Friday, March 30, 2007

The Dirty Secret about Clean Cars

This article is an eye opener, giving an insight into why we don't see "real innovation" from the Big Three automakers when it comes to manufacturing fuel efficient cars here in the US.
President Bush and the Big Three are pushing cars that run on ethanol. But the policy may be doing more harm than good...

The Dirty Secret about Clean Cars

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Mall Goes Green

Chicago's Green Exchange will be the first shopping center in the U.S. for environmentally responsible and socially conscious businesses...

So many new practitioners have emerged, in fact, that the first mall in the U.S. dedicated to green and socially responsible businesses—Green Exchange—will open in Chicago early in 2008. When it does, Consolidated Printing will be one of its original tenants.

Jones is ecstatic that Chicago will soon have a place where "greenies" can help each other expand their businesses—and attract a critical mass of consumers. "A lot of people are unaware of how many things they can actually purchase that are green," Jones explains. "And it's certainly going to give [small green businesses] visibility on a grander scale than they could achieve as an independent."

The Mall Goes Green

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

One Arts Plaza in downtown Dallas

One of the topics discussed is why Dallas lags so far behind in the green building movement. The show airs on March 30, on KERA Channel 13 at 7:30 PM. A video podcast will be available from KERAs website and an audio download is available here.
Lee Cullum talks with real estate developer Lucy Billingsley of The Billingsley Company about her diverse portfolio and her biggest project yet, One Arts Plaza neighboring the Arts District in downtown Dallas.

CEO, a production of KERA 90.1 and KERA 13

Nation's Capital Requires Developers to Go Green

Washington, D.C., will become the first major city to require that private developers build 'green,' or environmentally friendly, buildings. The new structures will have features such as green roofs, natural light, fume-free carpets and paint, low-flow water fixtures, even no-flush urinals that use a chemical trap instead of water. The new stadium for the Washington Nationals is expected to be the first stadium in the nation certified by the Green Building Council. [Audio link available on this page.]

NPR : Nation's Capital Requires Developers to Go Green

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Colorado State Goes Green for Green

A new program in sustainable enterprise will educate future business leaders in producing working solutions to global problems, for a profit...

The program, aimed toward those who want to specialize in global, social, and sustainable enterprises, will give participants an in-depth education in sustainable business, something that goes beyond the usual electives that are available in the second year of many MBA programs.

Participants will focus on ways to fix social problems including poverty, disease, and pollution. The three-semester program includes a summer of field work in a developing country. Students will create projects that they will develop either independently or on behalf of an already established company looking for an entrepreneurial enterprise. At graduation, some students will probably have the option to continue to develop their businesses. "This is a roll-up-your-sleeves business degree," Hudnut says.

Colorado State Goes Green for Green

Which Green Car Is Best?

Though consumers and manufacturers appear ready to embrace vehicles that are friendlier to the environment, there's little consensus on how best to achieve optimum 'greenness.' The term hybrid itself has evolved to describe multiple technologies since the first gas-electric model rolled onto U.S. shores in 1999. A number of alternative fuels are vying for attention, from clean diesels to corn-based E85 ethanol.

Which Green Car Is Best?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Energy Challenge

The NY Times has a series of article on energy and environmental issues at this link, which is constantly updated.
Articles in this series will periodically examine the ways in which the world is, and is not, moving toward a more energy efficient, environmentally benign future.

The Energy Challenge - New York Times

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What Every Tech Pro Should Know About 'Green Computing'

Why are IT companies adopting Green computing? It's not just to be Green, but to save some Green too. There are a few things we can learn as consumers as well. Read on for more.
Forget Al Gore and his Oscar for a global warming documentary. To gauge how today's trendy green movement is affecting computing, skip Hollywood and head to Wall Street.

There, Green Computing isn't a save-the-planet-for-our-kids movement. It's about the other green: cutting operating costs as the demand for computing power soars.

