less cancer

Less Cancer Rides Again: Alone But Together Bike Ride June 6-7

One of the causes that has always been especially important to us is cancer prevention. As many as 60% of types of cancer are preventable, forcing families to face a disease that ravages body, mind, community, and ruins finances. While the world seeks a cure, we can reduce the number of people who face these hardships by reducing cancer rates. 

Our partners at Less Cancer rely heavily on their annual charity bike ride to raise money to support their operations. They work in forty countries around the world and play a vital role in carrying the cancer prevention message to places of power, including Washington D.C. This past winter, Keen co-founder Tim Pulliam was honored in our nation’s capital for his work in promoting healthy, active communities. 

This year’s Less Cancer Bike Ride will have a very different look but the same inspiring spirit. Due to social distancing guideless and in the interest of the rider’s and support staff’s safety, the ride simply couldn’t go on as it normally does. Instead, we’re asking people everywhere to help us pedal the path to prevention. 

You can ride one mile or one hundred. Ride once over the June 6-7 weekend or as many times as you want! Ride in the woods, ride on the roads, ride a lap in your neighborhood. You can even ride an indoor trainer if you feel safer. Even though we’ll be riding alone, we’re Alone But Together, and it’s how we can all play a role in the mission of Less Cancer. 

Can’t ride? Consider making a donation to one of the many teams forming across the country! Our Team is made up of Keen employees and plenty of friends we ride with year-round, including a few that have joined us for the Less Cancer Bike Ride in years past! 

To learn more Less Cancer and the organization’s work, head to LessCancer.org. There you’ll learn about the National Cancer Prevention Caucus, their programs, and the people behind the Less Cancer mission. You’ll also find out more about the Alone But Together Bike Ride, so make sure you sign up and join us!

cannabis energy electrical

1,250%: The Key Number Cannabis Companies Need To Know

cannabis energy electrical

We’ve made the pun plenty of times, but the reality is simply too strong to ignore. Cannabis is a growing industry, and companies across the United States are learning that their energy news isn’t just substantial, but often prohibitive. 

As big as cannabis is right now, we’re only scratching the surface of its true potential. Experts predict it to be a $47 billion industry by 2025. At the start of 2020, recreational marijuana use is legal in 11 states, while 33 states have medical marijuana laws firmly on the books. Recent local and state elections, too, indicate that more legalization is on the way, and the support of politicians at the federal level points to nation-wide legalization sooner rather than later. 

That astronomical growth comes in spite of many hurdles placed in front of young businesses. From inconsistent and changing regulations from county-to-county and state-to-state to variable access to investment, to supply chain and distribution issues, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for many growers. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges is energy. 

The electrical impact of marijuana cultivation is massive. Producing one pound of cannabis produces requires roughly 2,000 kWh, which is the equivalent of two and a half months of energy consumption by a normal household. That’s big. Multiply that to industrial-levels of production in facilities that can fill thousands of square feet and you can begin to see just how much strain cannabis could put on the grid. In fact, marijuana caused seven blackouts in California alone back in 2015. 

The demand is high now, but it’s only expected to grow. Canada, for example, expects cannabis power consumption to increase by 1,250% between 2020 and 2024. That would make cannabis production alone a total of 1% of the country’s entire energy market. 

Not only is it massive, but the source of that huge energy draw is also primarily fossil fuels. With a rise in demand will come a rise in pollution just as the world looks to drastically reduce its carbon footprint to fight climate change. By waiting for governments to shift grid-scale electrical production to renewable sources, the world might be putting a nail in its own coffin. 

Instead, growers are investing in themselves to incorporate renewable energy created from wind and solar, as well as integrated energy storage systems to offer flexibility. Retrofitting isn’t a viable option; many growers say the expense of trying to work with older lighting and irrigation systems isn’t cost-effective, and replacing the whole set-up makes more financial sense. 

Lighting is a huge element to both a healthy crop and to energy efficiency. With the switch flipped on between 18 and 20 hours a day, light fixtures account for approximately 70% of electricity consumption. We’ve been working with growers to create smart, dynamic systems that use the most efficient materials and intelligent automation to control climate. If over two-thirds of consumption comes from a single source, it’s where we can make the biggest difference. 

We’re working with growers across the state and around the country to implement the sort of systems that will keep companies competitive, sustainable, and comfortably within the patchwork of local guidelines. Getting started? Start with a call to Keen Technical Solutions.

Spain’s Bright Spot During Pandemic…

Spain

And now, some good news. 

After months of coronavirus stories out of Europe, one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic has some shining bright news to share. Indeed, many in the renewable energy sector are taking a bit of pride in seeing a success story just as the world, as Europe, as Spain, and as all of us need something to get excited about. 

Spain has trailed behind only Italy and the United States in the COVID-19 pandemic, losing tens of thousands of lives as it battled to stem the spread of the virus. Just as some non-essential businesses began to reopen their doors and life got back to normal for just a sliver of the population, a crowning achievement in sustainability went online. Spanish utility company Iberdrola announced that the first kilowatt-hour is through the line of the 500-megawatt facility in Extremadura. 

