Wednesday, February 28, 2007

VentureOne: Plug-in Hybrid Car

Here's a pretty cool looking hybrid car/bike/airplane (well, not quite an airplane); but it's really cool. Check out the video of this concept vehicle. Hope this makes it to the streets soon :-)
VentureOne, a revolutionary 3-wheel, tilting, plug-in Hybrid vehicle. This unique 2-passenger flex-fuel Hybrid vehicle will achieve 100 miles per gallon with a top speed of over 100 mph.

VentureOne thanks to Robb for bringing this to my attention.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Be Cool

There are some good tips on the Global Cool website for living green.

Such as:
  • Turn your heating down by 1 degree.
  • Don't leave electronics, appliances, and gadgets on "standby." Turn them off instead.
  • Unplug chargers when you are done, so they won't drain energy.
  • While cooking, don't boil over.
  • Fly less often.
  • Turn off lights when not required (should be obvious, but people still don't do it!). If you don't need them on then switch them off, they waste so much energy.
  • Switch to a supplier that generates electricity through wind, water and solar power.
  • Take a low-power shower.
  • Buy better bulbs such as compact fluorescent bulbs.
  • Pack the freezer, empty space wastes energy.
  • Park the car, take a walk.
  • Use better home insulation.
  • Wash your clothes at a lower temperature in the washer.
  • Buy locally grown foods.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Tesla: The Hotest New Green Car

Check-out the hottest new green car - the Tesla, an electric car that has zero emissions and goes from zero to 60 in less than four seconds.

Be prepared to shell-out a lot of $$$$$$ for this one and wait for a year or more for delivery. One can dream ;-)

ZAP Smart Car

ZAP has some interesting looking electric cars, fuel cell cars, and hybrid cars in the pipeline.

Check it out.

Giving Goes Green

Small companies are donating a portion of their sales to environmental groups through 1% For the Planet.

Giving Goes Green

Do You Recycle Your Electronic Gear?

Here are a couple of articles discussing recycling electronic gear and also how you can reduce your energy consumption by using green components in your PC.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only about 10 percent of all electronics are currently recycled in the U.S. That is why our landfills are being filled with toxic lead, mercury, cadmium, copper and barium. And that is clearly not good enough people.

Do You Recycle Your Electronic Gear? - Gearlog
That's where you can help. Building a green PC means you can be part of the solution by using all lead-free parts that are also more energy-efficient.

PC Magazine: The Green PC

Put A Termite In Your Tank

Did you know it takes 7 gallons of gasoline to make 10 gallons of corn ethanol! Doesn't make much sense does it?

This BusinessWeek article discusses some alternatives ways to make ethanol from agricultural waste for much less, like using E. coli and termites.
Bio breakthroughs are promising much better ways to make ethanol.

BusinessWeek: Put A Termite In Your Tank

Green Wonders of the World

Green building technology has reached a tipping point that makes it more feasible — and elegant — choice for new construction.

BusinessWeek: Green Wonders of the World

Living Small, Living Green

This NY Times article provides a good overview for those who are considering simplifying their lives and living small.
Living tiny, however, does not require deprivation, thanks to modern technology. Gregory Johnson, president of the Small House Society, who lives in a 140-square-foot house in Iowa, noted that people once needed “a stereo system, countless LPs or CDs, photo albums and a small library of books.” Now, everything can take up no more space than a laptop or an iPod.

Think Small - New York Times

TreeHugger Picks: Commuter Scooters

Okay, so this is not for everyone; but if you are someone who commutes short distances daily, you may want to consider a scooter, especially a rechargeable electric scooter. Treehugger has some choices available for you here.
Regular readers of TreeHugger will know that we're just mad about bicycles and other small, efficient, emissions-free types of transportation, but there are occassions where a bicycle just won't do. For those days where pedaling won't get 'er done, here is a collection of our favorite electric commuter-type scooters.

TreeHugger Picks: Commuter Scooters (TreeHugger)

Dwell Podcasts: The Growing Green Movement

Longtime sustainability advocate Jennifer Roberts discusses the growing green movement. [Click to download the podcast.]

Dwell Podcasts: The Growing Green Movement - Podcasts -

Building Green in Harlem

In this video series, Dwell follows a New York couple with a passion for building green through the challenges—and triumphs—of renovation, from finding the design-build team to finalizing the design.

