Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An Eco-Christmas

By Elysia Walton, SnapSpace Solutions Staff

December 21, 2011

Uh-oh, have you gotten your shopping done yet? Did you forget altogether? You guessed it—it’s Christmas time; the credit cards are swiping, the snow is falling and the children are laughing. A happy time, Christmas is the time for giving and laughter—a time when the whole family gathers for presents and Christmas carols. Christmas can also be an eco-holiday, and a few of these tips may ease up the hands poking into your wallet.
            First here are some fun facts to start the season off:  In the United States there are more than 21,000 eager[1] Christmas tree growers. Though many trees are cut down during the Christmas season, this holiday is better for the environment than you would think. Besides providing a cozy home for wildlife,[2] Christmas trees also remove dust and pollen from the air.[3] It takes a baby Christmas tree 7-10 years to grow to a healthy adult tree.[4] That means each Christmas tree provides ten years of wildlife protection and dust/pollen reduction. Also, once those trees are harvested, they are replaced with new trees—putting the cycle back into motion.
            Everyone loves statistics, right? Here are a few to get the sled moving: One in ten presents received will be broken by the New Year.[5] Now I bet you are thinking you should not have invested in that fifteenth toy for daughter Lauren, huh? Pet lover? Seven out of ten of you will buy Christmas gifts for your pooch.[6] Thought you were spending a lot of money on Christmas? Well, you, your friends, your friend’s friends, plus everyone else in the world equal up to 5,340 swipes of Visa Cards per minute during Christmas time. Who knew!
            Now let’s talk about how you can make the environment a better place this season, plus guard your wallet at the same time. One way to save both money and the environment is to use low energy lights for your tree.[7] These lights are just as beautiful as others, and no one will even know you are saving money. Feel free to gloat!
 If you are like I am then you probably go through about three tubes of wrapping paper trying to make your presents look pretty. As an alternative to traditional wrapping paper why not try using recycled newspapers? Your presents will be beautiful, and since the receiver will be so entranced in the daily news, they will not even notice the awful job you did wrapping the gift! Well, maybe I am just speaking for myself as far as wrapping skill goes, but either way newspapers can be lovely. Lastly, instead of buying tons of knick-knacks and carolers to adorn your shelves and mantles, you can spend much less money by decorating with real holly.[8] Not only will it be beautiful, but the fresh smell might help disguise the burnt cookies.
            Alas, Christmas has come. The kids are happy, your house is decorated, and the presents are wrapped. Enjoy the holiday season!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

WLBZ2 SnapSpace Solutions Interview

BREWER, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Over the past year a new company in the city has been taking home designing in a whole new direction.
SnapSpace Solutions Inc. moved into the former Z.F. Lemforder building back in February. Since that point the company has been working to build new homes using old storage containers.
The containers used are mostly recycled ones that were at one point used for shipping freight. Company officials say that they are still structurally sound so they can be turned into new space for anything from homes to classrooms.
Directors at SnapSpace say they are already discussing several projects for the future, which could see thousands of containers repurposed.
They say that could lead to hiring more workers.
"They can hold 400,000 pounds on the roof...because they're made to be loaded with 60,000 pounds of freight...and stacked up high on a ship and shipped across the ocean so that amount of weight would never be in a home," said Kelsey Walton, who is the company's vice president.
"We expect that the vast majority of their product will probably be sent out of the state of Maine and probably even exported out of the country," said D'arcy Main-Boyington, "and that's a very good thing as far as financialy for the company and this region."
In addition to securing loans with the help of city officials in Brewer, SnapSpace is also getting help from the University of Maine through its Advanced Manufacturing Center as well as the Knowledge Transfer Alliance.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Building Container Clinics

By Megan W.

      Steel shipping containers can be made into just about any structure you can dream up.  From dorms to houses, offices to stores, they are extremely flexible.  One of these possibilities could be a portable clinic.  This clinic would be essentially storm proof (hurricane, tornado, etc.), sanitary, modern, efficient, and portable. It almost sounds too good to be true, right? Actually, it is quite possible, and can be done in a timely manner. Currently people are building clinics in the traditional wood-frame way and/or using mobile homes.  Using recycled shipping containers, SnapSpace Solutions can reduce the time it takes to build these clinics, and do it in a much greener and more efficient way.
     SnapSpace Solutions is capable of building a rain, fire, hurricane, tornado, and just about anything-resistant container clinic. By using ISBU container units the clinic could be built in as little time as one week, whereas to stick-build a complete clinic would take much longer. By using container clinics the process is much safer, cleaner, more cost-effective, and more environmentally-friendly.  Shipping container sizes vary, so we can build anything from a semi-permanent, simple 8x20’ doctor’s office, to a large, more permanent hospital.
    So many places around the world have faced disaster, and have had hospitals, homes, and clinics destroyed. What would happen if another hurricane like Katrina hit? SnapSpace Solutions can bring in recycled, repurposed containers that are fully equipped, and ready for use.  So many deaths could be avoided by having a safe, sterile clinic environment available and ready to use BEFORE disaster strikes.  Used and older mobile homes are not dependable, nor are they necessarily germ-free. If the working space isn’t clean, it can hold bacteria, and cause infections.
     The building and transporting of containers clinics also creates many different job opportunities. Containers are inexpensive, and therefore more can be purchased then if they were built traditionally, which would mean there are more clinics in a region of space. In certain areas, people need to travel many, many miles to get to a clinic. We can place small clinics in these remote areas so that people have ready access to them. 
Think of how many lives can be saved by putting clinics in places like Gambia or Zimbabwe.  Millions of people in third world countries die because of infection… think of how many people could be saved by simply placing a small container with supplies in some of those areas!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Go Green & Save Green This Thanksgiving

