and creating an environment that contributes to the preservation of the ecosystem.

As far as application of this thought process to modern homes is concerned, the primary motivating factor that seems to help in making some positive progress in this direction, is the fact that going green can give home owners the ability to save on living expenses. Everybody who has lived in big towns and cities knows that life here can get overwhelmingly tough. It is not just the struggle to bring food to the table but also the desire to live comfortably. This is the reason why today every home has an AC, a refrigerator and so on. People don't want to compromise on comfort but at the same time they don't want to end up paying hefty energy consumption bills!

Green homes help such home owners get the best of both worlds by helping them cut down significantly on living expenses. By adopting green practices and by exercising the green philosophy, home owners can actually build on their goal to save.

Both builders and buyers are more aware of the benefits of going green, than ever before! Home owners in particular are seeing results in the form of reduced monthly expenses. So, everyone who is part of the equation is reaping benefits and this is reassuring to green enthusiasts who are trying their best to promote and sustain their efforts to build a greener planet.

As far as durability of home and home interiors go, the concept seems to play a big role. Homes that are built from green materials as part of building and furnishings tend to last longer and create significant real estate value. For instance, windows and walls that are designed and built to sustain this concept, don't let outside temperature alter the conditions inside. For instance, one of the green concepts include circulating water pipes sandwiched between two walls running all around the house. This keeps the interiors cool thus negating or limiting the need for an air conditioner. Also, the AC and appliances like the refrigerator function on optimum mode and expend less energy due to the cool environment, which shows up as significant savings on the bill!

When does a house become a green home?

When great care and attention is taken to optimally utilise energy and other natural resources for the healthy functioning of a house hold a house can qualify as a green home!

In India a building is certified as green when it is rated by Leadership in Energy and Environment Design, India advocated by Indian Green Building Council and The Energy and Resource Institute Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment. These systems have been created to award ratings based on the concept of design, construction and impact on the immediate environment. Accordingly a building can be certified with a gold, silver or platinum rating depending on how evolved it is on the green parameter.

Is going green more expensive?

Specially treated construction materials and innovative systems have to be painstakingly incorporated during the construction stages to help achieve the objective of optimal use of energy, managing waste, optimally utilising renewable resources like water. For instance green homes might use high performance glass among other innovations to keep the interiors cooler or LED lighting that is three times the cost of normal lighting might be used to create an energy-efficient environment. However take heart from the fact that even if initial costs seem high, you will start recovering it within a couple of years of usage due to the enormous amount of energy-saving and reduction. Remember that every green element need not be expensive, you can utilise a number of low-cost construction methods to enable significant energy-saving as well. An ideal green home should be a combination of various methods, both expensive and inexpensive!

Here is a sample of possible green elements that can be part of your house construction!

Solar heaters: These use solar panels to optimally make use of sun rays to heat the water collected in an insulated tank. Depending on the capacity of the tank and water usage, you can heat water if there is sufficient sunlight just twice a week for a week's water supply!

Benefits: This directly reduces the consumption of electricity worth rupees 600- 800 a month and helps recover installation cost in the span of 3-5 years. The cost of installation can amount anywhere between 7,000-12,000 Indian rupees.

Photovoltaic Panels: These use the energy from the sun to store electricity! You can actually live off the grid without any power supply if you integrate these panels with your building structure and create sufficient back up.

Some low-cost construction methods that help keep interiors cool during summer:

Thick walls with cavity: Such walls use up less number of bricks and leave a cavity within the wall and help in keeping the interiors cool.

Another effective low-cost construction method involves usage of soil and cement instead of just bricks to ensure nearly 15-20% cost saving and a cooler home!

Filler slabs and pre-cast elements for roofing is yet another effective construction method utilised for building roofs, which also help in keeping the interiors cool and results in 25% cost saving!

Rain water harvesting is a key element in renewing a water resource and helps in reaping long-term rewards and significant cost savings! This is nothing but an effective way to collect rain water and utilise it. This can be added as a provision in already constructed homes or incorporated while construction happens.

Though the concept of green homes is still in its nascent stages, many real estate authorities and builders are utilising the concept to educate their customers and use the same as a promotional tool to up their sales!

BankBazaar is a marketplace where you can instantly get the lowest loan rates, compare and apply online for your personal loan, car loan and home loan from India's leading banks and NBFCs.

