With the world's continuing saga of economic crisis, diminishing non-renewable resources, and environmental degradation, it is but imperative to look for means to sustain life through more effective methods of acquiring energy. One such possibility is the utilization of solar/wind energy, aka off grid energy. Apart of being an essential component in the sustenance of life, solar energy refers to the light and radiant heat emitted by the sun. Forever present, that energy can be collected, converted and used to heat the water in your house as well as produce the light and all the electric power you need. Not only that, but by converting the power of the sun into energy we save a great amount of money and gradually get rid of our addiction to oil, coal and other substances that contaminate the environment. Now we live off the grid

Simply put, Living off the Grid means living in a house, or any other dwelling, that is not connected to the electricity grid. One can achieve that by simple means such as burning wood to heat and cook or by, as sophisticated as, producing one's own energy by harnessing the power of the sun and/or wind. The energy produced by the sun and/or wind can be then stored in batteries. The number of batteries is dependent on the amount of storage capacity that is needed. The more energy you consume the more batteries you will need to store the energy produced.

A number of technologies have benefited from the utilization of the solar energy and since it is one of the resources that account for most of the available flow of earth's renewable energy, solar energy technologies provide electrical generation by heat engine or photovoltaic means, space heating and cooling, potable water via distillation and disinfection, water heating, thermal energy for cooking and more. The use of solar energy has been proven extremely valuable not only for many industries, but also for use in our homes.

Living off grid is economical, practical and most of all it is the one thing most of us can do to help save the environment. Imagine how, even more, wonderful life will be if you could begin to produce your own energy.

There are different ways by which you can begin to do so: If you can afford it, you can hire a company to build for you a solar/wind System that will do the job. (Count on spending several thousands of dollars). A better, less expensive, way is to do what thousands of people from all over the globe have been doing your own. Yes, nowadays there are some excellent DIY, (Do-It-Yourself) kits that will guide you, step-by-step on how to build your own solar panels and how to build your own wind generators. And like a magic, in a matter of days, you will finally be able to actually fire your utility company and taste the sweetness of Living Off Grid.

You can learn about two of the best kits available by visiting:

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Article Source: - Living Off the Grid by Harnessing the Power of the Sun

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Achieving Sustainability For You And Your Business


By definition, to sustain means to give support or relief. So it's no surprise that sustainable businesses support or improve the current and future quality of people's lives. Many architects, builders, interior designers, and others are frequently asked to use natural products that protect and improve the environment. And in many industries, special designations exist for recognizing these certified companies.

Cleveland is one of the few cities in Ohio that is taking strong strides to make a difference in the U.S. Delicious Living Magazine voted Cleveland as one of the top five most impressive cities in the U.S. for this reason. Yet, according to the recent Ohio Health and Wellness Report produced by The Marketing Insider, Ohio still has some catching up to do. Mindset is where it needs to be in regard to an overall understanding of sustainability, yet this is not translating enough into action for both businesses and consumers.

Although sustainable businesses represent only a small percentage of the business community, it is a fast-growing part of the marketplace. It is expanding at a healthy pace and is projected to reach $1 trillion annually by 2020. Over 27 large U.S. corporations, including Nike, Estee Lauder, 3M, and Hewlett-Packard, accounting for over one billion dollars of the annual U.S. market for paper, pulp, and packaging, have made a commitment to stop selling products or using packaging made from old-growth trees, and to influence their suppliers to do the same.

The sustainable economy is one of the five main LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) markets. It includes:

  1. Alternative transportation
  2. Green building and goods
  3. Renewable energy
  4. Resource-efficient products
  5. Socially responsible investing
  6. Environmental management

LOHAS is a $230 billion (and growing) U.S. marketplace for goods and services that appeal to consumers who value health, the environment, social justice, personal development and sustainable living. Of this $230 billion, $76.5 billion is comprised of sustainable economy.