By Elysia Walton, SnapSpace Solutions Staff
November 23, 2011
That time of the year has come around again—you know, the fourth Thursday of November—when your relatives come to town and you, in turn, must bake a precisely Pilgrim turkey complete with all essential trimmings, along with an elaborately decorated table. That’s right, Thanksgiving has arrived, and you are to please the family.
What is a good Thanksgiving without some holiday facts? Here are a few for you to think about: 91% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving,[1] equaling about 280 million turkeys![2] That means just for Thanksgiving, the United States consume seven billion pounds of turkey, and have three billion dollars’ worth of sales.[3] These are quite incredible numbers, especially for just one day of festivities. Along with the essential turkey are the cranberries, of which about 20% of all consumed in the U.S. are eaten on Thanksgiving.[4]
Everyone here at SnapSpace Solutions is dedicated to helping improve our environment by doing the little things all of us as individuals can do to help.  We have put together a few tips to help you save a little green and have a greener Thanksgiving this year! If you live in the north (like we do) you have probably already seen that shimmery layer of snow, and have watched the delightful green grass turn to hay-brown; so we are sure that a little bit of green will be a breath of fresh air.
One way to save money is to make a plan to use all of the holiday leftovers.[5] Turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, and, if you are creative enough, little turkey quiches, are a good way to use your leftovers. This will save you money, and give you an excuse to use those cooking skills again! For some leftover recipe ideas check out:
Another way to save a little money, and be a little greener, is to use reusable shopping bags while purchasing the necessary foodstuffs.[6] Using these instead of the standard plastic or paper bags will save you having to throw away all those bags after shopping, too!  
If you would like to make Thanksgiving more than just, “eat then sleep,” try making some family traditions. One great way to get the family together and aid the environment is to make a tradition of planting a tree every Thanksgiving.[7] Before you know it you could have your own little orchard complete with pear, orange, and apple trees!  Perhaps you could even throw in a maple tree for the kids to climb. Something I have done for the past few years with my family is to make a blessing jar.  Throughout the year when any of us receive a blessing, or something we are thankful for, we write it on a little slip of paper and put it in the jar!  When Thanksgiving comes around and your little jar is booming with blessings, we take turns reading to share our blessings after our meal.  It brings us closer as a family, and helps us to remember the things we are thankful for.
Alas, Thanksgiving has come. The turkey is thawed and deliciously cooked, the dishes are prepared and your family has taken their seats around the table—your best silver is shining from its recent polishing. Your in-laws are happy, and the kids are excited for new activities and traditions. There’s a nice little tree in the backyard ready to plant, and you have all of your new leftover recipes ready to use. Enjoy this special holiday and remember – be thankful!


Monday, November 7, 2011

  America’s Conservation Issue

By Elysia Walton, SnapSpace Solutions Staff
November 7, 2011

     Conservation is something that America, and the whole world, struggles with. We need to put the brakes to overusing our resources—well, at least ease up on the gas. A lot of people don’t realize how many trees are actually chopped down a year—how many trees it really takes to build a house. Something that we may not guess is this: over half of all the trees harvested globally are made into products for Europe and North America. [1] We are material-hungry people, and the above act alone demonstrates so. According to a survey by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, more than 8,000 tree species are threatened with extinction. This represents nearly 10 percent of all tree species. [2] We may take our maple, oak, and other trees for granted, but in reality, no matter how hard we try to push this fact to the back of our minds, it’s still there: someday it is likely many of our beloved tree species will disappear. We need to take stock of our priorities and realize that our resources are limited.
     The number of trees actually used for the frame of a 2000 square foot home is approximately 40-60. [3] Think about it. Every time you look at a house, not even one that is incredibly large, you are seeing 40-60 trees that were chopped down and processed. This is a substantial number, and one that we can’t simply ignore. Forests and trees are disappearing, and most times are not being replanted as they should be. In actuality, 3-6 billion trees per year are cut down. [4]  
     These facts are not just disappearing either, they are relevant today, and can affect our children and grandchildren’s lives if we continue to do nothing about it.
     Trees add oxygen to the earth’s atmosphere and remove carbon dioxide, but when they are cut, the result is poorer air quality, species extinction, displaced wildlife, and soil erosion. [5]
     Though these facts look grim, we can do something about it. This deadly process does not need to continue. Our forests and the wildlife that live within them can be preserved. We can live on this earth, and keep it green. We can preserve this wonderful planet and its forests and trees for generations to come. This does not mean that we have to move onto the streets to avoid more houses to be built, or stop harvesting trees completely, we just need to consider the trees and the re-growth. We have to give the forests a chance to re-grow, and ease up on deforestation. SnapSpace Solutions offers a unique way to do just that; by using recycled shipping containers, the amount of lumber used for a house is monumentally decreased. We can make a difference, and SnapSpace Solutions wants you to join with us in making that difference!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    This is our first blog, and we would like to use it to introduce you all to SnapSpace Solutions and our blogging goals. SnapSpace Solutions builds homes and other structures out of recycled shipping containers, which can be specially made in a creative way. Our blogs will each have an interesting topic: whether it is ways to recycle, environment fact articles, or fun pictures—each blog will have something you will be interested in. So, follow our blog to see our fresh take on recycling!