The Benefits of Producing Energy from Fracking

America is experiencing an energy revolution, and the biggest single reason is fracking. Also known as hydraulic fracturing, fracking allows the U.S. to tap immense natural gas and oil reserves that, until now, have been locked up in shale and other tight-rock formations.

The benefits of producing energy from fracking are many and are laid out below.

The Price of Oil & Natural Gas in The U.S. Has Plummeted

The price of oil is 20% lower than it would be without fracking. Natural gas prices have dropped to 47% of what they would have been before the fracking revolution in 2013 and as a result, it’s 80% cheaper to purchase gas here than the rest of the world. In some places natural gas costs 620% as much as it does in the U.S.

As a result between 2007 and 2013, gas-consuming American households have seen their gas bills reduced by as much as $200 per year. This adds up to $13 billion of savings, total, for all Americans combined. The commercial, industrial, and electric power consuming sectors in the U.S. have all seen gains and these gains total $74 billion per year.

Fracking Has Created a Job Boom

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 21st Century Energy Institute commissioned a study and found that fracking has led to a job boom. The job boom includes states that don’t even have shale deposits underneath them. They discovered that 1.7 million jobs have already been created and, that, by the year 2035, a total of 3.5 million jobs will have been created.

During a time when many industries are declining and jobs are thin, this is good news.
American Energy Independence is Possible for The First Time in History
Not only is energy independence possible, it is happening. Citigroup declared North America, the new Middle East, and the U.S. as the world’s fastest-growing oil and natural gas producer. It’s been projected that the U.S. will get 94% of its energy domestically by 2030.

This is good news for the U.S. because it means that their government will not have to send vast amounts of money to governments who, surely, do not have their best interests in mind, all in the name of oil.

Green Real Estate – A Growing Trend

The sustainable real estate concept is not a new one. For the past few years, architects have been designing energy-efficient buildings for companies as a way to trim costly utility fees. Recently, however, home builders have begun implementing the same innovation in residential construction, expecting green houses to become a popular and possibly dominating trend over the next few decades. This is all part of a world-wide effort to balance energy needs and available resources. What remains to be seen is what changes to the housing market will occur in that time.

Sustainable homes will have a number of major benefits. Most importantly, at least for homeowners, the savings that will result from reduced energy usage will be substantial. In the interest of environment-conscious residents, these homes will have a positive and lasting impact, and families can feel confident knowing they are making a contribution. In fact, studies show that home buyers are more likely to pay higher prices for homes with energy-saving characteristics.

Don’t expect people to leap on board just yet. Before investing, potential buyers want to know what will happen to the property value after they’ve lived there for 5 to 10 years. Researchers have conducted various studies that show a correlation between lower utility costs and increased property value. This may be due to the growth in energy demands expected to take place over the next 35 years. According to a North Carolina Energy Star report, the value of an energy efficient home is estimated to increase $20.73 for each dollar saved.

Electricity and ventilation are two key areas that will significantly impact energy costs. For new homes, that means solar panels and energy efficient windows. Specialized windows, particularly those that are double pane, can help regulate the amount of cool air and heat that escapes, which will reduce the energy needed to run heating and cooling units. In addition to purely money-saving benefits, healthier environments, which can be credited to reduced air-born contaminates, offer plenty of motivation form home seekers.

One of the specific recommendations that Than Merrill, CEO of the real estate investment company Fortunebuilders recommends is to replace that old energy-inefficient water heater. “Tankless water heaters only heat water on demand. That way, you do not have the extra energy consumption occurring when hot water is not being used.”

Residents, especially first-timers, should always be aware of the potential cost of utilities when considering a budget strategy. Those planning to settle in for several years, which is often the case, should take into account factors that are known to affect the home’s value. As green property becomes more common, their sustainable features should become more influential throughout the decision making process.

Energy in the US: Where are the Largest Oil Deposits?