The Nunez de Balboa facility lays claim as Europe’s largest operating solar plant. The station comprises over 1.4 million solar panels and can provide power to over a quarter of a million people in the region per year. That’s especially good news in an industry that has seen its growth scaled back due to the pandemic. Estimates of nearly 130 gigawatts in 2020 are now expected to fall roughly around 106 GW, a drop just shy of 20% to pre-pandemic totals. 

It’s not just solar. Supply chain and manufacturing disruptions have already had an impact on wind turbine construction in Europe, with the Netherlands most affected. There has been little incentive for firms and utilities to switch, with record-breaking low oil prices hitting a floor in mid-April, only with a deal to cut production by OPEC, Russia, and the United States able to keep prices per barrel above prices not seen in nearly three decades. 

Solar in Spain might be one of the bright spots of a season that’s been incredibly challenging in not just Spain, but around the globe. Right now, renewables need to stay on the mind to help countries emerge from the pandemic with as healthy and bright a future as we deserve. 

Innovation Beats Hard Times: Share Your Stories

energy Keen coronovirus

At KEEN, it’s all about energy. That means so much more than kilowatt-hours. We believe that innovation simply can’t be born without challenge and without need. If necessity is the mother of all inventions, then adversity is the father. 

That’s why we’re going to spend the next couple of weeks highlighting just a few companies we’ve worked with that have stepped up in times of crisis. They’re offering their customers new services, new products, and new solutions just when the world needs the creativity, the inspiration, and the bravery that it takes to make big changes. 

From our brewery and distillery friends make an on-the-spot switch to hand sanitizer and disinfectants to restaurants developing completely new online, curbside, and delivery systems to keep their operations moving, there are countless stories of businesses thinking ahead. We know that if you’re not adapting, you’re already falling behind. Under the heightened pressure of this health crisis, that has implications that go well beyond business and impacts people’s lives. 

If you’re a business that’s taken steps to ensure the safety of your team and your clients, we want to hear from you. If you’ve made the move from one industry to another, or if you’ve made efforts to support the medical professionals battling on the frontlines to save lives in our area clinics and hospitals, we want to hear from you. 

What we need now are the success stories. The world needs the hope that life, health, and business will return to normal, and that leaders in every industry are working to offer that hope through fresh thinking and bold innovation. Send us your COVID-19 stories to csovis@keen-minds.com and we’ll let the world know what you’re doing and let them know how they can help. And thank you for bringing the right energy to a world that needs positivity and inspiration.

Learn more about our efforts over the phone.

Keen Is Working To Keep Our People Safe

covid-19

COVID-19 has been a challenge for everyone. At Keen Technical Solutions, we value our relationships more than anything. From our team, to our partners, to our suppliers, and especially to our clients, we always put people first. As all of us face the growing concerns and dangers of the coronavirus, we wanted to update on our efforts to protect the people we care about. 

First, we highly recommend that everyone adhere to the most up-to-date guidelines and recommendations from the CDC. Your state or local government may also have additional recommendations or insight based on the current conditions in your area. 

We’re doing our part. Internally, we’re all working from home or from the road more than usual to reduce any risk of passing along the virus internally. We’ve always depended on mobility to effectively serve our clients, relying on telecommunications for years to keep our team connected. That has put us in a position to take our office closure almost entirely in stride. 

It has become even more of a priority for us to protect our team and our clients on the job site. Many of our on-going maintenance and continuing projects are classified as essential. We’ve worked hard to responsibly balance health, safety, and progress. Any and all staff have been instructed to stay home if they feel sick in any way, or if they have family members who aren’t well. Workers with travel to known outbreak areas have also been instructed not to come in for work. 

On each project, we’ve also made a renewed effort to clean and disinfect the job site when we start work and when we finish. Any contact with clients respects the six-foot distance recommended by health officials, and we’ve adopted as many digital forms and communications to reduce the need for in-person discussion as much as possible. 

We are constantly reviewing the latest information on the pandemic in order to make the best decision for our clients and our workforce on a day-to-day basis. We’re also carefully tracking our own practices in order to do even more to keep everyone safe. 

From the whole Keen Technical Solutions family, be safe, be healthy, and if we can do anything to help you during these tough times, please reach out.

solar

Solar Project Scale: The (New) Biggest Solar Installation in the US?

We like to aim high and go big. So how big is the largest solar project in the United States? Find out how much power one plant in California creates! 

Late in 2019, the federal government gave its stamp of approval to the Gemini solar project. Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, the proposed site would span over 7,000 acres and generate nearly 700 mW. It would also tap into the emerging efficiency of energy storage capacity by holding onto a minimum of 380 mW on-site. At $1 billion, Gemini would become the biggest solar facility in the United States. 

In the competitive world of energy, the current record holder for power generation would almost certainly like to add an asterisk. The storage capacity of Gemini would push it into the lead. At the Solar Star solar project in California, its 579 mW of generation does not include storage capacity. When Solar Star came online in 2015, it was the world’s largest solar energy generation site. It was surpassed four years later by a plant in India, which uses 13,000 acres to produce over 2,000 mW. 

