Sustainability and Good Practices Idea Corner
Saving water and helping to combat the drought
Water is an increasingly scarce resource, so we give you a few tips on how to reduce water consumption and make your water use more efficient:
- Always prefer showing to tub baths. This will let you save 200 liters of water. In addition, if you install aerators on your shower heads, you can reduce water consumption by as much as 50%.
- If you must buy a clothes washer, be aware that a front loading washer consumes only half of what a top loading washer consumes. Be sure to select an adequate program for the quantity and type of clothes you are washing.
- Collect rainwater from roof gutters and use it for watering plants. It is of better quality than tap water.
- When you brush your teeth, remember to close the faucet when not brushing and you will save 14,600 liters of water per year assuming you brush twice daily.
- Prefer to wash dishes in an automatic dishwasher because you can save 60 liters of water compared with washing dishes by hand.
Clean your house without chemicals
Cleaning products not only contain chemical ingredients that can affect the health of persons who use them, their containers are often made of difficult to recycle plastic. In addition, when using natural products you aid in not contaminating water because they easily dissolve in water.
Below, we provide you a few tips for making your own cleaners for different parts of your home:
- Floor: dissolve three tablespoons of sodium bicarbonate in two liters of hot water and add half a cup of vinegar and, if you can, add two teaspoons of essential pine oil. This mixture is a disinfectant. If you need to combat fungi, you can add a teaspoon of citronella essential oil, and an additional teaspoon of lavender essential oil. You can store this mixture for three months in a cool, dark place.
- Bathroom: to eliminate mold, cover the place affected with the floor mixture and then cover that with sodium bicarbonate. Allow this to act for a few minutes and then scrub with a scrub brush.
- Windows: it is not necessary to use any specific product. Moisten a sheet of newsprint paper with water and scrub the window. To dry it use a piece of dry newsprint paper.
- Kitchen stove: for burners and other surfaces, mix hot water with a little vinegar, bicarbonate of sodium and lemon peel to cut the grease.
- Dishes: for dishwashing by hand, dissolve three tablespoons of grated white soap (biodegradable) in three liters of water, adding a half cup of white vinegar and lemon juice.
Make your own self-watering plant pots
Having plants in your living room or terrace adds life to you home, but one often forgets to water them, or they are not watered when there is nobody at home to water them for several days. Accordingly, we show you in five easy steps how to make plant pots that do not need watering. You only need a bottle, scissors or a sharp knife for cutting, a length of cord, some metallic mesh and the plant with earth.
• Cut off the upper part of the bottle four fingers below where the neck ends. Be careful that the cut edges do not have sharp burs that can cut you. We recommend running a hot knife around the edges to smoothen them.
- Make a knot at the halfway point on the cord and introduce it into the mesh to leave the mesh hanging. You will need to make a hole in the center to do this so there will be no problems.
- Insert the mesh through the neck of the bottle and leave the cord hanging through the narrowest part.
- Put the earth and the plant in the wide part of the bottle.
- Finally, place the bottle with the neck down in a glass or the bottom part of the bottle that you cut off, which you need to fill with water previously. And there you are done!
Grey water (or wastewater)
Water generated by household processes, such as dishwashing or clothes laundry and bathrooms used by persons. Gray water is distinguished from wastewater contaminated by human waste, known as sewage because of it’s not containing Escherichia coli bacteria.
Gray water is extremely important because it can be of considerable use in the field of ecological irrigation as it generally decomposes more rapidly than sewage and contains much less nitrogen and phosphorus.
Hydrological years are established in order to reflect the behavior of precipitation on a given watershed. Does not necessarily coincide with a conventional year. The start of a hydrological year can vary from one region to another or even within one and the same country.
The method of thermally insulating a surface by reducing the transfer of heat to or from the environment by means of the use of insulating materials of low thermal conductivity.