Understanding overall sustainability is one thing, but doing something to be a part of it is yet another. It's important that you use this information to empower you toward action-to effect change. The Sustainable Style Foundation of Seattle, Washington, puts it succinctly, "look fabulous, live well and do good." Many of us recycle, something that may seem commonplace, yet is one step toward helping to protect the environment.

From a business standpoint, business owners can use this information to become sustainable and provide a better place for people to work and live. Companies can be sustainable even through their internal marketing and communications efforts. By using electronic formats to deliver collateral material and presentations to their internal and external audiences, they can minimize waste. In addition, professionally printed materials can be created on recycled paper with natural inks. Many companies that use catalogs to sell their products use print-on-demand to print only necessary pages, and use a searchable online catalog as their main catalog. Other companies, such as Interface Flooring Systems, offer users the opportunity to order samples directly from their website and return them in a prepaid package when they're finished.

Sustainability extends much further than the physical environment. It encompasses the social sphere as well. Many companies choose to be sustainable by effecting social change. Sometimes it's as simple as getting many groups to work together toward a common goal or effort that will impact the community. It allows everyone to make a difference.

Ben and Jerry's is a well-known company that promotes a variety of causes, including rainforest protection, world peace, and community economic development. The company established a foundation that donates a percentage of its profits to charities all over the world. In addition, ingredients for its ice cream are purchased from companies that employ homeless people, recovering alcoholics, and drug addicts, as well as from developing countries.

By making a commitment to honest and accessible public relations, a company can be sustainable. Many manufacturers have established toll-free numbers to sell merchandise and respond to customer inquiries. When staffed by courteous and knowledgeable associates, these companies are able to fulfill their commitment to being accessible with the right information that will help the consumer successfully use or safely dispose of a product. A company new to an area, or one that has developed an innovative solution to help solve an environmental problem, should consider an open-house policy to build support and trust in the company. Consumers and communities need to be given a reason to feel proud about companies. The founder of Body Shop International did just that when she opened their new Canadian headquarters in 1993. She generated favorable press by explaining to invited guests that the building was the most environmentally sound in Toronto. This naturally boosted sales and created customer loyalty.

Sustainability will only be achieved by a cohesive effort among individuals, companies and communities. Through this cohesive effort, companies of all sizes can truly practice sustainable business and instill trust and loyalty in both its employees and the consumers it serves.

About the Author:
Colette Chandler can help your business market to the emerging green consumer. Learn more about her October seminar at

Article Source: - Achieving Sustainability For You and Your Business


"In 2003, one massive power outage put most of the Eastern Seaboard - more than 50 million people - into a complete blackout, affecting the water supply, transportation, communication and causing widespread looting. A highly dangerous strain of E. coli in the town of Walkerton's water supply was responsible for sickness in 40% of the population and even 7 deaths.

Power, water and the 'grid' system are what keep civilized societies moving, but a rapidly growing sense of concern has citizens everywhere desiring and then demanding control over their own utilities. A passion for self sufficiency is spreading, not in the 'I want to go and live back-to-the-land like in a hippy commune' kind of way, rather in a straight forward, no nonsense way that requires little to no sacrifice of any living standards and is affordable at the same time. Solar power, wind generation, even rain catchment are becoming hot topics all around the world.

In this poignant and personal documentary, Les Stroud and Sue Jamison, along with their two young children, share their experience leaving a world of electricity bills and water problems and going 'off the grid' as they move to their acreage in Northern Ontario. Filmmaker Les Stroud wanted to show first hand that you need be neither a back-to-the-lander, an electrical engineer, or rich to escape the clutches of government-controlled electricity and water."

"Big Ideas For A Small Planet is a documentary series presenting the forward-thinking designers, products and provesses that are at the forefront of a new green world. Each episode revolves around a different green theme as it spotlights 3 specific innovators or innovations that have the potential to transform out everyday lives. The indivials profiled range from scientists to fashion and product designers, and from entrepreneurs to first-time inventors."