Current plans for Gemini would have it operational by 2023 and work with two other solar power facilities that are already in service. The project is a vital part of Nevada’s commitment to zero carbon emissions by 2050. Along the way, the state has committed to getting at least 50% of its electricity by renewable sources by 2030. 

It’s going to take big ideas, big investments, and a lot of hard work to successfully tackle the immense challenges in climate change and energy consumption. But not every project needs to set a record in order to contribute; from a more efficient light bulb to the biggest solar project in the United States, every step forward gets us closer to sustainability.

solar power

An Opportunity To Invest In A Brighter Future

solar power

The government is talking about an unprecedented stimulus package. It’s fitting; we live in unprecedented times. The impact of coronavirus over the past three months has been startling; the effects of three months could be exponentially more challenging. Out of this situation, we have to seize every opportunity possible. 

Out of the wreckage of our economy, the proposed stimulus packages that have been floated from both the House of Representatives and Senate are more than just a lifeline for those affected by closures and shutdowns across the country. They’re a chance to redirect the entire economy and specific industries. Among those priorities should certainly be a commitment to alternative energy and an investment in rewarding those who pivot to cleaner, more sustainable energy options. 

On Capitol Hill, there is a predictable split between parties between those who advocate for the inclusion and even the requirement that some of the $1 trillion or more earmarked for the stimulus plan be invested specifically in green technologies. Two giants of the alternative energy industries, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), have both been vocal in emphasizing the immense opportunity the nation has to make the most to a brighter, cleaner energy future. 

Without that support, the growth of the past decade could be at risk. A recent study forecasted that as much as 50% of residential solar jobs could be lost, while as much as $43 billion in investment in the field could also be on the line. That money could be diverted or held back, stopping work on solar project fields across the country. 

Additionally, as many as 35,000 jobs in wind could be at risk, according to the AWEA. Industry advocates argue that a number of options to support alternative energy exists, including creating new tax credits or extending current tax credits that are beginning to phase out over the next five years. 

Instead, the Trump administration has asked Congress to approve as much as $3 billion to fill the national oil reserves and prop up US producers who have been steamrolled by the price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Of course, the obvious argument here is that it’s a short term fix; it’s a solution only until those reserves are met, or until the next time foreign countries decide to lower prices. 

By refusing to invest in alternative energy sources, our country faces the prospect of spending billions to get out of one global health crisis only to face the realities of the climate crisis even further behind the eight ball.

Learn more; contact us today to see how these investments could affect your business.

HVAC

HVAC Efficiency For Health

HVAC

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been inundated with calls from businesses looking for ways to offer their employees clean, safe air. Fall, winter, and spring put indoor air quality under the microscope, and there are a lot of issues to consider beyond the current health crisis. From efficiency to allergies, investing in high-efficiency indoor HVAC is always smart. 

Improve efficiency, lower energy costs, up your productivity, and take care of your workforce? It’s not a magic bullet, it’s your air. With a whole world of authors and experts exposing a new gospel on how to do more in less time, and do it for less, something as simple and important as air quality is too often overlooked. It’s not as flashy as a new desk or a remodeled conference room, but clean air can make a world of difference. 

Lower Repair Costs. It should come as no surprise that a new system will lower your monthly, quarterly, and annual repair costs. With new fixtures, smart tools, and regular maintenance, you’ll breathe a lot easier at night when the weather changes or puts more strain on your HVAC system. Spend more time thinking about where you’ll invest the money you saved! 

Lower Operating Costs. Here’s even more cash to tuck below the bottom line. Energy efficiency has improved in leaps and bounds in just the past few years. While just how much you can save depends on a lot of factors, we offer energy audits that will help us identify how much you can save with an upgraded HVAC system, plus opportunities to reduce other operating expenses like indoor and outdoor lighting. 

Improved Air Flow and Comfort. How is it possible that one employee is cold and another is boiling hot just a few feet away? It’s probably not your people; it’s your airflow. Upgrade systems distribute hot and cool air evenly and efficiently, which means you can all step away from the thermostat and leave the space heaters at home. Not only will it save you money, but it’ll also keep your team focus on their work, not trying to get feeling back into their fingers. 

Better Health For Your Team. A lot of our calls have focused on COVID-19 concerns over the past few weeks, but there are more factors that make HVAC vital in keeping your employees health. New efficient forced air systems offer updated filtration systems that offer clean air with fewer particles to breathe in. While the current health scare is worth looking at, ask any allergy sufferer just how important clean air is to their mood, energy level, work attendance, and general productivity. 

Lower Carbon Footprint. HVAC upgrades contribute to the bigger picture, too. Modern high-efficiency systems save you money and save the planet by lowering carbon emissions. For many companies, investing in a green initiative has been integral in focusing on sustainability and being accountable to their communities. This is one piece of a larger puzzle that can add up to a big difference. 

Want to learn more? Contact Keen today to talk HVAC, energy, and your first consultation.