Category Archives: Q&A

Doing the dishes?

The Question: (from Europe)

Within a business / home environment what should be considered to be the least environmental pressing way of doing the dishes:

  • washing dishes by hand?

  • automated cleaning of dishes?
  •  buying disposable tableware, plates and cups?

My Answer:

There are so many variables here that no single answer will be the best choice. The impacts of each option above could be large or small depending upon context.

We need to dig a little deeper to find the best approach

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Base-load Solar Power?

The Question:

What steps are needed to make solar energy a cost-effective, base-load energy source?

(from North America)

My Answer:

Broad definitions of ‘solar’ and ‘baseload’ are necessary to best answer the question. Solar is not limited to photovoltaic panels and base-load (demand) is not necessarily a given, it can also be managed through increased systems efficiency. Continue reading

Carbon offset credits?

The Question (from Florida): Are purchasing carbon offset credits really helpful to the environment? Where are the statistics these are actually a positive endeavour?

My Answer:

Lies, damned lies and statistics, to borrow from Mark Twain, seldom convince anyone who doesn’t agree with them in the first place. Proof positive of an environmental benefit is a long time coming in most cases. Unfortunately if we just ‘wait and see’ then it will definitely be too late to avoid harm.

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Making Green Decisions?

The Question:

Making green decisions: Do it for the environment or for the business?

My Answer: Continue reading

Sustainable Office: Build new or renovate?

The Question:

Is it more sustainable for a company to build a brand new but eco-friendly office building, or to purchase an existing but not so eco-friendly property?

My Answer: Continue reading

Who drives corporate sustainability?

The Question:

What position in a company drives sustainability initiatives the most?

My Answer: Continue reading

Sick and tired of “green”?

The Question:  (from the USA)

Are you sick and tired of “green.”?

Pretty much none of us want to intentionally waste or harm the environment, but are you sick and tired of “green” everything? The NFL having people use stationary bikes to reduce a so-called “carbon footprint” at a Superbowl; “global warming” commercials showing people in a hurricane implying the world will sink into the sea; and any number of crazy ideas just to say “green.” At what point does this all look like a shakedown instead of smart practices?

My Answer: Continue reading

Sustainable workplace initiatives?

The Question:

What are some of the biggest hurdles in achieving sustainable initiatives in the workplace?

A company going green can be both competitive and profitable, but what are some of the biggest hurdles in achieving sustainable initiatives within the workforce? Is it engaging company employees? Up-front high costs of sustainable practices? What have been some of the challenges in your experience?

My Answer: Continue reading

Is low carbon construction a sustainable model?

The Question: (from Amanda in the USA)

Saving the planet or maximising a growing opportunity? Is low carbon construction a sustainable model?

I’m trying to ascertain whether construction companies are following low carbon strategies to save the planet, to follow the crowd or to benefit from genuine contract opportunities. Will low carbon and sustainable projects offer life support to many recession-challenged SMEs? Is there business for the taking? What do you think?

My Answer: Continue reading

Investing in Solar Panels?

The Question: (from California)

What are the pros and cons of buying and installing your own solar panels, vs. leasing them through a company such as Solar City?

I am considering installing solar panels on my house. There are a lot of attractive sounding offers from leasing companies out there (such as “pay nothing – we will install and manage your panels for you, and you just keep paying your regular electricity bill amount to us instead”). I would appreciate advice from anyone who understands true pros and cons of each option.

My Answer: Continue reading