Saving Energy To Save Money
Tired of Paying High Disposal and Processing Fees for Your Restaurant’s Grease? What Are Your Options?
If you own a restaurant that utilizes oil frying as a preparation method, you may find yourself spending what seems like an inordinate amount of time and mental energy on the process of removing and disposing of your waste oil. Many restaurants contract with a grease-removal company and pay a regular fee for removal while others handle the process themselves by placing the oil into an impermeable container and hauling it to a disposal site. Not only can these disposal methods be pricey, but they often don’t take advantage of the untapped energy within this waste oil, from the creation of biodiesel that can be used to power vehicles and portable generators to recycled methane gas that can be used to generate electricity. Read on to learn more about some of your eco-friendly (and wallet-friendly) alternatives to traditional grease-disposal methods. Advertise to eco-minded consumers More and more consumers with an eye on saving money and limiting carbon emissions have begun the process of converting their own diesel vehicle to run on a biodiesel mix. Since purchasing biodiesel may not always be a money-saving proposition compared to purchasing regular diesel fuel, thriftier environmentalists have begun collecting waste oil from restaurants and other businesses and refining this oil at home to create inexpensive biodiesel. This process is relatively simple, utilizing a solvent to separate the waste oil into its two byproducts—biodiesel and glycerin. After you drain off the glycerin and filter the biodiesel through a strainer to remove any debris, this liquid should be ready to power a diesel vehicle or freestanding generator. Advertising your waste oil to all consumers who brew their own biodiesel (or entering into a quieter arrangement with one or two customers who promise to haul away your waste oil on a regular basis) can be a win-win situation. Not only will you be able to remove and replenish your restaurant’s frying grease without paying disposal and processing fees, but you’ll be providing “free” biodiesel to area residents and improving the environment. For an even greater marketing kick, you may want to ask your consumers whether they would be willing to display your company’s name and logo on a bumper sticker that tells passersby that their vehicle is being powered by your waste grease. In an era where more and more attention is paid to preserving the environment, emphasizing your restaurant’s “green” roots in the public sphere can often be a boon for business. Look into methane recycling A number of grease-recycling companies collect and process restaurant waste oil, converting it to methane gas that can be used to generate electricity. These companies generally sell their methane gas to power plants, although large recycling companies can sometimes have power-generating plants on site. Because the grease collected is able to be reused and resold, rather than simply processed and dumped, contracting with a grease-recycling company is generally much less expensive than enlisting a disposal company. When you recycle your waste oil with a methane-producing facility, the amount of work you’ll need to perform after signing the initial service contract should be minimal. The recycling company will come to your business on a regular predetermined schedule, empty your grease traps into their recycling truck, and leave. The company will either sending you a bill later or require payment up...read more
Solar Power Is The Future Of Energy: Four Reasons You Should Consider Having Solar Panels Installed On Your Home
Environmentalists have boasted about the benefits of solar energy for decades. After all, the sun has been shining for billions of years, and the energy that can be derived from it is entirely clean. Alongside wind and hydropower, solar energy is one of the most effective ways to reduce the effects of climate change. However, even if you’re not an environmentalist, solar energy provides a number of financial and practical benefits that make installing solar panels on your home an attractive solution to your energy needs. Battery Technology: No Need for Daylight In the past, one of the biggest downsides to solar power was the fact that solar panels can only produce an adequate amount of energy when the sun is shining directly on them. That meant solar power wasn’t viable at nighttime and on cloudy days. However, battery technology has made huge strides in recent years. It’s now becoming possible to store enough excess solar energy in home battery systems so that your solar panels give you ample electricity to make it through the nights and cloudy days. One of the most famous proponents of solar power and home battery systems is Elon Musk, known for founding Tesla Motors. His company has recently begun producing wall-mounted home battery systems to be used in conjunction with solar panels. As solar power becomes more mainstream and battery technology continues to progress, there will likely be a multitude of companies producing similar systems with increasing levels of efficiency. That means keeping your entire home powered with solar energy will become increasingly easy in the near future. Sunlight Is Free and Reliable One of the biggest benefits of having your own solar power system is energy independence. You’ll no longer be reliant on your local power company, and your electricity bills will be drastically reduced every month. Depending on your location and the size of your home, you may even be able to eliminate your monthly electricity bills entirely. As an additional benefit, you won’t have to worry about unexpected electricity outages caused by downed power lines and other infrastructure maintenance. As long as you keep your personal power system in working order, you can rest assured that you’ll always have an ample amount of electricity on tap. Increasing the Value of Your Home If you’re considering installing solar panels on your home, one of your biggest concerns is probably the initial cost of installing the system. Even though solar panels will drastically reduce or eliminate your monthly electricity bills, it may take many years for those savings to offset the cost of installation. However, solar panels also offer another great financial benefit by increasing the value of your home. A Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study completed in 2009 found that California homes with solar power systems installed were worth an average of $17,000 more than comparable homes without solar panels. Even if you relocate before your energy bill savings have covered the cost of installing your solar panels, the increased resale value of your home can easily offset the installation fees. Furthermore, having a solar power system will help make your home stand out in the market and make it more enticing to prospective buyers. Increasing American Energy Independence A lot of politicians boast about the importance of making America more...read more