What Every Tech Pro Should Know About 'Green Computing'

Data Centers Meet 'Green Building' Standards

When it comes to green data centers, two companies have gone far beyond more-efficient servers. Think toilets that use rainwater from the roof and parking spots with plugs for hybrid cars.

Highmark and Fannie Mae are the only two companies with data centers that meet the standards of the U.S. Green Building Council, earning a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification... At Highmark, building features include recycled construction materials, motion detectors to turn off lights, and rainwater collection for flushing and also as a backup water source for cooling...

Fannie Mae built the first LEED-certified data center as part of its Maryland campus, which opened in 2005. Along with energy-efficient IT, features include daylight in 75% of spaces and priority parking for hybrid cars, with battery chargers. It's paid off. Brian Cobb, Fannie Mae's senior VP for enterprise systems management, says the campus runs 20% more energy efficiently than it would have without the green emphasis. "That's dollars," Cobb says. "There are good business drivers to be green."

Data Centers Meet 'Green Building' Standards

Friday, March 9, 2007

Solar technology gets White House boost

A company trying to harness energy from sunlight and interior light to wirelessly power everything from cell phones to signboards now has financial backing from the White House.

President Bush's program to help solar energy compete with conventional electricity sources will help fund Konarka Technologies' development of flexible plastic solar cell strips — material that could be embedded into the casings of laptop computers and even woven into power-producing clothing to energize digital media players or other electronics.

The technology, which received its first Pentagon funding three years ago, offers a lightweight, flexible alternative to conventional rigid photovoltaic cells on glass panels...

Konarka's development of plastic solar cell strips that can be manufactured like rolls of photographic film "has the promise of becoming a low-cost manufacturing technique," said Jeffrey Bencik, a Jefferies & Co. analyst who follows the solar industry. "Some of their laboratory production has worked as advertised. But can they mass-produce it and get the same result? That's the biggest question."

Solar technology gets White House boost

A Skyscraper Banking on Green

When its doors officially open early next year in New York, the Bank of America Tower will be the world's greenest skyscraper...

Debris from demolition and construction was recycled more completely than at any prior major work site. Then there was the pioneering use of recycled and energy-saving materials in construction. And, of course, there is the tower's unprecedented water and electricity efficiency. These innovative features earned the building a platinum certification-the highest score ever for an office tower-under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system, part of the U.S. Green Building Council's code for best practices, materials, and systems in green buildings.

A Skyscraper Banking on Green | BusinessWeek

Matching Sustainability with Profits

Excellent article about why product designers should be thinking more than just the cool factor in the products they design. Read the entire article here.
We live in a society of consumption. Our voracious and seemingly endless appetite for more, better, bigger, and easier is leaving our planet overrun and creating an environment that may not be able to sustain human life.

As designers, are we partially responsible? Are we helping or hurting?

The common and understandable perception is that designers just make more stuff the world doesn't need, but this is unfair. Good designers—conscientious designers—work with sustainability in mind. They know they need to create products, services, and environments that make sense for clients, and work for and with our earth. In other words: Profitable sustainability.

How is it to be done?

A simple—but not sufficient—answer might be to design more environmentally friendly products and processes. This might be called the 'diet chocolate cake' approach: Keep doing what we are good at and giving people what they want, but somehow do it less harmfully. At the other end of the spectrum is the abstinence approach: Plead guilty to the charge that designers spend a lot of time designing 'elegant landfill' and stop doing it. The great designer Dieter Rams, for example, called for a less wasteful approach in his monograph, 'Less But Better.'

Matching Sustainability with Profits

At Geneva Cars Go Green

[The] growing global debate on reducing carbon emissions has for the first time cast a green hue over the Geneva show, which will feature a record number of debuts for environmentally friendly cars. And for Europeans, always enthralled by automotive technology and innovation, the green fleet at Geneva may well prove a powerful draw.

Green highlights at this year's show include Honda's (HMC) small sports Hybrid X Concept cars, Toyota's (TM) FT-HS Concept—which debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January—and the Saab BioPower 100.

