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Types of Renewables which are Relevant to the Small Business.

Types of Renewables which are Relevant to the Small Business.

 Table of Contents

Thoughts from a small tourism business. 1 Heating & Cooling. 1 Light & Water-pumps. 1 Food-waste and energy. 2 Green Innovation in Tourism can Trigger Major Benefits. 2 Vertical Gardening. 3 Education as a Tool for Progress. 3 Social Media. 4 Change the Obvious. 4 Links; 5 Resources; 5 A Complete New Heating System Installation Including Solar Tubes; 5

Thoughts from a small tourism business.

One of the simplest, most widely available and logical system anyone should consider in insulation. In the late 90’s American engineers studying eco-build and technology claimed that for every dollar spent on insulation seven ($7) dollars was saved on renewables. Since then energy costs have doubled and indeed quadrupled. By insulating well one will save on fuel-costs and subsequent carbon emissions and eventual fines as well as making the building more habitable.

Heating & Cooling.

Heating water uses 70% of the average household energy bill. Anything to cut down on this will save money and carbon-emissions. A simple solar-panel ( array at ground-level costs about €1200,-and is easy to erect – at ground level and this also means one doesn’t use a pump or worry about ‘thermo-syphoning’. Ireland’s official state enenvironmental service state that one can expect to get 60% of one’s hot-water from a good system and it should last 35 years. Any tourist business is bound to need hot-water either for showers and/or to heat the building. By pre-heating the central-heating system one saves more money by the fact that one uses less energy to raise the radiator-water temps to the necessary 65ºC. Using solar-gain to heat water is a no-brainer as the average savings on a simple system is 42% on domestic hot water (DHW) bills. Solar-water energy can be used in “solar-refrigeration technology” where the hot water creates a flow that in turn draws liquid to gas in a refrigeration unit to run the unit instead of electrical pumps.

Light & Water-pumps

Photo-voltaic (PV) systems are a means to convert sunlight into electrical energy. A simple ‘plug n play’ 10 x 20cm PV panel (from B&Q at €75,-) will provide enough power to the renewable batteries in it to power to good spotlights that will provide adequate lighting to the doorway/hall/ bikeshed etc all year round. In addition to external /internal lighting, the fact that they are independant from the electricity supply means that as a good reliable source of light in case of fire or electricity failure can not be underestimated. Photo Voltaic can also run 12V water pumps (as used by boats, caravans, campers). This can be used to raise water from ground-storage reservoirs used to rainwater-harvest and pumped to storage tanks in the attic or roof-top to provide rainwater for toilets, fire-systems, plant-watering etc. As PV systems improve and come down in price they can also load deep-cycle batteries which in turn can power more ‘serious’ projects like air-compressors, larger flood-lighting or even charging an electric vehicle – a motorised-wheelchair, golf-buggy or even a car. Such a facility would drive customers to the business just for such a service.

Food-waste and energy.

Food outlets are being charged ever greater prices to dispose of ‘food-waste’ and as the laws tighten on water-waste soon nothing but water and digested food will be allowed down sewerage systems. Anaerobic Digesters (AD’s) are making a fresh comeback having been used extensively after WWll to power busses (even some German panzer-tanks ran on ‘garbage-fuel). AD’s these days are small, compact and can run the fermentation, separation and packing of the dried garden-ready compost providing a secondary business. Part of the gasses produced in the fermentation run the system and so the unit is almost self sufficient as long as one feeds ‘food waste’; the rest of the gas can run (or at least supplement) the heating. Further inroads may be used as the cheese industry moves to making whey-products out of the ‘waste-product’ from cheese and it’s own waste becomes a valuable source of fodder for the AD’s and again what comes out is stable and flammable gas to be used in heating or running a generator to create electricity. Thus a small company would instead of losing money in ‘food-waste’ taxes be able to turn this into new forms of energy – compost and gas. During a recent online discussion into AD’s, topic experts Patrick Berridge, Ballyshannon farms and Tim Vierhout, Envierho contributed to the discussion and pointed out the lack of backing and lack of understanding there is still ‘prevalent’ however there is a growing interest. NB

Green Innovation in Tourism can Trigger Major Benefits.

The Rio+20 event ‘Green Innovation in Tourism’, co-hosted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) with the support of the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism and the UNWTO Affiliate Member CNC-SESC-SENAC gathered 300 international tourism experts; highlighting that shifts in tourism practices can produce major benefits, stimulating change towards greater sustainability within the tourism supply chain and other sectors. Minister of Tourism of Brazil, Gastão Dias Vieira, opening the‘Green Innovation in Tourism’ event stated “There can be no economic growth in tourism without sustainability, without conservation of natural resources and without incentives to citizenship. Alain Dupeyras, Head of the Tourism Unit, OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Local Development, said “A more strategic approach to fostering green innovation in tourism will require greater horizontal and vertical policy co-ordination, for example, to improve access to finance that supports the green innovation efforts of small and medium enterprises”. “The innovations we have seen today are concrete examples of how,with the appropriate investment, tourism can become even more profitable, labor-intensive and environmentally-friendly,” said Márcio Favilla, UNWTO Executive Director for Competitiveness, External Relations and Partnerships. “With one billion international tourists expected to travel in 2012, it is more important than ever that we support green innovation as a catalyst of tourism’s sustainable growth.” Source: Tourism News

Vertical Gardening.