The United States has proven oil reserves in excess of 36 billion barrels. There’s also an estimated 198 million barrels of recoverable oil still undiscovered. There are several very productive sites throughout the United States where oil companies are tapping into those reserves with great results. In 2012 oil production rose by 800,000 barrels as more companies got involved in drilling for oil in the U.S. It was the largest increase in oil production in a single year ever recorded. Industry analysts say the U.S. could potentially surpass Saudi Arabia and become the largest oil producer in the world.

The Illinois Basin
The Illinois Basin is another region of the United States where there are large oil deposits being accessed by oil companies. Since 1905 when major oil production began in the region, over four billion barrels of oil has been yielded. Cunningham Energy is one energy company that has had shallow leases there since 2008. They have a number of very productive wells and offer a variety of oilfield equipment and services including the drilling of horizontal and vertical wells. Cunningham Energy plans to increase its oil production there.

Montana and North Dakoda
There are oil reserves all over the United States. The ability to get oil from shale has made Montana and North Dakoda major oil producing areas. Oil was discovered on the region’s Bakken Formation in 1951. There is potentially as much as 4.3 billion barrels in that area alone. Marathon Oil Corporation, EOG Resources and a number of other companies have large oilfield development holdings in the region.

Oil deposits offshore in the Gulf of Mexico is estimated to be as much as 115.1 billion barrels. BP and other major oil companies have been taking oil out of the region for years. The oil industry has helped to bolster the local economy significantly. And with such vast reserves drilling and other oil extraction efforts will continue in the region for a long time.

The Arctic

It has been estimated that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has about 16 billion barrels of recoverable that hasn’t yet been tapped. The National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska has 6.7 to 15.0 billion barrels. There also a large accumulation of oil in the Prudhoe Bay oil field where Exxon and other oil companies have been working. These regions offer high quality oil that easy to process into diverse oil, gas and other petroleum products.

Port Townsend Paper Earns Sustainability Honor

The Olympia, Washington-based Northwest Pulp & Paper Association (NWPPA) has presented its 2016 Environmental Excellence Award to Port Townsend Paper of Port Townsend, Washington.

In addition to consuming considerable amounts of recovered fiber, the Port Townsend Paper mill has, over the past 10 years, reduced greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels by nearly 60 percent, according to the company.

“Three hundred employees of Port Townsend Paper accomplished this,” says Colin Fernie, president of Port Townsend Paper and Crown Packaging. “We appreciate the recognition and are committed to continued environmental stewardship.”

Steve Klinger, Crown Paper Group CEO, adds, “When Crown Paper acquired the mill in 2015, we said we would invest to transform it into a high performing business. This award is a milestone in that transformation, and there are more milestones to come. We are optimizing our Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) Standard boiler. We are accelerating settlement pond remediation. We are converting to compressed natural gas. Port Townsend Paper is on an upward trend.”

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Economic, Environmental and Societal Benefits of America’s Fracking Boom

Beyond enhancing our domestic energy supplies, the U.S. fracking boom has had a transformative, positive effect on the economy – creating opportunities for consumers and young professionals alike. Even further, fracking has created widespread health and environmental benefits. The supply of natural gas produced from hydraulic fracking is helping displace the burning of dirty coal, which contributes to the death of thousands of Americans each year. If our national priority is to continue to reduce our reliance on coal in order to meet ever-stricter emissions guidelines, fracking offers gigantic improvements, even if energy consumption increases overall. Fracking doesn’t use as much water per energy unit as other carbon-based fuels or nuclear, helping to preserve other natural resources as well. Hydraulic fracturing has proven, following a five-year information gathering period from the Environmental Protection Agency, not to threaten our drinking water as energy production from fossil fuels does.