Do you live in a rural area and sometimes host big bonfire parties with lots of guests and plenty of food? If so, it’s time to start thinking about your septic tank. Septic systems can take a beating during any event in which several guests are invited. And when you add fire to the equation, you’re putting yourself at risk too. Read on to learn 3 septic tank-related tips you have to keep in mind during your rural bonfire shindigs. Guest Parking When too many guests show up to the party, some of them have to park on the lawn. Unfortunately, most residential septic tank systems are not designed to handle the weight of vehicles driving over them. If your bonfire party guests are parking their cars and trucks in the vicinity of your tank, you risk them damaging its lid. Such damage could result in an immediate collapse of your tank or a weakening of it and a later collapse. Similarly, allowing your guests to drive over or park on your leach field is also a bad idea. Not only can it damage your system’s discharge pipes, but it will also compact the soil in your leach field. With the soil compacted, your leach field’s ability to process discharge water will be lessened and the overall lifespan of your septic system will suffer. Do not let party-goers park anywhere near your septic tank or your leach field. Dedicate an area of your yard that is as far away from your system as possible to parking, and hang signs and put out cones to make sure your guests make it there with their vehicles. If you simply don’t have room in your yard to accommodate guest parking without putting your septic tank at risk, consider asking guests to park at a different location and carpool to your house. Fire Placement As waste enters your septic system, bacteria work to break down the solids through the process of anaerobic digestion. One of the byproducts of anaerobic digestion is methane — a toxic and extremely flammable gas. This gas can be ignited by fire just as easily as liquid petroleum. Bonfires can reach temperatures hotter than 2,012 degrees Fahrenheit, and methane will auto-ignite at roughly 1,076 degrees Fahrenheit — a flame doesn’t even need to be present. If you’re building your bonfire on or in the vicinity of your septic tank, you’re risking blowing up your tank and putting yourself and all of your guests in danger. Like your guests’ vehicles, keep your bonfire far away from your septic system. It’s also a good idea to throw plenty of green wood on your fire while it’s burning (green wood will lower its burning temperature) and to post a few “no smoking” signs in the immediate vicinity of your septic tank. Waste Volume Residential septic systems are usually designed to efficiently handle the waste load of the houses they’re connected to. Unless you have a 25 bedroom house, your tank likely isn’t built to manage the water usage of 50 guests. And when your tank becomes full, your septic system will backup; you’ll have waste water coming back up through your toilets and spewing onto your bathroom floors. It’s in the best interest of your septic tank to rent portable toilets for your...read more
Unfortunately, trash-filled dumpsters are an attractive proposition for marauding pests, and raccoons are a common sight in and around many North American towns and cities. In fact, as the human population has increased across the United States, raccoons have also adapted and grown in number. Raccoons are a nuisance around dumpsters, and it’s important for business owners to take steps to stop these naughty animals making a mess. Learn more about raccoon habits around dumpsters, and find out how to protect your business from these pests. Raccoon habits Raccoons are largely solitary creatures, but if your dumpster offers plenty of treats, you may see more than one of these animals raiding the receptacle for food. Raccoons are omnivorous, which means they will eat almost anything, including meat, vegetables, fruit and fish. As such, almost any organic waste in your dumpster is a possible raccoon meal, so if you need to dispose of unwanted food, your dumpster is a target for raccoons. Some people mistakenly believe that only people in rural areas need to worry about raccoons. In fact, these animals will travel significant distances to feed, and a raccoon will happily use underground sewers and pipes to travel between feeding destinations. As such, business owners in towns and cities may still suffer from a raccoon problem. You’re less likely to see one of these animals during the winter, but raccoons will feed as much as possible during the summer and fall because they need to pile on fat reserves. Reasons to get rid of raccoons Raccoons are certainly cute to look at, and popular films make these creatures rather likeable. That aside, these animals can cause various problems. While foraging for food, raccoons can damage your business premises. As well as breaking your dumpster, the animals can damage things like insulation or pipes in a quest to find material for their bedding. What’s more, while feeding and foraging in and around your dumpster, the animals will often poop, which creates an unpleasant smell and a biohazard. For food retailers or café owners, this is bad for your reputation. Raccoons aren’t normally dangerous, although they can become aggressive when cornered. Raccoons may also attack if they are unwell or injured. The animals can carry zoonotic diseases that they can pass on to humans, including rabies. What’s more, the animals can also create a terrible mess, as they will often drag the contents of a dumpster out to get to the food they want to eat. Ways to secure your dumpster If the raccoons cannot get inside the dumpster, they will normally give up and go elsewhere, so the best way to protect your business is to securely close the receptacle. If your dumpster lid is broken or you cannot secure it properly, talk to your supplier about a suitable replacement. Many suppliers now offer lockable dumpsters that will defeat these wily creatures. In the meantime, you can secure unlockable dumpster lids with bungee cords. Of course, if staff members use the dumpster all day, it’s easy to forget to secure the lid every time, so make sure your employees never leave the lid open. You should also make sure workers don’t leave any food waste or debris around the dumpster, as this will soon attract raccoons and other pests. If you find a raccoon trapped...read more