Biomass is a type of renewable energy obtained from organic matter formed in a biological process, generally involving constituent substances originating from live organisms. It includes wood, rapid growth plants, cultivated algae, remains of animals, etc. It is a source of energy ultimately derived from the sun and is renewable, provided that it is adequately used.
Biomass can also be formed by transformation from other substances that can be used as fuel, such as ethanol and methanol that can then be used as engine fuel.
Another alternative is the use of biomass to obtain biogas that accumulates from organic remains placed in vessels to decompose. The gases produced can then be stored for use as fuel.
Energy produced from biomass has the advantage that the gases originating in its combustion have lower levels of sulfur than gases from the combustion of coal although combustion of biomass likewise adds CO2 to the atmosphere.
Biodiversity is the term used to make reference to the wide variety of living beings on earth and the natural patterns they comprise as the result of millions of years of evolution under natural processes and, additionally, under the growing influence of human beings.
Biodiversity likewise includes the variety of ecosystems and the genetic diversities within each species that enable the combination of multiple forms of life to take place and whose mutual interactions with the rest of the surroundings are the basis for the sustenance of life on planet earth.
Also known as carbon credits or certified emission reductions (CERs) are a mechanism created under the Kyoto Protocol to aid countries in reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs). Under this arrangement, developed countries can finance projects that reduce emissions in other countries, and principally developing countries.
Is a natural area in which the water we use for human life is collected and stored.
The boundaries of a watershed are defined naturally and correspond to the highest parts of the area which encloses a river.
Many times the concept of a watershed is often confused with but is not the same as the drainage divides of a river basin. A watershed implies an areal extent over a certain area of ground and, accordingly, all points of a country belong to particular watersheds.
The usage of water resources is regulated by separating the regulated territory into watersheds.
A given watershed not only covers an areal extent of land, but also continues in depth from the uppermost line of vegetation downward to its underlying geological strata of its underground boundaries.
There are three types of watersheds:
- Exoreic watersheds, which drain water to the sea or an ocean.
- Endoreic watersheds, which are closed and have no fluvial outlet to the sea as they drain into lakes, lagoons or salt flats.
- Areic watersheds, in which their water evaporates or infiltrates into the ground before undergoing drainage.
Hydropower plants are power plants that use the force of water or hydraulic energy to produce electrical energy.
In general, hydropower plants put to use the potential energy of a natural watercourse arising from a difference in elevation between water surfaces, also known as geodesic head. Water when falling between levels of stream flows is put through a water turbine, which transmits the energy to a generator where it is transformed into electric power.
Different types of hydropower plants exist depending on the stream flow regimes involved:
- Run-of-river hydropower plants: The hydropower plants of Tinguiririca Energía in the Tinguiririca River valley are of this type.
In run-of-river hydropower plants, water is taken in through a water intake and is conveyed by tunnels or channels to a lower level where it is discharged under pressure by a penstock to a powerhouse. The powerhouse houses the turbines that are driven by the water to move a generator to produce electricity. Finally the turbined water is returned to the natural watercourse.
- Dammed reservoir hydroelectric power stations: This is the most common type of hydropower plant. It uses a reservoir or dam to store water that is then passed through turbines. This kind of facility enables power to be generated the entire year around, including in times of drought, provided it has sufficient water reserves.
- Pumped storage or reversible hydroelectricity power plants: At this type of hydropower plant, electrical power is generated only at times of higher demand and is consumed at times of low demand (e.g., nights and weekends). This is performed by means of an electromagnetic pumping and turbine generating unit arrangement, i.e., water is turbined in hours of higher demand and is pumped to storage in hours of lower demand.
When the storage is full, water can then be turbined once again to generate more energy.
Run-of-river hydropower plant
At a run-of-river hydropower plant, water is taken in through a water intake and is conveyed by tunnels or channels to a lower level where it is discharged through a penstock under pressure to a powerhouse. At the powerhouse, are located the turbines which are driven by the water to move a generator and produce electricity. Finally, the turbined water is returned to the natural watercourse
Cogeneration is a process that enables electric power and thermal energy (heat and/or cold) to be produced simultaneously by the sequential use of energy from one and the same fuel.
