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!