Building Green in Harlem: Episode 1 - Video -

Buildings That Breathe : Green Construction is Coming of Age

“I believe that buildings are the worst thing that people do to the environment,” said Rob Watson, former senior scientist at Natural Resources Defense Council, on the Public Broadcasting System news show, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, in 2005. “…[W]e don’t associate the fact that when we turn on a light switch, coal is mined in a mine. It goes to a power plant that comes up the stack as acid rain producing sulfur dioxide, planet-cooking carbon dioxide.”

Buildings That Breathe : Green Construction is Coming of Age (By Sally Deneen and Brian Howard)

TreeHugger: How to Go Green

Here's an excellent resource to help you live green.
We present below, a plethora of handy guides to help you green your lives with ease, while understanding why. Our aim is over 100+ guides so do come back to visit. And please tell your friends, family and colleagues! Most of us understand that we need to do something, some of us understand what to do but few of us are actually doing anything...Carpe diem kids!

TreeHugger: How to Go Green

TreeHugger Picks: Solar at Home

TreeHugger has a good list of options for folks who want to try solar power at home.
With summer on the way, most of us will be seeing an increase in daylight hours and, thus, solar radiation... Here are our picks for cranking up solar around the house.

TreeHugger Picks: Solar at Home (TreeHugger)

Solar Trailer Provides Power To Storm Victims

“When you look at operating costs and lifecycle costs, this is cheaper because you don’t have fuel,” [Bill Young] said. “We don’t have oil changes or maintenance or cylinders to rebuild. We replace the batteries about once every six years while some generators have to be rebuilt every 500 to 1,000 hours.”

Solar Trailer Provides Power To Storm Victims (TreeHugger)

Green "Jeans" anyone?

Levi Strauss & Co., creator of the world’s first pair of blue jeans back in 1873, has now launched a new brand called Levi’s Eco... These organic cotton jeans are high-end and costly, but are pretty comparable to other jeans that we’ve seen. As part of the global launch, the Eco jeans are available in all of the Levi’s U.S and Europe stores. Right now they are offering an organic jean jacket as well and apparently new products will be introduced this coming spring... [The] company's Capital E collection (which includes some Eco jeans) is made in North Carolina.

Levi’s Launches Organic Brand Globally (TreeHugger)

Australia Switches Off Incandescent Bulbs

Pay special attention to the last sentence in this quote.

I've always felt the light switch can be our best friend in saving energy (costs). When I see office buildings and stores with their lights on after closing time, I wonder if the owners realize how much energy is being wasted by the lights and computers that have been left on during off hours.

If everyone switches off lights and other electrical devices when they leave the room, at home or at the office, imagine how much electricity we would be saving.
Of course, the replacement lighting offering these savings will be compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). Though we imagine the LED guys will seize the opportunity too. An interesting stat that came out with all this, was that globally lighting is equal in emission contribution to about 70% of the world's passenger vehicles. Which should remind us that turning off lights when a room is vacant also helps too, even better than using CFLs.

World First? Australia Switches Off Incandescent Bulbs (TreeHugger)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Bamboo Fiber Sheets

Another good alternative to cotton and it doesn't require pesticides.
Bamboo fiber has officially entered the mainstream. Bed, Bath and Beyond now offers these sheets made of 100% bamboo fiber with a thread count of 230. Bamboo is one of the softest fabrics in the world — softer than cotton but with a drape like silk. It comes from a rapidly renewable resource that doesn't require pesticides to grow.

Bamboo Fiber Sheets (TreeHugger)

Natural Linen Sheets

Linen, which comes from the flax plant, is an optimal material for making sheets. Like hemp, linen does not require pesticides to grow. By contrast, 25% of all pesticides used in the world are sprayed on cotton. Linen is also 2 to 3 times stronger than cotton, has no lint or piling tendencies, and dries more quickly.

Who knew! Linen looks like a good alternative to cotton. Look for it next time when you are shopping for clothing or bed sheets.