Natural gas it the primary energy sources most used to operate electricity and heat power plants. However, renewable energy sources and wastes such as biomass and the incineration of wastes can also be used.
The advantage of this process lies in its energy efficiency because both the heat and the mechanical or electrical energy are put to use in one and the same process.
Two types of cogeneration arrangements exist depending on the sequence used to produce energy:
- Topping Cycle arrangement: fuel is used first to obtain electrical energy and the waste heat is recovered to generate thermal energy.
- Bottoming Cycle arrangement: the fuel is used fist to generate steam, which is used in turn to generate electrical energy in steam turbines.
The phenomenon of increasing average global temperature of the terrestrial atmosphere and the oceans. The principal effect that causes this is the greenhouse effect.
Many organizations both public and private, including governments and individual persons are concerned that the effects of global warning can have negative, and even catastrophic, effects both on a world level and in specific vulnerable regions. These effects are not only of an environmental nature but also in terms of economic and biological repercussions (specifically on agriculture) that could in turn affect the general wellbeing of humanity.
The reduction of glaciers, the increase in sea level and the meteorological changes experienced are considered to be consequences of global warning that can influence human activities and natural ecosystems.
Refers to any important alteration registered in the climate that is of long duration, such as important changes in normal temperature patterns, rainfall, snowfall or winds occurring over a decade or longer
This occurs in great measure as a result of global warming, i.e., from the increase in the average temperature of the earth, a process that has been on the upswing. It is estimated that the average temperature of the earth will increase by close to 2°C by 2030 and by as much as 6°C on the average by 2070.
It is important not to forget that the increase by one half of a degree brings about changes that cannot be reverted, such as severe droughts, flooding, heat waves and, accordingly, the challenge of taking good care of our planet is a huge and demanding task to be undertaken for the good of humanity.
Is the necessary amount of water in a given water channel to enable the adequate functioning of the ecosystem to go forward. Accordingly there are maximum and minimum stream flow rates to ensure adequate survival.
In this manner, the ecological flow places a limit on the quantity of water that can be taken from a river without seriously impacting the environment. Excessive extraction could gravely affect the ecosystem involved and cause the loss of native species.
Sustainable development is an integral process that requires commitments and responsibilities on the part of all actors of society.
In 1983, the United Nations World Commission on the Environment and Development defined sustainable development as, “Development that satisfies the needs of the present without compromising the capacities of future generations to satisfy their own needs.”
Sustainability assumes a structural change in the way of thinking about development as it places limits on the growth of production, the consumption of resources and environmental impacts beyond the capability of the ecosystem to withstand such growth. This implies adherence to an efficient, fair and environmentally responsible use of natural resources.
Ecological balance is the result of the interaction between individuals and their environment as action indispensable for the life of species.
Species endangered of extinction
Species endangered of extinction are those whose existence is globally compromised, which may be due to various factors such as the direct action of a predator, the reduction or disappearance of a fundamental resource for that species, changes in habitat, fortuitous events such as natural disasters or gradual changes in the climate.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) includes on its red list more than 2,280 types of animals and plants under the category of “endangered” and more than 3,000 as “critically endangered.” Some of the most well-known species listed as endangered of extinction are the panda bear, koala, puma, gorilla, lynx and condor.
The extinction of a species is irreparable and thenceforth irreversible, directly or indirectly affecting the food chain and, eventually, mankind itself.
Are basic indicators of the probabilities of the continued existence of a species over a short- or mid-term horizon in consideration of factors such as its population, distribution, natural history and biology, predators and others.
Is a natural phenomenon of the earth that exists to regulate the planet’s temperature. The sun warms the earth and part of this heat returns to space. The remaining heat is trapped in the atmosphere by clouds and greenhouse gases. These gases include: water vapor and carbon dioxide.
