Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

Why is Sustainability Important

Sustainability is the ability to maintain a certain status or process in existing systems. The most frequent use of the term “sustainability” is connected to biological or human systems in the context of ecology. The ability of an ecosystem to function and maintain productivity for a prolonged period is also sustainability.
Living a sustainable lifestyle is one way to help. In this series pages we will go into what sustainability has to with ecology, recycling, water, and more. We will also reveal what some companies (like Petsmart and Disney) are doing to make a difference by operating their businesses in a sustainable way.

Why is Sustainability Important / Our Future Depends Upon It

Sustainability is important because all the choices we pursue and all the actions that we make today will affect everything in the future. We need to make sound decisions at present in order to avoid limiting the choices of generations to come.

For example, if you continue wasting water and polluting the dwindling supply of freshwater that we have today, we leave future generations with no other choice than to desalinate saltwater or treat contaminated water for their consumption and daily use. We can also be assured that, if that happens, all life that depends on clean freshwater will become extinct.

The same goes with the supply of soil that we currently have. Without proper care, our soils can easily lose quality enough that they will no longer be able to encourage growth and sustain life. If that happens, future civilizations will be void of crop and other natural sources of food. They will then have no other choice but to create man-made sources for nourishment and sustenance.

Why is Sustainability Important / Extinction Will Prevail

The two examples described above may seem terrible but, in fact, those are not the worst circumstances we can leave the future of mankind with. If clean water and good soil become scarce enough, all life on Earth can become extinct. Keep in mind that this does not just apply to soil and water but all elements of nature that are crucial to sustaining the Earth’s equilibrium.

In the past, the entire human population was small and civilizations had very few needs. At that time, natural resources seemed infinite because the capacity of nature to regenerate was much higher than the rate at which human beings used up resources.

Why is Sustainability Important / Time to Wake Up

Today, we are painfully beginning to learn that environmental resources are limited and are quite sensitive to everything that we do. We are starting to experience the effects of the actions of generations that came before us. To make sure that future generations will not experience worse, we need to be aware of the ideals and requirements of sustainability.

As we become aware, we need to put what we learn into action as that is the only way we can allow nature to catch up with the rate at which our requirements grow. This does not mean having to stifle human development. On the contrary, it means sustaining the supply of resources so that we can, in turn, sustain human development.

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Going green isn’t just for buildings anymore — the sustainability trend has also hit the industrial sector.

In 2009, the Northwest Food Processors Association and the Department of Energy announced aggressive goals to reduce energy use and carbon emissions by 25 percent over the next 10 years. This topic will be discussed at this year’s annual Energy Efficiency Summit, which is held in conjunction with the NWFPA’s annual conference in January at the Oregon Convention Center.

Industrial companies can reduce energy usage by training employees on energy efficiency, formalizing operations and maintenance plans, implementing renewable energy solutions and changing the company culture so that energy reduction is a corporate value.

Another opportunity to conserve energy is to upgrade old equipment with new, more energy-efficient technology. Many industrial companies have aging boilers, used to produce process steam, that consume large amounts of energy and are costly to maintain.

Combined Heat and Power technology has been successfully used to reduce energy usage in industrial processing facilities that utilize large amounts of process steam. Combined Heat and Power plants produce both steam and electricity from a single fuel at a facility co-located with the steam host. These systems offset some of the cost of producing process steam by generating electricity for sale or use as a part of the Combined Heat and Power process.

There are many benefits to using a Combined Heat and Power system including reducing the demand on the utility grid, increasing energy efficiency, lowering greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the property against power outages, while significantly lowering the utility costs of building operations.

Plant managers and owners may believe the cost of upgrading isn’t practical, but with the tax incentives and grants that are available for energy efficiency improvements, upgrading is more cost effective than they may realize. It allows owners to shift their investment from steam generation to improving their food processing line. It also significantly reduces their carbon footprint — something that is being required by more of their clients every year. New technology, combined with overall energy programs and practices, will help this industry achieve the goals set forth by the NWFPA and the Department of Energy.

Industrial contractors, industrial construction management professionals and equipment vendors that can assist clients in upgrading their systems, reducing energy consumption, and saving money will be present at the January trade show to meet representatives of local food processing companies.

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Sustainability starts with a switch. Not just the changing of a light bulb, but a fundamental shift in our stewardship of the earth’s resources—and how we regard our obligation to all life on the planet, now and for future generations.

When a family, a school, small business or global corporation builds the ethic of sustainability into its culture, it creates a sense of solidarity, a feeling that all of us are working toward a common and noble goal. It infuses the vision of leaders and energizes productivity at every level.

Toward a brighter future

Changing a light bulb does make a difference. Worldwide, lighting consumes 19% of electricity. Every incandescent lamp we replace with an ENERGY STAR®–qualified bulb saves approximately 75% in energy consumption.1 They can last up to 10 times as long as traditional incandescents1, so resources are also conserved in manufacturing, transportation and building maintenance.

Conserving energy through this simple act creates ripples affecting our community, nation and the entire earth. We’re reducing the pressure to build new power plants and generating less waste for our landfills. And most important of all, we’re cutting the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

Sustainability as a culture

At Servant,we define sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

We believe that every entity, from a suburban household to a global corporation, can benefit by incorporating sustainability into everyday life and long-range planning. As Nobel laureate Al Gore said, we now have “an opportunity to experience something that few generations ever have the privilege of knowing: a common moral purpose compelling enough to lift us above our limitations…”2

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