Safe and responsible fracking methods help to lower carbon dioxide emissions while unlocking valuable shale gas energy and economic opportunity. There is a natural connection between energy security and job growth, as improved access to energy and electricity provides more chances for private sector expansion and upward social mobility. Hydraulic fracking is not a new technology – it’s been in use for over 60 years – having made “sense” and “cents” for decades already. Looking to the future we can expect to see our use of natural gas continue, assisting more and more families and individuals across the country. A wide variety of hydraulic fracking jobs exist within the industry, and these positions are almost guaranteed to remain secure. During the recent economic down turn, employment in the natural gas industry remained a consistent bright spot.

Hydraulic fracturing is responsible for America’s energy independence. It’s helped prices at the pump stay lower than ever before, helping families in a time of need. Looking at the big picture, it’s clear that we need fracking tools and technology to continue improving so that we may preserve its benefits and continue to build on its efficacy for the years ahead.

Why Recycling Polystyrene Foam Works

Polystyrene is the material that composes all sorts of foam products that you typically see when you get takeout food, when you grab a coffee, and is used in all sorts of other things. One of the biggest problems with these types of products it the fact that there have not been efforts to recycle foam, although there are absolutely ways to do it.

In the past, polystyrene products were simply dumped in landfills and there has been a massive accumulation, which has led major cities all over the country to declare that they would be officially banning the material. This includes a proposed Louisiana foam ban that has concerned a lot of businesses, as the material is extremely cheap, leading to lower overall costs to run their businesses. Once the bans take place, business owners would be hit with hefty fines if they are caught using foam based products, and they will also have to incur the higher costs of substitute materials.

Recycling polystyrene on a large scale would work and should be implemented within each city. Additionally, the landfills that have already been loaded will polystyrene can start to be emptied and recycled, which would be great for the environment. A lot of states are taking active measures to prepare for this transition to recycling foam on a large scale, one of which is Louisiana. They have been conducting tests to attempt to recycle foam as efficiently as they possibly can, but the problem still involves getting the public aware and developing recycling centers that are easily accessible.

Recycling polystyrene products is a much better route, as there are ways that it can easily and efficiently be recycled. The first problem is the mere fact that few people even know that you can recycle foam and just assume that it is trash. The first thing that would have to change is the public perception on foam, which could only be done by educating people about the ability to recycle. Many people think that a ban on the material is the best way to address the problem, as they feel that this will decrease the amount of trash that is ending up in landfills, which ultimately are going to stay there for over five hundred years, until the products finally degrade. However, a lot of people do not realize that we already have a huge problem with the drastic volume of polystyrene based products that are already occupying landfills.

How Environmentally Green Buildings Help the Environment

When thinking about New York City, the term environmentally green buildings does not seem to resonate through the minds of most residents. The city offers numerous entertainment venues and sight seeing ventures for everyone. In light of all the fun things to do, it is beginning to be a heighten awareness of trying to conserve the natural resources in New York. The population in this city is growing by leaps and bounds each year.

The major leaders in the construction industry are focusing more on constructing environmentally friendly office buildings along with residential dwellings. It is hard to believe that Battery Park in New York City is one of the largest areas that has been deemed environmentally friendly. This is done by being considerate of the natural resources like the land and water that surround this location, as Anthony Malkin did with the Empire State Building.

Owners of large apartment buildings understand the importance of using eco-friendly appliances that conserve usage of electric especially during peak hours. Energy efficient windows are the standard for most new residential homes. New York City is densely populated and the thought of running out of a vital natural resource like water is a reason for concern.

During the summer months certain areas experience black-outs or brown-outs. These occurrences are the warning signs that something is definitely wrong. Another alternative such as solar panels and wind turbines have been incorporated into the scheme of producing electricity. In the height of the summer months during heatwaves, many electrical outages are experienced on a daily basis.

The shortage of water and the limits put on the usage of water have caused world wide alarm across the nation. Many architects have incorporated methods of recycling rain water along with using solar panels to conserve electric and water. Building that have solar panels for electricity are protecting the environment for the next generation. Concrete and asphalt are in the places where grass would be. Plants in a planter box can be placed on the deck of a high-rise energy efficient green building. The plant will help keep the surrounding air clean.