Without the presence of these gases, the temperature of the earth would be so low that it would not enable life to exist (i.e., -33°C). However, human activities have increased the natural accumulation of these gases, thereby increasing in turn the temperature of the earth and producing global warming.
The increase in these gases comes from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, gas and petroleum products and, additionally, from the felling of trees, garbage and trash and agriculture
Non-conventional renewable energies (NCREs)
Renewable energies are those which in their processes of transformation and use, in terms of usable energy are not consumed or used up while causing a minimum of impact on the environment. NCREs include water power, solar energy, wind energy and tidal energy. In addition, and depending on the manner in which it is used, biomass and geothermal energy could be included.
Renewable energies can be classified according to whether they are conventional or non-conventional, depending on the degree of development of the technologies employed for their operational workability and their share of energy markets.
Benefits of NCREs
- Autochthonous sources and their contribution toward diversification and reduction of external vulnerabilities.
- Stable generating costs that are independent from the costs of petroleum derivatives. They contribute towards reducing uncertainties regarding long-term energy prices.
- Reliable supply on long timescales, little interannual variability (wind power, biomass and geothermal energy), with the exception if small-scale hydropower.
- Shorter project maturation and construction times (wind power, biomass and small-scale hydropower), with the exception of geothermal energy.
- Small or modular and geographically distributed projects, which provides flexibility for adaptation to the growth of systemic and local demand.
- In general terms, NCREs have less environmental impact (local and global).
- Can contribute to adding value to a zone
- Can contribute to the valuation of degraded or low value areas, for example, by developing wind power projects in dry farming coastal areas.
- Can contribute to diversifying lines of business of different industrial and agricultural and livestock businesses (e.g., through use of biomass wastes).
Water power is the production of energy by making productive use of the force of gravity on a natural watercourse involved in a difference in level or a hydraulic head.
Water is the renewable resource most commonly used to produce energy and is the main source of clean energy worldwide. Currently, water power contributes 15% of the world’s electrical power consumption.
Thermal energy is energy released in the form of heat. It can be obtained from different sources: heat from the earth (geothermal energy), from the combustion of a fossil fuel, by nuclear fission, as waste heat from other processes and other sources.
The obtaining of thermal energy implies a very high environmental impact as combustion releases contaminating gases.
This type of energy is obtained from harvesting the wind, i.e., kinetic energy produced by air currents and an abundant, renewable and clean resource and one that contributes to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
Producing wind energy requires the use of wind turbine generators capable of transforming the force of wind into mechanical energy by rotation, equipped with shafts and blades moved by the wind to turn the motor of a generator to produce energy.
Is energy that can be obtained by humans by making use of the heat inside the earth that results in accordance with various factors, such as geothermal gradient, radiogenic heat and others.
The basis of the advantages of geothermal energy is that it is an energy source that dispenses with the need of dependence on outside energy. The wastes produced are minimal and cause less environmental impact than the wastes resulting from the use of oil or coal. It is a system offering large savings, both economic and of energy. It is also a type of energy that does not produce external noise.
The carbon footprint is derived by quantifying all greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by direct and indirect effect of an individual, organization, event or product. This calculation encompasses all activities performed and once performed makes it possible to implement an adequate strategy to reduce the footprint making it possible to better define emission reduction objectives and policies.
A carbon footprint includes both direct and indirect emissions:
- Direct emissions: generated at sources owned or controlled by the company, for example, electricity consumption and the use of fossil fuels.
- Indirect emissions: those not controlled by the company directly, for example, emissions of the company’s subcontractors.
The ecological footprint features an analysis of sustainability in simple and easy-to-understand terms using the most reliable scientific data available, which enables persons in general, political analysts and governments to measure and express the impact on economic, environment and safety sectors arising from the use we make of natural resources.
The advantage that the ecological footprint offers for understanding appropriation by human beings lies in the ability it affords for making comparisons. Thus, for example it is possible to compare from the emissions of transporting a particular item of goods with the energy required by its production on the same scale.