MIT's Stackable, Foldable "City Car"

Researchers at MIT are building a prototype of a lightweight electric vehicle that can be cheaply mass-produced, rented by commuters under a shared-use business model, and folded and stacked like grocery carts at subway stations or other central sites. It's called the City Car, and the key to the concept lies in the design of its wheels. The MIT team has transformed the lowly wheel into a robotic drive system that will power the City Car. Embedded in each of its four wheels will be an electric motor, steering and braking mechanisms, suspension, and digital controls, all integrated into sealed units that can be snapped on and off.

Via Boston.Com and TreeHugger

Electric Mini: 0-60 in 4 Seconds

This is an older news item but worth a revisit. If this car ever goes into commercial production, my dream of a Green Mini will come true ;-)
A British engineering firm has put together a high-performance hybrid version of BMW's Mini Cooper. The PML Mini QED has a top speed of 150 mph, a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds. The car uses a small gasoline engine with four 160 horsepower electric motors — one on each wheel. The car has been designed to run for four hours of combined urban/extra urban driving, powered only by a battery and bank of ultra capacitors. The QED supports an all-electric range of 200-250 miles and has a total range of about 932 miles (1,500 km). For longer journeys at higher speeds, a small conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) is used to re-charge the battery. In this hybrid mode, fuel economies of up to 80mpg can be achieved.

Electric Mini: 0-60 in 4 Seconds: It Has Motors In Its Wheels (TreeHugger)

Home Depot Selling Solar to Mainstream America

The Home Depot has teamed up with BP Solar to provide solar installation service to customers. It is offering its customers the ability to sign-up online for free, in-home consultations. California is also getting ready to make solar roofs mainstream.

Home Depot Selling Solar to Mainstream America (TreeHugger)

Low-Mercury Fluorescents Bulbs: ALTO by Philips (TreeHugger)

Fluorescents bulbs are good energy efficient alternatives to incandescents, but they do require mercury in their manufacture, and this can be a problem if they are not disposed of properly. In response to this, Philips introduced a range of low-mercury fluorescents: ALTO bulbs.

Philips claims the bulbs have the lowest amount of mercury of any bulb on the market at less than 3.8 mg per bulb, or about 70% less mercury than other bulbs. To achieve this, Philips uses a specially developed mercury capsule which ensures the exact amount of mercury is placed in a tiny glass capsule which is attached to the lamp cathode.

Philips claims that the bulbs last about twice as long as other fluorescents.

Low-Mercury Fluorescents Bulbs: ALTO by Philips (TreeHugger)

Solar-Electric Power System

The engineering teams at Infinia and Open Energy believe that the Suncone CSP solar concentrating power system can be modified to deliver more than 700° C of solar thermal energy to Infinia’s free-piston Sterling engine to generate electricity on a cost-effective basis without burning fossil fuels or emitting greenhouse gases.

Green Car Congress: Open Energy and Infinia To Develop a Suncone/Stirling Solar-Electric Power System

Could California Ban the Bulb?

This could provide the boost needed for alternative, energy saving light bulbs like CFLs and LEDs.
If California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine has his way, incandescent bulbs—the most common light bulbs in the world—could be outlawed in the state.

He has proposed a ban on the sale of conventional light bulbs, called the How Many Legislators Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb Act, by 2012.

RED HERRING | Could California Ban the Bulb?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Top 10 Emerging Environmental Technologies

Wasteful energy policies, overuse of resources, water supply shortages, global climate change, and deforestation are just some of the issues experts say need to be addressed for humans to achieve sustainable living on this planet. By the year 2025, an additional 2.9 billion people will strain tightening water supplies, and the world's energy needs will go up 60 percent by 2030, according to the United Nations. LiveScience looks at 10 technologies—some old, some new, some a bit offbeat—that might help make the future a little brighter.
Sara Goudarzi

Here are links to the Top 10 Emerging Environmental Technologies discussed in the article:
10. Make Paper Obsolete
9. Bury The Bad Stuff
8. Let Plants and Microbes Clean Up After Us
7. Plant Your Roof
6. Harness Waves and Tides
5. Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion
4. Sunny New Ideas
3. The 'H' Power
2. Remove the Salt
1. Make Oil from Just about Anything

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Home Designed to Produce Energy It Uses

