Try these simple steps to make your shop more sustainable

Save Money and Save the Planet

Save Money and Save the Planet

You do not have to sell the farm in order to do the things you love. In fact spending less money on energy will keep more money in your pocket and reduce your impact on the environment. Use of energy isn’t just isolated to the electricity that your shop consumes but it is also considering how much energy that it took for the materials you use to be produced. Let’s start from the outside of your studio and work our way in.

Outside

If you are one of the lucky many that has their shop located on their own property you will have control of the surroundings of your shop. Having strategically placed bushes, vines, and trees can significantly reduce the amount of energy your shop has to spend to keep it at a constant temperature.

Evergreen bushes can be planted closer to the house to keep south and west facing walls from heat during the summer and act as an air barrier in the winter. Shading your air conditioner unit with a trellis with vines can also increase the efficiency of the unit by up to 10% but make sure that you do not impede someone from being able to service it or block it from being able to intake air.

In temperate climates deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves in the winter) should be placed no closer than 20 feet from the house to make sure that they stay at a safe distance even when they are at a mature height. These trees can reduce the amount of sun your shop gets during the summer and since they lose their leaves during the winter you will get the rays from the sun to help keep your shop warm.

If you’re renting your studio space and you can’t convince your landlord to allow you to make those exterior modifications you could use large planted bushes to help achieve similar results.

Inside

When it comes to your shop there three things to consider: fuel, lights, and materials on your bench.

Your biggest expense in lampworking besides glass is the gases that you use so being as efficient with them as possible is a must in order to decrease your bottom line. Using a foot pedal with a two stage torch or a gas economizer with your hand torch is crucial to ensure that you are not throwing combusted gases into the world and it will prevent you from wasting time and gasoline when you have to go get more sooner.

Lighting up your studio is obviously a necessity but how to illuminate your work space isn’t always as obvious. Direct lighting instead of wide area lighting is much more efficient and using LEDs over incandescent or CFLs is even more efficient. Not only will you save money on the power but you will also spend less time fiddling with light bulbs because LEDs last for thousands of hours more than the alternatives.

Materials on your bench can range from what your bench is made from the glass that ends up on your bench. Steel takes a lot more energy to produce which is why it is typically more expensive while hardibacker on top of plywood would be more than sufficient for your bench top. Hardibacker is a cement and cellulose material that can withstand prolong exposure to fire while not reflecting heat like stainless steel will.

The glass scraps from your work do not have to be thrown away! If you have multiple tink buckets you could keep scraps of colored glass from being mixed with clear glass in order to have homemade frit. You can even get a frit crusher and sifting pans to get different grades of frit from what you would have thrown away anyways.

When you start considering the environment you work around and in you can start to save money to do more, improve your efficiency and the area that you work in, and positively impact the world around you by giving more and taking less.

You do not have to sell the farm in order to do the things you love. In fact spending less money on energy will keep more money in your pocket and reduce your impact on the environment. Use of energy isn’t just isolated to the electricity that your shop consumes but it is also considering how much energy that it took for the materials you use to be produced. Let’s start from the outside of your studio and work our way in.

Outside

If you are one of the lucky many that has their shop located on their own property you will have control of the surroundings of your shop. Having strategically placed bushes, vines, and trees can significantly reduce the amount of energy your shop has to spend to keep it at a constant temperature.

Evergreen bushes can be planted closer to the house to keep south and west facing walls from heat during the summer and act as an air barrier in the winter. Shading your air conditioner unit with a trellis with vines can also increase the efficiency of the unit by up to 10% but make sure that you do not impede someone from being able to service it or block it from being able to intake air.

In temperate climates deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves in the winter) should be placed no closer than 20 feet from the house to make sure that they stay at a safe distance even when they are at a mature height. These trees can reduce the amount of sun your shop gets during the summer and since they lose their leaves during the winter you will get the rays from the sun to help keep your shop warm.

If you’re renting your studio space and you can’t convince your landlord to allow you to make those exterior modifications you could use large planted bushes to help achieve similar results.

Inside

When it comes to your shop there three things to consider: fuel, lights, and materials on your bench.

Your biggest expense in lampworking besides glass is the gases that you use so being as efficient with them as possible is a must in order to decrease your bottom line. Using a foot pedal with a two stage torch or a gas economizer with your hand torch is crucial to ensure that you are not throwing combusted gases into the world and it will prevent you from wasting time and gasoline when you have to go get more sooner.

Lighting up your studio is obviously a necessity but how to illuminate your work space isn’t always as obvious. Direct lighting instead of wide area lighting is much more efficient and using LEDs over incandescent or CFLs is even more efficient. Not only will you save money on the power but you will also spend less time fiddling with light bulbs because LEDs last for thousands of hours more than the alternatives.

Materials on your bench can range from what your bench is made from the glass that ends up on your bench. Steel takes a lot more energy to produce which is why it is typically more expensive while hardibacker on top of plywood would be more than sufficient for your bench top. Hardibacker is a cement and cellulose material that can withstand prolong exposure to fire while not reflecting heat like stainless steel will.

The glass scraps from your work do not have to be thrown away! If you have multiple tink buckets you could keep scraps of colored glass from being mixed with clear glass in order to have homemade frit. You can even get a frit crusher and sifting pans to get different grades of frit from what you would have thrown away anyways.

When you start considering the environment you work around and in you can start to save money to do more, improve your efficiency and the area that you work in, and positively impact the world around you by giving more and taking less.