Power transmission line
Is the material structure used to transmit energy in the form of electromagnetic waves and that enables consumers to be connected with generation centers and, additionally, enables energy to be exchanged among them.
Trunk power transmission line
The trunk power line system consists of a group of lines and electric substations that make up the Chilean common electrical market. Meanwhile, the sub-transmission systems are those systems that allow energy to be tapped from the trunk system to different local consumption points.
A watt (W) is the basic unit of power and corresponds to the electrical potential produced by a difference in potential of 1 volt and an electrical current of ampere. Accordingly, a megawatt (MW) is equal to one million watts.
The Kyoto Protocol was created in Kyoto in 1997, but only became international law in 2005 as the first official, global, binding contract for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
This pact requires signatory countries to undertake a commitment to reduce world emissions of greenhouse gases by an average of 5.2% below recorded levels in 1990. The term of this pact ran from 2008 to 2012.
The signatory countries of this treaty are responsible for 61.1% of all carbon dioxide emissions.
The node price is an instance of regulation for determining the electricity rate set by the National Energy Commission (CNE, an acronym for the agency’s Spanish name, Comisión Nacional de Energía) semi-annually in April and October of each year.
The policy of real costs and the absence of economies of scale in the generation segment make it possible to set the price of the marginal cost of supply, made up of the following two components:
- The basic energy price: the average over time of the marginal costs of energy of the electrical grid system operating at the minimum present value of the cost of operation and maintenance during the period under study.
- Basic price of on-peak power: the annual marginal cost of increasing the installed capacity of the electrical grid system when considering the most economical generating units determined for supplying additional power during the hours of maximum annual demand on the electrical grid system, increased by a percentage equal to the theoretical margin of reserve of the electrical system.
For each of the electrical substations in the electrical grid system, calculation is made of an energy penalization factor and a power factor, which, when multiplied by the respective basic energy and on-peak power price, determine the price of energy and power at the respective electrical substation.
In this manner, for the client, the node price is the price paid by the electricity distribution company to the generator company, a value that ultimately constitutes around 50% of their final regulated client price.
Is the recovery of degraded areas by returning them to an environmentally optimal situation. Its purpose is to eliminate, reduce or control the risks for human health and the environment from contaminated sites.
In this manner, it is necessary to reduce the concentration of pollutants to below levels set by standards at acceptable costs and by providing a permanent solution.
For environmental remediation to be efficient, it is necessary to take into account various aspects that are interrelated with each other, such as flora and fauna, type of soil, social importance, etc.
Are those elements provided by nature without intervention by man and that can be advantageously used by humans to satisfy their needs.
In addition to natural resources, there are also human resources, cultural resources, machinery and equipment, real property, etc. Clearly it can be seen that there are other types of resources not provided by nature without human intervention, but rather are created by man.
Renewable and non-renewable natural resources exist:
- Renewable resources: are those whose existence is not depleted by their utilization, This can occur for two reasons: firstly because their utilization does not modify their supply or their status, e.g.: solar energy, wind energy, water power, biothermal energy; and secondly, because they regenerate sufficiently rapidly to allow them to go on being utilized without becoming depleted, e.g.: fish, forests and biomass in general, among others.
- Non-renewable resources: are those that exist in fixed quantities or else those whose rates of regeneration are lower than the rate of their productive utilization. As non-renewable resources are utilized, they diminish until becoming depleted. Examples of non-renewable natural resources include petroleum, minerals and natural gas.
Is a grouping of facilities where different species of plants are planted, germinate and mature.
The production of plants in plant nurseries makes it possible to prevent and control possible predators and diseases, thus providing the plants better probabilities for their survival and adaptation when they are transplanted to their definitive locations.
Plant nurseries can also function as research sites for the formation of temporary banks of germplasm and plantlets of native species to allow them to be subjected to characterization, selection and handling.