Sargent's house is designed to produce as much energy as it uses. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the average family spends $1,400 a year to run its house, with about half going for heating and cooling. The agency provides technical help to builders like Sargent to encourage energy-efficient and ``green'' home construction, or 'zero energy' houses. - Home Designed to Produce Energy It Uses

A Real 'Green' House: No Heating Bill for 25 Years

The design involved installing a special subfloor that can be filled with water heated by solar collectors or a backup fossil fuel system for use on cloudy days. This creates a massive heat storage system that allows the entire greenhouse floor to act as a primary heat source and heat exchanger. - A Real 'Green' House: No Heating Bill for 25 Years

How You Can Fight Global Warming

The scientific and political arguments surrounding global warming can make the whole topic seem beyond the grasp of the individual. How fast is the climate changing? Exactly what effects do humans have? Is the White House telling the truth about the problem? And what's being done?

Scientists have proposed some wacky solutions, from injecting sulfur into the air to shading Earth with a ring of satellites. But real, rational and large-scale near-term solutions can only come from new laws. Meanwhile, there are things you can do. How we treat Earth involves trillions of little decisions by billions of individuals that drive the industrial engines that ultimately spew the greenhouse gases into the air.

That in mind, LiveScience presents a range of ideas for saving energy and otherwise cutting down on your impact on the planet. Many of the ideas will also save you money.

Here's a quick list of suggestions (click here for more details):
  1. Change your light bulbs
  2. Drive less, drive differently, and drive a more fuel-efficient car
  3. Control you home’s temperature
  4. Tame your refrigerator
  5. Twist some knobs (water heater, thermostat, etc.)
  6. Plant smartly
  7. Invest in green energy
  8. Go organic
  9. Buy recycled
  10. Be a minimalist
How You Can Fight Global Warming - Yahoo! News via Green Thinkers.

Electric Hand Dryer or Paper Towel?

So you're standing in a public bathroom, having just washed your hands. You look to the paper towels, you look to the electric hand dryer on the wall, which one do you choose?

AskPablo: Electric Hand Dryer or Paper Towel? via Green Thinkers.

Envirolet: Waterless Composting Toilets

Why is Envirolet® Green?
  • Envirolet® does not burn, use chemicals or require a septic tank.
  • Envirolet® use little or no water.
  • Envirolet® converts waste to compost on-site instead of sending it to a sewage plant.
  • Every family of four that uses an Envirolet waterless systems can save over 30,000 litres of water/year!
Envirolet® Saves Water

Monday, February 19, 2007

Designer Corner

The "Domtar: Designer Corner" has a number of links to Eco-News articles on living Eco-Smart. Check it out.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Problem with Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

NPR had a piece about a problem with Compact Fluorescent Bulbs which are currently being promoted by the EPA to conserve energy.

While I encourage everyone to use CFLs in order to conserve energy, here's a word of caution; DO NOT throw them in the trash when the bulbs burn out, they contain Mercury, a neurotoxin, which contaminates the soil and groundwater, and is harmful to our health.

Please read the instructions on the package label to determine how to dispose/recycle CFL bulbs properly.
The Environmental Protection Agency and some large business, including Wal-Mart, are aggressively promoting the sale of compact fluorescent light bulbs as a way to save energy and fight global warming. They want Americans to buy many millions of them over the coming years.

But the bulbs contain small amounts of mercury, a neurotoxin, and the companies and federal government haven't come up with effective ways to get Americans to recycle them.

NPR : CFL Bulbs Have One Hitch: Toxic Mercury

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Next Gen Home Experience

NextGen is tracking the newest products for the energy efficient Nextgen project house in Seattle, particularly insulated concrete forms for the walls and structurally insulated panels for the roof. The Nextgen House will be equipped with all of the newest “green living” products.
Experience™ showcases the latest developments in contemporary living, from advanced home connectivity to storm resistant construction, energy efficiency and 'green friendly' lifestyle enhancements.

Next Gen Home Experience by way of Your House and Home TV

Friday, February 9, 2007

NPR : Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth'

Fresh Air from WHYY, February 9, 2007 ·
Former Vice President Al Gore has been on the forefront of warning against global warming for many years. His critically acclaimed documentary on the subject, An Inconvenient Truth, is up for Academy Awards for Best Documentary Feature and Music Written for a Motion Picture. This interview originally aired on May 30, 2006.

