Friday, May 25, 2007

101 New Uses for Everyday Things

Some good natural cleaning solutions here...
"101 New Uses for Everyday Things"

101 New Uses for Everyday Things | [via]

"Cleaning and Laundry products play an essential role in our daily lives. By removing soils, germs and other contaminants, they help us to stay healthy, care for our homes and belongings, and make our surroundings more pleasant. These products are used safely and effectively in homes, schools, businesses and healthcare settings by millions of people every single day, yielding improvements in both hygiene and overall quality of life."

The Soap and Detergent Association

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Zero-Emissions Skyscraper

German architect Eckhard Gerber has an ambitious plan to build office towers in Riyadh, Dubai, and Bahrain that produce all their own energy...

A handful of architects... recently dreamt up a state-of-the-art tower, a giant 68-story building projected to rise to a lofty height of 322 meters (1,056 feet), which would make it number 22 on the list of the world's tallest buildings. What is even more impressive is that not only will the Burj al-Taqa ('Energy Tower') consume very little energy -- but it will also produce all its energy itself.

The Zero-Emissions Skyscraper

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dallas going dark at night

This has been a long-standing gripe of mine. I see so many office buildings and businesses that leave their lights on all night long. We can save so much energy by turning off the lights in our cubicles, offices etc. at the end of the day.

The same is true for the multitude of computers and monitors left running 24 hrs of the day unnecessarily; barring some critical systems, many of these desktop and laptop computers should be shut-down when not in use.

Dallas is certainly taking a step in the right direction, but there is much more to be done.
Kids everywhere need to be told to turn off the lights. So too, do businesses that leave the lights on all night for the sake of making the building look 'cool.'

Thousands of Dallas' city lights 'could fall dark four hours each night under an ordinance Dallas City Council members will consider Wednesday as part of a broader effort to conserve energy and reduce power plant emissions. According to an ordinance draft, businesses citywide would be required to switch off most of their exterior and signage lighting between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.

That includes: --Decorative lighting, 'such as lighting that illuminates or outlines a building's facades or elements'; --Lighting used to illuminate fountains, sculptures, flagpoles and other similar structures; --Landscape illumination lighting; --Lighting that illuminates premise signs, whether attached to or separate from a building. Violators could face fines of up to $2,000.

Among the ordinance's exemptions are security, hospital, traffic control, residential and transportation lighting. State and federal government facilities, as well as businesses open and operating between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., would also be exempt, according to the ordinance.'

More "Simple Things First" - Dallas Style (TreeHugger)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Staples starts computer recycle program

Staples Inc. is expanding its electronics waste recycling program by accepting used computers and monitors that can now be dropped off for a $10 fee at any of the office products chain's 1,400 U.S. locations during store hours.

The step by the world's largest office products supplier follows similar initiatives by many computer makers and retailers to confront the growing environmental and public health risk posed by discarded computers and other electronic gadgets containing toxic metals and chemicals.

Staples starts computer recycle program - Yahoo! News

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Trim Those Packaging Pounds

It was heartening to read in the New York Times this past weekend about companies cutting down on packaging in order to reduce their impact on the environment. Major manufacturers such as Proctor & Gamble, Coca Cola, Aveda and countless others are tweaking designs in order to shed the extra layers and use more recycled and recyclable materials, all to retain a place on Wal-Mart's shelves now that the retail powerhouse has promised to become "packaging neutral" by 2025.

Companies say many of the easy changes to packages have already been made. Beverage cans are much lighter and most use recycled aluminum, shipping cartons contain large percentages of recycled fiber. But failure at the municipal level to collect recyclable materials could slow further progress.

Recycling in my city seems to be working at home but not well at all in the office. It's going to take more pressure from consumers to step up our municipal recycling programs. The Environmental Protection Agency offers a very good program - the WasteWise Program - to help organizations eliminate costly municipal solid waste and select industrial wastes, benefiting their bottom line and the environment. I'm going to register our office for the program. WasteWise provides free technical assistance to help you develop, implement, and measure your waste reduction activities.

It's also up to consumers to choose those products made with the highest recycled content, and packaged in the leanest container made of easily recycled material. Buy household and office supplies in bulk, choose juice concentrates and use thermoses and check the recycle code on a container before you buy it to make sure it's recyclable. These are all ways to cut down on the amount of raw materials used and save energy and money along the way. To make it extra easy for yourself, download the Green Guide's handy Smart Shopper's Plastic Picks Card.

Trim Those Packaging Pounds [via The Green Guide]

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Gas-Saving Tips

Here are 10 easy-to-follow steps to increase your fuel economy. When you've mastered these, grasshopper, you'll be ready for the master's course in hyper-mileage.

1. Don’t speed.
Driving 65 mph instead of 75 mph will increase your fuel economy by about 10 percent. Pride yourself on being a slowpoke.