Dickson D Despommier (blue shy farmer) has pointed out that according to current estimates the 8bn people expected to populate the world by 2050 wwill an additional growing space the size of Brazil. Structures can be built to accommodate ‘vertical fields’. Though expensive the structures working on micro-biological grounds can be built ‘most anywhere as there is no soil needed and huge savings are made in water savings. They can be built in cities to save on transport and provide fresh daily produce to urban dwellers all year round. This concept was what the Aztecs and Mayan people used – using ‘petra-tera’ or bio-char techniques to grow food within the cities with fruit trailing down walls and cliff-faces ripening in the thermal-mass warmth. In large areas of the Netherlands where the earth has been burnt out due to overuse of chemicals and lack of fallow-systems vast areas of food and plants are now grown on trestle tables. This has the added value of people farming at hip-height and being able ad more willing to tend better to individual plants and suffer back-strain less.

Education as a Tool for Progress.

Education is at the root for change and as SME’s look for ways to improve either profit margins and/or invest in renewable ways it becomes incumbent upon us all to seek ways to become independent of the nation grid or food supply system. By being part of a GIY in vertical-gardening or simply by buying local food in season we can help cut down on transport. By educating ourselves to think at a micro-level about where our food comes from we will appreciate it more and enjoy it more. With education we may even be able to reduce our consumption and by using existing and new technologies develop our own power – either using existing hardware or using a piezoelectric material (PZT) one can generate power by body-movement. Michael McAlpine of Princeton University has claimed that these units that convert movement in to power 100times more efficintly than quartz can.By walking, jogging, even breathing one can charge personal devices such as mobilephones, iPods etc

Social Media.

Ben Rattray (cyber organiser) Founder of the website ”” with 14m users – petitions for change at government level and encourages users to protest – on a global level – to what is seen as crimes against indigenous people, animals and indeed the eco-system. The platform gives ‘the little people’ a weapon to use against powerful big corporations around the world. Recent changes now give people globally the tools they need that target their own issues be they local or not. If they care about the reinstatement of a teacher, how food is manipulated or rubbish disposal they can connect with other (local) citizens to instigate change, no matter how small.

Change the Obvious.

Think differently and change things. James Bannerman – author of “Genius! Deceptively Simple Ways to Become Instantly Smarter” (Pearson) notes that while nobody likes to make mistakes when something goes wrong we can learn from this and change it to our advantage. He gives the example of the Leaning Tower of Piza – an architectural disaster that has re-birthed into a world tourist attraction. Go for simple. Canadian engineer JD Millar in 1930 suggested painting a broken white line in the middle of the road might help stop people crashing. In 2011 schoolboy Laurance Rook developed Smart Bell a doorbell that rings a person’s phone if they are not at home. His mother had gotten fed up missing parcel deliveries! ——————————————————————————————————————————————————–  


Ecologics an ethically based business in Bantry offers education and DIY systems to help homes and businesses reduce costs and improve conditions – http://www.


Step by step – PV installation videos Step by step – Solar Tubes; Solar Tube case study;

A Complete New Heating System Installation Including Solar Tubes;

Mystical Greenness; The Visions of Hildegard von Bingen (educated in Lismore, Co Waterford) ecological spiritually and nature mysticism of this 12C Benedictine abbess and visionary prophet is now seen by many as a prime example of “the creation spirituality” trdition within Christianity. Metzner, Ralph. Green Psychology, Transforming Our Relationship to the Earth; 1999, Park Tree Press. Berry, Thomas.The Dream of the Earth. San Fransisco: Sierra Club Books, 1988.Berry writes that the human species has become autistic in relationship to the natural world. He traces this ‘autism’ to Descarte’s invention of the mechanistic worldview.


Interesting article for anyone wanting/hoping to start a business – especially an on-line business.


Myths of Compromise and Reconcilation.

The myth of Dementer and Persephone, which provided the central story of the Eleusinian Mysteries, for two thousand years the core religious ceremony of the Greek world. (known by the Romans as Cerses– this gives us the word cereal) is the grain goddess whose daughter Persephone is kidnapped with connivance of the Zeus unleashes drought and desolation on the world. She rages against the lack of respect for the Earth Goddess. When the gods realise the extent of the mistake theyd made they compromise, Persephone resides half year above the ground and half below with Hades. Dementer agrees and teaches humans the secrets of agriculture and regeneration. In Irish mythology too there are hints of reconcilation rituals between invading Celt/Gaelic patriarcal society and the matricentric culture who worshipped the goddess of the land (Ériu). These stories often refer to the marriage of the warrior-king to the local goddess of the land who offered the sacred kingship in exchange for having the land named after them. Ériu the ancient name for Ireland was derived this way. The historical-writer wrote “In a famous story of Celtic/Gaelic invasion, Ériu made it clear that anyone wishing Ireland would have to revere the goddess if they wished to prosper and be fruitful”.

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