The belief has been that the earth’s natural resources would not ever run out. Society realizes that this is not the case anymore. Oil and natural gas are on the list of resources that need protecting also. Water, gas and electric are rare commodities that need to be protected. Battery Park is a reminder that green is beautiful.

Myths about Hydraulic Fracturing

One of the most prevalent myths about hydraulic fracturing is that it is a new tactic. The process of hydraulic fracturing has actually been around for over 60 years, and leaders in the industry have made huge steps in their progress to optimize the methods. In a hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” job, fluids that consist mainly water and sand are injected under high pressure into the producing formation, creating fissures that allow resources to move freely from rock pores where energy sources were trapped.

Opponents also seem to dwell on the environmental repercussions of hydraulic fracturing, yet the safe and responsible energy extracted from shale has actually lessened the carbon footprint of U.S. energy companies like Cunningham Energy, over the last two decades. Fracking and oil industry regulations continue to be improved, and each company undergoes rigorous regulation and review before implementing new methods. The  environment is actually one of the leaders in the fracking industry’s main priorities, as they are looking for long-term, lasting solutions to our energy issues.

Lastly, fracking has allowed for strides in energy independence. As President Obama recently stated, “for the first time in 18 years, America is poised to produce more of our own oil than we buy from other nations.”

Since 2006, no country on Earth has reduced its total carbon pollution by as much as the United States of America.” This shows how hydraulic fracturing made such a difference in where the U.S. gets its energy–on its own soil.

France Passes Law to Promote Green Roofs

Environmentalism is fast becoming a top concern in France – a rooftop concern, to be precise. Excitingly, the nation has just passed new legislation that will require all upcoming commercial construction projects to feature either green roofs or solar panels above their top floors.

By now, most people are at least passingly familiar with the benefits of solar panels, but green roofs remain unknown to the general public. A green roof is one that is covered in lush plant life, and the perks extend well beyond the aesthetic. Because green roofs help to insulate, buildings are able to slash seasonal energy costs for both heating and air conditioning by approximately 25 percent.

That alone should be incentive for buildings to add a “plantscape” to their roofs, but the advantages don’t end there. Green roofs also help to reduce water runoff during rainstorms, combat air pollution, provide food for the buildings’ residents, and even make a good home for birds that are normally displaced by urban development.

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Focus on Eliminating Litter Rather than Eliminating Foam

Florida has recently talked about the prospect of implementing a foam ban across the state. This Florida foam ban would not only affect small businesses and schools, but the whole tourist economy of Florida. The reality is that even if Florida was to ban foam and switch to more costly alternatives, wouldn’t those be littered as well? Rather than ban foam to prevent the wellbeing of Florida’s terrain it is important to create more recycling centers where foam can be recycled and inform Floridians on the resourcefulness of foam.

Foam is a 100 percent recyclable and currently there are four Dart recycling centers for foam in Florida. They are located in Jacksonville, Miami, Plant City and Tampa. The community can work together to build even more recycling centers where foam can be recycled rather than just tossed on the beach. Florida is a huge tourist destination where people go to enjoy the terrain of the state. Between the wildlife creatures of the sunshine state, the beaches, and the 12 national parks of Florida it is important to preserve this resourceful state. Banning foam does not have to be the solution to do this though.

There are several reasons why we should recycle, but first and foremost it is because it is good for the environment. By recycling you are saving resources, energy and money. Recycling leads to getting rid of less trash, which reduces air and water pollution that is circulating in the environment. By reducing the amount that you dispose of each day you are actually helping the landfills. The size of landfills benefit from the amount of waste we are recycling rather than disposing of. If landfill sites are inundated with waste it can have negative affects on the environment and its surroundings.

Recycling foam can also lead to the prospect of more jobs for people in a community, which is always a positive side! It is important to look at the pros and cons to the foam ban and realize that foam might not be the issue, but litter is the larger issue at hand.