Commercial Cleaning Companies Going Green in Cleaning

People are increasingly becoming more conscious and concerned about the environment. They opt to choose products or services that mean no harm to the environment. Green products are made from natural ingredients that are non-toxic and harmless to the environment as well as to people. Innovating and integrating the green habit is a worldwide trend since everyone is aware of the current global issues all of us are facing. Even commercial cleaning companies now use green non-toxic products when they clean. There are a number of reasons why most cleaning services take the initiative to go green, here's why:

Green Cleaning Products Easily Breaks Down

Regular cleaning products contain chemicals such as ammonia, phosphates and hydrochloric acid that are harmful to people's health and once these toxins and chemicals get to the water supply it poses a serious threat to everyone. Commercial cleaning companies that use green cleaning products will not pollute the air as well as the cleaning solution that ends up in the sewer system. These are harmless to the environment as well as to the people because it is biodegradable.

Toxins Released in a Closed Environment

Commercial buildings' design and structure have improved greatly in recent years and became much more energy-efficient. But as windows are sealed tight, warmth or cooling has no way of escaping and dangerous toxins stay trapped inside the building. Anyone who enters such a building could experience "sick building syndrome". A commercial cleaning company could worsen the scenario by using strong cleaning products instead of green cleaning products. A person in the building could end up breathing in these toxins and if the air-conditioning system is not cleaned or cannot properly filter such chemicals, these toxins can spread throughout the entire building.

Better and Improved Health

Office workers can become ill if exposed to toxins coming from strong cleaning solutions. Using environmentally friendly, non-toxic, low-allergen cleaning product will improve the health and well-being of your staff. Healthy staff mean less sick days and higher productivity. This is good news for any business.

An Environmental Responsibility

Being green is better. By choosing to use green cleaning products you not only show how responsible you are as a business owner. Choosing green means that you care about the environment and you support the campaign for a better Earth.

When seeking a commercial cleaning service, always look for a company that utilizes green products. In doing so you are helping yourself, your family and the environment.

Metal Plating Companies Are Going Green

Many believe that the metal plating industry is one of the top contributors to the worsening of environment. While everyone has his own reasons to be skeptic, it seems that statistical data from different studies support this claim. But the good news is, despite this 'unpopular image' given to this particular industry segment, a lot of metal plating companies now are working to go green - by setting standards for a cleaner and greener environment, which are integrated to their metal plating processes.

Lots of companies in the industry have taken the necessary steps for the attainment of a cleaner and greener environment. In fact, these measures can be considered a 'milestone' undertaking, which others should follow.

Below are some example of environmental measures set by metal plating companies that are dedicated to going green:

'Improvement on general housekeeping'

Metal plating companies take measure to keep the plating environment clean, keeping foreign matters away to reduce contamination of the process bath. These companies have also replaced the traditional tanks with ones that are corrosion-resistant.

'The use of additives'

The use of additives is also popular as this helps to aid the metal plating process, by waste generation reduction. Some additives being used are wetting agents, non-chelated process chemicals.

'Equipment enhancement'

Lots of metal companies dedicated to going green continue to work on enhancing their plating and other process equipment (e.g. replacing machines with new ones that consume lesser fuel or electricity). Equipment enhancement does not only help in controlling pollution but it also a way to prevent contamination of the process bath and extend its life.

'Chemical substitution'

The use of alternative chemicals in the metal plating process is also being practiced by these metal plating companies. As an example, they replace cyanide-based plating with non-cyanide-based processes. This is aimed at reducing toxic disposals that are usually produced by common chemicals.

'Waste segregation'

Removing impurities from baths can also improve wastes management process. This can include techniques including filtration, carbonate freezing, precipitation, electrolysis, and carbon treatment.

'On-site recycling and recovery'

Reusing of bath solutions is also being practiced as this can reduce wastes discharge. Acid solution regeneration and spent acid bath reuse are some examples that can be applied in the process.

True indeed that there is still a long way to go and a lot of work to do to be able to achieve a kind of environment we are aiming to have. But it is nice to know that there are companies in the industry that have taken a bold step towards the attainment of this goal.

Riza is an Internet enthusiast who loves to write and share an array of topics - including industry-related info. For more on this topic, visit: GMP Plating, Inc - a metal plating company in Bayarea.