An audio podcast of this show is available here.

NPR : Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth'

Thursday, February 8, 2007


ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.


Energy Efficient Rehab Advisor

This Advisor describes the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) guidelines for conducting energy efficient housing rehabilitation.

Energy Efficient Rehab Advisor

Declutter Your Life

By consuming less, you are helping the environment. Follow the Less is More principle and Declutter your life. It's one way to live green. Check out the tips at the following link.

This Is the Year to Declutter Your Life: "Declutter your home, declutter your life."

Drive 100+ MPG

If driving 100+ mpg sounds too good to be true, check out They are a non-profit startup in California, have built prototype plug-in hybrids (see PRIUS+,the world's first plug-in Prius), and are working on others to show what can be done now with existing technology.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Shopping Green

Original posting on Live Green in Plano.

Shopping is one of the most significant things we can do to Live Green. Your dollar is a powerful medium in which you can support green products and practices. Below, you will find tips for shopping and local places to invest your money. Remember- when you Rebuy recycled products, you “close the loop”!

Here are some tips for Shopping Green:
  • Avoid single-use items. Instead buy reusable or repairable products.
  • Use and reuse gift bags, scarves, towels, comics, ribbons and bows to wrap and decorate gifts.
  • Rent, don’t buy, infrequently used tools.
  • Take your own cloth, paper or plastic bags to the store instead of getting new ones every trip.
  • Buy products with less packaging.
  • Buy in bulk.
  • Donate or sell used goods; shop at garage sales and resale shops.
  • Purchase items in concentrate when possible (the packaging is always significantly less).
  • Buy products that contain recycled materials. Glass, Steel, and aluminum bottles, jars, or cans have 20% or more recycled content.
  • Paperboard boxes (such as cereal and shoe boxes) are made from almost 100% recycled materials.
  • Avoid foam containers, waxed milk and juice cartons, and any single serve boxes.
  • Repair old items instead of buying new ones.
  • Select recycled-content writing paper and envelopes; buy refillable pens and pencils.
  • Buy a low-flow showerhead and install it.

Tips for Green Living

Original posting on Live Green in Plano.

Living Green involves the Four Rs: Reduce - Reuse - Recycle - Rebuy. Listed below are tips to help apply the Four Rs to everyday life.
  1. Compost food scraps, leaves, and other organic materials.
  2. On hot days, water your lawn in the early morning or in the evening.
  3. Remove your name from Direct Mail marketers’ lists for five years by registering with the Mail Preference Service of the direct Marketing Association.
  4. Use cloth napkins instead of paper.
  5. Use sponges instead of paper towels.
  6. Store food in reusable containers.
  7. Reuse plastic sandwich bags and aluminum foil.
  8. Turn off lights and your TV when not in use.
  9. Replace incandescent lights with energy-saving fluorescent bulbs.
  10. Buy energy efficient appliances.
  11. Clean the dryer’s lint trap after every load.
  12. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth.
  13. Keep your car tuned up and your tires properly inflated.
  14. Ride DART, ride a bike, or walk.
  15. Take short showers.
  16. Go to the library to read magazines, newspapers, or books rather than buying them.
  17. Pack your own lunch and use a reusable lunch box or bag.
  18. Look into alternative energy sources.
  19. Recycle at home, at work, and out and about!
  20. Check out Plano’s Material Exchange Web site – where you can list items you want to get rid of, but don’t want to throw away. After providing information on what you want to give away, seekers can arrange to take and use the items that would otherwise be going into our landfill.
  21. Buy a hybrid vehicle.
Tips for Green Living

Consumer's Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

U.S. Department of Energy's Consumer Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Explore your options for saving energy and using renewable energy at home, at work, in your community, and while driving.

Consumer's Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Carbon Footprint

How are your everyday activities, as an individual, impacting the environment. Here's a site that will help you measure it.

Carbon Footprint is a measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of green house gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.
How big is yours ? Find out, and then do something about it!

Carbon Footprint

Live Green in Plano

The City of Plano has a new website to help guide residents on living green. Good for them!
"Sustainability is often defined as 'to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.' The City of Plano offers a broad spectrum of programs and educational opportunities to residents interested in living green."

The City of Plano, Texas Official Website