At Geneva Cars Go Green

Monday, March 5, 2007

Natural Cleaning solutions

One surefire way of living green is to use environmentally friendly products for everyday use. By doing so, we reduce waste and pollution. There are a number of commercial household cleaning products available which are "green", but many of them are expensive.

Here are some alternatives that can replace store-bought products with homemade recipes that cost pennies and protect your home environment from bleach and petroleum products:
  • Tub and toilet scrub: Sprinkle baking soda over an area to be cleaned, then spray with white vinegar and scrub with sponge.
  • Carpet deoderizer: Combine 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup cornstarch and several drops of lavender essential oil. Sprinkle on rug, let stand 30 minutes, then vacuum.
  • Mildew remover: Mix 1 tsp. tea tree oil (an all-natural anti-fungal liquid) and 1 cup water in a spray bottle and apply to affected area.
  • Furniture polish: Mix 1 tsp. lemon juice with 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil. Wipe down wood furniture with mixture.
  • Dishwasher detergent: Combine 2 Tbs. borax (a boric acid mineral) and 2 Tbs. baking soda in detergent compartment, then fill rinse drawer with white vinegar. Run dish-washing cycle as usual.
  • All purpose liquid cleaner: Mix 1 cup each water and vinegar plus 2 Tbs. baking soda in spray bottle. Use as you would any cleaning liquid.
  • Carpet and floor scrubbers: Mop floor with a solution of 1/2 cup distilled vinegar and 1 gallon warm water.
  • Scratch-free scourer: Sprinkle baking soda on a used lemon half and use as a scratch-free scrubber on counters, tiles and stainless steel.
  • Window treatment: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, spritz on glass surgace and wipe with newsprint for a streak-free shine that won't leave tiny fibers behind.
  • Hand-washing delicates: To whiten garments without bleach, soak them for 30 minutes in a solution of 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide and 4 cups water.
By Meg Donohue in Vegetarian Times (March 2007)

Reduce Waste, Recycle

Here's another organization helping recycle household and electronic waste - Earth911.

Green Power Network: Buying Green Power

If you are wondering, "Can I Buy Green Power in My State?" go to the Green Power Network website to find out which organizations offer green power in your state.

Green Power Network: Buying Green Power

The Green Project

Here's a link to a group that's doing good for the community as well as the environment, in New Orleans.
The Green Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creatively promoting and encouraging environmental sustainability in New Orleans. We recycle building materials and paint, deconstruct homes and salvage usable materials.

The Green Project

Urban Homestead

The Dervaes family shows us how they coverted a 1/5 acre city lot in Pasadena, CA into an eco-oasis that has reduced their dependence on electricity by 2/3 and increased their goals of living sustainably and self-sufficiently. From installing solar panels to brewing biodiesel, Path to Freedom has started a what they call a "homegrown revolution... using their hands as weapons of mass creation."

Tree Care Solutions with Rubbersidewalks

I love it when someone finds a unique solution to a common problem, reusing materials that would have normally been discarded as trash.
So often do we see trees planted in urban areas and then concrete sidewalks laid directly next to them. The trees struggle for air and water therefore developing invasive root systems under the concrete and, eventually, the sidewalks are uplifted by the roots. Local governments end up spending enormous amounts of money both on sidewalk maintenance and/or tree removal.

Rubbersidewalks are becoming popular in California, Florida and New York. They are not only an economical solution but they are easy to install as well. Unlike concrete, Rubbersidewalks' pavers can be lifted for tree root trimming then replaced. Crews can easily trim tree roots every two or three years while roots are still in the offshoot stage and there is no damage to the health or stability of the tree and, because of rubber’s flexibility, it allows for the sidewalks to bend when the tree roots grow. Rubber is lighter and more resilient than concrete, therefore tree roots get sufficient water and oxygen through the paver seams. Modularity and the unique relationship between Rubbersidewalks and tree roots results in maintainable sidewalks and a flourishing urban forest. Rubbersidewalks is made from 100% recycled tire rubber and is also available for residential use.