2. Avoid "jack rabbit" starts.
Flooring the gas pedal wastes gas and leads to drastically higher pollution rates.

3. Anticipate stops.
Think ahead to anticipate stops so your vehicle can coast down. Accelerating hard and braking hard wastes gas, increases pollution, and wears out your brakes.

4. Keep your tires properly inflated.
For every 3 pounds below recommended pressure, fuel economy goes down by about 1 percent.

5. Avoid rush hour, if possible.
Stop-and-go driving burns gas and increases emissions of smog-forming pollutants. For hybrids that can stay in electric mode at low speeds, the effects of stop-and-go driving are greatly reduced.

6. Travel light.
An extra 100 pounds in your trunk reduces fuel economy by about 1 percent.

7. Combine trips.
Warmed-up engines run more efficiently and generate less air pollution.

8. Leave off the air conditioning, if possible.
AC increases fuel consumption, increases smog-forming NOx emissions in some vehicles, and can involve environmentally damaging fluids. At high speeds, open windows increase drag; use vents if possible.

9. Check your own fuel economy every few weeks.
If you notice the numbers slipping, then think about how your driving might have changed, and consider getting a tune-up or an oil change.

10. Drive less.
Give your car a rest by taking public transportation, riding a bike, or walking. The exercise will do you good.

Gas-Saving Tips

Calculate and reduce your carbon emissions with Zerofootprint and Yahoo! Green

Two new tools for combating global warming launched today. Zerofootprint's Carbon Calculator determines your current CO2 emissions based on your lifestyle; and Yahoo! Green assembles your plan for reduction.

Over at Zerofootprint enter the kind of car you own and the number of miles you drive it per year, your air travel habits, your electricity bill and other carbon emissions-related info, and the calculator tells you how many tons of CO2 you're adding to the environment. At Yahoo! Green, make the list of small changes you can make to reduce that number - like keeping your tires inflating, driving the speed limit, replacing light bulbs and reducing your meat intake. See also ten easy ways to go green. —Gina Trapani

Yahoo! Green [via CNET]
Zero Footprint [via NYT]

Calculate and reduce your carbon emissions with Zerofootprint and Yahoo! Green [via Lifehacker]

Clean technology bigger than internet: software guru

"A global response to climate change will spur a business revolution bigger than the internet," said co-founder of Sun Microsystems Bill Joy.

"This is a much larger opportunity," he told Reuters, pointing to the scale of the problem and the profits to be made from simple steps like a more careful use of energy.

"It's profitable to be more efficient, it has a negative cost and a competitive disadvantage if you don't do it."

Clean technology bigger than internet: software guru - Yahoo! News

Monday, May 14, 2007

Eco-friendly laundry supplies, greener laundry, natural laundry products

"Thanks to government trade-secret laws, manufacturers of cleaners aren't required to disclose ingredients on product labels, making it difficult for consumers to choose an environmentally preferable and healthier alternative."

Read on for tips on how to be eco-friendly while doing laundry.

Eco-friendly laundry supplies, greener laundry, natural laundry products - The Green Guide:

Friday, May 11, 2007

ZENN Motor Company: Electric Vehicles

"As a leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of electric vehicles, we thrive on providing drivers with choices they can feel good about. Working with our internationally respected partners, we’re bringing the world’s finest zero-emission vehicles to you—setting a new standard for what electric vehicles can be. The culmination of this passion for quality, the ZENN™, the only luxury NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle) on the market."

ZENN Motor Company - Electric Vehicles

Electric Drive Transportation Association

"EDTA is the preeminent US industry association dedicated to the promotion of electric drive as the best means to achieve the highly efficient and clean use of secure energy in the transportation sector. We support the sustainable commercialization of all electric drive transportation technologies by providing in-depth information, education, industry networking, public policy advocacy and international conferences and exhibitions."

Electric Drive Transportation Association

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

How to recycle office paper into blank books

Here's a good way to reuse all those print-outs that typically end-up in the trash. I typically reuse the blank side when I want to print something temporarily, make notes, sketches, and storyboards etc. When I'm finally done using both sides I recycle the paper.
"[A] simple bookbinding tutorial using a Japanese stab-binding technique for making blank books from paper that is printed on one side. These books are useful for all kinds of notes, and tell an interesting story about the place they came from. I work in the computer lab at my school, where a lot of printer paper is wasted. I go through the recycle bin to find my papers."

instructables : How to recycle office paper into blank books > via > Lifehacker

Architecture for Humanity

"Architecture for Humanity is working to connect families and individuals who have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina with architects and designers who can help them to untangle complex new building codes and FEMA elevations, make decisions about their future, and ultimately empower them to re-envision their homes, businesses and communities."

Architecture for Humanity: Hurricane Katrina

Monday, May 7, 2007

10 Reasons Why I Ditched My Car

Here's one woman's account of why she got rid of her car and what she gained in return.
"While not having a car poses some problems, overall they are small to what I gain in return. I realise that not everyone can get rid of their car, but a lot more people can than think it is possible. These are the 10 reasons that I don’t have a car and don’t want one"

10 Reasons Why I Ditched My Car