Tree Care Solutions with Rubbersidewalks (TreeHugger)

Bob's Solar Project

Here's a good blog for all aspiring green do it yourself(ers). Bob Goodsell of Ann Arbor, Michigan has documented his experience of converting his house over to using solar power. Check it out.
This blog documents my solar-power project. Hopefully it will inspire others to undertake similar projects and provide enough detail to help them get started. I live in a 1200 square-foot ranch-style house in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Bob's Solar Project

Recycling Electronic Media

In our modern electronic age, disposing of old electronics and media items such as CDs and DVDs has become a challenge. When done properly these can yield many reusable materials. Here are some suggestions for recycling your electronic media.
The University of California, Davis collect CDs so that their reprocessors can extract the 20mg of gold found on the recordable versions. Their R4 recycling program also suggests imaginative ways to ‘reuse’ CDs. Such as scarecrows for the garden patch, as coasters, Christmas tree decorations, letterbox markers or even as mosaics to make a disco ball. We also came across a DIY enthusiast, who uses 300 disks to make 4' x 8' solar concentrator to boost solar panel output!

However with your business needs, you might try GreenDisk, who have long dealt with software publishers to recover their obsolete software. They partner with non-profit agencies with recycling centers who create jobs for workers with disabilities. Seems the CDs and CD cases are ground and reprocessed into products like CD holders and other office goods.

Q&A. Recycling Electronic Media (TreeHugger)

Friday, March 2, 2007

PBS: This Old House - Green Renovation

The PBS show This Old House is currently doing a "green renovation" project in Austin, TX. You can watch the weekly progress on your local PBS station and also follow along on their project website. The techniques used on this project may help you green your own house some day.
Fit for a Family of the '00s

Beginning February 8 on PBS, tune in to This Old House for this unprecedented 'green' renovation.


Thursday, March 1, 2007

Roofs Paved with Green

I think this is wonderful concept with many benefits; green roofs will help reduce pollution, provide a green space for office and apartment dwellers to enjoy, and also help protect the building/roof from heat, cold and rain.
Pollutant-filtering plants embedded into paving stones are set to change the skyline in the Bronx... For Joe Hagerman the transition from streets to rooftops has been a natural one, conceptually speaking. Over the past year he has researched how his Biopaver design, which embeds pollutant-filtering plants into city paving stones, can be adapted to improve green roofs. The result is a streamlined system that he believes is easier to install and provides better insulation. It will soon be put to the test on a New York City school, where Hagerman hopes to demonstrate its benefits—not only for the future of green-roofing but also for the local community.

Roofs Paved with Green

Gas Saving Gizmos That Really Work

Why wait for fuel cells? You can get fuel-efficient technologies now... Whether you want to pump less jack out of your bank account every time you fill up your tank or pump less CO2 into the atmosphere every time you drive, you have plenty of reasons to improve fuel economy. Of course, you can put yourself on the waiting list for a hybrid—clearly, the most fuel-efficient technology available nowadays. Or you can look for a vehicle with other high-tech features designed to increase mpg.

Gas Saving Gizmos That Really Work

Green: The Next Big Thing

So what is the Next Big Thing?

[Kleiner partner] John Doerr said to me: 'Are we going to have any more Googles?' And I said: 'You're damn right we are, because we are at the point of new wealth creation when it comes to green technology.' John used to say Google is the greatest legal creation of wealth, and I think the greatest legal creation of wealth today is in the green area -- not just in the U.S. but in the developed world. We have been looking at a lot of things related to new fuels, such as ethanol, fuel cells, advanced battery technology, and new ways of using biotech to make fuels.... There will be an enormous amount of new [green] technology, new wealth, and we are trying to create the Googles, the Microsoft (MSFT )s of the new era. [Even] the garbage stream has a high value.

Green: The Next Big Thing